Canon T6 Review — Now Shooting! Image Quality Comparison

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The Canon T6 keeps the best of its popular predecessor, 2014’s Canon T5, including its extremely affordable pricetag and approachable, comfortable design, and then adds some important features. These include in-camera Wi-Fi — both for image sharing and remote control — as well as a higher-resolution display and some other tweaks besides.

But does the Canon T6, which is essentially built on the design of a two-year-old camera, have what it takes to compete in today’s entry-level DSLR market?

Canon T6 Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Canon T6’s single-shot image quality to its predecessor, the Canon T5, as well as to its nearest entry-level DSLR rivals, the Nikon D3300 and Pentax K-S2. By way of comparison to a more expensive model, we’ve also included the Canon T6i in the comparison, while the Canon EOS M3 joins the group as an example of a mirrorless camera at the same APS-C sensor size.

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera’s actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved: click these links to visit each camera’s respective sample image thumbnail page: Canon T6, Canon T5, Nikon D3300, Pentax K-S2, Canon T6i and Canon EOS M3 — links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Canon T6 to any camera we’ve ever tested!

Canon T6 vs Canon T5 at Base ISO
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Canon T5 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Canon T5 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Canon T5 test image taken at ISO 100
Canon T6 at ISO 100
Canon T5 at ISO 100

As you might expect given their essentially identical imaging pipelines, the differences between the Canon T6 and its predecessor, the T5, are minimal at base sensitivity. The T6’s rendering is just fractionally warmer than that from the T5, and if we had to call it for one or other camera, the T6 also looks to have a very slight edge in sharpness in the mosaic label and fabric swatches as well. The T5 shows slightly higher contrast in the difficult red swatch, though, and really both cameras turn in an extremely similar performance overall.

Canon T6 vs Nikon D3300 at Base ISO
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Nikon D3300 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Nikon D3300 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Nikon D3300 test image taken at ISO 100
Canon T6 at ISO 100
Nikon D3300 at ISO 100

The Nikon D3300 sports a higher-res 24.2-megapixel sensor, rather than the 18-megapixel chip found in the Canon T6. That’s not going to make for a night-and-day difference, but it’s enough that there’s noticeably more detail from the Nikon in this comparison. The consumer-friendly T6 also amps up the reds rather more than does the D3300, with the latter turning in a more realistic representation of the red fabric swatch. The T6 manages better with the pink swatch, though, where the D3300 renders this swatch rather too warmly.

Canon T6 vs Pentax K-S2 at Base ISO
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Pentax K-S2 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Pentax K-S2 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Pentax K-S2 test image taken at ISO 100
Canon T6 at ISO 100
Pentax K-S2 at ISO 100

At 20.1 megapixels, the Pentax K-S2’s image sensor is rather closer to the 18-megapixel resolution of the Canon T6 than are the other rivals in this roundup. Despite that, the Pentax’s rendering is a little crisper than that of its Canon rival. But in terms of their default color rendering, the T6 definitely does a better job. As usual for a Pentax camera, the K-S2 turns the pink fabric swatch magenta. And if you click through to the full-sized images, you’ll see that the K-S2 also pumps up the blues quite a bit more than does the T6.

Canon T6 vs Canon T6i at Base ISO
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 100
Canon T6 at ISO 100
Canon T6i at ISO 100

For just a little more money than the entry-level model, the Canon T6i gives you a higher-resolution 24-megapixel sensor like that of the D3300, versus the 18-megapixel chip used in the T6. Again, that shows itself in this head-to-head at base sensitivity: The T6i definitely gathers a little more detail in the mosaic label and fabric swatches. The T6i also has slightly better contrast in the red swatch, but otherwise the two cameras render the scene quite similarly.

Canon T6 vs Canon EOS M3 at Base ISO
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Canon EOS M3 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Canon EOS M3 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Canon EOS M3 test image taken at ISO 100
Canon T6 at ISO 100
Canon EOS M3 at ISO 100

The Canon EOS M3, too, opts for a higher-res 24.2-megapixel image sensor. And again, that shows itself with noticeably more detail for the mirrorless camera than for its entry-level DSLR rival in the mosaic label, and to a lesser extent in the fabric swatches, as well. Both cameras pump up the reds, but the EOS M3 doesn’t do so quite as much as does the Canon T6, and its pink swatch is also closer to reality than that from its DSLR sibling. The T6 manages just slightly better in terms of contrast in the red swatch, however.

Canon T6 vs Canon T5 at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Canon T5 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Canon T5 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Canon T5 test image taken at ISO 1600
Canon T6 at ISO 1600
Canon T5 at ISO 1600

Stepping up the sensitivity range to ISO 1600-equivalent, higher noise levels (and the effects of noise reduction efforts) are visible in both the Canon T5 and T6’s imagery. Again, there’s little to choose between the pair. The T6 is perhaps just slightly crisper in the mosaic label than the T5, and perhaps loses just slightly less of the finer details to noise reduction. Both cameras have lost almost all of the detail in the red fabric swatch, but the T5’s red is closer to accurate, with the T6 pumping up the saturation too much.

Canon T6 vs Nikon D3300 at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Nikon D3300 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Nikon D3300 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Nikon D3300 test image taken at ISO 1600
Canon T6 at ISO 1600
Nikon D3300 at ISO 1600

Now that we’ve dialed the sensitivity up a little, there’s a bigger difference between the Canon and Nikon rivals. The D3300 clearly holds onto quite a bit more detail in the mosaic label, and where the T6 has lost almost all of the detail in the red fabric swatch, there’s still quite a bit left in the Nikon’s image. The Canon’s more aggressive noise reduction gives its image a slightly less noisy feel, but we prefer the more film-like grain of the D3300’s representation than the slightly mottled look of the Canon T6 here.

Canon T6 vs Pentax K-S2 at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Pentax K-S2 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Pentax K-S2 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Pentax K-S2 test image taken at ISO 1600
Canon T6 at ISO 1600
Pentax K-S2 at ISO 1600

The ISO 1600 comparison against Pentax is quite an interesting one. The K-S2’s noise reduction does a better job in smooth areas with little detail, yet at the same time, manages not to wreck havoc on the mosaic label, retaining most of the fine detail. But the Canon T6 does a much better job in the fabric swatches. Sure, it has lost most of the detail in the red swatch, but Pentax has basically turned the entire swatch into an amorphous blob. And again, Canon’s representation of the pink swatch is much more true-to-life than the magenta hues of the K-S2.

Canon T6 vs Canon T6i at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 1600
Canon T6 at ISO 1600
Canon T6i at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600-equivalent, the higher-res Canon T6i still has a modest but noticeable detail-gathering advantage over its entry-level sibling. Noise levels are similar between the two cameras, but the Canon T6 extracts far less detail from the difficult red swatch than does the more expensive T6i.

Canon T6 vs Canon EOS M3 at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Canon EOS M3 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Canon EOS M3 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 1600 100% crop from Canon EOS M3 test image taken at ISO 1600
Canon T6 at ISO 1600
Canon EOS M3 at ISO 1600

The EOS M3, too, still manages to extract a bit more detail out of the scene at ISO 1600 than does the Canon T6. Noise levels are similar in both cameras, and both also struggle about equally with detail in the fabric swatches, and especially that tough-to-render red swatch. Again, the EOS M3 renders the color of the pink swatch more accurately, however.

Canon T6 vs Canon T5 at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon T5 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon T5 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon T5 test image taken at ISO 3200
Canon T6 at ISO 3200
Canon T5 at ISO 3200

Finally, once we raise the sensitivity to ISO 3200-equivalent, there’s a slightly more noticeable difference between the Canon T6 and its predecessor, even if it’s still subtle. The T6 continues to pump the saturation more on the red swatch, and to our eye, it also turns in a just slightly noisier result than did the T5, although there’s not much in it. Really, though, you’re not going to notice the difference unless you’re pixel peeping in the extreme.

Canon T6 vs Nikon D3300 at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Nikon D3300 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Nikon D3300 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Nikon D3300 test image taken at ISO 3200
Canon T6 at ISO 3200
Nikon D3300 at ISO 3200

While the difference from the T5 was subtle, that between the Canon T6 and Nikon D3300 is anything but. Nikon’s camera wins hands-down, holding onto significantly more detail in the mosaic label, and managing to retain a reasonable amount of detailn the red fabric swatch as well. And while noise levels are similar, the Canon T6 seems a little more prone to chroma noise than does its Nikon rival.

Canon T6 vs Pentax K-S2 at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Pentax K-S2 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Pentax K-S2 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Pentax K-S2 test image taken at ISO 3200
Canon T6 at ISO 3200
Pentax K-S2 at ISO 3200

At ISO 3200-equivalent, the Pentax K-S2 clearly holds onto more detail in the mosaic label, and its noise pattern is also tighter, with a finer grain and less of the mottling that’s visible in the shadows with the Canon T6. However, Canon’s entry-level DSLR still does a better job with the fabric swatches, both in terms of pink swatch hue and (more slightly) in terms of what little contrast / detail remain in the red swatch.

Canon T6 vs Canon T6i at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 3200
Canon T6 at ISO 3200
Canon T6i at ISO 3200

At ISO 3200-equivalent, the Canon T6i bests its entry-level sibling in most respects. It holds onto more detail in the mosaic label, although the effects of noise reduction are certainly making themselves felt even for the T6i. And its noise-reduction algorithms also seem to damp down the chroma noise a little better. Perhaps the most obvious difference, though, is in the red fabric swatch, where the T6i holds onto a fair bit of detail which the Canon T6 has lost almost entirely.

Canon T6 vs Canon EOS M3 at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon EOS M3 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon EOS M3 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon EOS M3 test image taken at ISO 3200
Canon T6 at ISO 3200
Canon EOS M3 at ISO 3200

And finally, we come to the EOS M3. Here, the Canon T6 has provided a more neutral color balance, and also does just fractionally better with the red fabric swatch. The higher-res sensor of the Canon M3 gives it an edge on fine detail in the mosaic label, however, and again its noise reduction does a slightly better job at neutralizing chroma noise.

Canon T6 vs. Canon T5, Nikon D3300, Pentax K-S2, Canon T6i, Canon EOS M3
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Canon T5 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Nikon D3300 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Pentax K-S2 test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Canon EOS M3 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon T5 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Nikon D3300 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Pentax K-S2 test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 3200 100% crop from Canon EOS M3 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon T6 test image taken at ISO 6400 100% crop from Canon T5 test image taken at ISO 6400 100% crop from Nikon D3300 test image taken at ISO 6400 100% crop from Pentax K-S2 test image taken at ISO 6400 100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 6400 100% crop from Canon EOS M3 test image taken at ISO 6400
Canon
T6
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
T5
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon
D3300
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Pentax
K-S2
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
T6i
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
EOS M3
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. We like to take a look at high-contrast detail, as well, as it often has its own story to tell. Here, the Nikon D3300 probably has a slight edge over the rest, with the Canon T6i and EOS M3 hot on their heels. With their lower resolution, the Pentax K-S2, Canon T5 and Canon T6 trail the rest by a little. And as we’e seen throughout these comparisons, there’s very little difference between the two entry-level Canon siblings.

Canon T6 Print Quality Analysis

A good 24 x 36 inch print at ISO 100/200; a nice 11 x 14 at ISO 1600; and a good 5 x 7 at ISO 6400.

ISO 100/200 images from the Canon T6 look very good up to 24 x 36 inches, with crisp fine detail and nice colors across the board in printed images. At 18 megapixels, you will generally be OK even at 30 x 40 inches for wall display purposes, depending on your viewing distance.

ISO 400 prints look good at 20 x 30 inches. The 24 x 36 inch prints aren’t bad at all, and certainly usable in less critical applications, but a bit of noise in flatter areas of our target image prevent us from giving this size our official “good” seal.

ISO 800 shots require a further reduction in size to 16 x 20 inches, where noise is once again well-controlled and minimal. Anything larger has too much apparent noise in certain areas to call good, but 16 x 20 inches is still an impressive size for this ISO, especially given the affordable cost of this camera.

ISO 1600 is where the T6 begins to suffer a bit in the print quality department, as both noise as well as noise reduction artifacts become more apparent in larger prints. Keeping your maximum print size to 11 x 14 inches is advisable here, as that size still retains good color and detail throughout, with very little apparent noise or issues.

ISO 3200 images just pass our good grade at 8 x 10 inches. The overall print is not quite as vibrant, and there is a mild amount of noise visible, as well as some typical softening in our tricky red fabric swatch as well as a few other areas of our test target. We can still give this print our “good” seal overall though.

ISO 6400 can deliver a good 5 x 7 inch print, but as with the 8 x 10 above there is not as much pop in the colors nor fine detail as seen in the lower ISO images, so be advised you may need to adjust for this in post-processing.

ISO 12,800 does not yield a good print and is best avoided for printing purposes.

For its affordable price tag, the Canon T6 certainly holds its own in the print quality department. Producing nice 24 x 36-inch images at the lowest two sensitivities and yet still delivering a good 16 x 20-inch print at ISO 800 is a nice feat at this price. Not surprisingly, the print sizes were similar to the sizes attained by the predecessor model Canon T5, which shares the same imaging pipeline as this latest entry-level Rebel. If 8 x 10-inch prints and under are what you are generally printing, we advise keeping your sensitivity to under either ISO 3200 or 1600-equivalents, depending on your subject matter and overall tastes.

(imaging-resource.com, http://goo.gl/dkBbVA)

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