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Conclusion - Pros

  • Excellent detail in raw file output across ISO range
  • Class-leading low light focus sensitivity (from central AF point)
  • Very effective JPEG noise reduction at highest ISO sensitivities
  • Impressively quiet 'silent' shutter drive mode
  • Quick Control menu provides easy access to shooting settings
  • Wi-Fi-enabled remote camera control via smartphone or tablet
  • Effective and easy to use multi-exposure HDR mode
  • Built-in GPS with text log capability
  • Exposure simulation in live view can be toggled on and off
  • Full manual control in video mode
  • Choice of IPB and All-I video compression modes
  • In-camera Raw conversion
  • Good battery life (except when GPS and Wi-Fi are turned on)
  • High quality bundled raw converter (Digital Photo Professional)

Conclusion - Cons

  • JPEG engine struggles with low-contrast fine detail at low ISO sensitivities
  • Low density 11 point autofocus array with only one cross-type AF point
  • Single card slot (SD)
  • Slow burst rate compared to its full frame peers
  • Cannot configure common live view and movie mode options independently
  • Video output prone to moiré artifacts
  • Slightly lower resolution than all of its full frame peers
  • HDR mode is JPEG-only (unlike the 5D Mark III)
  • Awkward placement of DOF preview button for portrait orientation shooting
  • No built-in flash, so external controller required for shooting with groups of flashguns
  • Relatively unsophisticated Auto ISO
  • Monoaural microphone
  • No headphone jack for audio monitoring
  • Currently no uncompressed video output option (as found in its rivals)
  • Significant battery drain over time when GPS and Wi-Fi are turned on

Overall conclusion

The EOS 6D is Canon's attempt to entice DSLR owners who are looking for the benefits of full frame shooting - including shallower depth of field and wider-angle lens coverage, but can't afford the EOS 5D Mark III. Naturally though, Canon doesn't want to risk losing sales of the EOS 5D Mark III, and achieving these sometimes conflicting aims inevitably means that some hard choices had to be made in order to create an 'affordable' full frame EOS camera in the 6D.

Let's be clear, the EOS 6D has a lot more going for it than just its comparatively low price tag. Based largely on the well thought-out ergonomics and operational handling of the popular EOS 60D, this newest full frame EOS provides solid build quality and light weight in a snappy, responsive camera powered by the same DIGIC 5+ image processor found in the 5D Mark III and the dual-chipped EOS 1D X.

The 6D also sports features that even those higher-end models cannot match. You get class-leading low-light autofocusing capability with a very impressive -3 EV sensitivity (from the central AF point). The 6D also becomes the first full frame DSLR from any manufacturer with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, a feature that is put to excellent use with a free Canon app - for Android and iOS devices - that provides live view-enabled remote camera control, exposure control and AF lock. Throw in an internal GPS unit and you've got a camera that provides features that are of real, practical use to a wide range of photographers.

The 6D inherits a number of features from the EOS 5D Mark III as well. Yet it is with several of these features that compromises will have to be made for those looking for a budget-conscious option to that higher-priced camera. The 6D offers identical video specifications, including an 'All-I' compression option and manual sound controls, yet the camera lacks a headphone jack for audio monitoring. The 6D's multi-exposure HDR mode is a quick, easy way to capture extended highlight and shadow detail, yet it is offered here as a JPEG-only mode, whereas the 5D Mark III can save the individual Raw format images used to create it as well.

Low-light focusing ability aside, the 6D offers the least sophisticated AF system of any full frame model on the market. A meager 11 point AF array, confined to a relatively small amount of viewfinder real estate, with only a single cross-type sensor, is then paired with a pedestrian shooting rate of well under 5 fps, putting the camera at a noticeable disadvantage even for those who only occasionally shoot action or sports.

Image Quality

The EOD 6D delivers default color and contrast that is typical of enthusiast EOS cameras. This is of course no bad thing, and its evaluative metering system produces well-judged exposures. Auto White Balance consistently gives realistic results, struggling somewhat only in very warmly lit low light scenes. And Canon's noise reduction algorithms provide an impressive balance between preserving image detail in organic fine textures and noise suppression at the 6D's highest ISOs. Measured noise levels from the 6D are similar to the older 5D Mark III at low to medium ISO settings but consistently lower above ISO 3200, which does make a difference in real-world use when it comes to high ISO shooting in marginal light.

The JPEG dynamic range performance of the 6D places it comfortably alongside its peers, and is in fact essentially identical to the 5D Mark III with about four stops of highlight information above middle gray. Built-in lens corrections do an excellent job of controlling vignetting and greatly minimize CA even in the more extreme examples we encountered.

Canon's familiar Picture Style options offer the ability to tweak not only color response but sharpness, contrast and saturation settings on the fly. Of course you'll have access to more options and greater image quality by processing Raw images, whether in Canon's fully-featured Digital Photo Professional software or in your preferred third party application.

The 6D produces perfectly acceptable video output - with good colors and saturation - for users who just want to document moments and events for personal use. And the camera's low-light high ISO performance is impressive as well. Videographers, however, will be loath to even consider a camera with such pronounced aliasing artifacts including moiré patterning. This is by far the biggest distinction in output - stills or video - between the 6D and the 5D Mark III.

Handling

When coming up with new products, especially new mid-range and high-end EOS DSLRs, Canon tends not to stray too far away from well-established handling and ergonomic principles. And the 6D continues that trend, with a form factor and external control layout very clearly derived from the EOS 60D. In fact, placing the two cameras side by side, the only visually obvious distinction is the 6D's slightly taller viewfinder hump necessitated by the camera's full frame (versus APS-C) sensor, and of course the articulated rear LCD of the EOS 60D.

The 6D is a responsive camera, whether you're navigating menus or adjusting camera settings. A sufficiently deep hand-grip allows for comfortable hand-holding with moderate range L-series zoom lenses. And for those looking for more heft and/or ergonomics geared for portrait-oriented shooting, Canon of course offers an optional battery grip, the BGE-13. Speaking of batteries, its worth noting that the 6D uses the same lithium-ion model found in Canon's 5D (II and III versions), 60D and 7D cameras, helpfully allowing owners of those cameras to avoid having to buy a whole new set of spares.

Out of the box, the 6D provides well-considered operational controls that will be immediately familiar to any previous EOS owner. Yet for those who like to customize their camera's operation, the 6D allows you to reconfigure a number of its buttons, adjust tracking sensitivity, and perform micro AF adjustments for specific lens/body combinations.

The Final Word

The EOS 6D ticks off many of the things an APS-C DSLR owner could want in a full frame upgrade: great image quality, excellent handling, light weight and a sub-$2100 price tag. The challenge for Canon, of course is that the 6D does not exist in a vacuum. It faces very stiff competition from the Nikon D600, which for the same price boasts a slightly higher resolution sensor, a more robust AF system, dual card slots, built-in flash (which can act as a wireless flash commander) and weather-sealing comparable to the much more expensive Nikon D800.

That's not to say that the EOS 6D is an entirely uninspiring product by comparison. Landscape and nature photographers could benefit greatly from advantages the 6D brings to the table, including remote control from your smartphone and GPS image tagging. The connectivity options provided by the EOS 6D are very impressive overall, and we're sure that whatever they take pictures of, some photographers will find them very compelling. In terms of core photographic specifications, concert and event shooters will enjoy the ability to autofocus in extremely low light and the impressively quiet shutter release is tailor-made for the needs of wedding and event photographers.

If you're an EOS shooter eyeing the 6D as a more affordable alternative to the 5D Mark III, even as a second backup body, Canon has made your decision fairly straightforward. Still image quality aside, the concessions you're forced to make for the significant cost savings are substantial. A slower burst rate, less sophisticated AF system with smaller coverage area, and moiré-prone video headline the list of compromises. And while we can understand Canon's desire to keep the camera's price down, other seemingly arbitrary decisions, like the inability to save HDR raw images and a DOF preview button whose location is much less useful than it could be, smack solely of product differentiation.

While the 6D is certainly capable of delivering wonderful images with a minimum of fuss, we can't help feeling that Canon's compromises have turned what could have a been a truly great camera into merely a very good one. This places our highest award ever so slightly beyond the reach of the EOS 6D, but Canon's latest camera easily earns our silver award.

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.

Canon EOS 6D
Category: Mid Range Full Frame camera
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Performance
Movie / video mode
Value
PoorExcellent
Good for
Users who've been waiting for full frame DSLR image quality at a more affordable price.
Not so good for
Sports and action shooters who demand a fast frame rate. Video enthusiasts who need to minimize the appearance of moiré.
Overall score
83%
The EOS 6D doesn't offer the depth of features that its best competitors can, but it combines very good image quality, impressive high ISO performance and class-leading low light autofocus ability (with the central AF point) as well as impressive built-in Wi-Fi and GPS features.

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Enter the 'Canon EOS-1D / 5D / 6D ' Discussion Forum

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Comments

Total comments: 42
Jeffa4444
By Jeffa4444 (1 month ago)

jzami69
Ive been taking photographs for 45 years and work in cinematography. Personally I think digital has surpassed film for color photography but NOT for black & white photography where film grain adds to the medium.
I bought a Canon 6d because Im invested in Canon and have been since 1972 (although I also have Olympus Pen cameras) I didnt want to pay the cost of the 5d MKIII for amateur use but wanted full-frame the 6d was it.
The pictures consistantly impress me from this camera far outstrip my 7d in IQ and the only weakness is limited focus points otherwise as a travel & landscape camera it hits the mark perfectly.

2 upvotes
CityHunter
By CityHunter (1 month ago)

Any info about Canon might announce 6D Mk II during Photokina 2014?

1 upvote
jzami69
By jzami69 (2 months ago)

Okay, someone explain. Don't compare the 6D to its peers, compare it to a camera 2, 5, 10, 50 years ago when people were creating beautiful images. The ratings annoy me because they're based on current technology and not historical technology. They're not even based on picture quality. You're nitpicking, pixel counting. Except for a lab analyst, your reviews are totally useless.

4 upvotes
fuzzywazzy
By fuzzywazzy (2 months ago)

I actually agree with you and would like more reviews comparing current digital technology to the old SLR cameras of the years past. Great suggestion, I hope they listen!

2 upvotes
Mangoman232
By Mangoman232 (1 month ago)

Since they're totally different mediums, wouldn't that be comparable to the apples/oranges thing? I think in some ways it would be, and in others, no. Again, the beauty of a photo is always subjective; I probably lost a contest because of the judges, who knows? Some contests I didn't bother to enter back then, 'cuz you had to use Kodak film, and I saved a lot of money by buying Fujifilm at Sam's Club; A LOT of money! But, I'm getting off the subject here - this is a truly remarkable camera for the price. I've used one for a weekend, and can't wait to own one!

1 upvote
jgg1013
By jgg1013 (1 week ago)

welll.. a camera is a box that captures light. Comparing the cameras is all well and good, but the thing that captures the light is the film.. or sensor.. or glass negative.. or whatever the "film" medium is. The glass-which lets the light in is comparable today to anything you used in the past- superior even.. so the question is.. are the final prints from your digital sensor as good as the final prints from your film days? Answer to that.. well yes i agree that there are BW mediums that result in fantastic images. Whether you can duplicate that printing process -- and what about that- Traditional enlarger and papers? Inkjet? Laser? == even in the days of film: Ansel Adams classic books.. the first serious books I ever read about photography: The Camera - The Negative - The Print. .. if you are only talking about one of these- the camera, you are leaving a whole lot out of the discussion.

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Mohsensh
By Mohsensh (2 months ago)

I want to buy 6D for filming. I don't know what's the problem. it says that 6D have morie or something like that. What is it? someone plz answer me

0 upvotes
Esrold
By Esrold (2 months ago)

Moiré patterns are visual interference patterns that can occur in high resolution digital cameras. Anti-alias filters are designed to reduce or eliminate moiré patterns, but have been left out of some recent cameras in order to attain the highest possible resolution. I'm not sure whether or not the 6D has such a filter. Dpreview explains moiré patterns at this address...
http://www.dpreview.com/glossary/digital-imaging/moire

2 upvotes
futuretro
By futuretro (4 months ago)

The BIGGEST WORST thing Canon did with the 6D,
is the omission of a headphone jack.

It's just UNFORGIVABLE.

Anyone who is interested in the 6D,
will end up getting a 6D,
simply because they can't afford (or justify the price of) a 5D3.

So why would you give them a handicapped tool?!

0 upvotes
Ben in Black
By Ben in Black (3 months ago)

Call me old-fashioned, but I use an SLR to take photographs. The ability to shoot the odd video is merely a useful extra. I can understand the advantage of a headphone socket but it is hardly a deal-breaker for a still photographer.

5 upvotes
Zolton
By Zolton (3 months ago)

I use my 6D primarily for video, but I record proper sound with an external recorder and only use the camera recorded sound as back up or for synching.

If that is the worst thing you don't like about the camera - you must really like what it was designed for ;)

3 upvotes
Zolton
By Zolton (3 months ago)

Additionally, the 6D uses exactly the same digi video processor as 5D3... so no I considered the 5D3 but couldn't justify the addition $k for no functional value given how I planned to use it.

1 upvote
BGTY
By BGTY (3 months ago)

For my needs, the 6D really fell into a nice little niche. I don't shoot video, so the headphone jack was a non issue. I don't shoot sports, so the AF system wasn't a big deal.

It saved me a lot of money by omitting features of the 5DIII that weren't of huge (or any) importance to me, personally.

2 upvotes
taurinh
By taurinh (3 months ago)

As someone who has shot numerous videos with DSLR's (5D mk2, Mk3) and a canon c100 i personally dont think the headphone jack is that big of a loss. Most of the time anyone really serious about audio for a production will use external recorders and HD processing for audio as the DSLR compresses audio a bit. There have been a handful of times I use the internal audio for the final edit, even with external wireless or boom mics. I prefer separate source, slate it and combine in post. But that's my personal preference after 12 years in the biz.

So, all that to say for the price different between it and the Mk3, I am getting the 6D for my stills and 2nd video camera on set.

3 upvotes
PRohmer
By PRohmer (4 months ago)

This rating of the 6D is weird to say the least. Almost every reviewer out there rated video capabilities of 6D as definitely better then Nikon d610. How on earth here it gets much lower video rating then d610?? Yet focusing is rated relatively high? What's going on? What am I missing?

Thank you.

3 upvotes
hdr
By hdr (4 months ago)

Does anyone know if the wi-fi on the 6D supports the Pictbridge printing interface? I'd love to get the camera if it does.
Thanks much.

0 upvotes
Ahgre
By Ahgre (4 months ago)

Only 22 comments on this popular review???

0 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (4 months ago)

PLUS: Solid likeable camera with decent performance. CONS: That you know its the least they could get away with for the maximum money (roll on the MK2).

1 upvote
Oceans Media
By Oceans Media (4 months ago)

I bought this camera 7 months ago and I absolutely love it for what I use it for. I live to shoot Lightning, astrophotography, long exposure etc. and the 6D shines beautifully due to its amazing low noise sensor up to ISO6400. The standard kit lens 24mm-105mm f4 L series is amazing. So sharp and accurate.

Where it lets me down is in the studio. In the field I manual focus everything, in the studio however I prefer to use autofocus at times. The autofocus on this camera sucks. Yes it can focus on the light of a full moon, but for everyday use it’s about 3 years behind the market. My guess is that the 6D came out after the 5dIII and Canon had to make sure that people still bought the 5dIII even though the 6D sensor is better in low light hands down. The 5DIII focus system is great!

With regards to the multiple exposure and HDR modes. Both are features that I think all serious SLR cameras should have moving forward. They are fantastic!

2 upvotes
l_d_allan
By l_d_allan (6 months ago)

> And as is Canon's wont, they have opted for the allure of familiarity and consistency

Am I living on a different planet? I have a 5d2, T3i/600d, and now a 6d. With just the 5d2, I got familiar enough with the user interface to work in the dark.

But the three cameras turn on/off differently. The LiveView works differently. The Mode PASM works different. Many controls are relocated. Magnify is different. Re-assign buttons is different, etc. etc. etc.

I get it that the UI has to change with fewer thumb wheels on the 600d, and missing the joy-stick on the 6d However, the on/off changes, Mode, etc. seem like poor choices.

I really didn't expect to have a re-learning curve from the 5d2 to the 6d. If I forget a head-lamp, it really slows me down at night.

Seems more like "change for the sake of change" rather than compelling improvement. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

Am I the only whiner that feels this way?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
siggo
By siggo (6 months ago)

Does the 6D lack an anti-aliassing filter?

0 upvotes
l_d_allan
By l_d_allan (6 months ago)

It has an anti-aliasing filter. AFAIK, I'm not aware of any Canon camera that doesn't have the AAF (aka OLPF?)

BTW: the reviews I read on the Nikon cameras is that lack of the AAF is over-rated. The 800e implementation seems like a joke ... pay more to have them put a compensating "something" over the existing AAF.

Seems kind of like a lens having a UV filter built-in, then paying to have an anti-UV filter on top of that ?

1 upvote
Machinemad
By Machinemad (3 months ago)

hahahaha! well said! @l_d_allan.

0 upvotes
tallguy600
By tallguy600 (6 months ago)

Used to own a D600, sold it, prefer the 6D by a margin and love the Wi-Fi implementation.
No clue about that DP review of the D600, I find it misleading as the D600 was clearly a camera released too hasty without proper quality control.
Using Lightroom 5, does everything I need, never touched the Canon software CD.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Just Ed
By Just Ed (6 months ago)

I have a very similar experience. Love my 6D and the Canon L lenses. Really enjoy how the Canon cameras capture the colors of nature. I was always fiddling with the greens on my Nikon images from both the D600 and D90 it replaced.

0 upvotes
westerner
By westerner (4 months ago)

You can fix the green tint with one click in the white balance menu...set one click towards magenta, and the green goes away. Forever. That's ridiculous to switch brands for that. Better yet, shoot RAW, and who cares what the white balance looks like? Fix it in post.

1 upvote
cadby
By cadby (7 months ago)

Finally ready to make the jump to full frame after 8 years with Olympus DSLR's. After considerable research and gnashing of teeth I pulled the trigger on the 6D. I really wanted to go with the Nikon D 600 based on DP Review and various other reviews, based on features, output quality and MP, but the ongoing concerns over the sensor dust and oil spots and Nikons recalcitrant PR approach to these issues pushed me to the 6D. I just could not imagine investing $3k in full kit only to experience ongoing sensor issues. I am excited to experience the full frame format and take my amatuer photography to the next level.
How is Canon's photo management & editing software? Should I look into purchasing another package, and what does the forum recommend?

4 upvotes
Sten298
By Sten298 (6 months ago)

Fully agree with your comments! I was about to go to Nikon D600 but was so much disappointed with their no-customer (snob) oriented approach that eventually decided for the 6D. I couldn't be more satisfied for such a decision. I liked Nikon so much in the past (before digital era) they made so beautiful film cameras, but this is the past...the present looks different.
As for the software: I always shoot RAW and develop with Capture One and that's excellent for other cameras, particularly for Fuji X raw files, but for 6D RAW files I found out that Canon software (Digital Photo Professional) gives better results. The only drawback of DPP is that it is very slow.

4 upvotes
robogobo
By robogobo (7 months ago)

After a long deliberation, I decided to upgrade from my 5Dii to the 6D. Some may call it a sidegrade or even a downgrade, but for me, image quality is everything, and the ablity to focus and shoot in low light is paramount. I'm very happy with my decision, and so far I don't miss any of the 5D line features. I'm getting shots I wouldn't have gotten with the 5Dii (maybe not even with the mark iii), and most importantly I can afford to upgrade every one or two years with the current price point of the 6D rather than three or four with the 5D. I'd rather have more frequent updates of sensor technology instead of being left with a better built, feature packed but obsolete camera for the same money.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
4 upvotes
LongerVogue
By LongerVogue (7 months ago)

Anyone tried eos 6d with 12mm lens. How is it?

0 upvotes
l_d_allan
By l_d_allan (6 months ago)

Well, it is ultra wide. What info are you looking for?

Sharpness? Vignetting? Which 12mm lens? Electrical connectivity? Focus speed?

0 upvotes
Ruud Wilschut
By Ruud Wilschut (7 months ago)

@ Alwynj:
The difference is more obvious when you look at the brown fibers right on top of the color chart with the lady's face. Also the black and white squares in the corners are a lot sharper with the Canon, but perhaps the used Canon lens performs better resolving detail in the corners than the Nikkor used with the D600 what might explain the difference in detail.

1 upvote
Alwynj
By Alwynj (7 months ago)

I don't understand DP Review. Compare the Canon 6d and Nikon D600 and they'll have you believe that the D600 edges ahead in the high ISO dept, but to my eyes the 6d wins when I use the comparative tool. Images appear slightly cleaner and sharper (in RAW). Move the box to the face of the lady and see for yourself

4 upvotes
l_d_allan
By l_d_allan (6 months ago)

Some of that may be because the comparison may be on a pixel vs pixel basis. A single Canon pixel may have lower noise than a single Nikon pixel, but there are many more Nikon pixels.

And I tend to get fuzzy when comparing crop cameras to full-frames. It can be "apples and oranges".

0 upvotes
Segaman
By Segaman (4 weeks ago)

Great camera the 6D, so far I get great pics at high iso, so for a live show its a must, sure the Nikon as great qualities, but at high iso....Canon wins hands down, by 2 stops......
If you are a Canon user stick to Canon, if you are a Nikon user stick to Nikon, they are both great cameras, depending on what you intend to shoot

0 upvotes
Buck_Lovell
By Buck_Lovell (7 months ago)

Please quaitfy the autofouce performance in video mode....fast, medium, slow? Continuous autofocus is what I need....fats continuous....

0 upvotes
l_d_allan
By l_d_allan (6 months ago)

I am mostly ignorant about video and the 70d, so "consider the source". My impression is that the Canon 70d is the only Canon camera with decent auto-focus.

0 upvotes
MABurney
By MABurney (8 months ago)

"The EOS 6D is Canon's attempt to entice DSLR owners who are looking for the benefits of full frame shooting - including shallower depth of field and wider-angle lens coverage, but can't afford the EOS 5D Mark III."

". . . Canon's compromises have turned what could have a been a truly great camera into merely a very good one. "

This is interesting. Do we want 6D to be like the 5D Mark III? Then why not buy the $3,500.00 camera.

1 upvote
l_d_allan
By l_d_allan (6 months ago)

> then why not buy the $3,500.00 camera

Seems like you've answered your own question ... the 5d3 is a Lot More Expensive, especially if your photography equipment isn't a write-off.

0 upvotes
WillieG
By WillieG (4 months ago)

The 6D would never be considered a great camera compared to the 5DMk3. More than likely the compromises that make the 6D "merely a very good one" are those with respect to the D600.

1 upvote
Thomas Karlmann
By Thomas Karlmann (10 months ago)

DPR: Can you please insert a photo in ALL your reviews showing the AF sensor array? Thank you.

0 upvotes
Maddrew
By Maddrew (7 months ago)

Assuming we are looking into the camera's OVF horizontally, the vertical coverage of the 6D's sensor array is about 1/3 the height of the OVF, spreading from the centre AF point. The diamond shaped array is slightly wider, almost covering 2/3 the width of the EVF, but just almost. Shooting vertical portraits with extreme DOFs (like using the 50mm F1.2 L wide open) can be tricky, because the furthest points of the diamond AF array misses the subject's eyes (under normal compositions) a little too much. But to be fair, the 5D Mark III's high density AF array is not that much spread out either, especially when compared to Canon's APS-C EOS bodies.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 42