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Canon EOS Rebel T6/EOS 1300D review: The T6 isn't a bad cheap dSLR, but it's not a great one either

The T6 isn't a bad cheap dSLR, but it's not a great one either

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Lori Grunin
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Lori Grunin

Senior Editor / Reviews

I've been writing about and reviewing consumer technology since before the turn of the century. I'm also a photographer and cat herder, frequently at the same time.

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Why are you considering a cheap dSLR? Think it through before forking over the money for the Canon EOS Rebel T6, aka the EOS 1300D.

canon-eos-rebel-t6-01.jpg
6.8

Canon EOS Rebel T6/EOS 1300D

The Good

The Canon EOS Rebel T6's photo and video quality are definitely better than those of a point-and-shoot.

The Bad

Its feature set is beyond minimal and it's slow for a family camera.

The Bottom Line

The Canon EOS Rebel T6 (aka the EOS 1300D) hits the basics for a low price, but that's about it.

At $500 for the kit with an 18-55mm lens (£385, AU$650), it's really inexpensive for a model with a press release dated 2016. But newer is not always better. Much of the camera is based on a higher-end model from 2013 that's still available, the EOS Rebel T5i (EOS 700D), but with features stripped out and Wi-Fi added. And that model was only a minor update over its predecessor from 2012, the T4i (EOS 650D).

Like most basic dSLRs in its class, the T6 is basically a point-and-shoot with a big sensor for better photo quality; though one of the attractions of a dSLR is the ability to swap lenses, most people stick with the one that comes with the kit.

Fine for stepping up

The photos look like they were shot with a dSLR or mirrorless camera with the same size sensor, so they're definitely a step up from a phone or point-and-shoot. And they're about as good as its direct competitors, like the Nikon D3300 and the Pentax K-S2. But its photo and video quality aren't nearly as good as the Sony A6000's, either.

JPEGs look reliably OK through ISO 800, as long as there's some light; beyond that, processing raws gets you less smearing of detail and color noise as high as ISO 6400. And the automatic white balance is quite good.

Canon EOS Rebel T6/1300D full-resolution photo samples

See all photos


Analysis samples

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The T6's JPEGs look pretty good through ISO 800.

Lori Grunin/CNET
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You can see smearing from noise reduction in JPEGs at ISO 1600, and color noise becomes obvious at ISO 3200.

Lori Grunin/CNET
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The T6 does have excellent color reproduction and white balance.

Lori Grunin/CNET

The T6's performance reflects its old origins, delivering good autofocus and continuous-shooting speeds -- for a few years ago. But it's not really satisfying for shooting subjects in motion, especially fast-moving kids or pets.

Shooting speed

Pentax K-S2 0.4 0.5 0.2 0.2 1.2Canon EOS Rebel T6 0.4 0.5 0.4 0.5 0.5Sony A6000 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.2 2.1
  • Shutter lag (typical)
  • Shutter lag (dim light)
  • Typical shot-to-shot time
  • Raw shot-to-shot time
  • Time to first shot
Note: Seconds (shorter bars indicate better performance)

Continuous-shooting speed

Canon EOS Rebel T6 3.0Pentax K-S2 4.7Sony A6000 11.1
Note: Frames per second (longer bars indicate better performance)

Typical design for its class

It's relatively light but feels substantial, typical for a beginner dSLR. It does retain some of the irritating aspecs of its predecessors, including the tiny, hard-to-see autofocus points in the viewfinder. Forget about stealthy shooting, since the shutter is loud. And if you feel like jumping back and forth between stills and video, you have to rotate all the way to the end of the mode dial and back.

There are a few reasons to spend just a little more or go mirrorless. The T6's fixed LCD is typical for dSLRs in its price range, but if you like to shoot using the back display -- Live View -- it's much nicer to have a tilting or flip-and-twist articulated display. Partly because fixed displays are hard to see in bright sunlight; you can increase the screen brightness for easier viewing, but then you can't verify exposures. Fixed displays are also suboptimal for shooting video.

But because it doesn't have spot metering, the camera doesn't handle backlit subjects well automatically.

Conclusion

Once you determine why you want it, you'll find that there are better, similarly priced options that you probably didn't consider because they don't seem as shiny.

After all this, if you're going to buy it, wait until Canon starts offering deals on it. If the company holds true to form, the actual price will be closer to $450 by the end of the year.

Comparative specifications


Canon EOS Rebel T5
EOS 1200D
Canon EOS Rebel T5i
EOS 700D
Canon EOS Rebel T6
EOS 1300D
Nikon D3300
Sensor effective resolution 18MP CMOS 18MP CMOS 18MP CMOS 24.2MP CMOS
Sensor size 22.3 x 14.9mm 22.3 x 14.9mm 22.3 x 14.9mm 23.2 x 15.4mm
Focal-length multiplier 1.6x 1.6x 1.6x 1.5x
OLPF Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 6400/12800 (exp) ISO 100 - ISO 12800/25600 (exp) ISO 100 - ISO 6400/12800 (exp) ISO 100 (exp)/200 - ISO 12800/25600 (exp)
Burst shooting 3fps JPEG
6 raw/unlimited JPEG
5fps
6 raw/22 JPEG
(without continuous AF and IS off)
3fps
6 raw/unlimited JPEG
5fps
n/a
Viewfinder
(mag/effective mag)
Optical
95% coverage
0.80x/0.50x
Optical
95% coverage
0.85x/0.53x
Optical
95% coverage
0.80x/0.50x
Optical
95% coverage
0.85x/0.57x
Hot shoe Yes Yes Yes Yes
Autofocus 9-pt AF
center cross-type
9-pt AF
center cross-type
9-pt AF
center cross-type
11-pt AF
center cross-type
AF sensitivity 0 - 18 EV -0.5 - 18 EV 0 - 18 EV -1 to 19 EV
Shutter speed 1/4,000 to 30 sec.; bulb;
1/200 sec. x-sync
1/4,000 to 60 sec.; bulb;
1/200 sec. x-sync
1/4,000 to 30 sec.; bulb;
1/200 sec. x-sync
1/4,000 to 30 sec.; bulb; 1/200 sec. x-sync
Metering 63 zones 63 zones 63 zones 420-pixel 3D color matrix metering II
Metering sensitivity 0 - 20 EV 1 - 20 EV 1 - 20 EV 0 - 20 EV
Best video H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/30p, 25p, 24p; 720/60p, 50p
H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/30p, 25p, 24p; 720/60p
H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/30p, 25p, 24p; 720/60p, 50p
H.264 MOV
1080/60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p
Audio Mono Stereo, mic input Mono Mono; mic input
Manual aperture and shutter in video Yes Yes Yes Shutter speed only
Maximum best-quality recording time 29m59s 4GB 29m59s 20m
Clean HDMI out No No No Yes
Image stabilization Optical Optical Optical Optical
LCD 3 in./7.5 cm
Fixed
460,000 dots
3 in./7.7 cm
Articulated touchscreen
1.04m dots
3 in./7.5 cm
Fixed
920,000 dots
3 inches
Fixed
921,000 dots
Memory slots 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC
Wireless connection No No Wi-Fi, NFC Optional Wi-Fi
(with WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter)
Flash Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wireless flash No Yes No No
Battery life (CIPA rating) 500 shots (VF); 180 shots (LV) 440 shots (VF); 180 shots (LV) 500 shots (VF); 180 shots (LV) 700 shots
(1,230mAh)
Size (WHD) 5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 in.
130 x 100 x 78 mm
5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in.
150 x 99 x 79 mm
5.1 x 4.0 x 3.1 in.
129 x 101 x 78 mm
4.9 x 3.9 x 3.3 in.
124 x 98 x 75.5 mm
Body operating weight 17.5 oz.
496 g
20.8 oz.
589.7 g
17.7 oz.
502 g
16 oz.
454 g

Primary kit $400
£310
(with 18-55mm IS II lens)
£280
AU$470
(with 18-55mm III lens)
$600
£490
AU$860
(with 18-55mm STM lens)
$500
£385
AU$650
(with 18-55mm IS II lens)
$500
£490
AU$850
Release date March 2014 April 2013 April 2016 February 2014
canon-eos-rebel-t6-01.jpg
6.8

Canon EOS Rebel T6/EOS 1300D

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 6Performance 7Image quality 7