What is the difference between the Canon t3i and Canon t6i?


The Canon T3i and the T6i are two of Canonís most popular DSLR models? That is despite the four-year gap between the dates when the two cameras were released. The T3i came out in 2011 while the T6i launched in 2015. 

Generally, newer devices tend to outperform older ones. Is that the case with the two Canon cameras? To a great extent, yesóthe Canon t6i is significantly better than the t3i. But depending on why you want a camera, the t3i could end up being your choice.

Price Comparison

Being the older model, itís not a surprise the T3i is cheaper than the T6i. The camera costs $290 for a used model and $350 for a new camera. By comparison, the 2015-launched DSLR costs $550 for a camera in mint condition.

Considering that both cameras attract top ratings on review websites and retail stores, their price difference is important. You can save up to $200 by purchasing the older camera. And because itís a decent device, you might never regret your decision.

Of course, you don’t want to base your buying decision based on price entirely. Some features in the T6i are exceedingly crucial to photographers.

Megapixels and Sensor Sizes

The T3i features a decent 18.7MP camera, but it falls short of the T6i’s 24MP back camera. The devices share the same sensor size at 22.3mm X 14.9MM. But when it comes to light sensitivity, the T61 again comes out on top with an ISO rating of 25,600. Its rival, on the other hand, is rated at 12,800 ISO.

If you take multiple photos simultaneously, you’ll probably be drawn to the T6i. It supports up to 5fps of continuous shooting at optimal resolution. The t3i isn’t too shabby either and supports consecutive shots at a speed of 4.7 frames per second.

The t3i also fairs square with its rival when it comes to video shooting capabilities. Both cameras shoot video clips in full HD resolution (1080p) with a speed of 30 frames per second. As such, if you want to buy either the t3i or t6i for video shooting reasons, either model will be sufficient. 

Design and Weight

One of the reasons why people love to compare the t6i to the t3i is because the two cameras look strikingly similar. Although their measurements vary slightly, you can easily mistake one model for the other.

Nevertheless, there are some differences in measurements between the models. The newer camera is lighter with about 15 grams. Itís shorter in breadth by one millimeter but measures the same length as its older brother.

The cameras use the same kind of lens mount, meaning their lenses could also be interchanged. Many of Canonís cameras come with lenses you could upgrade but note the best lenses are pricey.

Optical Features

Optics can help you turn a low-light photo into a masterpiece. Not only do they affect the image quality, but they also give you control over how you take images. The T3i, for example, comes with an automatic flash mode that emits light where itís limited to help improve your photosí quality.

The t6i, on the other hand, features phase-detection that helps emphasize specific features of an object more accurately. It also features an adjustable viewfinder, allowing you to lower and increase an object’s view at your convenience.

The T3i is a tad bit manual when it comes to adjusting controls. But that’s alright if you love to stay in control over your camera. For instance, you can change its ISO sensitivity. The T6i does this automatically. The t3i also features a remote control, but then again it lacks WiFi connectivity.

Other optical features that differentiate the cameras include exposure modes and their metering methods. The T6i lacks an aperture priority feature but feature a mirror lock-up mode, something absent in its rival. Both cameras exercise white balancing, although the feature is more detailed in the newer Canon.

Audio Video Recording Features

As we mentioned earlier, both the t3i and the t6i record under similar resolutions. But thereís a difference. The 2011-launched camera uses features like auto shutter speed and light exposure control to improve its recordings.

The cameraís AV specs are also configurable. You can record clips at full HD, HD, and standard quality resolutions. But there will be a difference in frame rates. You can achieve up to 60fps when shooting a clip in HD, but you are forced to lower the frame rate to 30fps to shoot standard quality and full HD videos.

The exposure compensation feature can be adjusted from -3 EV to +3 EV in three steps. It’s an intriguing feature to play around with, but it also makes a difference in the images you take. Another thing you can adjust is the focus. You can change it from manual to auto or vice versa. You can also mount an external microphone to improve sound quality or rely on the internal sound.

Extra Features

Both cameras launch instantly, although the t3i is a bit slower. The difference is so insignificant that you may not realize it unless you time the cameras. The t3i also features an AV output port, but that’s not necessary with the T6i given its advanced data transmission features.

When it comes to powering the devices, the t3i uses rechargeable LP-E8 Lithium-ion battery. Its rival, by contrast, uses an LP-E17 Lithium-ion battery. The latter is more powerful and keeps power for longer, but it must be kept at temperatures of 320F-1040F. Again, you shouldn’t remove or store the battery if the humidity rises to over 85%.

To Conclude

The t3i and the t6i look so similar in design that many people confuse them. They also share plenty of features despite being launched at different times. Their video shooting capabilities, for instance, are near similar. They also share lenses although their original lenses are different.

When it comes to taking static photos, however, the t6i is a better camera. It edges out its rivals in all specs albeit for a few. However, it is up to you to decide what specs matter more and which cameras you should ultimately buy.

image credit: Canon via Peter F. R. Forster/shutterstock