Canon M6 vs T3i
The Canon EOS M6 and the Canon EOS Rebel T3i (labelled Canon 600D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2017 and February 2011. The M6 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the T3i is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The M6 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the T3i provides 17.9 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 M6 and the Canon EOS Rebel T3i? 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 M6 and the Canon T3i. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M6 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the T3i is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon T3i is considerably larger (75 percent) than the Canon M6. Moreover, the T3i is substantially heavier (46 percent) than the M6. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M6 nor the T3i 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|2.||Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||120 mm||70 mm||49 mm||408 g||305||n||Aug 2019||849|
|4.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|6.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|7.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|8.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|9.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|10.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|11.||Canon T5i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|12.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|13.||Canon T4i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|14.||Canon T2i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|15.||Fujifilm X-E3||121 mm||74 mm||43 mm||337 g||350||n||Sep 2017||899|
|16.||Fujifilm X-T20||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||383 g||350||n||Jan 2017||899|
|17.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The T3i was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 23 percent) than the M6, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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.
In terms of chip-set technology, the M6 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 7) than the T3i (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the M6 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 17.9 MP of the T3i. This megapixels advantage translates into a 16 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the M6 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 T3i). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the M6 is much more recent (by 6 years) than the T3i, 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 M6 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M6 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 T3i 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 M6 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS M6 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel T3i are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||APS-C||32.3||6960||4640||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
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, but the M6 provides a higher frame rate than the T3i. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the T3i is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the T3i has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the M6 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the M6 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M6 and Canon T3i in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||14.0||Y||n|
|7.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M6 has a touchscreen, while the T3i has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
The Canon M6 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the M6 and the T3i write their files to SDXC cards. The M6 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the T3i 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 M6 and Canon EOS Rebel T3i and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the M6 offers wifi support, while the T3i does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the M6 and the T3i have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T3i was replaced by the Canon T4i, while the M6 was followed by the Canon M6 Mark II. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M6 or the Canon T3i – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Canon EOS M6:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 17.9MP) with a 16% higher linear resolution.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 7 vs DIGIC 4).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x68mm vs 133x100mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 180g or 32 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- 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.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 6 years of technical progress since the T3i launch.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel T3i:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (440 versus 295) out of a single battery charge.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (23 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2011).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M6 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 5 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 M6 and the Canon T3i place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the M6 or the T3i. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 M6||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|2.||Canon T3i||3/5||o||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||..||+||85/100||4/5||4/5||Aug 2019||849|
|4.||Canon M50||..||+||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|6.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|7.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|8.||Canon M5||4/5||+||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|9.||Canon M3||4/5||o||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|10.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|11.||Canon T5i||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|12.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|13.||Canon T4i||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|14.||Canon T2i||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|15.||Fujifilm X-E3||4.5/5||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2017||899|
|16.||Fujifilm X-T20||5/5||+ +||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||899|
|17.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon M6 vs Canon T3i
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 M6||Canon T3i|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2017||February 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 779||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M6||Canon T3i|
|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||24 Megapixels||17.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||5184 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||4.31 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||5.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 7||DIGIC 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||65|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||793|
|Screen Specs||Canon M6||Canon T3i|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M6||Canon T3i|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s||3.7 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|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||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M6||Canon T3i|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon M6||Canon T3i|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||295 shots per charge||440 shots per charge|
112 x 68 x 45 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.8 in)
133 x 100 x 80 mm
(5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||390 g (13.8 oz)||570 g (20.1 oz)|
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