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Body & Design

The EOS 6D bears a strong family resemblance to recent EOS designs - it's perhaps best-described as a fixed-screen 60D with a bit of 5D Mark III mixed in. It gets all of Canon's latest design touches, including the power switch below the mode dial, combined live view/movie control beside the viewfinder, and Quick Control 'Q' button. The buttons are clustered for operation mainly by your right hand, with only the Menu and Info buttons on the left below the mode dial and power switch.

The magnify button for checking focus in live view or playback occupies a new position compared to previous EOS bodies, and is now positioned for operation by your right thumb, but this means there's no place for the joystick multicontroller to move the AF point that's seen on other high-end EOSs. Its functions are taken by a 60D-like 8-way controller at the hub of the rear dial, with the familiar SET button in its centre. The disadvantage of this design is that the AF point selector is no longer directly under your thumb, but rather lower down the body, where it's less convenient with your eye to the finder.

Construction is solid, if perhaps not offering quite the same bullet-proof feel as the EOS 5D Mark III or EOS 7D. In part this is because the 6D has a plastic top plate, which according to Canon is necessary to allow the Wi-Fi and GPS to work. The rest of the body uses a magnesium alloy shell, and Canon describes it as 'dust and drip-proof'.

In what's sure to be controversial move in some quarters, the EOS 6D becomes Canon's first full frame SLR to rely solely on SD cards for recording, rather than Compact Flash. Chances are, though, that if you're buying a new body you'll be getting new cards for it anyway, and fast high-capacity SD cards are readily available and affordable. What you can't work around, however, is the fact that the 6D only provides a single card slot, with all its full frame DSLR rivals offering dual slots for more flexible storage options (on the Nikon D600, for example, we like being able to use one card for stills and the other for video).

Top of camera controls (right)

The EOS 6D's right hand top-plate has essentially the same control layout as the 60D. The front dial, that's placed immediately behind the shutter button, changes the primary exposure parameter for the selected mode - program shift in P, aperture in Av, and shutter speed in Tv and M. Behind it are a strip of buttons giving direct access to autofocus and drive modes, metering pattern and ISO (the latter being markedly better-placed for operation with the camera to your eye than on the Nikon D600), along with one that illuminates the top-plate LCD.

Next to the viewfinder is a switch-and-button control that's used to enter live view and initiate video recording. The AF-ON button activates the camera's autofocus, and the 'Star' button next to it is a customizable autoexposure lock. Beside it is the AF point selector - press this and you can move the focus point around using either the front and rear dials, or the directional pad inside the rear dial.

Top of camera controls (left)

On the other side of the pentaprism you'll find the power switch and mode dial. This has the familiar four exposure modes - Program, Aperture priority, Shutter Priority and Manual - plus Bulb shutter mode and two custom positions into which you can save camera settings for specific commonly-encountered scenarios. There's also 'Auto+' and 'Creative Auto' modes, the latter offering results-orientated creative control, and a new SCN position that consolidates Canon's long-running scene modes (sport, landscape etc.) in one place. One change compared to previous EOSs is that the mode dial rotates freely though 360 degrees, with no end-stops. The dial locks into whatever mode you've selected, and is unlocked by depressing the small circular button at its center.

Below these, there are two buttons to access the camera's menus and change the amount of information displayed on the rear screen.

Rear Controls

The rest of the EOS 6D's major shooting controls are on the back, arranged for operation by your right thumb. The Q button brings up an interactive control screen while shooting, allowing you to change camera parameters that can't necessarily be accessed directly through external buttons. It also brings overlaid option menus in Live View and Playback modes, offering rapid access to features such as in-camera RAW conversion.

Above and to the left of this is the magnify button, which is used to zoom in and check focus in live view and playback. Below that is the playback button itself, with the delete key underneath it towards the bottom of the camera.

The rear dial is used to change exposure compensation in P, Av and Tv modes, and change the aperture in M. Set within it is an 8-way controller that's used for such things as changing the focus point, navigating menus and scrolling around images in playback. The rear dial can be locked against accidental settings changes by sliding the switch below it to the right.

Front of camera controls

The only control on the front of the EOS 6D is the depth of field preview button, which is customizable to one of nine other functions if you prefer.

The depth of field preview button is placed far down the side of the lens throat, the same location as on the EOS 60D. And like the 60D we find its position makes it difficult to access when shooting in portrait format.

We prefer the EOS 5D Mark III's layout, where this button can be reached with your shooting hand still wrapped around the grip.
Functions assignable to depth-of-field preview button
Depth of Field Preview (default) AF-Off AE lock/FE lock One shot / Ai Servo AF IS start
Electronic level (in viewfinder) AE lock hold AE lock FE (flash exposure) lock Off (no function)
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Canon EOS 6D


Total comments: 32
By futuretro (3 weeks ago)

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


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?!

Ben in Black
By Ben in Black (2 weeks 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.

By Zolton (1 week 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 ;)

1 upvote
By Zolton (1 week 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.

By BGTY (2 days 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.

By PRohmer (3 weeks 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.

By hdr (4 weeks 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.

By Ahgre (1 month ago)

Only 22 comments on this popular review???

Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (1 month 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).

Oceans Media
By Oceans Media (1 month 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!

1 upvote
By l_d_allan (3 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
By siggo (3 months ago)

Does the 6D lack an anti-aliassing filter?

By l_d_allan (3 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 ?

By Machinemad (3 days ago)

hahahaha! well said! @l_d_allan.

By tallguy600 (3 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
Just Ed
By Just Ed (3 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.

By westerner (4 weeks 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.

By cadby (4 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?

By Sten298 (3 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.

By robogobo (4 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
By LongerVogue (4 months ago)

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

By l_d_allan (3 months ago)

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

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

Ruud Wilschut
By Ruud Wilschut (4 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
By Alwynj (4 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

By l_d_allan (3 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".

By Buck_Lovell (4 months ago)

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

By l_d_allan (3 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.

By MABurney (5 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
By l_d_allan (3 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.

By WillieG (1 month 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 (7 months ago)

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

By Maddrew (4 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
Total comments: 32