Canon’s entry-level EOS Rebel T5 is the best-selling DSLR on the market. It’s affordable, and when you buy it from a warehouse store like Costco, you get two lenses and a few extras — a nice starter kit for new buyers stepping up to their first DSLR. We aren’t sure if the company’s new EOS Rebel T6 will take over the top spot (at least, not in the beginning), but it has a few upgrades over its predecessor.
The T6 is nearly identical to the T5. So, if you just bought the older model, don’t fret: From an image quality standpoint, you’re not missing anything. The T6 uses the same 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and nine-point autofocusing system (one f/5.8 cross-type AF point at the center for higher accuracy). Video capture, at Full HD 1080 at 30p, hasn’t changed.
The new model uses Canon’s Digic 4+ image processor instead of the Digic 4 in the T5, which should provide a bit of a performance boost (ISO and burst shooting remains the same, however, at ISO 100-6400 and 3 frames per second, respectively; ISO is now expandable to 12,800). Auto white balance has been enhanced: If you’re shooting under tungsten light, the color will be more of a neutral white than an orange cast. The 3-inch LCD resolution has been increased from 460k dots to 920k (still no touch or tilting capabilities). And there’s now Wi-Fi and NFC — a must-have these days for consumers who like sharing, and one of the cons we listed in our review. There’s also a new scene mode for food photography that’s selectable on the mode dial.
The T6 should hit stores in April, and will come bundled with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II zoom lens. It will retail for $550 — the same launch price as the T5. For newbies looking to buy their first DSLR, if you think you could do without the improved features, you could probably get the older T5 with a much lower price (while improved, the T6 isn’t that revolutionary over the T5), but Canon says T5 quantities will be low as it’s phased out.
If you can spend a little more and want to stick with Canon, consider the more powerful EOS Rebel T6i or T6s. But if a budget DSLR is what you want and it’s your first, we recommend also checking out Nikon’s D3300.