Review: Canon EOS 6D – full frame camera with wireless goodness

I gave up on full frame cameras not longer after I
got into photography. I have the back of a 60-year-old and the budget
of a 20-year-old, neither situation lending itself to owning heavy and
expensive gear. I’m happy with my cheaper lighter Micro Four Thirds
system, but using the Canon EOS 6D this last week makes me reconsider
the perks of having a few big guns in my arsenal.

At a glance:

21 megapixels

Full frame sensor

4.5 fps 

Weather sealed

3-inch screen

Built-in wifi and GPS

Canon EOS 6D

new entry-level full frame camera acts as a bridge between the
enthusiast-level cropped sensors and the pro-level 5D and 1D range. I’m
calling the 6D an entry-level device, but starting at around $2400 for
the body alone it’s still a significant investment.

The 6D is
built tough. Mine got knocked around and bumped on the screen several
times, surviving every encounter with a hard corner. The camera is also
dust and water resistant, which comes in handy when caught in a
downpour. Weighing 200 grams lighter than the 5D Mark III, this camera
doesn’t sacrifice portability for robustness.

a firm believer that good gear doesn’t necessarily make a good
photograph (or photographer). I’ve had some spectacular results from
$1500 cameras and $20 disposable cameras – just as I’ve had some
shocking ones. The 6D’s sensor helps a good photographer achieve great
images. It produces photos with delicious blurring, great colour depth
and admirable image sharpness. The photos I’ve taken over the last week
might not be the best that can come out of the 6D, but it’s as good as
what I’ve created using a 5D Mark III.

the 6D greatly falls short of the 5D is its autofocus, which at times
can feel snails-paced after using lightning quick Micro Four Thirds
cameras.  With only 11 autofocus points, the 6D can get into trouble
picking the correct spot to focus on and in low light it can spend
awkward moments hunting for focus. 

6D’s overall low light performance is fantastic. Even with nothing but
street lights and a horrible yellow lamp, I can barely notice the noise
and bumping the ISO up to 2000 is no real issue.

6D’s built-in wifi and GPS is a definite step up from any other Canon
DSLR. The camera can be tethered to a computer or smartphone over wifi,
letting you control the device and take shots remotely. The GPS
automatically tags your photos with your coordinates, helping you keep
your images better organised (and show off to your friends all the
places you’ve been). 

Canon’s free EOS Remote app for iOS and
Android is one of the best remote tethering tools I’ve used. It’s simple
enough to work on a smartphone while featuring enough tools to make it
useful for actual photography. I found myself transferring lower-res
versions of photos to my iPhone to play around with post-processing
while on the go.

this wireless gadgetry takes its toll on the battery. With wifi and GPS
turned off, I could easily get through two days of shooting without
recharging (around 900 shots) – the wireless functions, particularly the
GPS, can easily halve this figure. 

Verdict: If I were a
richer man with a stronger back the Canon EOS 6D would be my workhorse
camera. It’s tough, produces beautiful images, works well in low light
and has Canon’s pedigree of lens choices. The slow autofocus is an issue
for capturing action shots in low light condition, but for most types
of photography it hits all the right buttons.

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