Canon EOS Rebel T6 / EOS 1300D review

A reasonably specced, good-value option for beginners

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Build and handling

  • Polycarbonate construction
  • Design little changed from EOS Rebel T5 / EOS 1200D
  • Weighs 485g

The overall design of the EOS Rebel T6 / EOS 1300D is pretty much the same as the outgoing T5. There's a textured coating on the chunky front grip and the rear thumb rest, which helps to create an impression of quality higher than that of a typical entry-level camera, making it feel more like a mid-range Canon such as the Rebel T6i / EOS 750D.

The grip itself is nicely contoured to fit your middle finger when your index finger rests on the shutter release; those with larger hands may find it a little less comfortable to hold, though.

The rear button configuration is easy to understand and get to grips with if this is your first camera, and will be familiar to anyone who's used a Canon DSLR before, making it equally easy to use as a second camera.

A 'Q' or Quick menu button enables you to quickly access and adjust commonly used settings. While there are also dedicated buttons for essential settings such as white balance, autofocus mode, ISO (sensitivity) and exposure compensation, in the case of options such as Image Quality and Picture Style the Quick menu will save you having to delve around in the menus.

Canon EOS 1300D review

A scrolling dial on top of the camera, just behind the shutter button, is ideally placed for making quick changes to aperture or shutter speed, depending on the shooting mode you're in. If you're in manual mode you can use the dial to change both – you'll need to hold down the exposure compensation button at the same time to change the aperture.

There's no touchscreen on the EOS Rebel T6, which means that all adjustments to settings need to be made via the physical controls, although there are enough direct access buttons for this not to be a chore.

There's a button just to the right of the thumb rest for setting the autofocus point. There are just the nine points to choose from, all of which are grouped fairly centrally, so you'll often have to focus and recompose for subjects that are towards the edge of the frame.

The main dial on the top of the camera enables you to switch between shooting modes, including video mode – there's no dedicated video button, and selecting video via the dial makes snatching footage on the hoof a little harder than it would be with a separate button.

Canon EOS 1300D review

Next to the viewfinder is the live view button – pressing this enables you to compose shots on the LCD. Autofocus speeds are noticeably slower when using live view, but it's useful for shooting still life and macro subjects, where the emphasis is on precise focusing rather than speed – you can magnify the view by 5x or 10x for maximum accuracy.

There's also a dedicated button for selecting the drive mode. Sadly the upgrade to the DIGIC 4+ processor hasn't seen a bump in the maximum frame rate – it's still just 3fp, although this isn't a camera designed with high-speed action or sports shooting in mind. The buffer capacity has been increased though, and the 1300D can shoot 1100 JPEGs, or a much more modest six raw files, before slowing down.

Canon has stuck with the same viewfinder it used on the T5. Although many will argue that optical viewfinders are preferable to electronic viewfinders, one like this, which offers only a 95 percent field of view, leaves you to prone to unwanted objects creeping into the edges of the frame – something that wouldn't happen with a 100 percent-coverage electronic viewfinder.

Canon EOS 1300D review

The fact that it's optical rather than electronic also means you can't see the effects of settings changes in the viewfinder as you make them – something which would be particularly handy for those just starting to get to grips with how a DSLR works.

In terms of in-camera filter effects, there isn't a huge selection to choose from, which may be a little disappointing to keen Instagrammers who are new to DSLRs. You can, however, select from a range of Picture Styles, which include the usual options such as Landscape and Portrait, and a nice Monochrome effect.

As long as you're shooting in raw format, when you apply a Picture Style you'll have a clean version of the image to work with later on if you need it, alongside the processed one. You can also apply filters after you've taken a shot, via the playback menu; the camera will save a new JPEG alongside your original.

While Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity aren't unusual in today's cameras, their appearance in the Rebel T6 is probably the most significant upgrade over the T5.

Autofocus

  • 9-point AF, 1 cross-type AF point
  • AF-assist illuminator
  • Possible to track moving subjects

Autofocus speeds are generally pretty quick in good light, slowing down a little in darker conditions. The EOS Rebel T6 / EOS 1300D was reviewed with Canon's EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens and we encountered no problems with the AF, although other lenses may perform differently.

Switching to the AI Servo AF mode enables you to track moving subjects. The Rebel T6 was able to keep up with relatively slow-moving subjects, such as a person walking across a scene, relatively easily, but struggled a little with faster subjects. 

That said, this cameras doesn't claim to be a camera for sports and action enthusiasts - you'll want to look further up the Canon range for that, but for general shooting, it'll get the job done.