Canon EOS 6D In-Depth Review
Less than a week after arch-rival Nikon grabbed headlines with the D600, Canon responded with an announcement of its own price-conscious full frame DSLR, the EOS 6D. And just like that, a new market segment was born: the mid-range full frame DSLR. It was only a decade ago that full frame DSLR performance was limited to those with pockets deep enough to spend $7999 on the 11MP Canon EOS 1Ds. And while the barrier to entry has dropped considerably since then, for many potential buyers, the most-talked about feature of the EOS 6D may well be its price. It debuts at $1400 less than the company's standout EOS 5D Mark III.
As the full frame DSLR market grows ever-more crowded though - Canon, Nikon and Sony each offer at least two full frame models - the appeal of the 6D may well rest on things like handling and feature set. While Canon obviously needs to maintain clear distinctions between the 6D and the pricier 5D Mark III, the challenge is to offer enough incentive for current EOS owners who lack a substantial lens investment to resist the similarly priced and slightly higher-resolution Nikon D600.
And as is Canon's wont, they have opted for the allure of familiarity and consistency. The EOS 6D is perhaps best understood as a full frame version of the popular EOS 60D - indeed it's very similar in both control layout and dimensions. While slimmer front-to-back, and lighter than the Nikon D600, the 6D primarily seeks to distinguish itself on the spec sheet with built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, a 'silent' shutter mechanism and, according to Canon, unprecedented low-light focusing sensitivity. Whether this combination will be enough to satisfy enthusiasts who'd appreciate the D600's distinctly higher spec'ed autofocus system, dual card slots and built-in flash remains to be seen.
Canon EOS 6D key specifications
- 20.2MP full frame CMOS sensor
- DIGIC 5+ image processor
- ISO 100-25600 standard, 50-102800 expanded
- 4.5 fps continuous shooting
- 'Silent' shutter mode
- 1080p30 video recording, stereo sound via external mic
- 11 point AF system, center point cross-type and sensitive to -3 EV
- 63 zone iFCL metering system
- 97% viewfinder coverage; interchangeable screens (including Eg-D grid and Eg-S fine-focus)
- 1040k dot 3:2 3" ClearView LCD (fixed)
- Single SD card slot
- Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
- Single-axis electronic level
The EOS 6D is built around a new Canon CMOS sensor, which offers a pixel count of 20.2MP (compared to the Nikon D600 and Sony SLT-A99's 24MP, and the 5D Mark III's 22MP). In concert with the DIGIC 5+ processor it offers a standard ISO range of 100-25600, expandable down to 50 and up to 102,400. The AF system has 11 points, but only the central one is cross-type (sensitive to both vertical and horizontal detail). However, the 6D's trump card is the ability to focus in extremely low light levels; right down to a claimed -3 EV – a full stop dimmer than the 5D Mark III. This figure might not mean much to you, but for reference, -3 EV is roughly equivalent to the light cast by a full moon.
Notable additions include integrated GPS and Wi-Fi - with the latter offering the ability to control the camera remotely via your smartphone. The 6D also benefits from some features we saw in the EOS 5D Mark III, like Canon's silent shutter mode, which offers quieter, more discreet shooting. It also inherits in-camera HDR and Multiple Exposure modes, but disappointingly implements these as JPEG only options, unlike on the 5D Mark III which also records Raw files.
The 6D omits some of the more interesting goodies Canon introduced on the EOS 650D, too. There's no on-chip phase-detection to aid autofocus in live view or movie mode, nor does Canon's superb touchscreen interface make an appearance. As usual for a full frame DSLR - the Sony SLT-A99 being the sole exception - the rear screen itself is fixed, rather than articulated as it is on the EOS 60D. Canon says this is for maximum durability and to keep the camera's size down.
Key specs compared to EOS 5D Mark III and Nikon D600
In the table below we see how some of the EOS 6D's key specs measure up against its more expensive big brother, the 5D Mark III, and its main rival the Nikon D600.
Canon EOS 6D
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
|Effective Pixels||• 20.2 MP||• 22.3 MP||• 24.3 MP|
|ISO Range|| • 100-25600 standard
• 50-102800 expanded
| • 100-25600 standard
• 50-102800 expanded
| • 100-6400 standard
• 50-25600 expanded
|No of AF points||• 11||• 61||• 39|
|Screen|| • 3"
• 1,040,000 dots
| • 3.2"
• 1,040,000 dots
| • 3.2"
• 921,000 dots
|Viewfinder|| • 97% coverage
• 0.71x magnification
| • 100% coverage
• 0.71x magnification
| • 100% coverage
• 0.7x magnification
|Built-in flash||• No||• No||• Yes|
|Continuous drive||• 4.5 fps||• 6 fps||• 5.5 fps|
|Storage||• SD|| • Compact flash
| • SD
• 2 slots
|• 770g (1.7 lb)||• 950g (2.1 lb)||• 850g (1.9 lb)|
|Dimensions|| • 145 x 111 x 71 mm
(5.7 x 4.4 x 2.8")
| • 152 x 116 x 76 mm
(6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0")
| • 141 x 113 x 82 mm
(5.6 x 4.5 x 3.2")
|Wi-Fi + GPS||• Built-in||• Optional||• Optional|
ONA has teamed up with Jose "Tutes" Tutiven and Adorama to create a new capsule collection from its most popular messenger bag and backpack.
We spoke to Toshi Iida of Fujifilm about the future of his company's medium-format lineup, the challenges of 100MP and why Fujifilm will never make a full-frame camera.
Tiffen Filters has announced a new collection of drone filter kits for the DJI Mavic Air, Mavic Zoom 2, Mavic Pro 2, and Inspire 2.
Lexar has announced a new flash drive that features a fingerprint reader to protect its content from unauthorised access.
Following the release of footage showing what kind of damage drones can do to airplanes, DJI has responded with a critical open letter.
The Pixii camera uses the display of your mobile device for image review.
Celebrity photographer Manfred Baumann has been using a pre-release version of ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2019, and in this article he shares his impressions of using the software.
As a stills camera the Fujifilm X-T3 is a pleasant update to one of our favorite APS-C cameras, significantly improving the autofocus. If you're interested in stills and video, though, it's knockout.
Photographer Peter Guttman was given some of Kodak's revitalized Ektachrome 100 film and took over Kodak Professional's Instagram page to share the images he captured.
We sat down recently with top Canon engineers to talk about the EOS R, and the delicate balancing act of experimenting with a new platform and the risk of alienating existing users.
Sony has updated its image sensor spec page and as expected, a few of the chips they make bear an uncanny resemblance to sensors found inside Fujifilm and Panasonic cameras.
This week Chris and Jordan are joined by renowned macro photographer Don Komarechka, who demonstrates a few simple techniques that can improve your macro photos in a big way.
The group that provides Canon users with programs to expand the feature set of their cameras has begun cracking the new EOS R mirrorless firmware.
The Pixel 3 represents another step forward in computational photography for Google's smartphone. We're just getting started with our testing – for now take a look at some sample images, including 'computational Raw' files available for download.
Lens Rentals Founder, Roger Cicala, has given the Canon EOS R one of his signature camera teardowns.
Nikon says firmware version 1.03 "Fixes an issue that in rare circumstances would delay the shutter release or the start of the autofocus operation."
The Kickstarter campaign for Yashica’s digiFilm Y35 camera has produced a wave of complaints about delays in shipping product as well as cameras that don’t work.
Pixelmator today released Pixelmator Pro 1.2 Quicksilver, a major update to its image editing app for Mac.
Although Raw performance of the EOS R is very similar to the 5D Mark IV, Canon's done some tweaking on the JPEGs - take a look at our studio scene to see for yourself.
If you've backed one of the company's crowdfunding projects, the reward will not arrive and you won't get your money back either as Meyer Optik Görlitz's parent company, Net SE, is completely dead.
The importance of APS-C, a future a7S model in development and why customers want two card slots – read our full interview with Sony's Kenji Tanaka.
Google's Super Res Zoom technology uses pixel-shifting methods to achieve zoom results comparable to some optical solutions. Google has published an in-depth explanation on its AI blog.
CyberLink has release the latest version of its photo editing and design program PhotoDirector.
Toy manufacturer Tomy has launched a no-battery-required smartphone printer that is remarkably like the one Holga has been promoting via a Kickstarter campaign but which is already available for $40/£39.
A handful of Sony users have noticed a particular model of SanDisk SD cards is showing errors when used with Sony a7 III camera.
The Fujifilm X-T3's 4K video more than lives up to its impressive specification, making it one of the most capable video cameras we've ever tested.
VSCO has made it easier to find the right presets for your photos with a few interface changes to its smartphone app.
TinyMOS is back with NANO1, an all-new astrophotography camera that's one-third the size of the TINY1 it announced three years ago.
Huawei's latest flagship device comes with the widest range of focal lengths of all current smartphones.