Gear: Canon 6D Review


I will start all of my gear reviews with a disclaimer:

I primarily do landscapes, travel and architecture shots. I am not looking for speed demon cameras, lightning fast autofocus, or high aperture lenses. As a result, I’m just going to talk about pros and cons about the camera in terms of the features I use and what I use it for. Also, I almost never record video.


 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pros:

  • Relatively light weight, when it came out I think it was the lightest full frame SLR
  • Heavy duty build quality
  • GPS built in, sooooo great, for someone that does a lot of driving around rural areas and travelling, it’s great to have locations marked in order to return to them
  • Noise performance is good
  • The grip and control layout is great
  • The central autofocus point is great for low light situations
  • Battery life is great
  • Multiple exposure mode allows for some great creativity
  • There are probably some I’m forgetting since I probably take them for granted

 

Sept2_2013_6D_0352 - edit-edit-edit
A shot from the 6D

Cons:

  • No flash
  • Relatively low megapixels
  • No articulating screen
  • Not great when boosting shadows in editing
  • AA filter reduces sharpness
  • Wifi is built in, which I never use, and I probably had to give up some other feature to have it included
  • Dynamic range isn’t great compared to competitors
  • The focusing system seems pretty basic, even for me, when compared to competitors, although I’ve never had any issues with it
  • Long exposure limit of 30 seconds, so easy to add a few more stops rather than having to resort to bulb mode and a remote
  • Quite a pain to use the HDR mode, you have to first switch from RAW to Jpeg (it won’t do it automatically) and I wasn’t able to set it as a custom mode
  • An overall feeling that many easily included features (ones included by competitors) were left out

81G6+Io5b8L._SL1500_

Summary/Overall:

Overall I liked this camera. Switching from the 60D’s APS-C sized sensor to the full frame 6D was like night and day in terms of image quality and the whole “look” of the images I was creating. One of my regrets is that I did not move to full frame sooner.

When the 36 megapixel Nikon D800E (with no AA filter) came out I was pretty excited because I knew that Canon would be releasing something soon. I had saved up and was ready to spend about $3,000 on a new full frame camera. When the 22 megapixel 5D3 came out I was hugely disappointed. And it was about 15% more expensive than the Nikon! Then I was stuck with the tough decision of getting the affordable full frame option, the 6D, or spend thousands of dollars and spend a lot of time selling gear to switch over to Nikon. I decided to stick with Canon even though they had always seemed to be letting me down over the years. Their cameras were usually too basic, purposely leaving out features that the competition was including, or they were too far advanced and pricey. Not great options. A little later I did some research and the 6D seemed like a better camera for my needs than the 5D3, plus the image quality was rated as being slightly better.

About a year ago I got a Sony A7R2, which I’ll post a review of soon. The reason I switched was to get the higher pixels I was looking for as a landscape photographer (which I missed when the Nikon D800E came out) and the ability to boost shadows when faced with extreme lighting conditions (common at sunrise and sunset). Plus a friend of mine was leaving his job at a camera store and it was my last chance to get a good price on gear, otherwise I would have stuck to my plan of getting the outgoing model when it goes on sale because the new model is coming out. For now all I will say is that the jump from the 6D to the Sony was similar to the difference in going from the 60D to the 6D; it’s that noticeable. With the Sony having no AA filter the sharpness is unbelievable, and the ability to boost shadows in the 6D is not even comparable to the Sony. I’m not overstating; it’s not in the same league, and I’m talking about ISO 100. Plus, I can crop half of the Sony’s image away to make a panorama, and I have the same amount of pixels left as the 6D image.

Overall, I liked that they went lightweight and that they included GPS. The grip and overall feel is great, as well as the build quality. The low light focusing is great; I remember being on a shoot with other photographers, most with Nikons, and they were all packing up as it got dark because they couldn’t focus anymore, while I was still shooting (Nikon has since addressed this I believe). The noise performance is great, and it makes nice images. Even with only 20 megapixels I’ve printed four 40×60 inch prints this year from the 6D and they turned out great (it makes me wonder if I really need the Sony…).

It seems like the cameras they are releasing now, the 80D/5D4/M5, should have been released as the previous generation, since they’re just catching up with the competitors’ old models (features, pixel levels, shadow quality, focusing systems, dynamic range, etc.). Canon does make a quality product though, and reliable. Like I said at the beginning, I quite liked this camera, and you can get great images from it.

mirror
Size compared to the 5D Mark 3
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