Despite the rise of mirrorless cameras, Canon has been relatively cautious updating its Rebel DSLR line. The last big upgrade was the T5i from two years ago, and even that was considered more of a refresh than a revamp. Well, the series is finally getting an overhaul -- and in some cases, it might be enough to make you skip more expensive shooters. Both the new Rebel T6i and T6s (above) carry sharper 24.2-megapixel sensors and DIGIC 6 processors that let them pull off feats that are both welcome and, frankly, a little overdue. They now have EOS-70D-like fast autofocusing embedded in the pixels themselves and (new to Canon) color tone detection. You'll also be glad to know that the Rebel range is finally getting built-in WiFi for photo transfers, and you can pair with Android phones or accessories over NFC.
The big deal this year, though, is what's on top of the T6s: there's now an LCD panel and a quick control dial, much like what you'd see on many higher-end DSLRs. You won't always have to wade through the rear screen interface just to peek at the ISO sensitivity or exposure compensation. There are still reasons to splurge on more sophisticated cameras (you're stuck with 5FPS continuous shooting and a maximum ISO 25,600 light sensitivity, for example), but you now have a taste of pro-level camera control without spending pro money. Canon is also giving the T6s a high dynamic range movie recording for those tricky lighting situations, and there's servo autofocus to keep track of targets when you're shooting burst photos in Live View.
Not surprisingly, these augmented Rebels won't be the cheapest DSLRs you can get when they ship in April. The T6i will start at a sizable $750 for just the body, $900 with a standard 18-55mm lens and $1,100 with a longer-ranged 18-135mm lens. Go for the T6s and you're looking at $850 for the body alone, or $1,200 with a 18-135mm lens in the box. With that said, both the 70D and Nikon's D7100 started at $1,200 body-only when they were new -- if you're more interested in those cams' control schemes than anything else, the T6s may represent a bargain.
Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.