Canon Rebel T6i / EOS 750D vs Nikon D5500 vs D3300

May 2, 2015

Canon Rebel T6i camera with forest and trees behind

In this article I’ll compare the new Canon Rebel T6i / EOS 750D versus two popular Nikon DSLRs, the Nikon D5500 and the D3300. If you find the T6i an interesting alternative, after reading this comparison, you’ll have a better idea which camera to buy.  Buying an upper entry-level camera an be a bit confusing due to the large selection of available cameras, but I’ll try my best to make it easier for you.

Let’s start with a short introduction to the Canon T6i and in the next section we’ll check how it compares to the D5500 and the D3300.

Canon Rebel T6i / EOS 750D

The Canon Rebel T6i is the cheaper and less advanced version of the Canon T6s camera, which was announced at the same day as the T6i. The T6i/750D is an upper entry-level camera, utilizing new advanced technologies and improved performance and other changes over its predecessor, the T5i. This camera is aimed for both beginners and experienced photographers alike. If you are searching for an advanced high-performance camera but have a relatively tight budget, the T6i might be an excellent choice.

Canon Rebel T6i

The T6i carries a slightly different design than its predecessor with additional buttons that offer easier access to camera functions, but nothing big. That said, the T6i like the T6i is very comfortable to hold with just the right weight to keep the camera steady. It has an aluminum alloy chassis and composite exterior, so it’s very durable yet lightweight. It’s not the smallest DSLR out there, but in these sizes it really doesn’t matter. You won’t carry it in your pocket anyway, and I personally prefer the camera to at that size as it fits my hand like a glove. This makes it easier for me to steady the camera when I’m not using a tripod, and it balances the weight of heavy lenses quite nicely.

The EOS Rebel T6i enjoys a brand new APS-C sensor of 24.2MP. I’ve already observed its high ISO performance and I really liked what I’ve seen. Considering its 3.72 micron pixels, it was able to outperform the T5i which has 4.3 micron pixels. Images are very clean up to ISO 1600, and are still very usable at ISO6400 (after cleaning noise using noise reduction software).

The T6i/750D uses Canon’s latest Digic 6 image processor that supports its 5 fps big buffer burst in continuous shooting mode (When shooting JPEGs) and all the other advanced features that we’ll talk about in a moment.

It also comes with two very important updated for both the AF system and the light metering system. The T6i uses Canon’s latest Hybrid CMOS AF III 19AF-point (all cross-type) system that supports the sensor hybrid configuration to provide super-fast AF performance in Live View and when recording videos. It’s not as fast as the Dual Pixel CMOS AF of the 70D, but it’s very close to that. The camera also features a 7,560 pixel RGB+IR metering sensor that promote better exposure by having more color data available for the scene recognition system. The result is a perfect exposure every time and great looking photos with little effort.

In the past you had to compromise on performance when buying a budget DSLR camera, but no more. Canon made sure that those new technologies are available in its entry-level camera. Beginners will know longer feel limited by the camera base capabilities. Of course you can get more for a higher price, but it’s great to see such performance improvement in new models.

The T6i has the same high-quality 3.0″ touchscreen monitor, has WiFi / NFC wireless connectivity, basic functions to help beginners adapt to the camera faster, creative filters, full HD video recording, and much more. This is a very polished and well-made camera. I remember buying my first 400D camera, I fell in love with it the moment I held it in my hands. There is something about Canon EOS cameras that just feel perfect.

Here’s a good introduction video for the Rebel T6i by MichaelTheMentor, certainly worth your time  if you consider buying the T6i.

As you can see from the above video, the video tracking performance is excellent. I think that the video bit rate difference wouldn’t be that of an issue for the amateur photographer. You still capture gorgeous looking videos. If you intend to share your videos on YouTube it will eventually be re-compressed and the image quality will drop by some degree. You still get a 3.5mm mic input and clean HDMI. For me that autofocus performance is the most important for videos, and having a touchscreen make it easier to make changes while the camera is mounted on a tripod, so overall I’m very pleased with what the T6i has to offer.

Later on I did stumble choosing between mirrorless and DSLR, but I at the end of the day I was sold to Canon DSLRs because of the handling, ease-of-use, slick performance, large APS-C sensor and of course, the large selection of lenses. I prefer upgrading to a better Canon DSLR and keep my lenses than sell my lenses and buy into a new system. That said, if this is your first DSLR, your decision might be a bit harder, because Nikon doesn’t sit back doing nothing, and its Nikon D5500 and D3300 certainly worth consideration.

T6i/750D vs Nikon D5500 vs D3300

As you can see, the T6i is an impressive camera overall for both stills and video recording. Its best features are the one that many photographers care about most, and that is the AF subject tracking performance, light metering accuracy, high ISO performance and handling, and the T6i does an excellent job in all of those categories.

Now it’s time to take a look and see how the Canon Rebel T6i / EOS 750D compares to the Nikon D5500 and D3300. These are two of Nikon’s entry-level cameras, with D5500 being the more advanced camera. A few words about pricing before we move on.

  • T6i: ~$750 (body only)
  • D5500: ~$750 (body only)
  • D3300: ~$500 (with a 18-55mm kit lens)

*Estimated prices as of 4/30/2015.

So the D3300 is the cheapest and the D5500 costs the same as the T6i. It will be interesting to see how the D5500 compared to the 750D consider they sell for the same price at the time of writing.

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The Canon Rebel T6i is an excellent camera in many ways. We can see that it eclipses the D5500 in terms of build quality, AF system (in live view), light metering system, buffer size and has NFC. That being said, the D5500 has more AF points and has a blazing fast AF performance when shooting through the viewfinder. It has more AF points with better spread across the frame, so it promotes more accurate and faster subject tracking performance, it also can focus better in low-light conditions. Do you love shooting videos? You’ll enjoy Full HD 60 frame per second in progressive shooting, which means very high quality. You can now upload and share 1080p60 videos on YouTube, so many people are looking for that feature. The battery life is also superior to the Canon Rebel T6i / EOS 750D. Other than that, the D5500 also has the best high ISO performance among the three, if you are among those who can’t compromise on that.

The D3300 is not competition to the other cameras, but it costs much less. It does offer 1080p60 video recording, the same burst speed and same image resolution, but falls short in almost all  the other parameters, including inferior display, inferior AF system and light metering sensor among others.

If you are a beginner and this is your first DSLR, you might want to give the D3300 a go, as it will save you money, and you might won’t take advantage of the more advanced features that the other cameras offer. I think that most people will certainly enjoy the T6i/750D performance benefits. For example, if you love capturing photos and videos of your kids running at the backyard, you will find the T6i an amazing camera for that because of its superb subject tracking performance in Live View and video recording mode and its almost endless buffer capacity when shooting bursts.

Canon came up with an excellent camera this time, and one that can compete well and in some aspects, outperform the Nikon D5500. You need to decide what’s important to you most and based your buying decision on that. Some of you might prefer buying the Nikon D3300 and spend more money on a second or a better lens. This is a personal decision and now you have more information that will make it easier to make that choice.


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