Review: Canon 760D (Rebel T6s)

Review: Canon 760D (Rebel T6s)

Introduction and features

In a move that runs the risk of confusing the market, Canon has introduced two upgrades to the EOS 700D (EOS Rebel T5i); the 750D and the 760D (reviewed here). Like the 700D, the 750D and 760D are DSLRs in Canon’s ‘beginners’ range. The 760D is at the top of the group, but below the Canon 70D, which sits at the bottom of the ‘enthusiast-level’ range.

Known as the Rebel T6s in US territories, the 760D has a very similar specification to the 750D along with a few extra features that impact upon its handling, making it more suitable for experienced photographers or those wanting flex their creative muscles.

Canon EOS 760D

Inside the 760D is the same 24.2-million-effective-pixel CMOS sensor and Digic 6 processor found in both the 750D and the EOS M3. This means that it also has the same Hybrid CMOS AF III autofocus system, which combines phase detection and contrast detection, for use when using Live View mode to compose images and video on the main screen on the back of the camera.

In a small but significant difference from the 750D, the 760 has a Servo autofocus option in Live View and video mode. When this is selected the camera continues to focus the lens for as long as the shutter release is depressed half-way. Both cameras have a Continuous AF option in the Live View section of the main menu. This is designed for use in video mode and to pre-focus when shooting stills as, when activated, focus is adjusted fairly slowly when the shutter release isn’t pressed.

There’s a 19 cross-type point autofocus system available for use when composing images in the viewfinder. When this system is in use the camera can select the appropriate point to use automatically in 19 point AF mode, or it can be selected manually in Zone AF or Single point AF mode. There are 5 zones available for selection in Zone AF mode.

When Zone AF mode is set in Continuous Autofocus (C-AF) mode, the camera switches automatically between the AF points within the selected zone. In 19-point C-AF mode the camera follows the subject around the frame, switching between AF points.

Exposure metering also changes depending upon whether images are captured using the viewfinder or the main screen for composition. In reflex mode (when the viewfinder is used), the 760D uses Canon’s new 7,560-pixel RGB and InfraRed metering sensor. Although the 7,560 pixels are grouped into 63 segments, they each have their own RGB-IR filter and are read independently, which should make the system more accurate than the 700D’s. There’s still a weighting applied to the brightness of the subject under the active AF point, but it should be better able to assess the scene as a whole and give a balanced exposure.

Canon EOS 760D

In Live View mode the same Evaluative, Centre-weighted, Partial and Spot metering options are available, although the sizes of the areas covered differs slightly, and the measurements are made using the imaging sensor itself.

Naturally as they share the same sensor, processing engine and buffer the 750D and 760D have the same maximum continuous shooting speed (5 frames per second) and native sensitivity range; ISO 100-12,800 with an expansion setting of ISO 25,600 for stills. It’s also possible for the cameras to set sensitivity automatically within the range ISO 100-6400. The native range for movies is ISO 100-6400 with an expansion setting of ISO 12,800.

Full HD (1920×1080) movies are recorded in MP4 format with the H.264 codec at 30, 25 or 24fps and the sound level may be adjusted manually. As usual, the duration is limited to 29 minutes 59 seconds or 4GB. If the file size exceeds 4GB a new file is created automatically. The audio level can also be adjusted manually and there’s an external microphone port, but no port for headphones. It’s possible to control aperture, shutter speed and sensitivity in Manual exposure mode, but exposure is automatic in Aperture priority and Shutter priority mode.

One handy addition in the 760D is an electronic level that can be displayed on the screen on the back of the camera, or in the viewfinder. This indicates horizontal tilt, but not up/down tilt, so it’s useful for getting horizons straight, but it won’t help when you’re trying to ensure that the sensor is parallel to a building to avoid converging verticals. Like the Canon 7D Mark II, the 760D’s viewfinder has a dedicated level icon and it doesn’t use the AF points – so it can be seen when pressing the shutter release to focus the lens.

Like the 750D, the 760D has Wi-Fi connectivity as well as NFC (Near Field Communication) technology for connecting the camera to a smartphone or tablet for remote control and image sharing. The camera can also be connected to Canon’s Connect Station CS100 for image storage.

Sensitive issue?

A few cameras in the USA have been found with marks on the sensor that can’t be cleaned off. Canon USA has issued an advisory notice which states that cameras with serial numbers that start with 01 or 02 may be affected. However, cameras with those numbers that also have a mark on the inside of the battery cover are not affected. Canon will inspect potentially affected cameras and repair them for free. Neither the 750D nor the 760D that we used for our tests were affected.

Read: Canon spots a problem with the 750D/760D (Rebel T6i/T6s)

Build and handling

While they are essentially the same camera on the inside, the 750D and 760D are a little different on the outside. The most noticeable difference between the two cameras is the presence of a secondary (monochrome) LCD screen on the 760D’s top-plate. This shows useful information such as the ISO (sensitivity) setting, battery level, exposure level, shutter speed and aperture. It seems less relevant with a camera that has a vari-angle screen, but it comes in handy and uses less power than the main screen.

Canon EOS 760D

Though the 750D and 760D feel very similar in the hand, the 760D is actually 0.2mm taller and, as we found out when swapping between the two on a tripod, the lens is in a different position relative to the tripod bush.

Compact system cameras have shifted our perception of camera size, but the 760D is fairly small for an SLR. Nevertheless, it’s deep grip is comfortable and when my forefinger is on the shutter release, there’s enough room for me to fit on my remaining three fingers. Those with chunkier digits may find that their little finger slips under the camera body.

On the back of the camera there’s a shallow, but effective ridge that you can press your thumb against so you get a nice, secure grip. Patches of a rubber-like coating on the grip and thumb rest add purchase. With the 18-55mm kit lens mounted the 760D is light enough to be carried in your hand for long periods of time, but a decent strap is supplied if you prefer to use one.

Canon EOS 760D

The 760D’s screen is very responsive to touch and I found I swapped instinctively between using the physical controls and the screen for making settings changes or checking images. It’s helpful that both the Quick Menu and main Menu can be navigated using touch-control and the pinch-zoom gesture is especially useful for checking image sharpness.

In another obvious difference from the 750D, the 760D’s mode dial is on the left of the top plate not the right, and it has a locking button in the centre. This button needs to be pressed before the mode dial can be rotated. It seems rather fiddly at first, but you get used to using it after a while. It would be better if you could select whether to lock the dial or leave it unlocked though.

As on the 750D, the power switch is under the mode dial. Pushing the switch beyond the ‘on’ point activates the camera’s video Live View mode, from here a press of the record button (also the stills Live View button) starts movie recording.

In another major departure from the 750D, the 760D has a dial around the navigation buttons – along with a lock to deactivate it. This is similar to the dial on the 70D and it allows quicker adjustments to exposure in manual exposure mode and exposure compensation in the automatic and semi-automatic exposure modes because, unlike on the 750D, there’s no need to press a button while using the main dial.

Canon EOS 760D

The dial feels a little lightweight in comparison with the larger dial found on the back of higher-end cameras. It’s also rather low down on the body so it doesn’t fall within the natural reach of your thumb – you have to stretch down to it. Nevertheless, it is an improvement upon the ‘button-and-dial’ approach on the 750D.

Just above the viewfinder on the 760D there’s a sensor to detect when the camera is held to your eye to take a shot, and automatically turns off the display on the main screen. On the 750D you have to switch the screen off manually by pressing the Display button or half-pressing the shutter release. This sensor can be a little bit of mixed blessing because the screen sometimes turns off when your hand goes near the viewfinder while using the camera’s controls. Helpfully, the sensor is deactivated when the Quick Menu is activated.

The screen provides a clear, detailed view in all but very bright conditions and it’s useful for composing images at awkward angles. I tend to use the screen to set AF point, but the shutter release button to trip the shutter. Occasionally, however, it is helpful to use Touch Shutter mode to trigger the camera to focus and release the shutter with one tap of the screen. It would be helpful if the screen could be used to set the AF point while the camera is held to the eye; instead the AF Point Selection button has to be pressed followed by the navigation buttons.

While the 760D’s viewfinder is quite bright and details clear, as usual, I find it easier to focus manually when viewing the scene on the main screen. The enlarged view makes it easier to be certain that the most important areas are sharp.

As mentioned earlier, it’s possible to display the electronic level in the viewfinder and this proves very useful, especially as it doesn’t use the AF points and can be seen even when the shutter release is depressed. However, the icon is hard to see in low light conditions or when the subject is dark.

The on-screen electronic level display is especially helpful when shooting from awkward angles.

Rather than having a dedicated Wi-Fi indicator on the camera body like the 750D, the 760D displays when the Wi-Fi system is active in the top-plate LCD. Neither camera has a dedicated Wi-Fi activation button – this is done via the menu.

Canon EOS 760D

It’s easy to connect the 760D’s Wi-Fi system to a smartphone and the free Canon Camera Connect app allows remote control and quick image transfer. When Remote Shooting is selected the app can be used to adjust exposure (shutter speed, aperture and sensitivity) and focus can be set automatically, by tapping the desired point on the Live View image on the phone screen.

The differences between the 760D and the 750D below it in Canon’s line-up mainly impact upon the handling and I think they make the extra money worthwhile. Although the 760D is billed as being for more advanced users than the 750D, novices are unlikely to find the 760D trickier to use once they understand the purpose of the Quick Control Dial.

Performance

It seems like Canon has been using an 18-million pixel sensor in its APS-C format SLRs forever and some potential buyers have been enticed by the 24Mp devices inside Nikon’s recent SLRs. The advantage of having more pixels, in theory at least, is that you can capture more fine detail. The downside is that there’s increased risk of noise.

But Canon has done a good job of balancing these two with the Canon 760D and 750D. Both manage to resolve a high level of detail that’s a big step up on what is captured by the 700D’s 18Mp sensor. Noise is also controlled well, but it’s interesting to note that 760D can’t quite match the 24Mp Nikon D5500 for resolving power. The 20Mp Pentax K-S2 is also a close competitor in the resolution stakes – like the D5500 it is no doubt aided by the lack of an anti-aliasing filter over the sensor.

Canon EOS 760D sample image

This shows the level of detail the Canon 760D is capable of resolving. Click here for a full size version.

Canon EOS 760D sample image

Taken at ISO 6400, this shows that the 760D’s noise levels are no higher than the older 700D’s, despite the increase in pixel count from 18Mp to 24Mp. Click here for a full size version.

When all noise reduction is turned off there’s a very fine texture visible in ISO 200 raw files at 100%, and by ISO 400 there’s a hint of chroma noise visible in some areas. No noise is visible in simultaneously captured JPEGs files and there’s no obvious sign of smoothing.

Chroma noise becomes a little more obvious in ISO 1600 raw files when all noise reduction is turned off and they are examined at 100%, but again the JPEGs look very good. Step up to ISO 3200 and JPEG images start to show signs of smoothing at 100%, but there’s still plenty of detail.

The level of softening visible in JPEGs taken in the default noise reduction set-up becomes problematic in some areas at around ISO 12,800, but it doesn’t have the watercolour appearance at 100% that we see with Sony cameras. Generally, images taken at this setting look pretty good at around A3 size (16 x 12inches), but some may need to be limited to around 10 x 6.6inches. The ball of red wool in the ISO 12,800 JPEG image of our sensitivity test scene, for example, lacked detail and looked like a bright amorphous blob at A3 size. The raw file is much better.

There’s a sensitivity expansion setting of ISO 25,600 and while it could be useful from time to time, I recommend only using it when images can be limited to around 7 x 5 inches.

Scrolling through images from the 760D and 750D reveals that, as we expected, apart from the odd change to exposure that can be explained by a shift in the composition and focus point, they produce identical images. When the same scene is shot, the colours are identical from the two cameras.

On the whole, in the default settings, colours are well saturated and vibrant. The automatic white balance system copes well with a range of lighting conditions, but I find the Daylight settings is often a better option for natural lighting conditions. This option usually makes images taken in shade a little warmer, without the excess of the Shade or Cloudy settings.

Canon EOS 760D sample image.

On the whole the 760D’s metering system coped very well with a wide range of conditions. This shot needed just -0.33EV compensation to keep the brightness of the scene under control. Click here for a full size version.

Canon EOS 760D sample image

The EOS 760D has an electronic level which is visible both on the LCD display in live view mode, and in the viewfinder. Click here for a full size version.

I was impressed with the 7D Mark II’s metering system when I tested it so I am pleased that the 760D has a very similar system, albeit with 7,560 pixels on the RGB and InfraRed sensor rather than 150,000. And when images are composed in the viewfinder, the 760D’s Evaluative metering system does a superb job of assessing exposure in a wide range of conditions. It even manages to produce good exposures in very tricky situations such as when the subject is backlit and it isn’t excessively skewed by the brightness of the subject under the active AF point. That said, you can’t forget about exposure altogether and leave it entirely to the camera, there are a few occasions when a little exposure compensation is required.

The Live View metering system also works well, but as the screen can show the image as it will be captured, getting exposure right is less of an issue. As the 760D is an SLR it has an optical viewfinder and it can’t show the impact of exposure settings, you have to rely on the exposure guide and experience when shooting with the camera to your eye.

I found that in 19-point Continuous Autofocus mode the 760D does a decent job of finding the subject and tracking it around the frame. It doesn’t always get it right, but it’s a good option when the subject’s movement is unpredictable and hard to follow. When it’s possible to anticipate the direction of the subject’s movement, Zone AF mode or Single point AF mode are a better option. The phase detection system gets the subject sharp very quickly, even in quite low light. And when a fast lens is mounted it performs well in very gloomy conditions.

While the hybrid autofocus system is fast and accurate enough to use the camera hand-held for stationary targets, it’s not quite quick enough for fast moving subjects.

While the 760D isn’t the ideal choice of SLR for a dedicated videographer, it has enough movie features and control to allow stills photographers to produce decent footage when they want to. Video Snapshot mode is especially useful for creating a series of 2, 4 or 8 second clips that can be joined together in-camera to create a dynamic single movie.

Canon EOS 760D sample image

The EOS 760D has vibrant but realistic-looking colours in this shot. Click here for a full size version.

Canon EOS 760D sample image

And in this one too. Click here for a full size version.

Lab tests: Resolution

We’ve carried out lab tests on the Canon EOS 760D across its full ISO range for resolution, noise (including signal to noise ratio) and dynamic range. We test the JPEGs shot by the camera, but we also check the performance with raw files. Most enthusiasts and pros prefer to shoot raw, and the results can often be quite different.

We’ve also picked out three of its chief rivals so that you can compare their performance directly.

Canon EOS 700D: Until the launch of the 750D and 760D the 700D was Canon’s top beginner’s DSLR. So how does its older 18-megapixel sensor compare with the 24-megapixel sensor in the 760D?

Nikon D5500: The first Nikon SLR to have a touchscreen, this 24-megapixel model has no AA filter over the sensor for better detail resolution than the 760D/750D.

Pentax K-S2: This 20-megapixel DSLR is weatherproof so you can use it even if it starts to rain. There’s also a vari­angle screen (not touch-­sensitive) and Wi­Fi connectivity for sharing images.

Canon EOS 760D resolution charts

We test camera resolution using an industry-standard ISO test chart that allows precise visual comparisons. This gives us numerical values for resolution in line widths/picture height, and you can see how the 760D compares with its rivals in the charts below.

Canon EOS 760D resolution chart

JPEG resolution analysis: The 760D captures significantly more detail than the 700D, but it lags a little behind the Nikon D5500.

Canon EOS 760D resolution chart

Raw* resolution analysis: The 760D comes very close to the D5500, but the Nikon camera is helped by not having an optical low pass filter. The Pentax K-­S2 doesn’t have one either, which helps it come close to the 760D for detail resolution.

* Raw images are converted into TIFFs for analysis in this and the dynamic range and signal to noise ratio tests.

Resolution test chart samples

This is the chart we use for testing camera resolution. The key area is just to the right of centre, where a series of converging lines indicates the point at which the camera can no longer resolve them individually.

Canon EOS 760D resolution chart

ISO 100: Click here for a full size version.

Canon EOS 760D resolution chart

ISO 6400: Click here for a full size version.

Lab tests: Dynamic range

Dynamic range is a measure of the range of tones the sensor can capture. Cameras with low dynamic range will often show ‘blown’ highlights or blocked-in shadows. This test is carried out in controlled conditions using DxO hardware and analysis tools.

Noise and dynamic range results explained

Dynamic range is measured in exposure values (EV). The higher the number the wider the range of brightness levels the camera can capture. This falls off with increasing ISO settings because the camera is having to amplify a weaker signal. Raw files capture a higher dynamic range because the image data is unprocessed.

Canon EOS 760D dynamic range charts

Canon EOS 760D dynamic range chart

JPEG dynamic range analysis: The 760D has a good, but not group leading dynamic range until sensitivity reaches ISO 1600, where it starts to show an advantage. This indicates that the 760D captures a wider range of tones than the competing cameras at higher sensitivities.

Canon EOS 760D dynamic range chart

Raw* dynamic range analysis: The 760D’s raw dynamic range is only average. The Nikon D5500 is better up to ISO 800 and the Pentax K-S2 which captures a wider brightness range past ISO 3200.

Lab tests: Signal to noise ratio

This is a test of the camera’s noise levels. The higher the signal to noise ratio, the greater the difference in strength between the real image data and random background noise, so the ‘cleaner’ the image will look. The higher the signal to noise ratio, the better.

Canon EOS 760D signal to noise ratio charts

Canon EOS 760D signal to noise ratio chart

JPEG signal to noise ratio analysis: Interestingly, the 760D produces a similar or slightly better signal to noise ratio to the 700D, which indicates that the images have a similar level of noise despite the increase in pixel count and detail resolution. This brings it up to (and beyond) the level of the Nikon and Pentax cameras.

Canon EOS 760D signal to noise ratio chart

Raw* signal to noise ratio analysis: The 760D puts in a good raw signal to noise performance, beating the D5500 and indicating that it produces slightly cleaner images. It has no advantage over the EOS 700D or Pentax K-S2, though.

Noise/sensitivity samples

The signal to noise ratio charts use laboratory test equipment, but we also shoot a real-world scene to get a visual indication of the camera’s noise levels across the ISO range. The right side of the scene is darkened deliberately because this makes noise more obvious.

Canon EOS 760D sensitivity test

ISO 100: Click here for a full size version.

Canon EOS 760D sensitivity test

ISO 6400: Click here for a full size version.

Verdict

Sensors with 24million pixels have proved popular, and with good reason, because they produce a nice compromise between image size and file size, as well as detail and noise. Stepping up to 36 million pixels results in files that fill up memory cards and hard drives a little too quickly and put extra strain on computer processing engines. The need to keep noise within acceptable limits also means that at the moment the only cameras with 36Mp sensors are full-frame models like the Sony A7R and Nikon D810. Samsung currently holds the record for APS-C format pixel count with its NX1 and NX500 which have the same 28-megapixel back-illuminated sensor.

Canon EOS 760D

Canon EOS 760D

Unlike Nikon with the D5500 and Pentax with the K-S2, Canon has put an anti-aliasing filter over the 760D’s sensor. This (in part at least) enables the K-S2 to resolve almost as much detail as the 760D and for the D5500 to capture a little more information at most sensitivity settings. Nevertheless, the 760D makes a substantial step-up from the 700D in this regard and details look sharp and natural, especially in raw files.

Canon has given photographers a choice with its first 24Mp sensor: it’s available in the EOS M3, the company’s compact system camera (CSC), and the 750D and 760D, which are both DSLRs. The 760D is the little more expensive of the two DSLRs, but it brings a few handling benefits over the 750D including a secondary LCD screen on the top-plate, a Quick Control dial around the navigation buttons, an electronic level and a lock on the Mode dial, plus a different control arrangement.

We like

Although some are drawn to the 760D for its secondary LCD screen, I found that it’s the Quick Control dial that makes a bigger difference. This makes adjusting exposure a one-step process, which is more becoming of a camera that is designed for making creative images. The electronic level is also extremely useful when you want to ensure the horizon isn’t wonky.

In addition, the new metering system is very impressive. In the course of this test it managed to produce superb results in situations where we might reasonably have expected it to fail.

Canon’s touch-control system is very good and it’s great that the 760D still has the full array of buttons and dials so that you have a choice about how you adjust settings.

We dislike

Although the viewfinder in the 760D is good, it’s an optical unit. While this can still be an advantage in some situations, it has the disadvantage of not being able to show the impact of setting selections. This means if the exposure is set incorrectly you won’t see it until the image is captured and reviewed. Similarly, the white balance or Picture Style could be wrong, but the view will look the same in the viewfinder.

As part of Canon’s beginner-level line-up the 760D isn’t going to offer the same specification as models in the enthusiast or professional-level groups, but there are a few ‘shortcomings’ that are worth flagging up. A maximum continuous shooting rate of 5fps (frames per second), for instance isn’t anything to get excited about and as the viewfinder covers ‘just’ 95% of the scene, there’s a risk of capturing unwanted invisible elements around the edges of images.

Verdict

Canon has created a versatile camera that gives photographers plenty of control while offering automated options for inexperienced users. The vari-angle touchscreen control is especially well implemented and is backed-up by buttons and dials that may initially find more favour with old-school photographers.

Canon EOS 760D

Most importantly, the 760D produces very high quality images with lots of detail, attractive colours and noise that controlled well. The metering system deserves particular praise for its ability to produce spot-on results in some very tricky situations. It’s not often that we recommend upgrading from one generation camera to the next, but I’m making an exception with the 760D, it’s a worthwhile upgrade from the 700D.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s