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