Canon EOS Rebel T6i vs Nikon D5500 Camera Comparison

The Canon EOS Rebel T6i and the Nikon D5500 are two very popular cameras that are frequently compared side-by-side as they are both similarly priced and spec’ed. They are not a perfect comparison as each camera has a few features that the other camera does not. In the end selecting the best camera for you will come down not only to the features of each camera, but part of the entire eco system of each manufacturer. Be sure to look at the lenses, flashes and other accessories each company offers when making your ultimate decision.

Side by Side

Canon EOS Rebel T6i vs Nikon D5500-front1
Here you can see the front of the cameras side by side. The overall height difference between the cameras is not very significant, although the Canon is slightly taller than the Nikon.
When it comes to the width difference, however, you can see that the Nikon is smaller than the Rebel T6i, Giving the Nikon a slight edge in size when compared with the Rebel T6i. Size is one of the biggest disadvantages for DSLR cameras and Nikon has done a great job in making the D5500 smaller, almost putting it into the same size category as Mirroless cameras.
Canon EOS Rebel T6i vs Nikon D5500-front2
canon-rebel-t6i-vs-nikon-d5500-top
One thing I have always liked about Nikon is the placement of the “On/Off” switch and the consistency between models from the entry-level D3300 to the D4x flagship. The Canon places the main command wheel at the front of the grip while on the Nikon D5500 the main command wheel is on the rear. The Canon does offer more direct controls including ISO and AF options buttons on the top of the camera, while the Nikon requires you to use either the touch screen or the menu system to change the ISO. Also, one thing that irritates me on the Nikon is that the “Auto ISO” is a separate option that is only in the menu. If “Auto ISO” is enabled the camera will override your ISO setting until you go into the menu and turn it off. On the Canon, “Auto ISO” is the first ISO setting.
Canon EOS Rebel T6i vs Nikon D5500-rear
One of the biggest differences between the Canon EOS Rebel T6i (left) and the Nikon D5500 (right) can be seen on the back of the camera. The Canon features a lot more direct controls, using the 4-way controller to access frequently changed settings. This is one aspect that does not show on paper that I feel gives the Rebel T6i a big advantage over the D5500 for photographers who want to take control over the settings. The Nikon D5500 requires you to either use the touchscreen (which the Rebel T6i also features) or dive into the menus to change these settings.

Canon EOS Rebel T6i Pricing*

  • Body Only - $749.99
  • Body with 18-55 IS STM Lens - $899.99
  • Body with 18-135mm IS STM Lens - $1099.00

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Nikon D5500 Pricing*

  • Body Only - $699.95
  • Body with AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II Lens - $799.95
  • Body with AF-S DX 18-140mm f/3.5-5/.6 VR Lens - $1199.95

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*Pricing from Manufacturer's website - Current selling price may be different. Be sure to visit the links below for current pricing.

Canon EOS Rebel T6i Advantages

  • The Rebel T6i offers a Battery Grip option allowing you to load 2 batteries at the same time as well as a vertical shutter release.
  • the Canon Rebel T6i LCD is higher resolution on paper, the difference is so small that you won’t even notice it in actual use.
  • The Canon has an advantage for aspiring videographers who want to control their audio better by using an external microphone
  • The Canon has more direct controls whereas the Nikon relies on the user going into the menu to make many changes.
  • the Canon offers a larger/faster buffer which is useful when shooting in burst mode – more images are captured before the camera has to slow down to finish processing the images it has taken.
  • The Canon features wireless TTL flash control with the built-in flash
  • The Canon offers a “Mirror lock Up” mode to help prevent blurring due to the mirror slap action on longer exposures.

Nikon D5500 Advantages

  • The D5500 offers (slightly) better battery life
  • The Nikon D5500 is a fair bit lighter in weight an slightly smaller than the Canon Rebel T6i.
  • The Nikon D5500 LCD Screen is slightly larger than the Canon Rebel but the difference is not very noticeable in actual side by side comparison.
  • The addition of the 60fps video of the Nikon D5500 over the Rebel T6i’s 30fps allows you to shoot fast action that can be slowed down and still looks nice and smooth.
  • The Nikon D5500 sensor is slightly larger than the Canon Rebel T6i which in theory can help with higher ISO performance.
  • The D5500 does not have an AA filter which can help to provide sharper images since AA filters are designed to slightly blur the image to help prevent moire.
  • Having more white balance options helps to control the color in your images with the Nikon D5500, but most advanced amateurs will shoot in auto white balance and adjust in Post.
  • The Nikon D5500 is able to track movement more accurately – especially in the 3D tracking mode. The 3D tracking mode in the Nikon D5500 is great for sports and action shooting, but note the burst mode limitations of the Nikon D5500.
  • AF Assist is a bit of a distraction and I typically turn it off, but the Nikon is a little more discrete than the Canon which uses the pop-up flash for AF assist.

Conclusion

This is an easy comparison or a difficult one to make. If you already own a Canon, then I would suggest the Canon T6i if you are looking for a newer camera or an upgrade from one of the older Rebels, and if you already own a Nikon, I would recommend the Nikon D5500. But if you are starting from scratch the decision is a lot harder.

Both cameras are pretty evenly specified, with one camera offering certain better features than the other. Depending on what your goals are one camera begins to stand out based on what you are shooting. One thing that is not visible in the specs above is accessibility to settings. If you plan to learn to adjust the settings then the Canon starts to hold a big advantage over the Nikon since a number of the settings have dedicated buttons and controls. Also, the ability to shoot a remote speedlight wirelessly and the ability to use a battery grip make the Canon my choice for the more serious beginning to intermediate photographers (advanced photographers are typically looking at the next camera level and higher).

One other thing to consider is the size and feel of the camera. I would strongly suggest you handle both cameras as the way each feels in your hand may be the best way to decide which one is for you. Another thing to consider is not only the camera, but the entire system – check out the available lenses, flashes and other accessories you may be interested in purchasing as part of your decision process.

One final suggestion, if you have friends or family members that own one or the other brand it can be a good idea to buy into the same brand so that you can share lenses, accessories and experience with each other as your are learning and growing as a photographer.

Canon EOS Rebel T6i Overall User Rating

4.80 out of 5

based on 577 user reviews online.

: 82% (474)
: 15% (86)
: 2% (9)
: 2% (13)
: 1% (5)

Nikon D5500 Overall User Rating

4.76 out of 5

based on 641 user reviews online.

: 83% (529)
: 14% (87)
: 2% (14)
: 1% (6)
: 1% (5)

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Specs

Spec Canon EOS Rebel T6i Nikon D5500
Sensor Size APS-C (1.6x) APS-C (1.5x)
Megapixels 24 24
Body Construction Plastic w/metal chassis Carbon fiber, composite
Dimensions (WxHxD) 5.2 x 4 x 3.1 in. 4.88 x 3.82 x 2.76 in.
Weight 1.22 lbs. 0.93 lbs.
Weather Sealed No No
Memory Card SD/SDHC/SDXC SD/SDHC/SDXC
Dual Command Wheels No No
Viewfinder Type Pentamirror Pentamirror
Viewfinder Coverage 95 95
ISO Range 100-12800 (Extended Mode: 100-25600) 100-25600
Mirror Lock Up Yes No
Burst Rate 5 fps 5 fps
LCD Size 3 in. 3.2 in.
LCD Resolution 1,040,000 pixels 1,037,000 pixels
Articulated LCD Screen Tilt & Swivel Tilt & Swivel
Touchscreen Yes Yes
Image Stabilization No No
Remote Shutter Release Wired & Wireless (InfraRed) Wired & Wireless (InfraRed)
WiFi Yes Yes
GPS Optional No
AF Points 19 (all cross point - center Dual Cross Point f/2.8) 39
AF Sensitivity EV -0.5 - 18 -1ev to +19ev
Minimum Shutter Speed 30 second 30 second
Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000 seconds 1/4000 seconds
Flash Sync Speed 1/200 second 1/200 second
Built In Flash Yes Yes
Wireless TTL Flash Yes No
Video Specs 1920 x 1080: 30 fps, 25 fps, 24 fps
1280 x 720: 60 fps, 50 fps
640 x 480: 30 fps, 25 fps
1920 x 1080 (60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps)
Mic In Yes Yes
Headphone Out No No
Built In Mic Stereo Stereo