Canon 6D: Why is the interface so badly broken?

Started Dec 30, 2012 | Discussions
Jason Rickerby Contributing Member • Posts: 712
Canon 6D: Why is the interface so badly broken?
2

Background - I got my first dSLR in September 2004, the Canon 20D. I then upgraded to the Canon 40D. I have a couple of L series lenses, a 580EX, 430EX, battery grip, timer remote, etc., so I'm reasonably invested in the EOS system.

I am 6 days away from picking up a Canon 6D, however I am having real difficulties getting past the fact that from a user interface perspective, it is a broken camera.

Firstly, I use Flash Exposure Compensation quite a bit, so I'm trying to convince myself that when doing a shoot with the 6D, leaving the Quick menu on FEC would make it quick to get in and make a change. (The quick menu will stay on FEC, even if I change stuff like ISO with the direct buttons, right?) The trouble is, after having a FEC button on my Canon body since 2004, why am I now forced to be messing around in the Quick menu? How is the "Quick" menu quicker than having the ISO/FEC button? Clearly Canon want's to punish customers who can't afford the 5D Mark III. If putting FEC in the Quick menu was about improving usability, then all new Canon bodies would have single mode buttons, but this is clearly not the case.

A better example of this broken interface is the "Zoom" button. Really Canon? Why do we loose the joystick to have a zoom button? If I've hit the "Play" button, what was wrong with the method of using the two upper-right buttons for zooming in and out? More precisely, if I'm in "Play" mode, isn't it logical to think that I will likely want to zoom in to the preview? Why do I have to hit another button to tell the camera that I now want to zoom? This is a design decision that should get someone fired. The answer clearly is that the 10D-60D/7D/5D/1D zoom method was too convenient, and customers who can't afford the more expensive full frame body again need to be punished with more superfluous button pushes.

I should point out that I am familiar with the 60D and it's "simplified" interface, and you'll notice I didn't buy one. At least the 60D doesn't have a stupid Zoom button.

After reading some 6D reviews I understand that the 6D is aimed at "the social" customer. Really? Seriously? A $2,100 dollar full-frame body is being aimed at the social media crowd, because they are really clamoring for one? Now clearly, in Canon's mind, these "social media" customers cannot cope with camera buttons that do more than one thing - lest we all forget that "social media" users with their smart phones are accustomed to their touchscreen virtual keyboards having each "button" doing about 5 things. (The 6D front dial seems to be used for about a million things, but let's not confuse things. In Canon's mind, we obviously all use our mouse scroll wheels far more frequently than left-clicking.)

Clearly I'm of the opinion regarding the 6D that a) most significantly, as a long time Canon customer my familiarity with the exiting interface has been disregarding as a significant design consideration; b) Canon believes that "social media" customers who are very accustomed to having a single button for 7,P,p,Q,q,R,r,S,s cannot deal with an interface where ISO and FEC, etc. can share a button; and that c) if you want a full frame Canon body with a non-broken interface, you need to pony up another $1,200 - $1,400 for the privilege. One can get some nice glass for $1,200 - $1,400.

Now I anticipate the response to my concerns may take the tack of "You can't expect 5D Mark III features at the 6D price." Unfortunately, I don't believe that this is a reasonable consideration in this context of the user interface. With the difference in autofocus system, no dual slot, no RAW HDR/multi-exposure, no uncompressed HDMI out, etc., there's a reasonably amount to differentiate the 5D Mark III and 6D, without having to break the user interface on the 6D.

What's really unfortunate is that if I vote with my wallet and do not buy the 6D, due to it's broken interface, Canon would probably interpret this as the 6D Mark II should get rid of more buttons in favor of a touchscreen

I cannot afford the 5D Mark III but can really benefit from the image capturing capabilities of the 6D. I'm really angry with Canon right now that for my $2,000 purchase, Canon gets to punish me with a broken interface. (With the price reduction of the 5D Mark II it's been REALLY tempting, but outside of the user interface not being broken, a Mark II doesn't make sense.)

It would be great to be able to contact someone at Canon to voice these concerns, but considering how long it took them to figure out that opening the card slot door didn't mean you wanted to throw away anything in the camera buffer and that mirror lockup is a feature best buried in menus, I don't think they care about my opinion as a customer anyway.

Thanks for reading my rant. Any feedback on the day-to-day usability of the 6D would be appreciated.

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Nigel Wilkins
Nigel Wilkins Senior Member • Posts: 1,006
Re: Canon 6D: Why is the interface so badly broken?
5

FEC can be assigned to the SET button

Also, although different from the 5DII, the zoom button is actually better once you get used to it, in that you can set it to go straight to 10x magnification, rather than keep pressing the zoom button.

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RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 28,601
buy what fits your needs
2

Why are you considering the 6D when it seems like the 5D2 is what will fit your needs?   If you really need quick access to FEC, get the 5D2 instead of the camera that you think is horribly designed.  End of story.  Don't go on whining about a product that you don't want to buy, please!

OP Jason Rickerby Contributing Member • Posts: 712
Re: buy what fits your needs

RedFox88 wrote:

Why are you considering the 6D when it seems like the 5D2 is what will fit your needs? If you really need quick access to FEC, get the 5D2 instead of the camera that you think is horribly designed. End of story. Don't go on whining about a product that you don't want to buy, please!

You misunderstand me. I think the 6D is looking like a great camera with the caveat that Canon has intentionally disregarded their existing user base who would view this body as an upgrade. I do not understand why Canon would move away from the previous interface without there being clear benefits to the new design. It certainly feels like the interface design changes are intended to "dumb down" the camera, which makes it less obvious as an upgrade.

While this may not be reasonable, I certainly feel like Canon is saying "As a long time Canon APS-C user, here's a reasonably priced full frame camera, but we've dumbed down the 6D interface to encourage you to want the 5D Mark III."

Thanks for your feedback.

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OP Jason Rickerby Contributing Member • Posts: 712
Re: Canon 6D: Why is the interface so badly broken?

Nigel Wilkins wrote:

FEC can be assigned to the SET button

Also, although different from the 5DII, the zoom button is actually better once you get used to it, in that you can set it to go straight to 10x magnification, rather than keep pressing the zoom button.

Thanks for the feedback Nigel - this is good to know.

While in the camera store I was looking to see if I could assign FEC to a button but didn't find the option; it's really great news to hear that you can. (Although I take it you still can't use the top LCD or viewfinder to see what adjustment your making to FEC?) Anyway, I'll be grateful that you can get there with one button push - thanks for that.

Good to hear that there's a benefit to the Zoom button. I did spend 20 minutes with the 6D to take some sample shots with my 24-70 F2.8 but was not finding the interface changes beneficial. Maybe the button changes just aren't intuitive as they could be.

You have definitely made me feel better about my impending doom, er I mean purchase

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rrccad Forum Pro • Posts: 11,221
Re: buy what fits your needs
3

Jason Rickerby wrote:

RedFox88 wrote:

Why are you considering the 6D when it seems like the 5D2 is what will fit your needs? If you really need quick access to FEC, get the 5D2 instead of the camera that you think is horribly designed. End of story. Don't go on whining about a product that you don't want to buy, please!

You misunderstand me. I think the 6D is looking like a great camera with the caveat that Canon has intentionally disregarded their existing user base who would view this body as an upgrade. I do not understand why Canon would move away from the previous interface without there being clear benefits to the new design.

where have you been? it's nearly identical to the 60D.

the upgrade path took a right turn with the 60D .. essentialy it's 40D-50D-7D->5D if you wish to keep the same ergos.

the 60D was injected in between the 7D and the rebel lineup with slightly different ergos. the 6D matches that.

EDIT:

you are also in the US .. call up the canon loyalty program, get some old clunker canon camera off fleabay and get a 5D2 for around $1100 and change.

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lordbeau Senior Member • Posts: 1,242
Re: Canon 6D: Why is the interface so badly broken?

Indeed, it is the 100% zoom button both the 6D and 5D Mark III that are tempting me from Nikon. The D600 does not have this facility and you have to keep pressing back and forth.

I'd be interested to hear if people find the 6D capable as a wedding camera. I suspect the answer is no, especially without the security of double card slots. Having just attempted a wedding with a Nikon D7000 when being more used to a D300s and D700, I can tell you that the instant zoom on playback button is an essential IME.

Nigel Wilkins
Nigel Wilkins Senior Member • Posts: 1,006
Re: Canon 6D: Why is the interface so badly broken?
1

lordbeau wrote:

Indeed, it is the 100% zoom button both the 6D and 5D Mark III that are tempting me from Nikon. The D600 does not have this facility and you have to keep pressing back and forth.

I'd be interested to hear if people find the 6D capable as a wedding camera. I suspect the answer is no, especially without the security of double card slots. Having just attempted a wedding with a Nikon D7000 when being more used to a D300s and D700, I can tell you that the instant zoom on playback button is an essential IME.

I've seen many wedding photographers using the 5D & 5DII which also never had dual card slots...I'd have thought having better focusing & speed would be more useful.

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x-vision
x-vision Senior Member • Posts: 1,227
Re: Canon 6D: Why is the interface so badly broken?
4

Jason Rickerby wrote:

On the surface, the simplification of the interface (right-hand only operation, smaller number of buttons) is designed to be more consumer-friendly.

In reality, Canon is trying to discourage pros from buying the 6D.

You, my friend, are supposed to spend more for the 5DIII.
The 6D is specifically designed to inconvenience you.

henrikbengtsson Senior Member • Posts: 1,106
6D for weddings
2

lordbeau wrote:

I'd be interested to hear if people find the 6D capable as a wedding camera. I suspect the answer is no, especially without the security of double card slots. Having just attempted a wedding with a Nikon D7000 when being more used to a D300s and D700, I can tell you that the instant zoom on playback button is an essential IME.

I'm totally convinced that it is an outstanding wedding camera compared to the 5D2. The silent shutter alone is one helluva nice improvement. It is REALLY quiet. Then better ISO perfomance, slightly higher FPS, better AF (especially in low light), improved AWB and, what to my eyes looks like a nicer color reproduction out of cam. You can't go wrong with it on weddings.

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Weasel_Loader
Weasel_Loader Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: 6D for weddings

Sorry to say, but its all about marketing in my opinion.  You make the 6D too perfect and it creeps into 5D MKIII sales.  You'll find the same issues when considering D600 and D800 features.  I find this practice to be hitting just about every segment of the industry these days.  I've owned Canon 7D and Nikon D700, then trying out the mirrorless stuff (OM-D, X-E1), but really miss FF DSLR quality.  The 6D seems to fit my needs very well.

ebrandon Regular Member • Posts: 459
Re: Canon 6D: Why is the interface so badly broken?
4

I generally make it a policy not to respond to trollish posts like that of the OP.

But I will chime in to this thread so as not do discourage potential readers from the 6D. I, personally, had given up on the Canon 5D/II/III line of cameras and the #1 reason was that dual-mode buttons drive me crazy.

The 6D is the first small FF DSLR by any manufacturer with a clean simple UI where each button is dedicated to just one function. This makes it quick and fun to use under any circumstances, but it's especially appreciated when you can't see the buttons (e.g., your eye on the VF, using a hoodman, in the dark, etc.)

Also the zoom button is super-useful, as it can be set to zoom into the selected focus point with just one button push. Instant focus check! Fast and easy.

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RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 28,601
Re: buy what fits your needs

Jason Rickerby wrote:

RedFox88 wrote:

Why are you considering the 6D when it seems like the 5D2 is what will fit your needs? If you really need quick access to FEC, get the 5D2 instead of the camera that you think is horribly designed. End of story. Don't go on whining about a product that you don't want to buy, please!

You misunderstand me. I think the 6D is looking like a great camera with the caveat that Canon has intentionally disregarded their existing user base who would view this body as an upgrade.

The 6D seems to be designed as a 35mm version of the 60D.  The buttons on top of the camera are for the most part identical to those on the 60D, i.e. no FEC button.  That seems to be Canon's goal.  So for you, an upgrade for you would be the 5D3 if you want 35mm and a bigger image sensor.  It's plainly simple.

OP Jason Rickerby Contributing Member • Posts: 712
Re: Canon 6D: Why is the interface so badly broken?

x-vision wrote:

Jason Rickerby wrote:

On the surface, the simplification of the interface (right-hand only operation, smaller number of buttons) is designed to be more consumer-friendly.

In reality, Canon is trying to discourage pros from buying the 6D.

You, my friend, are supposed to spend more for the 5DIII.
The 6D is specifically designed to inconvenience you.

x-vision: Thanks for listening

Based on Nigel's feedback I'm a bit happier about picking up the 6D.

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OP Jason Rickerby Contributing Member • Posts: 712
Re: Canon 6D: Why is the interface so badly broken?
3

ebrandon wrote:

I generally make it a policy not to respond to trollish posts like that of the OP.

But I will chime in to this thread so as not do discourage potential readers from the 6D. I, personally, had given up on the Canon 5D/II/III line of cameras and the #1 reason was that dual-mode buttons drive me crazy.

The 6D is the first small FF DSLR by any manufacturer with a clean simple UI where each button is dedicated to just one function. This makes it quick and fun to use under any circumstances, but it's especially appreciated when you can't see the buttons (e.g., your eye on the VF, using a hoodman, in the dark, etc.)

Also the zoom button is super-useful, as it can be set to zoom into the selected focus point with just one button push. Instant focus check! Fast and easy.

I can appreciate that you prefer the one-button-per-function interface. However calling my post "trollish" because I've been successfully using Canon's dual-mode buttons for over 8 years and don't appreciate having to take a step-backward button-function-wise to upgrade to Full Frame, seems a bit uncalled for. For $2,000 I think it's reasonable to have at least equivalent or improved functionality over my existing mid-range Canon dSLR.

With regard to the purpose of my post - I have spent a small amount of time with the 6D and acme across several omissions of serious concern to me. A couple of the responses posted have educated me on work-a rounds or clarified how a function can be used to better effect. Now my outlook of the 6D has gone from severe irritation to some annoyance that I can live with. Is this type of dialog not one of the purposes of this forum? (Rhetorical question. Wouldn't want to appear to be "trolling".)

Now - have a 40D picture:

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Lemming51
Lemming51 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,867
Set FEC directly on the speedlite.

Jason Rickerby wrote:

Background - I got my first dSLR in September 2004, the Canon 20D. I then upgraded to the Canon 40D. I have a couple of L series lenses, a 580EX, 430EX, battery grip, timer remote, etc., so I'm reasonably invested in the EOS system.

Firstly, I use Flash Exposure Compensation quite a bit, so I'm trying to convince myself that when doing a shoot with the 6D, leaving the Quick menu on FEC would make it quick to get in and make a change. (The quick menu will stay on FEC, even if I change stuff like ISO with the direct buttons, right?) The trouble is, after having a FEC button on my Canon body since 2004, why am I now forced to be messing around in the Quick menu? How is the "Quick" menu quicker than having the ISO/FEC button?

With the higher end speedlites any on-camera FEC is simply redundant and unnecessary.  The quickest and most direct way to set FEC is to do so directly on your 580EX or 430EX.  Not only that, but the amount of FEC applied is always displayed in the speedlite's LCD when applied directly.  If FEC is set on the camera, then in both the camera's top LCD and the speedlite's LCD the only display is the icon that some amount of FEC has been set, but it doesn't display the amount.

IMHO, YMMV.

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Noogy
Noogy Senior Member • Posts: 2,159
Re: Canon 6D: Why is the interface so badly broken?
1

I am exactly on the opposite side of the fence:  I love the 6D's new interface, coming from the 7D that I still love to use.  The horizontally sliding ISO selection, the cleaner Menu interface overall, etc.  I believe it is a step forward and frankly is a welcome refresh as Canon's menu system is being dated.  There is a bit of a learning curve that I don't mind.  Yes the zooming option is a bit of a pain to get used to, but it is not a deal breaker for me.  Its image quality is phenomenal and thus the learning curve is perfectly acceptable for me.

Btw my first DSLR was a 400D, then I moved to the 7D.  That was an even bigger learning curve.

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rrccad Forum Pro • Posts: 11,221
Re: Canon 6D: Why is the interface so badly broken?
2

x-vision wrote:

Jason Rickerby wrote:

On the surface, the simplification of the interface (right-hand only operation, smaller number of buttons) is designed to be more consumer-friendly.

In reality, Canon is trying to discourage pros from buying the 6D.

You, my friend, are supposed to spend more for the 5DIII.
The 6D is specifically designed to inconvenience you.

what a weird way to look at it.

the 6D sits in the middle with the 60D as a bridge gap between rebel ergos and 7D/5D ergos.

it takes some aspects from the 7D/5D (buttons across the top, top LCD panel, right control wheel) and keeps some of the familar ergos of the rebel lineup - but less complexity than the 5/7D series cameras.

if I was canon .. I'd want a bridge camera to be more suitable to the rebel series which is probably around 80% of canon's bodies and has an incredible base of cameras versus the few people like you that take everything negatively.

it actually wouldn't make much sense with the 60D already in place to have the 6D with anything BUT 60D ergonomics.

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rextal Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: 6D for weddings

It is a beautiful natural light camera, not just for weddings.

Silent shutter mode slows down the continuous shooting speed from 4.5 to 3.0 (slower than 5DMk2 continous)

Don't forget the 5Dmk3 has silent shutter too and would be equally nice at weddings using natural light and even if it's continuous shooting is slowed down would be faster than the 6D on normal shutter.

rextal Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: Canon 6D: Why is the interface so badly broken?

I love the interface too.  At first I didn't but very quickly got used to it (unlike ribbon bars in MS products

Having broken both wrists and a hand and having thickening tendons I've found the layout actually seems to put less stress on my hands.  Yes it's a compact body but the 50D button locations causing my tendons to ache and thumbs to click)

And don't forget custom shooting modes, not just custom buttons.

I'd rather they disposed of the creative and scene modes and made them 2 more custom modes.  That kind of stuff is for the XXXXD and XXXD range of products.

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