Canon T6s vs Canon 70D

Canon T6s vs 70D: Which Should You Buy?

Canon T6s vs 70D: How Do They Compare?

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If you’re in the market for a new DSLR, the choice between the new Rebel T6s and the slightly older Canon 70D can be a tough one; the Canon T6s has a brand new sensor and has also been fitted with features which are normally reserved for mid-level cameras like the 70D. Depending on your needs, though, it may not be as close a call as it first appears. Below, I’ll explain the important differences and help you decide which one is right for your goals.

[UPDATE: Now that the Canon 80D is on the market, I’ve updated this comparison to look at the 80D and T6s. See the new article here.]

The Basic Stats

Before we look at the details in depth, here’s a quick overview of the cameras’ main stats.

 Canon T6sCanon 70D


Body Price
(current Amazon.com)
$849$999
Body + 18-135mm STM Lens$1049$1299
Sensor SizeAPS-C
(1.6x Crop)
22.3 x 14.9mm
APS-C
(1.6x Crop)
22.5 x 15mm
Sensor Resolution24.2 Megapixels20.2 Megapixels
ISO Range100-12800
+25600
100-12800
+25600
Shutter Speeds30 - 1/400030-1/8000
Flash Sync1/200th1/250th
Max. Frame Rate5 fps7 fps
Max. RAW Burst7
(8 w/ UHS I)
15
(16 w/ UHS-I)
Max. JPG Burst180
(940 w/UHS-I)
40
(65 w/USH-I)
Autofocus Points
(total)
1919
Autofocus Points
(cross-type)
1919
AF Sensitivity-0.5 - 18 EV-0.5 - 18 EV
Full Autofocus For VideoYes, Hybrid CMOS AF IIIYes, Dual Pixel CMOS AF
Touch Screen AFYesYes
Video Resolutions1080p @ 24, 30 fps
720p @ 50, 60 fps
1080p @ 24, 30 fps
720p @ 50, 60 fps
Video OutNo Clean HDMI Out
(for practical use)
No Clean HDMI Out
Card Slots1 SD (SDXC)
UHS-I Support
1 SD (SDXC)
UHS-I Support
ConnectivityWi-Fi
NFC
USB
Wi-Fi
NFC
USB
GPSNoNo
Battery Life440 shots1300 shots
Weight
(CIPA)
555g755g
Viewfinder Coverage/
Magnification
95%
.82x
98%
.95x

 

The New Sensor

Image size comparison: 24 megapixel in red, 20 megapixel in grey. The visible red border is the difference.
Image size comparison: 24 megapixel in red, 20 megapixel in grey. The visible red border is the difference.

Don’t expect a big difference in image quality. The Canon T6s sports a new 24.2 megapixel sensor, currently the highest resolution available in a Canon DSLR (until the 50 megapixel Canon 5Ds/r start shipping). However, while this is a 17% increase in resolution over the Canon 70D’s 20 megapixel sensor, even the T5i’s 18 megapixel sensor had higher resolution than most of the lenses that are available. This means that increasing the resolution of the sensor isn’t going to be capturing more detail, it’s just going to be capturing the same detail with more pixels. That said, if you’re going to use the best lenses available and shoot with impeccable technique, you may see a slight improvement in resolution by using the Canon T6s over the 70D. Most people will not; they’ll just need more storage space.

Looking at RAW files from each camera, my initial impression is that the Canon 70Ds files at high ISO (1600 and above) are less noisy than those from the T6s, though the difference is modest; about a half stop difference. The newer T6s sensor is not any better than the older sensor, at any rate.

Autofocus

Canon 70D Sensor
The Canon 70D’s new sensor with phase-detection capabilities.

When it was released, the Canon 70D’s dual-pixel focusing system was a major technological development in live-view autofocus functionality. The 70D sensor has built-in phase-detection functionality 1within the normal capture pixels on the sensor, allowing it to focus quickly and accurately while shooting video or while using live-view mode… essentially just as fast as when looking through the viewfinder.

Because of the dual-pixel CMOS focusing system, the 70D became the first DSLR in which live-view could be a truly useful tool for shooting action with the camera held overhead or below eye-level. It was also the first viable DSLR alternative to a video-camera for shooting high quality HD footage with autofocus. Because of it’s speed and accuracy, functions such as face-tracking also become especially useful, especially for those who are vloggers or otherwise shooting video of themselves and can’t be on both sides of the camera at once.

The T6i and T6s do not use the same dual-pixel autofocus technology used in the 70D, but they use an advanced version of the hybrid phase-detect system found in the T5i, and while the AF system of the T5i was still significantly slower than that of the 70D, the T6s has made great strides and is now very similar; in most situations it will focus just as fast as the 70D. I’ve been very impressed. In situations with low contrast, however, it can hunt a little more frequently than the 70D.

canon-t6s
The 19-point focusing overlay is faintly visible in the T6s mirror.

When it comes to shooting through the camera’s viewfinder, though, both cameras use the same autofocus system. While the T5i shared the autofocus system of the 60D, the T6i and T6s have the same AF system as the 70D, both of which have inherited it from the original Canon 7D. It is an excellent system, with 19 cross-type AF points (again, if you don’t know what I cross-type point is, watch my video on the subject) and a dual-diagonal cross-type in the center. As such, both the 70D and the T6i/s have fast, reliable autofocus performance for shooting sports and events.

High Speed Performance

The Canon 70D outperforms the T6s in many speed-related categories. The 70D has a faster top shutter speed (1/8000th vs 1/4000th) and shoots more frames per second (7 fps vs. 5fps) than the T6i, and the 70D can sustain those shooting speeds much longer. While the T6i’s buffer will be full after shooting 8 RAW images, the 70D can shoot a full 16 of them in a row (or 65 JPG files). However, if you’re the type of photographer who doesn’t want to deal with RAW files2, the T6i can shoot 940 JPGs in a row, which will be sufficient for nearly any amateur, and 5 frames per second is more than adequate for most amateur action photographers. That said, the 70D will feel like a more responsive camera, with a shutter lag of only 65 milliseconds. No shutter lag numbers are available for the T6i yet, but for other Rebel models, the numbers have been closer to 200ms.

Body & Layout

Canon T6s and Canon 70D, top view
Like the 70D, the Canon T6s has a top-mounted LCD display for important setting information.

Personal preference plays a major role in determining which body size and style will be preferable for you. Some people prefer a heavier, larger body, and some people (hikers, for example) prefer something more lightweight and compact, and there is a significant difference between these two bodies. The T6s is clearly the lighter (about 26%) and smaller of the two. It’s also worth noting that, a result of the compact size and smaller power-source, you should expect to get about 1/3rd as many shots from a single battery. Keep in mind that if you prefer the T6s but have large hands, you can increase the size by adding a battery-grip such as Canon’s BG-E18 which will allow you to double the camera’s battery life as well.

The Canon T6s has two body features that separate it from the T6i and put it in the realm of more professional level cameras. The most obvious is probably the top mounted LCD panel (above). The most useful for advanced photographers is probably the control wheel on the back of the camera which allows quick access to exposure compensation (making your picture brighter or darker). This is a must for any photographer shooting events in rapidly changing light (and one of the reasons that I started shooting with Canon cameras over 20 years ago). I don’t find the T6s’s as easy and comfortable to use as the 70D’s, but at least it’s there.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Canon 70D features basic dust and weather sealing, while the T6s does not. If you often shoot photos in harsh conditions, this can make a difference.

Canon T6s and 70D back view
One of the additions to the T6s (absent in the T6i) is the controller wheel on the camera back. This has never been available on a Rebel model before. Note that the 70D has a rear-AF button.

Many professional sports and action photographers prefer to use a dedicated button on the back of the camera for autofocus rather than using the shutter-button. This makes pre-focusing at a specific place easier, and allows for easier tracking of a subject when there are obstructions, even when shooting pictures the whole time. If this is a technique you’d like to master, you’ll need to get the 70D; the T6s does not have a rear-AF button.

Canon 70D Touch Screen
Both cameras have a touch screen to make menu navigation easier. (Canon 70D shown above)

Conclusions: Which Should You Buy?

The Canon Rebel T6s is a feature-rich SLR that performs as well as mid-level or semi-pro SLRs from just a few years ago. If you’re interested in taking better pictures, it is probably the best place to start.

Both cameras are excellent for shooting landscapes, travel photos, and portraits. The T6s is a great option for shooting casual action (kids playing, events, etc) but is not as strong as the 70D for heavy action shooting (school sports, professional weddings, etc) because of its smaller buffer and slower frame rate.

So, there are some good reasons to consider the Canon 70D, mostly involving action and video. This is how I’d make the choice:

Buy the Canon T6s if:

  • You want a good, all-around camera that is easy to use right-away
  • You shoot mostly portrait, family, travel and landscape pictures, along with some sports and action
  • You prefer a compact, lightweight camera
  • You want to shoot video in a studio settings, or casually as you would with a video camera , especially if you want to record the clean HDMI output directly to an external recorder

Buy the Canon 70D if:

  • You are serious about sports and action photography or wildlife photography
  • You are interested in using your SLR as a video camera, especially for shooting action. The 70D and 7D Mark II remain the best options for serious auto-focus video shooting
  • If you use your camera in harsh conditions- the 70D has some weather sealing
  • Long battery life is important to you
  • Your eyesight isn’t great, the 70D has a larger and brighter viewfinder

A Note About Lenses

The lens that you choose to work with is just as important (often more important) than the camera that you choose. However, lens choice is also part of the creative process and is specific to the subject and situation that you’re shooting; you’d use a very different lens for shooting a studio portrait than you’d use for shooting a sporting event at night or for shooting close-ups of insects.

If you’re looking for a good all-around, flexible lens, both cameras are available in a kit with Canon’s 18-135mm STM lens (the Canon 70D here, and the Canon T6s here), and I highly recommend it; the wide-angle end of the zoom is great for those times when you need to capture a larger area from up close or emphasize a foreground object, and the telephoto end is just powerful enough to shoot some sports, and it’s a great length for portraits. If you need a lens that performs well in low-light situations, Canon’s new 50mm f/1.8 STM lets in much more light (10  times more than the 135mm f/5.6), and the f/1.8 lens only costs about $125, and it’s a wonderful portrait lens.

Questions? Comment?

In this post, I’ve attempted to highlight the most important differences between these two cameras, but there are many more than I can discuss in an article like this. If you still have questions, or would like further guidance, please let me know in the comments section below, and I’ll answer you as quickly as soon as I get a chance. Please comment!

Best Prices

When making an investment in expensive equipment, it pays to deal with a reputable dealer so that you get the benefit of a good exchange policy and you don’t run the risk of getting counterfeit or refurbished goods (which is more common than you might think). Luckily, they also tend to have the best prices. We recommend using Amazon.com, and buying through our links here will help support this site.

  1. If you’re not sure what phase detection is or why it’s important, I recommend watching my video on the subject, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbXJpVsTwo8
  2. …though you really should.
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Robyn Hennig
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Robyn Hennig

Hi. I’m looking to learn the ins and outs of a DSLR (last camera I had was an SLR film) to eventually get in to candid dog photography. I am imagining this will sometimes require a camera that can handle light sports type photography to capture motion. Do you think the t6s would work for this? Thank you in advance :)

Terry
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Terry

Im so glad I used the search phrase I did,, I have been juggling buying one or the other of these 2 cameras. Thank you for your breakdown and recommendations and reason to get one or the other..

Peter
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Peter

Matthew,

Excellent article. I have owned both the T6i and currently the 70d. I was tempted by the 24mp sensor but alas it proved to be inconsequential as you have said. With the 80d now out. The 70d is a bargain. I have shot with the 6d which as you agree beats them both. Enjoy your writing!

Augie
Guest
Augie

Hi Matthew,
I have a Canon Rebel XTi with Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lenses. I want to upgrade to either the Canon 70D/80D or go full frame 6D Mk II or 5D Mk III. I shoot sporting events day and night and low light events such as church and auditorium concerts and plays. I also want good video.

Given my requirements, which do you recommend I go with? I understand if I go full frame my Sigma lens will be unusable, so that is a negative.

One other question. My cousin’s Nikon D7100 takes clearer pictures than my Rebel with Sigma lens and I suspect it is due to Canon having the low-pass filter. Is there a way to sharpen photos in Photoshop to cancel the low-pass filter blur?

Remon
Guest
Remon

Hi mathew thanks for the article it really helped! What are the lenses you recommend for the t6s?

Geoff
Guest
Geoff

Hello,

Great article and thanks for taking the time to publish this. I’m sure it has helped a lot of people. I have a question, but from a different angle (also taking into account your comment about buying the cheapest camera that fits my needs, and spend more on the lens).

I am one of those that have an interest in photography, but don’t have a real need for a DSLR, I just want one for when the occasion arises. I do want to learn more about photography, but most of what I might use a DSLR for would be as needed, hobby stuff like landscape scenery, animals, etc., and occasional travel. My specific question is for someone like me with no real need, but would like to get a camera that could excel in any situation for what the need may be at that time, and have a good overall camera that can fit almost any situation, what would be the better recommendation (T6s or 70D)?

I don’t have any constraints in budget, but I don’t want to break the bank, or buy a full frame professional camera since I am not and will not become a professional (at least how I see it). I’ve been reading a lot of articles about both cameras and I am considering buying a refurbished kit to maximize savings. That said, I’ve read many articles, online posts, and watched many youtube videos where a lot of people mention the focusing flaw that the 70d has with regards to the center focusing point. In your opinion, is this issue for the 70d still a problem? If this is still a problem, would you still recommend the 70d, or suggest the T6s. The kits I’m looking at, both have the 18-135 IS STM, and I would probably add the 55-250 IS STM. I may also get the 50mm f/1.8 STM. Again, I’m not interested in buying too expensive in case I don’t use the equipment much, but I am interested in have an overall good quality camera that can be useful in a variety of situations. Video recording is not out of the question. Weight for me isn’t an issue. I’ve really be considering the 70d for the battery life, 7fps for action shooting, but like the slight savings of the T6s. I was completely settled on the 70d, but I am rethinking due to reading a lot of the comments about the 70d focusing issues. I’ve been thinking about both of these models because of the screen, wifi, top mount LCD, updated features compared to the other Canon DSLRs and overall value. My last SLR camera was a Rebel Elan 7 and Rebel 2000 (yes, both film).

Trying not to make this post too long, but thanks in advance for any suggestion you may provide. If you have another suggestion, I’d be open to that as well.

Thanks,

Geoff.

Tami
Guest
Tami

Hi Matthew-
This is a great article! I love taking photos whether it is with my iPhone or “big camera”. I currently have an Rebel XT so needless to say it is old and slow. I am wanting to step up my photographs and I know either model would be a vast improvement. I will soon be traveling to Alaska on a family vacation which is one reason for the new camera. I also want to start shooting landscape photographs to hang on our walls and start taking photos of friends and family as well as my son during marching band. What I am struggling with is the weight of the cameras. I have had carpal tunnel surgery on both of my hands as well as tennis elbow surgery on my right arm so my hands are weak and get tired very quickly. I am worried that the 70D will just be too heavy but I would hate to give up some key features for better photographs just because of the weight. I would be interested in your thoughts. Thanks!

Tom Hannah
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Tom Hannah

Hmm which to go for if the 70d will only cost me £60/70 more? is it a bad time to buy one with it being so old and the 80d coming out soon? A speedy reply would be much appreciated. There’s something about the 760d I really like

hairtopia
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hairtopia

I’m interested in which camera would be best for shooting videos for youtube. Things like makeup videos, tutorials, things of that nature.

Marinus
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Marinus

Lens resolution is an odd and complicated phenomenon that I do not pretend to understand. Having said that, I don’t think one can categorically say that 24MP is no improvement, since most lenses would not support that kind of pixel density. I would like to see proof of that before I believe it. It may very well apply under certain specific circumstances, but it may not under others, depending on the light situation, aperture, focal length, etc. It would be interesting to see a real world comparison between, say, a T5i and a T6i to see whether more detail can or cannot be captured.

Something that made me smile a little was your statement about the 70D being “the first DSLR in which live-view could be a truly useful tool for shooting action”, because it had so little meaning even at the time, when there already were other camera systems – mirrorless and Sony SLT – that did this better and now even more so, and how Canon so quickly lost the technological lead that seemed to be theirs for the longest time.

I like Canon and still use my T3i once in a while, but it would be nice to see some more impressive technological development as has been displayed in the last 3 or 4 years.

Christopherr
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Christopherr

So what is the camera you use most for photography?

Christopherr
Guest
Christopherr

There is one difference being overlooked. The IQ in the T6s is slightly better than the 70d.

Jon
Guest
Jon

Hey Matthew,

Great article.

I bought a Rebel XT when I first got into photography and I’m just now making an upgrade. I bought the T6s and I love it, but after reading your article and using a friend’s 70D, I’m thinking about exchanging for the 70D. I want to shoot action sports like skiing and other fast moving subjects. Definitely cliff drop sequences. No weather proofing (not to mention draining battery in the cold) while being on the mountain concerns be, but I’m also concerned about being 2 years into the 70D product cycle.

What do you think… is there enough of a case to upgrade here, or are these concerns irrelevant?

Jon

Erin Jakubov
Guest
Erin Jakubov

Hi Matthew,

I’m a beginner photographer and my main interest is finding a camera that is the best all in one. Right now I have a Canon Powershot sx10is. I’d like to get a camera that is more advanced and will do an excellent job of shooting nature pictures along with portraits and the everyday life. I’d like to expand my knowledge of photography but also don’t want to get a camera that will someday not be advanced enough for me. I’d like to have a camera that will do a good job of taking videos of nature as well. The main focus of nature pics are birds, native grass, insects so I would need a camera with an excellent focus but good closeup as well. Which would you suggest? The D70 or T6s?
Thanks!

Barbara
Guest
Barbara

I am on my second T6S. I am using the 18-135 lens. I sent the first camera back as it had very odd-shaped green blotching (noise) in the shadowed areas. The second one not has a little but much less blatant, but it really seems to lean towards a lot of red in the shadow areas, and sometimes more blotchy than smooth like my T4i. I am in need of a new monitor (suggestions also appreciated), and the Canon rep couldn’t see what I was seeing without lightening up the photos a lot, but I can clearly see the difference on my screen. Just wondering if I should be looking at the 70D instead. I do like the option of large prints and perhaps it is more on the professional line. I just can’t spring for a high-end model.

And thank you for the excellent article!

Zain
Guest
Zain

hello i am an enthusiast photographer. i am confused between canon 750/760 and nikon d5500 which one i should buy. i love travelling and i like street photography as well

Dian
Guest
Dian

I have been looking for an upgrade from my Rebel 450xsi. I use it for many different things. With this camera I find indoor shooting is almost impossible. I have purchased a number of different lenses. Tamron f2.8 lens. Which camera would you recommend that will get the best results from my lenses? I’m an intermediate user.

Susan Baughman
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Susan Baughman

I take pics of my kids in HS band and dance team performances, along with video. Looking to get a newer canon, I still have the dinosaur first rebel XT and finally want to get a new one. Thought I wanted the T6i until reading this arrival that a friend shared with me on FB. Also looking into taking a class on using manual and doing some photoshop. Please lead me in the right direction.

Dave kobric
Guest
Dave kobric

I have a canon rebel xs. I also have a 100mm macro and 55-250 lens. I take picture of landscape and my kids. I am trying to decide if it is worth the upgrade to either the 70d or t6s. Not sure which is better for my needs or for future use. Thanks

Marisa
Guest
Marisa

How much of an improvement in low light is there with the T6s,or 70d vs my current T31. When does grain start to show?

Neeraj Kulkarni
Guest
Neeraj Kulkarni

Great articles and fantastic site!
I am not a professional photographer, but I take a lot of photos for school sports and haveb lately taking photos of school stage performances – especially concerts, plays and dances.
I currently have a T5i with 18-135 lens and mostly use Aperture or Shutter priority modes ..
I am not too happy with photos of stage performances – not crisply focused images, grainy and dark images. I have to tinker with the settings too much to get good images.
I am thinking of upgrading my camera – either to T6i/70D or a full-frame one. I like the features on 6D but I have read that Canon is coming up with a new version of 6D.

What would you recommend?

Thanks
-Neeraj

Neeraj Kulkarni
Guest
Neeraj Kulkarni

Hi Matthew,
Could you please provide guidance to my question above? I think you somewhat addressed the question in your response to Marisa – I am interested in your specific recommendation

-Neeraj

marisa
Guest
marisa

I just finished reading your t6s vs 70d. I currently shoot with the t3i.
I’m becoming interested in shooting low light situations. sunsets, milk way , night shots.
Which of the two perform better, less grain ,noise at higher ISO

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