A little over a week after Canon’s archrival Nikon made news with the release of the D600, Canon announced the EOS 6D, its own budget-friendly full-frame DSLR camera. The entry-level to mid-range full-frame DSLRs quickly became a distinct subset of the digital single-lens reflex camera industry. Only ten years ago, individuals with deep enough finances to purchase the 11-megapixel Canon EOS 1Ds for $7,999 were the only people who could take advantage of the full frame DSLR’s capability. Even if there has been a significant reduction in the difficulty of entering the market since then, the price of the EOS 6D is likely to be the aspect that attracts the most attention from prospective customers. It begins sales at a price that is $1400 lower than the company’s flagship EOS 5D Mark III.
The market for full-frame DSLR cameras is becoming increasingly competitive; Canon, Nikon, and Sony each have at least two full-frame models available. Despite this, the attractiveness of Canon’s 6D may very well lie in aspects such as its handling and feature set. While it is obvious that Canon needs to maintain clear distinctions between the 6D and the more expensive 5D Mark III, the challenge for Canon is to offer enough incentive for current EOS owners who do not have a substantial lens investment to resist the temptation to purchase the Nikon D600, which is priced similarly but has a slightly higher resolution.
And as is typical for Canon, they have chosen to go with the tried-and-true method of embracing the comfort of the familiar and being consistent. It is possible that the EOS 6D is best understood as a full frame version of the popular EOS 60D. In fact, it has a fairly similar control arrangement as well as size with its predecessor. Although it is thinner front-to-back and lighter than the Nikon D600, the 6D primarily seeks to differentiate itself on the spec sheet with built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, a’silent’ shutter mechanism, and, according to Canon, unprecedented low-light focusing sensitivity. This is because the Nikon D600 has a larger optical viewfinder and a higher resolution than the 6D. It remains to be seen whether or not this combination would be sufficient to please photography aficionados who would value the D600’s noticeably more advanced focusing system, twin card slots, and built-in flash.
The EOS 6D utilizes a brand new Canon CMOS sensor that has a pixel count of 20.2 megapixels (this is in comparison to the Nikon D600 and Sony SLT-A99, both of which have 24 megapixels, and the 5D Mark III, which has 22 megapixels). In conjunction with the DIGIC 5+ processor, it enables an expanded ISO range that can go as low as 50 and as high as 102,400. The typical ISO range is 100-25600. There are 11 points in the AF system, but only the central one is of the cross-type (sensitive to both vertical and horizontal detail). However, the 6D’s ace in the hole is its ability to focus in extremely dim light, all the way down to a stated -3 exposure value, which is one full stop darker than the 5D Mark III’s lowest focusing light setting. This number may not signify much to you, but just as a point of reference, -3 EV is about similar to the amount of light that is cast by the moon when it is full.
Notable upgrades include a built-in GPS and Wi-Fi, the latter of which enables you to operate the camera from a distance using your smartphone. The 6D also takes use of several capabilities that were introduced with the EOS 5D Mark III, such as Canon’s silent shutter mode, which allows for shooting that is less audible and more covert. Disappointingly, these in-camera HDR and Multiple Exposure modes are implemented as JPEG-only options, in contrast to the Canon 5D Mark III, which also captures Raw files. This mode is inherited from the Canon 5D Mark III.
Additionally, the Canon EOS 6D lacks some of the more exciting features that were included with the Canon EOS 650D. In live view or movie mode, there is no on-chip phase-detection to assist focusing, and the excellent touchscreen interface that Canon has become known for is absent as well. The back screen of the EOS 60D is not articulated like it is on other full-frame DSLRs, with the exception of the Sony SLT-A99. This is the only full-frame DSLR that does not have a fixed rear screen. According to Canon, this was done to ensure the camera is as durable as possible while also minimizing its size.
Canon EOS 6D Specifications
|MSRP||Body: $2,099.00/£1,799; with 24-105mm f/4L IS USM $2899/£2,519|
|Body type||Mid-size SLR|
|Body material||Magnesium alloy, polycarbonate top plate|
|Max resolution||5472 x 3648|
|Other resolutions||3648 x 2432, 2736 x 1824, 1920 x 1280, 720 x 480|
|Image ratio w:h||3:2|
|Effective pixels||20 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||21 megapixels|
|Sensor size||Full frame (36 x 24 mm)|
|Color space||sRGB, Adobe RGB|
|Color filter array||RGB Color Filter Array|
|ISO||Auto, 100 – 25600 in 1/3 stops, plus 50, 51200, 102400 as option|
|Boosted ISO (minimum)||50|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||102400|
|White balance presets||6|
|Custom white balance||Yes|
|JPEG quality levels||Fine, Normal|
|File format||JPEG (Exif 2.3), RAW: RAW (5472 x 3648), M RAW (4104 x 2736), S RAW (2736 x 1824) (14bit, Canon original RAW 2nd edition)|
|Optics & Focus|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaSelective single-pointSingleContinuousFace DetectionLive View|
|Autofocus assist lamp||by optional dedicated Speedlite|
|Number of focus points||11|
|Lens mount||Canon EF|
|Focal length multiplier||1×|
|Screen / viewfinder|
|Screen type||Clear View II TFT LCD|
|Viewfinder type||Optical (pentaprism)|
|Minimum shutter speed||30 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/4000 sec|
|External flash||Yes (Hot shoe)|
|Flash X sync speed||1/180 sec|
|Continuous drive||4.5 fps|
|Self-timer||Yes (2 or 10 sec)|
|Exposure compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±3 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|WB Bracketing||Yes (3 frames in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis)|
|Resolutions||1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps), 1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (25, 30 fps)|
|Videography notes||1080 and 720 intra or inter frame, 480 inter frame|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|HDMI||Yes (HDMI Mini)|
|Remote control||Yes (Remote control with N3 type contact, Wireless Controller LC-5, Remote Controller RC-6)|
|Environmentally sealed||Yes (Splash and dust resistant)|
|Battery description||Lithium-Ion LP-E6 rechargeable battery & charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1090|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||770 g (1.70 lb / 27.16 oz)|
|Dimensions||145 x 111 x 71 mm (5.71 x 4.37 x 2.8″)|
|Timelapse recording||Yes (by cable and PC)|
|GPS notes||Image tagging and tracking modes|
The EOS 6D does not offer the same breadth of features that its best competitors can, but it does combine very good image quality, impressive high-ISO performance, and class-leading low-light autofocus ability (with the central AF point), as well as class-leading built-in Wi-Fi and GPS features. In addition, the EOS 6D has impressive built-in Wi-Fi and GPS features.
- Excellent detail in raw file output across ISO range
- sensitivity to focus that is unmatched in its class in dim light (from central AF point)
- JPEG noise reduction that is quite effective even at the highest sensitivities.
- Impressively quiet 'silent' shutter drive mode
- The Quick Control menu allows you convenient access to the shooting settings.
- Wi-Fi connectivity for remote camera control on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet
- Control of the remote camera with a smartphone or tablet that is equipped with Wi-Fi
- Integrated GPS with the ability to text record data
- On and off switches are available for the exposure simulation in live view.
- Full manual control in video mode
- IPB and All-I video compression options are available for your selection.
- Conversion to Raw format in-camera
- Long life of the battery (except when GPS and Wi-Fi are turned on)
- High-quality raw converter that comes packaged (Digital Photo Professional)
- At low ISO sensitivities, the JPEG engine has trouble capturing fine information when there is a low contrast.
- Autofocus array with a low point density of 11 points and just one cross-type AF point
- Single card slot (SD)
- Compared to other full frame cameras, it has a slow burst rate.
- It is not possible to individually customize the common live view and movie mode parameters.
- Video output prone to moiré artifacts
- a resolution that is marginally lower than that of any of its full frame competitors
- Only JPEGs may be saved in HDR mode (unlike the 5D Mark III)
- The preview button for depth of field is awkwardly located while shooting in portrait position.
- Because it does not have an integrated flash, an external controller is necessary in order to take pictures using multiple flashguns.
- Auto ISO is a rather simple setting to use.
- Monoaural microphone
- There is no jack for headphones for listening to audio.
- When both GPS and Wi-Fi are active, there is a gradual but significant decrease in battery life.