The Canon EOS 6D — “A Smartphone-Friendly D-SLR”

The Canon EOS 6D (Photo courtesy of Canon Inc.)

Canon, Inc. officially announced in September, 2012, the EOS 6D — a versatile mid-range full frame camera. As the most compact and lightest full-frame SLR to date, the 6D is geared at the serious photographer who desires to make the jump from an APS-C (crop sensor) to a full-frame sensor at a reasonable cost. Canon made sure to integrate with the 6D, an entirely new full-frame CMOS sensor with 20.2 megapixels. Other prominent features of the 6D include: a Digic 5+ processor, an ISO range of 100-25600, full HD (high definition) video (1080p), a 97 percent viewfinder, a maximum of 4.5 frames per second, an 11 point autofocus system, and integrated Wi-Fi and GPS capabilities.

What’s So Special About the 6D?

The mere rumors of the 6D created a buzz in the D-SLR community, let alone Canon’s announcement and subsequent release. Being able to grab a full-frame Canon D-SLR for at most, a tad over $2000, appears to be a heck of a deal. Many serious photographers often put aside their aspirations of getting a full-frame camera (at least for awhile) simply because of the lofty price tags. Well, the 6D provides the opportunity for advanced amateurs to go full-frame. Also, the 6D is quite compact and light, making it more convenient to shoot with and to carry around. Size may not necessarily be a big deal to some photographers, but it still does prove to be an advantage especially when heavy lenses are attached.

Apart from its large sensor, and convenient size, this sleek EOS brings with it unique in-built Wi-Fi and GPS systems. This means that you won’t need to acquire additional peripherals to gain access to these features. With the GPS system, you can geotag your images, and with Wi-Fi you can: transfer (still) images from the 6D to your computer, smart device, or another wireless enabled EOS; send images to Facebook, Twitter and via email. But wireless capabilities allow for even more tricks. By using the free EOS Remote App, which is available for Android and Apple (iPhone and iPad) devices, you can use your smartphone (or smart device) as a remote trigger plus viewing screen to assist you in making photographs.

Is the 6D Better than the 7D?

To be frank, the 6D and 7D, although ‘brothers’, are vastly different creatures. The 6D excels in low light capabilities due to its huge sensor which is twice as large than that of the 7D’s. As you can gather, the 7D struggles with noise issues at much lower ISO levels than that of the 6D. However, the 7D has a superior autofocus system with 19 focus points, all of which are cross-type focus points, compared with the 6D’s 11 focus points with only 1 — the central point — of which is a cross-type point.

And it must be mentioned that the 7D can shoot at as much as 80 percent faster (in continuous mode) than the 6D. There you have it, we’re dealing with a full-frame camera designed to take high quality pictures in low light compared to a advanced crop sensor camera that is designed for speed and action. It’s not an easy call to say which is ‘better’, and so the tech-political answer would be, “It depends on what you are shooting.”

Is the 6D Just as Good as the 5D Mark III?

Simply put, no. The 5D Mark III struts ahead of the 6D in several criteria. This is not to say that the 6D doesn’t produce awesome image quality, because it surely does. Ken Rockwell states that “the 6D loses about 5% of some of the 5D Mark III features,” the most obvious of which is its highly simplified autofocus system, smaller sensor and fewer ‘C Modes’. Naturally, Canon has to make sort of tradeoff to clarify a strong distinction between an entry-level-full-frame camera, and a professional grade full-frame camera. The better comparison would be between the 6D and the Canon 5D Mark II, in which the 6D outshines. Some may say that the 6D is a noble replacement to the 5D Mark II.

What’s its Competition?

Posing as a strong competitor to the EOS 6D, is its nemesis — the Nikon D600. Both are classed as the “enthusiast’s full frame camera,” and are very similar in many criteria including price. The 6D has the advantage of having the GPS and Wi-Fi capabilities, which is very useful in the age of the smartphone. Not to mention that the 6D is a bit lighter and more compact than its Nikon competitor. However, the D600 has a slightly larger sensor, a more advanced autofocus system, and notably performs better at high ISO levels. Apparently, the win may go to the D600, but in consideration of the features that the 6D offers, the EOS is a tough D-SLR to overlook.

What are the Trade-Offs?

In having an EOS that is aimed at the prosumer market, tradeoffs are inevitable. These tradeoffs could be classed as disadvantages or inconveniences. It would appear that the 6D could have a 100% viewfinder, but Canon chose to use 97 percent viewfinder coverage. Filmmakers tend to love the 5D Mark II & III, and the 6D provides excellent high definition videos as well, but unfortunately there’s no headphone outlet. But one of the biggest tradeoffs is the highly simplified autofocus system, and slow burst rate. Such features have limited the versatility of the camera in effectively capturing action. With that being said, this is not the kind of camera sports photographers would be thrilled about.

The 6D is best suited for the serious or advanced amateur photographer who wants to explore the advantages of shooting using a full frame sensor. It’s certainly not for action photography, but has great low light capabilities, and is therefore good for shooting at weddings, functions or other conditions where ambient lighting is unpredictable. This EOS is wildly similar to the EOS 5D Mark III, to the extent that professional Mark III owners may consider the 6D as a backup body. Filmmakers can put the 6D to great use, considering that it has very similar video recording capabilities to that of the 5D Mark III. As with any D-SLR, the 6D is not without fault and fierce competition. Canon answered Nikon’s D600 with the 6D, with the most outstanding “new” features being the integrated GPS along with the smartphone-friendly Wi-Fi capabilities.

About Shane Brown-Daniels

I'm a freelance writer and event photographer who is always up for an adventure. From capturing the beauty of a woman, the strength of a man, onto the adrenaline-pumped action scene, you'll find me aiming for the shot.

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