Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Review

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Canon's new full frame Digital SLR, the Canon EOS 6D features an all new 20.2 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, and has impressed many with it's high specification and competitive price point. Previously users of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, looking to upgrade, had to choose whether to invest in the more expensive Canon EOS 5D Mark III priced at around £2300, whereas now they can purchase the Canon EOS 6D for around £1599, and also benefit from built in GPS and Wi-Fi.

Canon EOS 6D Features :
The Canon EOS 6D is one of the smallest full-frame digital SLRs available and offers low light focusing with an 11-point autofocus system, that is responsive down to -3EV, sensitive enough to operate under moonlight. With a 20.2 megapixel sensor the camera offers ISO 50 to ISO102400 when using the ISO expansion feature.
The Canon EOS 6D has a completely new 20.2 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, which sits neatly in between the 18.1 megapixel sensor in the Canon EOS 1D X and the 22.3 megapixel sensor in the Canon EOS 5D Mark III in terms of resolution, but not price, and combined with a DIGIC 5+ processor should deliver noise performance levels somewhere in between these two cameras.

Key Features :

• Full-frame 20.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor

• 97% view optical viewfinder
• 3.0inch screen, 1040k dot
• 11-point AF sensitive down to -3EV
• GPS records your location
• Wi-Fi file transfer and remote control
• Full-HD 1080p video, Max ISO 12800, expandable to 25600
• ISO100 - ISO25600, expands to ISO50 - ISO102400
• ±5 stop exposure compensation and ±3-stop auto exposure bracketing
• 4.5fps continuous shooting
• Magnesium Alloy front and rear body covers, polycarbonate top cover
• Weather sealed body - to same standard as EOS-1N
• Multiple exposure, HDR mode
• In camera RAW image processing
• DIGIC 5+ image processor
• EOS integrated sensor cleaning system
• AF Microadjustment  

Canon EOS 6D Handling :
Handling - The Canon EOS 6D feels quite light when first picked up and thanks to a relatively thin body front front to back, feels quite compact, particularly if you're used to using a larger full-frame camera. The camera has a deep hand grip with rubber where needed, with a good sized rubber grip at the rear for your thumb, as well as rubber on the left of the camera to aid two handed grip. The camera has a locking mode dial, which means you have to press the centre button before turning it, and the on/off switch can be found underneath. The top LCD can be lit up with the press of the light button.

Image courtesy of Canon. The Canon EOS 6D is one of the smallest full frame Digital SLRs available, and weighs just 680g body only, while the nearest competitor, the Nikon D600 weights 850g. The 6D is noticeably smaller than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, as shown above, and also smaller than the Nikon D600, although the D600 does feature a built in flash.

Menus – The Canon EOS menus are clearly laid out with each section colour coded and will be familiar to anyone who's used Canon's recent Digital SLRs. There are a large number of settings and options, which may mean it's a good idea to spend some time reading the manual, although the camera has hidden a number of custom settings instead of giving you direct access to them. To quickly get access to options, you simply press the Q button, and a control panel is shown on the rear screen. You can set the auto ISO mode so that you control the ISO range available as well as the slowest shutter speed used by the camera before it boosts the ISO setting. It works well and can give you additional confidence that a fast enough shutter speed will be used. Another useful feature for anyone shooting a lot of images is the ability to rate your images on a scale of one to five on screen.


Wi-Fi Connectivity - The camera can be connected to your current Wi-Fi network, or alternatively a direct Wi-Fi connection can be made from the smartphone to the camera. Connection options include: connecting to another Wi-Fi camera, EOS utility, Wi-Fi printer, upload to Web service, view the images on a DNLA compatiable TV, or using the EOS Remote app - available here - you can connect the 6D to an Android phone or tablet or iPhone / iPad. The app lets you use the phone as a live view remote control adjusting Av/Tv/ISO and exposure when in the correct mode on the camera, as well as check focus. You can view images - where you can also rate them on your phone, and transfer images to the phone (max size: S2 (1920 x 1280) JPEG). As the app uses the live view mode of the camera, focusing is quite slow, and the remote app adds a slight delay.

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 1090 shots according to Canon / CIPA test results, we were able to take over 700 shots before the battery went flat - this was after using live view and Wi-Fi quite a lot and the battery life should be longer if you use Wi-Fi/GPS and live view as little as possible. A battery grip is available if you wish to extend the battery life.

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

"Max. Approx. 4.5fps. (speed maintained for up to 1250 images (JPEG)¹²or 17 images (RAW))³ (with UHS-I card)²"

Tested with a Sony UHS-I 94mb/s U:1 card. Focus speed is very quick, and shutter response is excellent, although live view focusing is much slower. Shot to shot speed and switch on time is also very good.

Silent shooting single shot or continuous shooting is available, and this makes the shutter sound noticeably quieter, as shown in the video above, although there is no noticeable shutter release or focus delay as a result, there is a slowdown of continuous shooting to 3fps.  

Canon EOS 6D Performance : Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.  

Sample Photos - The Canon EOS 6D is capable of producing excellent images in a variety of conditions with particularly pleasing skin tones and colour reproduction. Dynamic range is good with detail in both bright and shadow areas despite the difficult shooting conditions.

 Lens Performance - Detail is good in photos whether using the 24-70mm f/4 L IS USM lens at the wide or telephoto end. The camera and lens produce reliable focus, however, as with other full-frame cameras, care needs to be paid to focus when shooting wide-open as the shallow depth of field could cause problems if the camera focuses on the wrong area. The Canon 24-70mm f/4 L IS USM lens has a macro switch on the side that allows the lens to focus extremely closely when fully zoomed, with the subject just 4cm away from the front of the lens.  

ISO Noise Performance - The Canon EOS 6D has ISO100 to ISO25600, which is expandable to ISO50 - 102400. Images are virtually noise free at ISO50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600, with a very slight increase in chroma noise at ISO3200. There is also a very slight loss of detail at ISO3200. There is a more noticeable increase in noise at ISO6400, with the slight loss of detail again, however images are still very impressive.