4 Reasons Why the Canon 6D May Not Be the Camera For You

Having a second, backup camera body is essential for starting a photography business. I spent months debating which camera to get as a complement to my Canon 5D Mark III.  I looked at the Canon 7D and even considered ditching DSLRs for a mirrorless camera. Finally, in July 2013, I took the plunge and bought a Canon 6D. I share my thoughts on this fun, pro-level DSLR below.

Canon 6D HDR Mode - Natural

Canon 6D HDR Mode – Natural

Update in March 2016: I bought the Sony a6300 as my first mirrorless camera and absolutely love it. Read my thoughts on the a6300.

What I Love About the Canon 6D

Most noteworthy of all is that the Canon 6D is the only affordable full-frame DSLR camera offered by Canon. Its price tag is just under $2,000.00 and by now there are many used and refurbished cameras on the market at even cheaper price points. This is also the first pro-level Canon DSLR with Wi-Fi, although it can be a bit complicated to set up at first. Here’s a tutorial on how to set up Canon 6D Wi-Fi.

I’ve been shooting with the 6D for over four years now and have come to love it as much as my 5D Mark III. This is probably because the two cameras are very comparable and have lots in common. The Canon 6D is easily one of the best cameras for food photography. It also performs very well as a concert photography camera. Overall, it’s hard to find any obvious faults with this camera.

Do you own a Canon 6D? If yes, do you like it?

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Canon 6D Specs and Key Features

  • Full-frame 20.2 Megapixel sensor
  • Tough, lightweight construction
  • Max ISO 25600 (expandable to ISO 102400)
  • 11-point AF sensitive down to -3 EV
  • GPS records your location
  • Wi-Fi file transfer/remote control
  • Full-HD video
  • Canon 6D release date: November 2012

4 Shortcomings of the Canon 6D

Recently, a colleague challenged me to name any reason that might prevent someone from wanting to buy it. At first, I was truly stumped. The Canon 6D is my DSLR of choice and finding flaws with it was incredibly difficult. However, if I were to be insanely nit-picky and name a few features that one might want to consider about the 6D before buying it, I did find a few shortcomings worth mentioning.

To be clear, the Canon 6D is an excellent camera that can perform as well as other professional bodies out there. Finding any faults with the Canon 6D is very difficult to do, but if I had to be nit-picky and state the camera’s shortcomings, here are some instances when the Canon 6D may not be your ideal camera.

1)  Fewer cross-point autofocus points.

Make no mistake, the Canon 6D has an impressive ISO range up to 25,600, that doesn’t compromise image quality. However, the noise at high ISOs seems more noticeable than the 5D Mark III. Furthermore, the 6D only has 11 autofocus zones compared to 61 on the Mark III. This lack of autofocus points means that the 6D tends to have more trouble focusing in ultra low light scenarios compared to the Mark III.

One way to improve autofocus on the 6D is to change the autofocus point to the center.

2) Limited in-camera HDR mode.

The need for in-camera HDR is fast deteriorating thanks to the abilities of PhotoShop, not to mention the overall disdain of HDR from many professional photographers. However, Canon does include in-camera HDR features on both the 6D and 5D Mark III, so it’s worth talking about them for those who are interested.

While the Canon 6D does have an in-camera HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode, the overall result isn’t as striking as the HDR images the Canon 5D Mark III. That’s because the Canon 6D HDR options are limited. With the 5D Mark III, you have 4 HDR  effect options (Natural, Art Standard, Art Vivid, Art Bold, and Art Embossed), whereas the 6D only has one HDR effect available. Check out the HDR mode sample images below.

Canon 6D HDR Mode Sample

Canon 6D HDR Mode - Natural

Canon 6D HDR Mode – Natural

Sample Canon 5D Mark III HDR Mode Images

How to Enable Canon 6D HDR Mode

Since the Canon 6D’s HDR function isn’t very obvious to enable, I’ve included a quick tutorial on how to set it up.

a) First, make sure the 6D is set to shoot in JPG not RAW format. If your camera is set to RAW, the HDR option is grayed out and not accessible.

b) After you are in JPG mode, press the Menu button and navigate to the Shooting Settings 4 tab.

Canon 6D in camera HDR Tutorial


Canon 6D in camera HDR Tutorial

Canon 6D how to enable HDR
c) Highlight the HDR Mode option and enable HDR by selecting either Auto, +1 EV, +2 EV, or +3 EV.

Canon 6D how to enable HDR

3) Low frames per second (FPS) rate and top shutter speed

You may not want to invest in this camera if you shoot a lot of fast-paced events such as sports. The Canon 6D only shoots 4.5 frames per second (fps). In comparison, the Canon 7D shoots 8.0 FPS, and the Canon 5D Mark III shoots 6 FPS. At the top of the line, Canon’s high-end DSLR, the 1DX Mark II shoots 16 FPS.

There is also a slightly lower top shutter speed on the Canon 6D of 1/4,000. By comparison, the 5D Mark III has a top shutter speed of 1/8,000.

4) When you need a built-in PC sync port or extra storage

If you have photography lighting equipment or accessories that require connection via a PC sync cable, be aware that the Canon 6D lacks a built-in PC sync port. There are of course ways to get around this by using wireless triggers such as the Pocket Wizards or Yongnuo triggers or adding an adapter to your camera. Just note that extra accessories might be needed.

Another shortcoming is the fact the Canon 6D only has one memory card slot of a single SD card. The 5D Mark III, on the other hand, has one compact flash (CF) card slot, and one SD card slot.

Bonus Tip: Wait for the Canon 6D Mark II

One final reason why you may not want to buy the Canon 6D is because it’s due to be replaced. Canon typically rolls out an update to their DSLR cameras every four years. The original release date was in November 2012. Consequently, a new version is certainly on the horizon. The only problem is that we don’t know exactly when the Canon 6D Mark II will be here and what improvements it will bring.

If you’re really on the fence about buying a Canon 6D and cost is a concern, I recommend waiting a few extra months if you can. Once the newer version comes out, the price of the original will drop considerably some of the best deals will be available.


If you’re looking for reasons to not buy the Canon 6D, they’re few and far between. Some shortcomings above should be noted in case any of these features have any importance to you. But overall I absolutely love this camera and I recommend it to both amateurs and professionals alike.

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Canon EOS 6D

Canon EOS 6D










  • Full-frame DSLR
  • Relatively affordable
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Comparable to the 5D Mark III


  • Lower FPS
  • Only 1 SD memory card slot
  • Only 11 AF poiints
  • Limited in-camera HDR mode
By | 2016-12-24T18:45:00+00:00 December 15th, 2016|47 Comments

About the Author:

Suzi Pratt is an event, food, and concert photographer based in Seattle. She started Intrepid Freelancer to inspire and teach others how to start a photography business. View her at photography portfolio, and subscribe to herYouTube channel.
  • eltonpinto

    I didn’t end up picking up a 6D primarily because of the focus points and the lack of dual cards. With only one cross type sensor in the centre, I’d have the same focusing capabilities as the 1000D that I was going to say good bye to. That was a real deal breaker for me since FF has a much shallower DoF than a crop sensor and even with a crop sensor + 50mm 1.8 II, I’d lose critical focus with the focus + recomposition and the non-cross type focus points were too unreliable even between shots.

    As someone who shoots events from time to time and planning to get into wedding photography, dual cards is something I wanted. the 5dMkIII is just way too expensive (at least here in India) compared to even the D800. I ended up going with a nikon D610 since I wasn’t heavily invested into canon.

    • Yeah, the autofocus points and slower shutter speeds really do annoy me when I’m covering events, which is 60% of the time I shoot. The lack of dual SD/CF card slots doesn’t bother me too much. I tend to shoot in M-RAW or even JPG for minor events using fairly large cards, so I’ve never really needed the extra card slot.

      On the plus side, I love the compactness of the 6D as well as the Wi-Fi function. I use the Wi-Fi function regularly when covering events, and the smaller size makes this a great travel DSLR when I usually don’t need the extra autofocus/fast shutter speeds anyway.

  • Colby

    If the sync port problem is still an issue, have you looked at a hot-shoe sync port? This is an example of one: http://www.amazon.com/Pixel-Flash-Adapter-Extra-Flashguns/dp/B00554PCDG

    • Ohhh hey, that’s not a bad alternative! I honestly haven’t bothered to look around much for a solution since I can use my 5D Mark III when I need the sync port, but this looks like a great and relatively cheap option. May have to look into it. Thanks Colby!

  • I’m fairly surprised at an article like this. I didn’t see anything listed that would actually cause most photographers to just drop the camera from all consideration, as you suggest. There also seems to be some inaccuracy. The Canon 6D outperforms the 5Diii (weird as that actually sounds) in ISO tests, even at high ISO’s. See some of the testing here: http://blog.planet5d.com/2012/12/the-high-iso-battle-of-the-full-frame-heavy-weights-canon-6d-vs-canon-5d-mark-iii/

    Also, comparing the 6D to the 5Diii is kind of ridiculous, considering the 5D ought be the better of the two cameras, costing another 1/2 as much, over $1000 more just for the body. The 6D can’t replace the 5Diii, but it can definitely keep up. Also, I know 0 photographers that shoot HDR. It’s a niche effect for photographers (beautiful when done effectively, but not a great reason to bump an entire camera from your gear consideration). The sync port problem is also overcome quite effectively as mentioned by Colby.

    I do shoot with a 6D, and I have a friend with a 5Diii. I don’t envy him much at all. The weight of the 5Diii alone is nearly excessive. I use the 6D’s wifi functionality constantly for social media. The 6D’s ergonomics are slightly more comfortable than the 5Diii. Beyond that the 5Diii does have advantages. I would still posit the 6D makes a decent backup if you want to save $1000.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Micah! I shoot regularly with both the 6D and 5D Mark III and I love both dearly. Many times, I’ll even use the 6D on its own for professional shoots and pull off my shots just fine. As I mentioned in the opening paragraphs of the article, the points I bring up aren’t necessarily deal breakers, just things to consider before buying the 6D.

      I agree the sync port problem is less of an issue thanks to alternatives such as the one Colby mentioned, but it’s worth noting that Canon does not offer this clear distinction nor any alternatives in much of its 6D literature. I was quite surprised to use the 6D and find out right before a studio shoot that there was no sync port.

      I have in fact had a few emails from photographers asking about the HDR functionality on the 6D, which is why that point was mentioned. The HDR differences on the two cameras are quite striking, for those who care.

      Regarding the ISO comparison, I know that both the 6D and 5D Mark III are pretty much comparable, and you’re right that in some instances, the 6D may outperform the Mark III in ISO. My main complaint about the 6D (based on my use of it) is the noticeable difficulty that the 6D faces when trying to autofocus in low lighting; the Mark III is much faster and more accurate in low light autofocusing, especially when shooting moving targets such as concert performers.

      Anyway, like I mentioned, no deal breakers to completely disregard buying the 6D, just some things to consider. Thanks again for commenting, Micah. Happy shooting!

      • I think Micah was referring to the title “4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy The Canon 6D”. I can see why you would choose that title, since it probably grabs more readers, but it doesn’t jive with your opening paragraph.

        • That’s a fair point. But I still think that overall the title and contents jive well enough. Thanks for the input, Fred!

  • bob

    use the center point to focus and it will outperform the 5diii all day.. or night in low light focusing as it goes to -3ev, better than 5diii.
    HDR is very simple, but i dont understand why a photographer would want to use this anyway, more of a gimic for art students and the like, i do apologize i just cant stand it due to the 95% of it being an eyesore.
    but yeh its really not the greatest at wild life / sport events due to the focusing, however i did buy an L lens with what i saved from the 5diii

    • Bob, I totally agree with the center point focus — I’ve started doing this recently and seen HUGE improvements in my shots. I also agree that HDR on any DSLR is pretty gimicky, but the difference between the 6D and 5D Mark III’s HDR results were just so striking that I really did feel like it was a comparison point that wasn’t being mentioned.

      Which L lens did you get for the camera?

  • Wasn’t aware that my Alien Bee couldn’t connect to the 6D.

    • Actually, I’ve recently found a work around for this if you use wireless triggers such as Pocket Wizards or Yongnuos. The issue with connecting Alien Bees to the 6D via the simplest (and cheapest) way is that there isn’t a port available in the 6D for the cable to connect.

  • grazze

    I traded my 7d for a 6d and now wish I didn’t. reasons: images aren’t sharp and crispy with the 6d , limited and slower shutter speed. High contrast, and reddish orangy skin tones.

  • Hi there,
    Good read , thanks dor your opinioniștilor.
    On a last moment spur , I bought a 6 d last year when my 5d died out.
    I just bought 2 more 6d to replace my entire work gear.
    Smaller bodies to lug around throughout the long days of shooting.
    The Wifi function pays off 100 fold when you upload on the spot or send a CEO his photo in a text 1 minute later. That’s priceless to me.
    HDR ? Today I will try it out first time with 6d. Not too worried though as I always post process even if I used to do it in photomatix. As long as you have detail all over, I would say the job is done. You always want to clean up the photo a bit and bump at least the contrast in some areas.
    For photography only, this is the greatest camera I have used yet vs price. Been shooting 15y now with an average of 2-3000 photos per weekday + weekend events.
    My 2 cents, nonetheless thank you for your article.

  • Papa

    “…portrait with a 50mm lens…
    I am really reluctant to take advises from a “photographer” who shoot portraits with a 50mm lens.

    • Lately I’ve been preferring my 24-70mm for portraits, but the 50mm is nice if you’re trying to roll with compact gear. What type of lens do you prefer for portrait work?

  • JKDjEdi

    My 6d is the first digital full frame camera I’ve ever owned, and it does a great job. Except in low lighting situations, sadly my 7d does a way better job, almost twice as good. I’m saving up for the MArk iii.

  • Art Salmons

    Terrible article. The 6D is not supposed to be a replacement for your 5D. It is a cheaper alternative for those who want a full frame sensor. When you have to nitpick about HDR features that no serious photographer cares about (they’ll do the composite in Photoshop), you know you’re stretching.

    • Completely agree with you, Art. I love my 6D to the point that it actually has replaced my 5D, and this made it difficult to find flaws to report on. But I do have to say that the lower frames per second does make a pretty noticeable difference in the overall shooting experience. Just my two cents. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Scott Hullinger

      But it’s certainly always better to get things done right & correctly in the camera at the time of exposure,
      rather than spend hours later on at the computer trying to fix something with Photoshop.

      • Totally agree! I think most of us can agree that we prefer to spend as little time in post processing as possible, although sometimes it’s unavoidable.

  • judsonian

    Meh … I LOVE my 6d OVER my MIII. Switching to spot metering and picking the center cross point, the +3 EV advantage on the 6d allows me to focus in very low light (if my eyes can focus on it, the camera can) Otherwise i only shoot in raw and don’t use HDR, don’t shoot action (even though i do shoot concerts and shows), and I do use a pocketwizard.
    Renaming this article to “Why to buy a 5DMIII over a 6D” might be a better title.

    • Agree, I love my 6D over my MIII *most* of the time, namely when I want to travel lightly. I do prefer using my MIII for more action-oriented shooting though as it is a bit faster in that regard.

  • Debashis Ghosh

    This article seems pointless. You might as well list another deficiency of the camera……it needs the buyer to know what he or she wants from a camera and that the buyer should do his/her homework before making a purchase. This is not meant to express hate or disgust…..the post seems pointless. Its a bit like saying too reason not to buy a lamborgini coupe…..it cannot seat a family of 36.

    • Fair point, which is why I say this in the second paragraph: “These low achieving points aren’t necessarily deal breakers, but it depends on what kinds of photos you will generally be shooting.”

      • Debashis Ghosh

        While I do not see the point of the post I am quite pleasantly surprised to see that you respond to criticism in a very civil manner. Its a rarity in real life as well as virtual forums.

        • Thanks for the nice feedback as well, Debashis! I respect other opinions, even when they’re different from my own. I also appreciate the feedback — it’s a nice form of discourse 🙂

  • G0m3r

    This is pretty silly. You think of yourself as a professional photographer yet don’t bother doing your research BEFORE spending around $2000 on a camera? This is also prosumer camera not a full on professional grade camera.

  • Loz

    Hi Suzi, I just agree with all you have commented on here, I think it is important to know what you want your camera to do before you buy & you have listed all the things that would be of interest to folks about this camera that could be an issue to them…. I would just like to say that I love the wifi & the GPS I find them so good for photo ID & also easy of use. I also have the Sony A6000 mirror less camera & I love it as well, but I love it for different images. Thanks for your review & I would just like to say you can still shot HDR in RAW, but you just need to shot three or more images manually & then use your preferred software to bring them together, works a treat….

    • Thanks for the comments, Loz! I agree with you on the Canon 6D’s WiFi and GPS–both great features that I wish were available on other Canon DSLRs. I have the Sony a6300 as my lightweight travel camera and also love it, but for entirely different reasons. Along those lines, Sony’s WiFi capabilities are super impressive IMO.

  • Jane xxx

    Suzi, this was just the info I needed as I look around at upgrading my Canon EOS Rebel S1. Thanks for your help.

    • Fantastic, thanks for the feedback Jane. Glad it was of help 🙂

  • Pavel Kovalančík

    Hi, I have to ask. With criticizing shooting in dark with D6, have you tried the middle focus point? I am deciding between new camera in FX (already got APS-C D7000 with some fx lenses) for concerts in far from ideal light and I am torn appart between Nikons D610 and its better dynamic range and focus point amounts. Or 6D, which is praised for GREAT low noise with high ISO and with superb focus with middle point (should be even better and faster than MIII by some). Thanks for some insight.

    • Hi Pavel,
      Thanks for your question! I do indeed make use of the 6D’s middle focus point and this does help with action photography. However, I find the low number of autofocus points (11) combined that the slow frame rate (4.5 FPS) makes it tough to nail a solid action shot. But this is based on my preferred style of shooting, and is based on a comparison with (and preference for) shooting low light action with the Canon 5D Mark III, which is far superior to the Canon 6D in terms of frame rate and autofocus points.

      If you’re committed to sticking with Canon, I’d personally go with the 5D Mark III, which is dropping in price due to the brand new 5D Mark IV that was just released. Or wait several months for the impending Canon 6D Mark IV, which is likely going to be announced and released early next year. If you switch the NIkon, the D610 sounds like a good option with its 6 FPS and 39 AF points. However, if you have a slightly bigger budget, I’d spring for the newer Nikon D750 , which is supposed to have far superior low light performance and is used by many of my fellow Nikon concert photographer friends.

      Nikon D610: http://amzn.to/2ctlgef
      Nikon D750: http://amzn.to/2cmIo0E

      Hope this helps!

      • Pavel Kovalančík

        Thanks for the info and your answer, maybe that D750 is a really good idea. 🙂

  • Anh

    “In places with little to no light available.”
    Not entirely accurate title. For ISO performance, they’re neck to neck, even though DxOMark think 6D does a better job. It’s true 5diii has more sophisticate focusing system, however, 6d center point can focus -3ev. Dont get me wrong, in normal lighting 5diii trump 6d, but in low light it’s a draw.

    • Agree with you, Anh, that the 6D can perform very well when shooting in the dark, but I think its speed and accuracy in focusing depends on what you’re shooting. For still life or slow moving subjects in low lighting, the 6D’s center point focus works great, but for fast-moving subjects in low lighting, I find the center point focus to be a little lacking. Just my opinion, though!

      • Anh

        I appreciate your honest opinion and I think what you said are true. Wouldn’t you think it’s fair to say in the article: 6D’s AF can’t be good for fast-moving subject especially sport/wildlife photography. That would definitely clear up any misunderstanding. Not everyone will have chance shooting action. Before the mark iii people had been using mrk ii for wedding, so I guess it’s okay for most of us back there with only 9 focus points.

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  • jeffcs

    I’ve been shooting with a 6D for almost 3 years and just recently upgraded to a 5DMKIII. Long story short, my 6D suffered water damage while shooting a portrait session in rain/snow storm last month so I sold it on eBay for parts and replaced it with another 6D. Meanwhile, I found out my Insurance policy will cover the cost to replace my 6D so I picked up a 5DMKIII instead and planned to return the 6D.

    Although the 5DMKIII is superior to the 6D on so many different levels, I’m really having a difficult time trying to decide if I should return the 6D. I don’t really need a backup camera since I mostly second shoot weddings, but there are so many things I love about 6D. The size, Wi-Fi, the simplicity of the controls, etc. I think the 6D often gets a bad rap for the lack of AF points, but in my experience, once I learned how to work effectively work with the center focus point (using focus-recompose), it’s never once been issue for me. I know my affection for the 5DMKIII will grow the more I use it (especially for weddings), but I think both cameras complement each other very well.

    • Wow, you must have a great insurance policy! I’m pretty sure mine doesn’t cover water damage, unfortunately.

      I totally agree that the 6D is a great complement to the 5DMKIII. I use the two interchangeably, but tend to pick the 5DMKIII for my bigger client jobs. I also agree that the 6D’s lack of autofocus points can be overcome in most cases, but this still makes it harder to shoot action shots in low lighting–as a concert photographer, this matters to me, but as a wedding photographer, probably doesn’t for you. It all depends on what you shoot and the general lighting setups for those shoots.

      For anyone on the fence about getting a 5DMKIII or 6D, I’d wait a few months. It’s almost a certainty that Canon will soon announce a 6D Mark II with new features. At this point, you can either choose the new model, or find the original 6D on sale for much cheaper. Same goes with the 5DMKIII which is already dropping in price thanks to the newer 5DMKIV’s release.

      • jeffcs

        Agree it’s probably best for anyone considering the 6D to wait for the Mark II version. I certainly would have, but unfortunately my 6D died a few days before I had a wedding shoot. I also considered making the leap to a 5DMKIV instead of having both cameras, but the 6D and Mark III are still more than sufficient for my needs.

  • umptious

    Suzi – Don’t 6D’s have poor focus accuracy compared to 5Diii’s and mirrorless, even when shooting with the centre spot? They lack the closed loop feedback system of the 5Diii and the on-sensor focus of mirrorless. It only matters if you’re shooting with short dof, but then it can be a real shot loser.

    • I would agree. The Canon 6D has great autofocus accuracy, but I don’t find it as good as the 5D Mark III.

  • Timothy Dannenhoffer

    I LIKE the HDR features. I’m currently looking at buying a camera, probably one of the cheaper full frame cameras. I was leaning towards the Canon 6D because I have some decent older EF lenses from film days, but the Nikon D610 seems to be better…and now I’m a bit disappointed that it doesn’t have the full selection of HDR settings. So now I’m straddling that fence again…sell off or give away the old lenses and get the Nikon with the better dynamic range or drop down to something like the Canon 80D to get all of those HDR features.

    • Honestly, I wouldn’t rate a camera’s ability to shoot auto HDR as a high comparison point as you could easily at HDR effects in post processing. If you already have lenses from one brand, I’d say stick with that brand unless you find several really compelling reasons to switch (said by someone who has switched brands in the past…it’s pricey!).

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