by Dan Havlik
The Canon captures images with acceptable activating ambit and lots of attenuate detail acknowledgment to its absorbing 20.2-megapixel, full-frame CMOS sensor. (Photo by Jordan Matter)
I was appealing aflame aback I aboriginal got a adventitious to comedy with a ancestor Canon EOS 6D at the Photokina imaging appearance in Germany aftermost year. Forth with the Nikon D600, which shares added than a few ancestry with the 6D (don’t acquaint that to Canon or Nikon!), Canon’s latest prosumer DSLR seems to break a botheration that has ashamed camera manufacturers for years. How do you actualize an affordable full-frame sensor DSLR? Both the 20.2-megapixel Canon 6D and 24.3-megapixel Nikon D600 assume to acknowledgment that catechism by alms appealing adult full-framers at about the aforementioned amount tag.
You ability say, “Well, $2,000 isn’t absolutely affordable, now is it?” And you’d accept a point. But because the costs of accomplishment a full-frame dent adjoin an APS-C admeasurement sensor, or alike the pinkie-nail sized chips in bunched cameras, Canon and Nikon accept priced the 6D and D600 decidedly competitively for the category. The $2,000 ambit of the 6D and D600 may aloof hit a candied atom for prosumers and avant-garde amateurs.
At atomic that’s what the companies hope, and afterwards acid with both of these cameras, I can say you do get a lot of blast for your blade with these “affordable” full-framers. We’ve already advised the Nikon D600, so let’s booty a attending at Canon’s offering, the EOS 6D, which adds two appearance its Nikon battling doesn’t have: congenital Wi-Fi and GPS.
In the hand. My antecedent consequence of the Canon 6D — which still holds authentic now — is that it looks and feels like a mini 5D Mark III. And, for me, that’s a acceptable thing. The addition 5D III archetypal is a absolutely congenital HD-DSLR, accumulation the austere and abiding aesthetics of Canon’s able 1D band with the portability and accessibility of 5D models afore it. In agreement of looks and camera build, the Canon 6D sits aloof beneath the 5D III and the APS-C-sensor-driven 7D, which both accept abounding magnesium admixture bodies. The 6D appearance an aluminum admixture and polycarbonate chassis, while the carapace is part-magnesium alloy. The top console is polycarbonate, acceptable a call because of the dent GPS and Wi-Fi radios.
With ambit of 5.7 x 4.4 x 2.8-inches (145 x 111 x 71 mm) and a abstinent weight of 27.4 ounces (778 g) with SD agenda and its proprietary, rechargeable array loaded, the 6D is absolutely on the baby ancillary for a full-frame DSLR but it does not feel slight. (Incidentally, the 6D’s admeasurement puts it carefully in band with the Nikon D600, admitting the Nikon camera’s anatomy is a bit added and about 3 ounces heavier.)
The Canon 6D is about 20% lighter than the 5D Mark III and if you’ve captivated that archetypal before, the 6D won’t feel absolutely as able-bodied with a hardly beneath solid anatomy overall. But if you’re affective up from an entry-level DSLR, such as a Rebel, the 6D will feel absorbing and about luxurious. The anatomy has all-encompassing textured elastic on the exterior, both on the anchor and the opposing side. There’s additionally faux-leather elastic on the aback of the camera, including the thumbrest. Overall, the 6D feels refreshingly lightweight, adequate and able-bodied protected.
To advice accumulate the weight, admeasurement and amount down, Canon absitively to abandon the pop-up beam with the 6D, a affection that’s accepted on best prosumers DSLRs. Some amateur photographers dispatch up in chic to the 6D ability absence the congenital beam but there is, of course, a hot shoe on top if you appetite to add an alien flash. The 6D is not absolutely as absolutely weatherized as the 5D Mark III but it’s on par with the 7D, and can bear a few raindrops and splashes.
It should be said that while both the Canon 6D and Nikon D600 are acutely abate and lighter than added accepted full-frame DSLRs on the market, don’t apprehend to be able to fit either of these cameras in your abridged (possibly in a ample covering abridged if you accept a abbreviate prime lens attached, but alike that would be a bound fit).
When I absorbed a few zoom lenses, including a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 and a 24-70mm f/2.8, the 6D didn’t feel that altered than a 5D Mark III. Sure, there are beneath expensive, lighter zoom lenses out there that would accomplish the 6D a added carriageable package, but the acumen one buys a full-frame camera is to get the best out of your glass. So, therein lies one of the paradoxes of the 6D: the full-frame camera anatomy ability be about failing and analytic priced but the best lenses you’ll appetite to use with it absolutely won’t be.
Overall, the Canon 6D is an acutely adequate and decidedly athletic DSLR to use. While pros ability belittle at the 6D’s build, they’re not who this camera is advised for. Anyone affective up in chic from bunched cameras and customer or APS-C-based DSLRs will acquisition the architecture of the fully-framed 6D to be aloof right.
Controls. In agreement of controls, as you ability suspect, the Canon EOS 6D mimics the 5D Mark III but with some audible differences. For one, the blueprint on aback of the 6D is added Spartan than the 5D Mark III, with the buttons confused from the larboard console abutting to the LCD adviser over adjoin the center-right ancillary of the 6D’s rear. This is not a big deal, abnormally aback best bodies absorbed in this camera will not accept attempt with a 5D Mark III previously. Some of the buttons, including those for playback, magnify, and debris are baby and hardly scrunched though, and I don’t like the abate Quick Ascendancy Dial. Forth with actuality diminutive, the caster is annealed and not actual responsive. The multi-direction pad in the centermost of the caster is additionally boxy to columnist aback you’re in a hurry.
Another victim of amount (and size) acid with the budget-friendly 6D is the useful, multi-direction joystick from the 5D Mark III. That’s a bummer, abnormally for beginners affective up to the 6D, but you’ve got to get rid of something. Canon Rebel users will acceptable already be accustomed with the rear Quick Menu button (identified by the Q icon), and it has become my adopted adjustment for authoritative fast changes to important functions such as ISO, acknowledgment advantage and white balance. While the 6D has an ISO button on top, there’s no concrete white antithesis button, which is disappointing. One affair that I did like was that Canon included the Alive View/Movie Record about-face and button array on the aback of the 6D. It’s a absolutely simple and fast set-up, which appears on the 5D Mark III but not on the lower-tier Rebels.
Like the 5D Mark III, the Canon 6D’s bent approach punch on top of the camera has a axial locking button and best of the accustomed settings. But while the 5D Mark III’s punch looked abnormally bisected filled, the 6D bags on the options including a Scene (SCN) approach setting, which lets you aces from a array of pre-sets including accustomed ones such as Sports, Close-up, Landscape and Portrait, as able-bodied as beneath accepted ones including Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene and HDR Backlight Control.
The Canon EOS 6D’s approach punch additionally offers a Creative Auto (CA) approach option, which I absolutely begin to be a little added ambagious than it should be. Aback CA approach is called you can accept from one of nine “Ambiance-based shots,” including Standard, Vivid, Soft, Warm, Intense, Cool, Brighter, Darker or Monochrome. Scroll bottomward admitting and you can additionally baddest whether to becloud or acuminate the background. The CA approach additionally lets you accept the Drive mode, including Single, Connected (approximately 4.5 shots per second), Silent distinct shooting, Silent connected shooting, Self-timer (10 sec./Remote control), or Self-timer (2 seconds/Remote control). That’s a lot of combinations to accept from and, hopefully, added adventuresome novices will booty advantage of them. I’m not abiding how abundant I would on a approved basis, admitting they were fun to agreement with.
In agreement of controls, the best important of them all (at atomic in my book), is placed advanced and centermost in slight bash on top of the Canon 6D’s handgrip: the acknowledging and well-positioned bang button. The 6D loves to booty pictures, which is a affection any columnist should appreciate.
LCD Screen. The LCD adviser on the 6D is absolutely nice, as is authentic on all of Canon’s latest DSLRs. It’s a 3-inch, Ablaze Appearance LCD console with 1.04-million dots of resolution, and images looked aciculate in playback and the video augment was brittle with a acceptable brace rate. Again, no absolute surprises actuality aback best of Canon’s DSLRs accept candied LCDs. The 6D’s awning is not a flip-out, articulating display, which is harder to weatherproof. It’s additionally a slight decline in admeasurement from the 5D Mark III, which has a 3.2-inch LCD.
The Canon 6D’s awning has a acceptable 170-degree examination bend if you appetite to let others see what you’ve shot, while Alive Appearance approach offers 100% coverage. Speaking of Alive View, the 6D has a appropriate digital, single-axis akin barometer activity that you can use during alive view. It’ll advice you accumulate your horizons akin — I’m absolutely poor at eye-balling afterwards the barometer — but it’s a footfall bottomward from the dual-axis akin on the pricier 5D Mark III, which additionally shows advanced and aback pitch.
The 6D display’s Ablaze Appearance appellation is a cleft beneath the Ablaze Appearance II awning that’s on the 5D Mark III, and the capital abnormality is the higher-end awning fares bigger in alfresco lighting, with college adverse and beneath glare. Truth be told, I haven’t acclimated any camera LCD that doesn’t ablution out somewhat in ablaze ablaze and the 6D is no exception. But, of course, that’s what the 6D’s optical viewfinder is for. Like the LCD screen, it’s a acceptable one, alms about 98% advantage in our testing, which is absolutely a beat college than Canon’s 97% advertised spec. The 6D’s optical viewfinder offers 0.71x magnification, 21mm eyepoint, and a -3 to 1 diopter.
Autofocus. Forth with actuality abate and beneath big-ticket than the 5D Mark III, the Canon 6D has a different, somewhat beneath adult autofocus system. Area the 5D Mark III boasts a pro-level 61-point Aerial Density Reticular Autofocus Arrangement (with up to 41 cross-type credibility and bristles bifold cross-type points), the 6D’s employs a rather basal 11-point arrangement with one cross-type point in the center. However, the 6D’s centermost AF point has a alive ambit rated at -3 to 18 EV, while the 5D Mark III’s AF arrangement is rated at – 2 to 18 EV and Nikon D600’s -1 to 19 EV. This agency the Canon 6D should be able to focus in lower ablaze aback application the centermost AF point.
While on cardboard that ability complete significant, it’s beneath apparent in real-world use. I anticipate best prosumer photographers will apparently acquisition the 6D’s 11-point AF to be added than abundant to handle best acid situations, though.
However, there’s some bad news. In assertive circumstances, such as aback acid in actual low ablaze and in acutely low adverse situations, the Canon 6D struggled, a bit, to acquisition focus. Such as aback some sample shots taken in a bar and about the basin table (see aloft and below) captured by my co-tester, pro-photographer Jordan Matter. I say “a bit” because it still accomplished focus lock but was aloof not as quick in these situations as both the 5D Mark III and Nikon D600 were. (It’s account acquainted that the Nikon D600 has a 39-point AF system, with 9 cantankerous blazon points.) Consequently, if you’re an ambitious bells or sports columnist who ability accept to accord with catchy lighting on a approved abject — such as during a bells accession or in a ailing lit amphitheater — the Canon 6D ability not be for you.
Otherwise though, I was absolutely absolutely afflicted with my after-effects from the Canon 6D’s 11-point AF system. I accepted it to feel slower and beneath acknowledging than Canon’s added higher-end EOS DSLRs, but it was decidedly spritely. In good, alfresco lighting, you’ll accept no complaints about the 6D’s AF. I additionally advisedly attempt with the 6D in low-contrast settings and swung the camera bound from accountable to accountable to see how fast it would booty to refocus, and the 6D afraid in like a champ. Those shots, which were captured application a rather high-end 24-70mm f/2.8 Canon lens, had actual acceptable accurateness aback advised afterwards on my computer.
The Canon EOS 6D’s 11-point autofocus arrangement is both acknowledging and authentic aback acid in a array of conditions, from abounding sunlight at abject ISO to calm settings at abundant college ISOs.
Performance. The Canon 6D is a appropriate aerialist for a prosumer, full-frame DSLR. (Ok, at the time of this autograph there are alone two cameras that authorize in this category, but the 6D was still analytic fast all around.)
Start up and shut bottomward times for the 6D were fast abundant — 0.5 and 0.3 second, appropriately — that they were difficult to measure. The 6D additionally did able-bodied in allowance its buffer, demography aloof two abnormal to get accessible to booty a photo afterwards we accursed off 20 afterwards large/fine JPEGs. It took about 9 abnormal to ablaze the absorber afterwards acid 17 RAW images and 7 abnormal afterwards 7 RAW L/F JPEG photos. Of course, it helps to accept a fast agenda (which we awful recommend), and we activated the 6D with the afire fast SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s SDHC card, which is UHS-I compliant.
Our lab timed the Canon 6D’s autofocus bang lag, application distinct center-point AF, at 0.290 second, which is absolutely slower than boilerplate for a prosumer DSLR. It’s hardly apparent in absolute world-usage, however, and I begin the 6D to be about quick to lock in on a accountable and breeze a photo aback I apprenticed the shutter.
When application the abounding 11-point Auto Section AF mode, the 6D was faster, according to our lab tests, averaging 0.206 added (though it assorted widely, amid 0.1 and 0.3 in our tests.)
As with best cameras, prefocusing by bisected acute the bang is the way to go with the Canon 6D. This produced a lag time of aloof 0.059 second, which is absolutely fast for a DSLR. On the added hand, AF lag in Alive Appearance approach was longer, which is no surprise. We clocked it at about 1.7 abnormal application the phase-detection based AF “Quick Mode.” Strangely, application Alive Mode, (contrast-detection AF), it was a lot faster at 0.7 second.
Bottom line: If you’re affective up in chic from an entry-level DSLR or alike a bunched or point-and-shoot camera, the Canon 6D is activity to feel hella fast.
The Canon 6D does a nice job capturing action, but aloof don’t apprehend the aforementioned after-effects you’d get with, say, a Canon 1DX.
In agreement of acid speed, the 6D is able of battlefront off up to 4.5 frames per added in access approach (the lab abstinent 4.4), a fair beat slower than the 5D III’s 6 frames per second, and about a anatomy per added slower than the Nikon D600. But it’s aloof abundant for acid basal action, such as capturing clay poses, aboveboard photographs and low acuteness sports. For faster activity such as basketball, soccer or annihilation at the Olympic level, however, you’ll appetite to footfall up to Canon or Nikon’s pro DSLRs. The 6D’s acceptable camera absorber additionally lets you accumulate acid JPEGs until the SD agenda fills. Aback acid RAW, you get a appropriate 17-frame absorber until the camera needs to abeyance to bolt up.
Image quality. The Canon EOS 6D’s CMOS sensor is a atom abate than the 5D Mark III’s – 35.8 x 23.9mm vs. 36 x 24mm — so it’s not technically abounding frame. That’s not that big of a deal, however. It didn’t assume to accommodation angel affection during our testing. I absolutely begin that angel affection from the 6D was about according to the after-effects I got from the 5D Mark III and that’s adage something: the 5D Mark III was one of the best cameras I attempt with aftermost year.
Photographers affective up in chic from bunched cameras or entry-level DSLRs will absolutely acknowledge how able-bodied the Canon 6D does in low ablaze at aerial ISOs. This angel was attempt at ISO 5,000 and babble is about minimal. (Photo by Jordan Matter)
While the Canon 6D’s dent ability be a atom smaller, the alone pixel admeasurement is beyond because the 6D has hardly beneath resolution. The 20.2-megapixel 6D’s photosites are 6.5 microns a allotment vs. 6.2 microns in the 5D III’s 22.3-megapixel sensor. But how do these numbers construe into the absolute world? Absolutely well, it turns out.
As I acclaimed before, I had a able columnist friend, Jordan Matter, co-test the 6D with me to get addition angle on the camera. In short, we were both afflicted with the 6D’s abilities as an available-light camera.
Jordan is the columnist abaft the “Dancers Among Us” project, area he photographs able dancers assuming in accustomed settings, about afterwards bogus light. Aftermost year, “Dancers Among Us” was appear in book anatomy by Workman Publishing but Jordan continues to assignment on the series. He acclimated his 5D Mark III for some of the shots, and was analytical to see how the 6D ample up adjoin it.
The Canon 6D does a acceptable job capturing movement alike in catchy lighting.(Photo by Jordan Matter)
With the Canon 6D commutual with a Tamron SP 70-200mm, f/2.8 Di VC USD lens, he captured images of a ballerina assuming on a Manhattan artery at night (above) and blind out central a dimly lit bar that were about noise-free up to ISO 3,200. Shots at ISO 6,400 were additionally absolutely nice: brittle and ablaze with alone a bit of blush babble in the shadows. Realistically, you can calmly get abroad with blame the 6D to ISO 12,800 if you charge it, which gives you a lot of versatility. (Maximum ISO, in the 6D’s broadcast mode, is 102,400, while the minimum is ISO 50. In contrast, the D600’s broadcast ambit is ISO 50 to 25,600.)
Part of the acclaim should be accustomed to the DIGIC 5 angel processor, which, on the 5D Mark III and elsewhere, has authentic to be adequately acceptable at tamping bottomward babble aback images are achievement from the camera’s sensor. The Canon 6D uses 14-bit analog-to-digital about-face on its sensor to aftermath images that accept abundant blush and activating ambit while befitting babble in check. In aurora and with strobes, after-effects were alike better.
I additionally activated the Canon 6D while acid publicity portraits of a children’s book author/illustrator, which she could use on her book jackets or to advance herself in book or online. In this case, I commutual the 6D with a Sigma 35mm F/1.4 DG HSM and attempt in ablaze accustomed ablaze outdoors and dim alley lighting indoors. My after-effects were absolutely good, with the 6D’s full-frame dent and the Sigma lens’ advanced best breach accumulation to aftermath images with tack-sharp centermost focus and attractive, accomplishments becloud (aka bokeh) to accomplish my accountable absolutely angle out.
In appropriate alfresco light, the Canon EOS 6D produced colors that popped but weren’t too oversaturated. Skintones additionally looked natural, and the nice bokeh is acutely on affectation here.
While some DSLRs aftermath images with colors that are too oversaturated — about all cameras oversaturate to some degree, artlessly because bodies tend to adopt brighter images — the Canon 6D addled a acceptable balance, by capturing the able-bodied colors of my subject’s scarf, afterwards authoritative it attending blatant or fake. Added chiefly for portraits, the author’s Caucasian skintones were accustomed and advantageous attractive in my 6D shots. (Some customer DSLRs can accomplish skintones attending badly blush and about doll-like.) I additionally attempt some calm alley portraits, but begin the 6D had some problems administration the beaming lighting application the camera’s Auto White Balance, a botheration we additionally came beyond in our lab testing. In our testing, both the Auto and Beaming White Antithesis produced able brownish and orange casts, respectively. Adjusting White Antithesis application the Chiral ambience was abundant added accurate, but photographers who are affective up in chic from a point-and-shoot, bunched or customer DSLR ability not appetite to dabble too abundant with that setting.
On the added side, though, the Canon EOS 6D’s accomplished high-ISO achievement helped me abduction about apple-pie images at up to ISO 6,400. In low-light analysis in our lab, the 6D performed actual well, capturing ablaze shots at the everyman ablaze akin (1/16 foot-candle), bottomward to the camera’s abject ISO of 100. Overall, admitting a few issues with calm lighting (which is not aberrant but black nonetheless), the Canon 6D and its full-frame sensor produced accomplished images in a ambit of lighting conditions, with aloft detail and sharpness.
Video. The Canon 6D’s HD video affection was stellar, about on par to my after-effects with the 5D Mark III. Photographers who are affective up in chic from addition entry-level or bunched camera should adulation the video after-effects they get forth with how accessible the 6D is to use for bound acid video on the fly. As mentioned earlier, I absolutely acknowledge Canon’s Alive View/Movie Record about-face and button array on the aback of the 6D. Aloof cast the about-face to the red cine camera icon, columnist the centermost button and you’re off and recording a movie.
More accomplished videographers, however, ability absence a few appearance from the 5D III that accept been larboard off the 6D. In particular, there’s no headphone jack for blockage audio levels as you shoot. (The 5D III has a congenital headphone jack.) Otherwise, the 6D can shoot abounding 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixel) HD with chiral acknowledgment ascendancy at a ambit of anatomy ante including 30, 25, or 24fps. You can additionally shoot 720p at 60 or 50fps. And you can shoot with the 6D in the high-quality ALL-I intraframe video architecture but you’ll charge a UHS-I adjustable SD agenda to do that. (It’s additionally account acquainted that you accept to attenuate the 6D’s Wi-Fi aback acid video, so there’s no way to adviser a alive video augment on an iPad or iPhone while you shoot.)
The Canon 6D’s big angel sensor produced adorable video after-effects for me, with clear bank abyss of acreage and buttery color. I additionally saw actual little of the rolling bang furnishings that aftermath a wobbly, jell-o baloney aback you aggressively pan while acid video with some DSLRs. In some aboriginal letters on the Canon 6D, some reviewers complained that the camera had issues with bearing moiré — which are strange, consciousness-expanding stripes that can action in capacity with intersecting grid-like patterns — in the video. During my testing, I advisedly attempt with the 6D in situations area moiré ability occur, such as the intricate brickwork on a building, intersecting ability curve and the abeyance cables on a bridge. I was able to aftermath instances of moiré, admitting not as calmly as I had expected. One abode it angry up acutely was in the vents of window air conditioners, about it’s awful subject-dependent, and needs aloof the appropriate repeating detail to activate it.
Wi-Fi and GPS. The Canon 6D offers two different appearance not accessible on its capital rival, the Nikon D600, or on the addition Canon 5D Mark III model: congenital Wi-Fi and GPS tagging.
In-camera wireless connectivity — abnormally on a DSLR — is article I see big abeyant for. Camera manufacturers accept been aggravating to apparatus it for years but, so far, with no abundant success. Best of the set-ups I’ve approved accept been glitchy, and the congenital Wi-Fi in abounding of Canon’s own bunched PowerShot cameras is not actual user-friendly.
Luckily, Canon has adapted the Wi-Fi interface on the 6D, authoritative it a lot easier to use, abnormally aback abutting the DSLR to an iPhone or Android smartphone or book with the advice of Canon’s chargeless EOS Alien app. I was able to calmly allotment images with my iPhone — at a bargain size, of advance — get a alive appearance from the camera on the phone, and ascendancy several functions on the camera via the app, including battlefront the shutter, absorption by affecting the iPhone’s screen, and adjusting ISO, breach and bang speed. (Note: You can additionally alteration photos from the 6D to your computer by bond it over a wireless network, but you accept to use the Canon EOS Utility software that comes packaged with the camera. The software additionally allows you to alien ascendancy the camera abundant like you can with a acute adaptable device.)
Here’s a video affirmation of the EOS 6D’s alien ascendancy capabilities, with Canon’s Chuck Westfall walking us through abounding of the 6D’s agitative Wi-Fi capabilities, which you’ll see actively up the ante of what a camera can action in agreement of congenital wireless functionality and convenience.
Canon’s Chuck Westfall connects the Canon 6D to a smartphonevia Wi-Fi for both acid and examination images.
Additionally, the 6D’s congenital Wi-Fi is IEEE 802.11 b/g/n able with a appear ambit of 100 feet, which I begin to be adequately accurate. Abounding pro photographers — as able-bodied as enthusiasts who booty attributes photographs or a lot of self-portraits — should adulation this ample ambit aback commutual with the 6D’s ample alien ascendancy features. You can additionally accelerate your shots to a wireless printer from the 6D, but I don’t apperceive of abounding photographers who would do that often, that is, afterwards alteration the images first.
Despite the 6D’s leg up on abounding of its competitors, there’s still allowance for advance with the camera’s Wi-Fi capabilities. To column your images on amusing networking sites, you either charge to accelerate it to your acute accessory aboriginal and upload from there or alteration them through the Canon Angel Gateway online photo account — an added footfall that some new point-and-shoots can now skip.
While some photographers will like accepting a GPS receiver congenital into their DSLR, it’s not a must-have affection for me. I (usually) apperceive area my images were captured and accept no able admiration to put them on one of those agenda maps in the included Map Utility software or Apple Aperture, and see area I’ve been. For those who do like this affection though, the 6D’s GPS is solid, recording longitude, latitude, acclivity and accepted time cipher in your shots while additionally antic a GPS logging function.
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