Canon T6s vs 80D

Canon 80D or T6s: Which Should You Buy?

Canon T6s vs 80D: How Do They Compare?

With the Rebel T6s, Canon gave their entry-level line of cameras some of the most important features that used to separate them from the mid-line series, so you may wonder whether it’s really necessary to buy the new Canon 80D. In fact, my general advice to camera buyers is always this: buy the least expensive camera that will meet your needs, and the best lenses you can afford. So, should you buy the Canon 80D? The answer is maybe, depending on your needs: the 80D does still have some significant advantages over the T6s. To figure out whether they’ll be useful for you, though, keep reading below.

The Basic Stats

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

 Canon T6sCanon 80D
Body Price
(current Amazon.com)
$849$1199
Body + 18-135mm Lens
Rear LCD1,040,000 pixel
Touch Senistive
1,040,000 pixel
Touch Sensitive
Sensor Resolution24.224.2
ISO Range100-12800
+25600
100-16000
+25600
Shutter Speeds30-1/400030-1/8000
Flash Sync1/200th1/250th
Max. Frame Rate5 fps7 fps
Max. RAW Burst725
Max. JPG Burst
(fine)
180110
Autofocus Points
(All Cross Type)
1945
Anti-FlickerYESYES
AF Sensitivity-0.5 - 18 EV-3 - 18 EV
Autofocus For VideoHybrid CMOS AF IIIYes, Dual Pixel CMOS AF
Touch Screen AFYESYES
Video Resolutions1080p @ 24, 30 fps
720p @ 50, 60 fps
1080p @ 24, 30, 60 fps
720p @ 50, 60 fps
Video FormatMP4 / H.264MP4 or MOV / H.264
Video OutLimited Clean HDMI Out
(not clean if recording internally, using AF overlay, battery low, etc)
NO Clean HDMI Out
Headphone JackNoYes
ConnectivityWi-Fi
NFC
USB
Wi-Fi
NFC
USB
GPSNo
(available through phone/wi-fi)
No
(available through phone/wi-fi)
Battery Life
(CIPA)
440 shots960 shots
Size131.9 x 100.9 x 77.8mm139.0 x 105.2 x 78.5mm
Weight
(CIPA)
565g730g
Viewfinder Coverage/
Magnification
95%
.82x
100%
.95x
Canon T6s and Canon 80D
Canon T6s and Canon 80D

The Sensors

Don’t expect any difference in image quality. Both cameras are endowed with a 24.2 megapixel sensor, and although the sensors are not exactly the same (their live-view AF systems are ostensibly different), they produce identical image sharpness and their low-light performance is the same. Although the 80D has a nominally higher native ISO range (about 1/3rd of a stop), it appears that this difference is based on slightly improved noise-reduction for JPGs; RAW shooters will get the same performance from both. And if you really care about image quality, you’ll shoot RAW.

Again, when it comes to image quality, it’s a tie.

Autofocus

For Photos: For both still photography and video, the Canon 80D has a better autofocus systems than the T6s, at least on paper. The 80D has more than twice as many autofocus points as the T6s (and the 70D, for that matter), and they’re all cross-type. If you don’t know the difference between cross-type and standard AF points, watch the first two minutes of my quick video on autofocus, here. Not only that, the camera can focus in much lower light levels than the T6s: -3 EV rather than the T6s’s -0.5 (a change of +1EV represents twice as much light).

That said, the T6s’s autofocus system first appeared in the original Canon 7D, a truly excellent, semi-pro sports and action camera. The fact that there’s something better doesn’t mean that you’d have any problem shooting fast action with the T6s’ excellent AF system.

For Video: Like the 70D’s, the Canon 80D’s sensor has built-in phase-detection functionality within 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 Canon makes the ONLY DSLRs in which live-view can be a truly useful tool for shooting action with the camera held overhead or below eye-level (although non-DSLRs such as mirrorless cameras also have this functionality). It is 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 80D. I’ve been very impressed. In situations with low contrast, however, it can hunt a little more frequently than the 80D.

Side view of the Canons 80D and T6s, showing the 80D's headphone jack.
Side view of the Canons 80D and T6s, showing the 80D’s headphone jack.

High Speed Performance

The Canon 80D 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 80D can sustain those shooting speeds much longer. While the T6s’s buffer will be full after shooting 7 RAW images, the 80D can shoot a full 25 of them in a row. However, if you’re shooting JPGs, the 80D’s faster frame rate will mean that its buffer will fill after 110 shots (15.7 seconds of holding the button down) while the T6s shoots them just slow enough that there’s no practical limit…. you can just keep shooting hundreds of images.

The shutter lag of the T6s is much improved over previous Rebel models, ranging from about 75-100ms, depending on focus mode… twice as fast as previous models. The 80D is still slightly faster, at around 60-75ms, but the difference is now insignificant.

Both cameras are now equipped with anti-flicker mode, allowing you to get consistently lit shots in situations with problematic, pulsed lighting. If you enable anti-flicker shooting, though, the shutter lag will increase and the overall frame rate will slow down as well.

Body & Layout

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 23%) 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 half 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.Canon-80D-and-t6s-TOP-view

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 80D’s, but at least it’s there.

back-of-the-canon-80Dand-t6s

It’s also worth mentioning that the Canon 80D features standard dust and weather sealing, while the T6s does not. If you often shoot photos in harsh conditions, this can make a difference. Keep in mind, though, that most lenses are not weather sealed, so you’ll still want to stay out of the rain most of the time.

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 80D 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 80D, 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

Buy the Canon 80D if:

  • You are serious about sports and action photography or wildlife photography, especially in low light
  • If shooting video is more important to you. The 80D has better video auto-focus, more frame rates, a headphone jack, and can ship with the new 18-135 Power Zoom lens.
  • You are interested in using your SLR as a video camera, especially for shooting action. The 70D, 80D and 7D Mark II remain the best options for serious auto-focus video shooting
  • If you use your camera in harsh conditions- the 80D has some weather sealing
  • Long battery life is important to you
  • Your eyesight isn’t great, the 80D 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.

Canon 18-135mm USM Power Zoom
The new 18-135mm USM lens, available with the 80D, is compatible with a power-zoom module, pictured here. When used, the module will give you smooth, motor-driven zooms, as you’d get from a video camera.

If you’re looking for a good all-around, flexible lens, both cameras are available in a kit with an 18-135mm lens: the T6s with the STM model, and the 80D with the new power-zoom USM model, and I highly recommend both of them. Optically, they’re great. 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  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.

If you’re looking for the best option for low-light, moderately wide-angle photography, there’s nothing better than the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 ART lens: the optics are incredible, and Sigma makes the only f/1.8 zoom lenses in the world. Similarly, their new 50-100mm f/1.8 is a great compliment to it: it’s the fastest (ie, lets in the most light) telephoto zoom lens in the world, and the optics are similarly excellent. Neither are cheap, though.

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!

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Zach
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Zach

Hello! So deciding between these two deals:

1. Used t6s with 18-135mm for $400
2. Used 80D body only with 2500 actuations for $700

I currently have a t2i and want to upgrade. Amateur photographer, but learning the craft and usually shoot in aperture priority or manual. Any advice?

Elizabeth
Member
Elizabeth

Hey there.

I have been going back and forth between the T6s, 77d, and 80d. I love taking pictures of my kids and would love to learn more about photography. I just ordered the nifty fifty canon lens because I was told it was good for portraits but I’m stuck on picking the right camera. I’m wanting something to keep for a long time and not have to upgrade later.
Thank you so much for any help you can give.

Elizabeth

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

Hi Matthew,

Thank you for comparing these two. I am new to photography and want an amazing camera that will take self-portraits with great sharpness and vibrant color depth. This will probably be all I am using it for. Will the pictures in the T6s be as sharp, color rich and professional looking as the ones from the 80D?

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

I should mention that many of these portraits will be in low light settings.

Charvet Young
Guest
Charvet Young

Hi Mathew,

Thank you so much for providing such clear and concise comparison’s between the different canon models. I sincerely appreciate your doing so!

I have a question that I have not found an answer to, which is, what type of camera and lens should I purchase for product photography. More specifically, product photography involving crystal rhinestone hand bags, taken in a light tent, with the intent to capture a clean white background. I recently started a business and have had a very hard time succeeding in capturing quality images. I would give you the link to my Amazon site so that you can view what I’ve been struggling with, however, I don’t believe I should mention it here on your page. In short, I have been using a Canon T5i and am getting ready to upgrade via Amazon, but am a little hesitant to do so due to fear of making the wrong choice. I would sincerely appreciate any feedback you can provide!

As an Amazon seller, I appreciate the affiliate program, and will be more than happy to click the link you provide prior to my purchase.

Kind regards,

CY

Dan
Guest
Dan

Hi Matthew.
I have recently been thinking about getting the t6s and when I went into my local camera store tonight to ask more questions, the sales person(s) kept leaning me toward the 80D. I left a little confused, but much more informed, for which I am grateful. So, while I’m still trying to figure out which to get, I came across this article. Can you help a little? Here’s my situation:

I was thinking of the t6s with the 18-135 STM lens for $1049, which I thought was about as much as I needed to spend as an amateur photographer, but still know enough to be dangerous. :) Basically I would be using it for some still shots and portraits for work (I’m a designer in advertising and marketing), but mostly for vacations, outdoor landscape (my wife and I hike a bit), family photos, and maybe some night time shooting of maybe the stars or sky/moon or something of that sort. After hearing this, the sales person introduced me to the 80D and for $1399 I could get the 18-135 USM lens. Then to make things more confusing, I mentioned that I have an older Tokina 28-70mm 2.8-4.5 lens that I used to use with my 35mm Rebel. He then said why don’t I think about just buying the camera body (of either – $849 – $1099) and also purchase a lens package consisting of a Canon 50mm F/1.8 and Canon 10-18mm F/4.5-5.6 to compliment the lens that I already own. (The Tokina) This package seemed like a good deal at $319 but I’m not sure about the lenses. I have read that they are decent though. Right now, I think i’m leaning toward the t6s body with the 2 lens package due to the compact size and easy to carry around and also because my wife may be less intimidated by it. Can you give me your perspective on this? I would greatly appreciate it as you really sound like you know what you’re talking about. In any case, thanks for the article and any more advice you can offer.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Matthew,

I have browsed thru you site and came across your comparison article for T6S vs 80D. I have been looking at both cameras for my wife who wants to get into photography beyond P&S cameras to a DLSR and we are leaning towards the T6S.

Back in the dark days of film I acquired and still have a Canon EOS 620 with the following lenses:
EF 28-70mm F3.5-4.6
EF 70-210mm F4
EF 50mm F1.8
plus 420 EZ Flash

One of the reasons I want to stay with Canon family ~ my understanding we can use all the older EF lenses on any current EOS body; Is there a quick reference chart to convert what the equivalent range would be for each lens above on an APC-S sensor? Is this a viable plan/ Or is there anything to be concerned with in using older lenses?

I was thinking that it would still be worthwhile to get an 18-135 lens for either camera as an all-round lens for her classes and a travel lens – comments?

Finally, based on your review – the T6s seems like the right choice for her to grow with at present time versus the additional cost of 80D for the next couple years. As we are not concerned with video capability as a primary focus at the moment, this would make the T6S (18-135 STM) a better fit for the present?

Thanks for your input/advice.

Kazi
Guest
Kazi

Hi,
Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens vs EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens

Which would be better? I am looking at a lot of 2-3m distance indoor photography. And, later some sunsets and sunrises (time lapse)

Carlos Chavez
Guest
Carlos Chavez

Ok, i was ready to buy a 70d instead of the t6s that i had rented. Then the 80d was introduced, so i read your updated review. Now I cannot decide between the 70d and the 80d – any help here?

Nick
Guest
Nick

I’d suggest that the 80D has an essential feature missing from the Rebels: auto-focus micro adjustment (AFMA). Plenty of good lenses–especially fast primes–will require dialing in some body-specific calibration to reach their full potential. I agree with the advice to spend your money on the best lenses, but without the ability to micro-adjust you can’t always get the best results with those lenses.

My 50mm f/1.4 was almost useless for through-the-viewfinder shooting on my Canon T3i due to consistent focusing error. Even at f/5.6, I could never get a subject’s eyes in focus — it was maddeningly guaranteed to be out of focus. I recently upgraded to the 80D, and after dialing in +12 compensation the 50mm + 80D combo works great. For me, AFMA alone justified the difference in price between the 80D and the T6s.

I think that AFMA should be standard on all DSLRs, but that’s another matter entirely….

Amit
Guest
Amit

Hi Matthew,
Even I was caught between T6s n 80D. I currently have 1100D and thought of upgrading to 80D, but as your article suggest better to invest in lens I would invest more into lens and then upgrade the body.
Now I am caught between Canon 70-200 F/4 non IS and IS… ?

Sara
Guest
Sara

Matthew,

Thank you so much! You are a wealth of information and insight. I really appreciate your analysis and time you took to respond. I’ll be going to purchase my new T6 tomorrow! Have a great weekend!

Cheers,
Sara

Sara
Guest
Sara

Hello,
I have been researching all day to find a good DSLR camera to replace one that was recently stolen. My previous camera was a Canon EOS Rebel XTi. I used it to take photos and make slideshows for friends and family as a hobby. I will become more serious about photography in about 8 years when I retire.

The first choice was to decide between a Canon vs. Nikon. I went with Canon. Was this a good choice? (I’m familiar with this brand and it seemed as if you prefer Canon as as well. I also liked that it’s made in the US and the website seemed more customer friendly.)

The second was picking the model. I read your excellent article on Canon T6s vs. T6i and I went with the T6 since I like the LCD screen on top and the exposure compensation feature. However, now I’m deciding between the T6 and the 80D. Again, I read your article and thought that the 80D won out:
– 45 vs. 19 AF points
– weatherproofing
– battery life
– shutter speed
– more ISO range 16000 vs. 12800

I don’t care much about the video features so this wasn’t a consideration even thought the 80D seems better in this regard.

My question comes down to VALUE and whether I need this much camera in the 80D. In addition, with my old camera I bought an all purpose lens so I probably will invest in a 18-135 lens since I don’t like switching lenses a lot.

So here are the options I’m considering:

(1) $1500: Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera 2 Lens Bundle. Features: EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM and EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens, 32GB SD Card, Camera Bag, Tutorial DVD. (Would have to buy a 18-135 lens separately at around $550. I don’t see myself switching lenses a lot at this point.).

(2) $1600: Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera with 18-135mm Lens (I hope this is STM. I read your article and it’s a definite no go if it’s not STM).

(3) $1050: Canon EOS Rebel T6s EF-S 18-135 STM Kit.

It seems like the Canon T6s is the best value; however, I’m not getting the features of the 80D. I’m considering buying the T6s camera now and upgrading in 8 years. Any advice you could provide would be extremely helpful. Many thanks!

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