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But what about more advanced users? Plenty of people buy into a camera system on the low end and, in time, outgrow this less capable camera. Given how similar all the Rebel cameras tend to be, there isn't an obvious step-up model in the range. If you wanted to move up in Canon's system with an APS-C camera, it used to be that the only option was one of the full-blown EOS models, which can be staggeringly expensive.

Well, Canon's finally seen the light. This week at CP+ in Japan, the company unveiled the EOS 8000D, known in the states as the EOS Rebel T6s (MSRP $849.00 body-only). A new enthusiast-grade camera, this is the missing link between Canon's consumer and prosumer DSLR options, and we think it's a Rebel worth getting excited about.

This Rebel's yell is: more, more, more!

If we had to characterize the T6s simply, it's that this camera has everything you'd want from an advanced camera, at the price point of a mid-range model. It gives users more control, making it more like a Nikon D5500 or a Pentax K-S2 than one of its Rebel brethren.

Our interest was piqued as soon as we saw the Rebel T6s's pro-style backlit top LCD. This feature is something you'd get from an EOS 7D Mark II or 70D, sure. But on a Rebel? Yes! It's the very first Rebel model to have this extremely useful feature. Better still, you also get one of the best features from the Rebel T5i and T3i—a great camcorder-style articulated LCD screen. Additionally, this 3-inch 1.04m-dot LCD is fully touch sensitive.

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Credit: Reviewed.com / Brendan Nystedt

A big, vari-angle touchscreen graces the rear of the Rebel T6s.

The camera's optical viewfinder is one of the first from Canon to feature an eye sensor. We've seen this feature on plenty of electronic viewfinders, and it's a no-brainer to bring it to OVFs, too. As you lift the camera to your face, the rear display turns off automatically, and the information inside the viewfinder comes to life. It's a simple way for the T6s to save battery—always a good thing in our books.

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The mode dial is on the opposite side of the pentaprism from the top LCD and grip, which is much more like a full EOS D-style. Beneath the mode dial is a power switch, which, again, is a nod to the higher-end aspirations of the T6s. We loved the way this camera felt in our hands, with a solid-feeling body that isn't too heavy but is heavy enough to feel great.

The most advanced Rebel ever?

Given how stingy Canon can be in updating its DSLR's sensors, we were happy to see that the T6s packs one that is on-par with its mid-range competition. It's based around a new 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor, making it the highest resolution sensor in a Rebel… ever.

Pushing data around the camera is a Digic 6 processor, which enables a few key features here. First off, while you can't record video at 1080/60p, you will be able to get 1080/30p from it. Continuous shooting gets a nice boost from the faster chip, which can push 5fps max to its buffer.

To complete the package, most new users will be picking up the T6s with the 18–135mm IS STM kit lens. It's the same lens that comes as a kit option for the T4i and T5i. Since many beginners bought their first SLRs with a standard 18–55mm lens, this may be an intriguing option, but it's not one you should get particularly excited about.

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Credit: Reviewed.com / Brendan Nystedt

The standout feature of the T6s's design is its great top LCD, an advanced feature never before seen in a Rebel.

Canon's been adding NFC and WiFi to its cameras left and right, and the T6s also gets the wireless treatment. Although the NFC option only works with Android phones, the Canon Image Gateway app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

About the only disappointment in our brief time with the Rebel T6s was the tiny optical viewfinder. It might be that we're a little spoiled using other cameras' EVFs and OVFs, but Canon seems to belie its own enthusiast raison d'être here: The spec sheet says that the optical view offers just 95% coverage with 0.82x magnification. People upgrading from one of the lower-end Rebels won't know the difference, but we still think that for the money, Canon should give users a better viewfinder experience.

Canon is onto something here.

It isn't often that we're genuinely sanguine about a new Canon, much less a Rebel. But we're bullish on the prospects of the T6s and think that it'll find a home in the camera bag of plenty of people with older T3 or T2i cameras that are long overdue for retirement.

Considering the mediocre refresh treatment that the Rebel lineup usually gets from Canon, the T6s feels like a breath of fresh air.

That said, the Canon loses out on some important points when you compare it to other DSLRs in this competitive category. We really liked the Pentax K-S2 when we saw it here at CP+; we think that it offers better controls, and a weathersealed body for $699 is a steal. Moreover, the Nikon D5500 shoots full 1080/60p video, something Canon probably dropped from the T6s to protect its high-end EF-S offerings.

But considering the mediocre refresh treatment that the Rebel lineup usually gets from Canon, the T6s feels like a breath of fresh air. It's a camera we'll be looking forward to testing this year, so stay tuned for our full review.

Meet the tester

Brendan Nystedt

Brendan Nystedt

Contributor

@bnystedt

Brendan is originally from California. Prior to writing for Reviewed.com, he graduated from UC Santa Cruz and did IT support and wrote for a technology blog in the mythical Silicon Valley. Brendan enjoys history, Marx Brothers films, Vietnamese food, cars, and laughing loudly.

See all of Brendan Nystedt's reviews

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