Nikon D5500 VS Canon T6I

Nikon D5500 VS Canon T6I

The smartphone has turned just about everyone into an amateur photographer. With these devices housing 12-megapixel cameras on average, it is easy to see how after taking a few pictures people are looking to take digital photography more seriously.

Unfortunately for those new to photography, there are several digital single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras to choose from. That can make buying the right camera an overwhelming task. Some people make their decision based on price alone, only to later find out that by spending a bit more money they would have been happier with their camera. Others take the advice of a store clerk who may or may not know the difference between the different models they carry.

Then there are those who do their due diligence and turn to reviews and comparisons to find the perfect camera for them. Still, to those new to the DSLR world, this can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for.

Most folks will start with some of the basic photography features that a camera provides to include:

  • Image quality
  • Battery life
  • Video capabilities
  • Shutter speed
  • ISO range
  • Optical Zoom
  • Image stabilization

From there, they will look at other features and make their choice. With so many advances in camera technology, these features may make the decision much easier for the average consumer.

This review will look at two of the more popular cameras on the market, the Nikon D5500 and the Canon T6i to help you make the right choice.

Nikon D5500 Review

Nikon D5500 Review

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The Nikon D5500 is considered a mid-level DSLR camera that is easy enough for a beginner to use while providing a rich feature set that allows a novice photographer to grow into. After spending some time diving into the user manual, it is easy to see just how versatile this camera is.

Let’s start by looking at the basics:

  • Image quality – 24.20 megapixels
  • Battery life – approximately 820 pictures
  • Video capabilities – 1920 x 1080 (60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50, 30, 25 fps), 640 x 424 (30, 25 fps) with the option to save in MPEG or h.264 formats
  • Shutter speed – 1/4000 second to 30 seconds
  • ISO range – 100 – 25,600 native
  • Optical Zoom – 1x
  • Image stabilization – none

Known for having great image quality and colour depth, this camera is a good choice for the amateur and also serves as a perfect backup for professional photographers.

The ergonomics of this camera is also something to note. Its small size and lightweight make it capable of one-handed use. However, some users have noted that this model does suffer from shutter shock when shooting with shutter speeds between 1/80 and 1/320. The visible blur noticed by some may turn off more discerning users. Yet while this has been a reported issue, not all people who own this camera complain about this problem. Some even say they have never experienced any issues with it.

The MSRP for the D5500 is $750 for the body-only and around $1000 if you include the 18-55mm kit lens.


Canon T6i Review

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Like Nikon, Canon is a well-known name in the DLSR market and offers a family of cameras to choose from in the EOS Rebel T series. While the T6i lacks some of the features that the T6s provides, this camera does bring Canon to the level of other digital camera manufacturers. Easy enough for the beginner to use, the T6i also gives you room to grow as you become a more experienced hobbyist photographer.

Let’s look at some of the basic specs and how they compare:

  • Image quality – 24.20 megapixels
  • Battery life – approximately 440 pictures
  • Video capabilities – 1920 x 1080 (30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p), 640 x 480 (30p, 25p) supporting MPEG-4 and h.246 formats
  • Shutter speed – 1/4000 second to 30 seconds
  • ISO range – 100 to 12,800 native (expandable to 25,600)
  • Optical Zoom 1x
  • Image stabilization – none

Looking at the basics, you can see that the Canon T6i compares to most other cameras in this class. Where there is a large difference is when you look at the MSRP. For this model, the suggested pricing with the 18-55mm kit lens is only $899.99 with the Canon online store offering it for $749.99. That is a substantial difference considering you don’t have to purchase the lens separately. If you don’t want the kit lens, you can easily find the body only at a great price.

Complaints about the T6i come mainly in response to its shorter battery life and some complaints about the autofocus being a bit slower than other models in this class. It is a bit heavier than the D5500, 135 grams. However, this isn’t enough for the average person to not be able to use this with one hand.

Nikon D5500 VS Canon T6I

If you were to look at the basic specs of these two cameras and take price into consideration, it is almost a hands-down win for the Canon T6i. However, if you dig a bit deeper into other features for both cameras, the choice becomes more of an issue of the type of user and how he or she will use it.

Let’s start by looking at where the T6i has an edge, and that is in the more consumer technology features. Built into Canon’s model are Wi-Fi capability and near field communication (NFC) that allows the camera to connect directly to a smartphone for easy sharing of photos and video along with remote control capability. Unfortunately, that is where the Canon’s edge ends. Everything else falls into the Nikon column.

The D550 supports Wi-Fi capability as well, so connecting to a wireless printer or other devices on a network is available like its competitor. It does, however, lack NFC capabilities. So, if connectivity to a smartphone is a necessity, the Nikon is not for you.

Where the Nikon does win out is a rather extensive list:

  • A higher number of focal points: 39 vs 19
  • Larger LCD screen size: 3.2 inches vs 3 inches
  • Time-lapse recording support
  • Higher dynamic range: 14 vs 12
  • Higher colour depth: 24.1 vs 22.7
  • Better High ISO performance: 1438 vs 919 for low light
  • Smartphone style touch screen for a more familiar user experience

So, if picture quality is a key driver, the Nikon is the better route. Although one feature that this model is GPS capability for geotagging pictures. The Canon does not provide this feature, however, Nikon’s previous model did include this and it is odd that they left it out of the D5500.

Both models do provide built-in flash and external flash shoes. Other common features include a microphone port, external storage slot for SD cards, face detection focus, articulating screen, and mini HDMI ports. One of the more popular similarities among these two cameras is the selfie-friendly LCD. This feature allows the user to rotate the LCD so that they can take selfies and make sure that they are never left out of an important picture.

There are also some similar complaints about both cameras that consumers seem to focus on. The most frequent is the lack of image stabilization that makes it hard to take action shots without a practised, steady hand.

Also, both cameras have shallow buffer depth when you shoot pictures as RAW files compounding the issues with action and follow up shots since it takes longer to transfer the image from buffer memory to the storage device. Finally, the lack of ability to fine-tune & autofocus is troublesome to those who are looking to move past basic camera functionality and get more into intermediate picture taking.


Both the Nikon D5500 and the Canon T6i are excellent cameras, especially for the beginning photographer. Neither will disappoint if your intention is to take pictures of the family, sporting events, or even landscapes that catch your eye. The MSRP for both is hardly what you will pay in either instance. A quick search online will drop the costs of both the body only and added kit lenses down at least $150.

However, the differences between these two cameras almost make it seem as if they are intended for different markets. The Canon’s inclusion of NFC for smartphone connectivity and lower price point seem to steer it towards the consumer market. People who want good, quality pictures but don’t plan to expand their photographic interests to the next level.

The Nikon, on the other hand, looks to aim more towards the hobbyist market. Photographers who may spend their free time looking for that perfect shot and require the right camera to help them capture it just right. So for the purposes of this blog, the Nikon D5500 wins out!