Canon 550D vs T6i
The Canon EOS 550D (called Canon T2i in some regions) and the Canon EOS Rebel T6i (labelled Canon 750D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2010 and February 2015. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 550D has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the T6i provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 550D and the Canon EOS Rebel T6i? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 550D and the Canon T6i. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon T6i is notably larger (5 percent) than the Canon 550D. Moreover, the T6i is markedly heavier (5 percent) than the 550D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 550D nor the T6i are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon 550D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|2.||Canon T6i||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|3.||Canon 4000D||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399|
|4.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|5.||Canon T7i||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|6.||Canon 750D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|7.||Canon 760D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|8.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|9.||Canon 1200D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|10.||Canon 700D||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|11.||Canon T5i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|12.||Canon 650D||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|13.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|14.||Canon 600D||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|15.||Canon 1100D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|16.||Canon 500D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|17.||Nikon D5100||128 mm||97 mm||79 mm||560 g||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 550D was somewhat cheaper (by 7 percent) than the T6i at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, the T6i uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6) than the 550D (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the T6i offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 17.9 MP of the 550D. This megapixels advantage translates into a 16 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the T6i has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 4.31μm for the 550D). However, it should be noted that the T6i is much more recent (by 4 years and 11 months) than the 550D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The resolution advantage of the Canon T6i implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the T6i for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 550D are 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The T6i has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS 550D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel T6i are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the T6i has a markedly higher DXO score than the 550D (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 550D and the T6i are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the 550D has a higher magnification than the one of the T6i (0.54x vs 0.51x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 550D and Canon T6i along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 550D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.7/s||Y||n|
|2.||Canon T6i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 4000D||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon T7i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 750D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 760D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon T6s||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon 1200D||optical||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 700D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon T5i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Canon 650D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Canon T4i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Canon 600D||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/4000s||3.7/s||Y||n|
|15.||Canon 1100D||optical||n||2.7 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Canon 500D||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4/s||Y||n|
|17.||Nikon D5100||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The T6i has a touchscreen, while the 550D has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The T6i has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the 550D does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 550D and the T6i write their files to SDXC cards. The T6i supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the 550D cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 550D and Canon EOS Rebel T6i and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 550D||Y||stereo / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon T6i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon 4000D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon T7i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon 750D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon 760D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Canon T6s||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon 1200D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 700D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon T5i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 650D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon T4i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon 600D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon 1100D||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Canon 500D||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Nikon D5100||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the T6i offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the 550D does not provide wifi capability.
Both the 550D and the T6i have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 550D was replaced by the Canon 600D, while the T6i was followed by the Canon T7i. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 550D better than the Canon T6i or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 550D:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.54x vs 0.51x).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2010).
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T6i:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 16%.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 6 vs DIGIC 4).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 11 months of technical progress since the 550D launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the T6i is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 2 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 550D and the Canon T6i place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 550D and the T6i in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 550D||..||+ +||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|2.||Canon T6i||5/5||..||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|3.||Canon 4000D||..||o||3/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399|
|4.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|5.||Canon T7i||4.5/5||..||3.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|6.||Canon 750D||5/5||..||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|7.||Canon 760D||5/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|8.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|9.||Canon 1200D||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|10.||Canon 700D||..||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|11.||Canon T5i||..||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|12.||Canon 650D||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|13.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|14.||Canon 600D||3/5||o||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|15.||Canon 1100D||..||80/100||..||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|16.||Canon 500D||..||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|17.||Nikon D5100||5/5||+ +||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 4000D vs Canon T6i
- Canon 550D vs Canon 5DS R
- Canon 550D vs Canon XTi
- Canon 550D vs Fujifilm X-Pro2
- Canon 550D vs Leica V-LUX 4
- Canon 550D vs Nikon D1H
- Canon 550D vs Sony A58
- Canon T3 vs Canon T6i
- Canon T6i vs Fujifilm X-A10
- Canon T6i vs Leica V-LUX Typ 114
- Canon T6i vs Nikon D2Xs
- Canon T6i vs Panasonic GF1
Specifications: Canon 550D vs Canon T6i
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 550D||Canon T6i|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2010||February 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 550D||Canon T6i|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||3.72 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||7.22 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||66||71|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.5||12.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||784||919|
|Screen Specs||Canon 550D||Canon T6i|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 550D||Canon T6i|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3.7 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 550D||Canon T6i|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 550D||Canon T6i|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||440 shots per charge||440 shots per charge|
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
132 x 101 x 78 mm
(5.2 x 4.0 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||530 g (18.7 oz)||555 g (19.6 oz)|
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