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Canon EOS 6D camera review
What is it? The Canon EOS 6D is a small and lightweight full-frame DSLR that comes packed with features but without the eye-watering price to match.
What’s great? You’ll get cracking shots from the wide assortment of manual controls, some of which can be controlled by Wi-Fi and GPS comes as standard too.
What’s not? A flash needs to be purchased separately as there isn’t one built-in, the viewfinder falls a little short and HD video is not all it should be.
The bottom line: If you hanker after the superb Canon 5D Mark III, but it remains firmly out of reach because of cost, then the EOS 6D takes you in the premium photography direction. High-quality images with the flexibility of separate lenses and plenty of manual control makes the Canon well worthy of investigation. However, a close comparison between it, and the equally likeable Nikon D600, leaves us favouring the latter.
Canon EOS 6D: Review
If you’re keen to get stuck into a more challenging level of photography then the Canon EOS 6D is an ideal camera to consider, particularly if you’re interested in pursuing landscape and portrait work, or taking it with you on your travels. This is mainly down to its relatively lightweight and unobtrusive design, but there’s also the benefit of a full-frame CMOS sensor, which offers additional muscle when it comes to taking shots in more challenging conditions, such as the great outdoors.
Better still, the 6D doesn’t come with a wallet-busting price tag, and although it’s not exactly bargain-basement either at around £1,800 without a lens, you’ll be getting a camera that does it all. There are compromises on the specification front, especially when compared to the formidable and highly popular EOS 5D Mark III, which is at the top of many photographer wants lists, although you’ll certainly notice the improved depth-of-field that’s on offer thanks to its full-frame sensor. Meanwhile, if you’re more of Nikon fan, then their D600 makes a fitting alternative and comes similarly priced.
Canon EOS 6D: Design and build
The EOS 6D might well be packed to the rafters with great features, but Canon has also been careful to keep this camera manageable, and both the weight and design are perfect for folks who require plenty of picture-power, but don’t want the bulk that comes with some of the higher-end DSLRs that sit at the top of the market.
With dimensions of 144.5 x 110.5 x 71.2mm and a body-only weight that hovers around 700 grams it’s perfectly portable, although bear in mind that you’ll need lenses to suit your subject matter and that adds to the overall carrying capacity.
The build, meanwhile, is typically Canon with a pleasing design that carries many of the features found on other EOS models, albeit in a remixed package, particularly around the back. Rubberized finger grips ensure plenty of purchase when you’re on the move too, while the buttons and chunky mode dial feel reassuringly robust in use.
Canon EOS 6D: Features
The 6D is bang-up-to-date when it comes to technical features, with the most significant options being the capacity for using some controls via Wi-Fi, while the addition of built-in GPS makes it very appealing to users who like to stay on top of their picture data or share lots of image information.
At the same time, there are aspects of the 6D that disappoint. This is especially so when it comes to the viewfinder, because it offers a 97% field-of-view. That means you don’t get the whole shot in your preview when you’re framing up to shoot but, at the same time, the 3-inch Clear View LCD screen is impressive, both for viewing pictures and also navigating the menu options.
Canon might have fiddled around with the rear control layout compared to other models in its range, but it’s all reasonably easy to pick up. The autofocus system, for example, features a reasonably sparse 11 points, which is nowhere near higher-end cameras, but that makes it much more manageable if you’re still cutting your teeth in the world of DSLR photography.
The integrated GPS is a success story too and enables you to tag images with location information, which proves mighty handy as you start to rack up large collections of shots from your travels. We also like the way the GPS logger function allows you to track your route, making it a great way to stay organised if you’re away on holiday for a week or two.
Canon EOS 6D: Performance
Spend some time familiarising yourself with the controls of the EOS 6D and you soon discover that this camera is no slouch. Admittedly, if you’re used to advanced controls that make the 5D Mark III such a success, then you might find this model a little more unwieldy. Conversely, if you’re moving up from the lower ranks of camera ownership then the array of options at your disposal will doubtless be hugely impressive, with an ISO range from 100 right up to 25,600.
We like the simple, no-nonsense buttons along the top that offer fingertip control for the likes of AF and those ISO settings. However, it’s that sprightly full-frame 20.2-megapixel sensor and a DIGIC 5 image processor that will provide most of the fun if you’ve been used to lesser specification compact camera models, with the extra beef providing quick-fire and hugely impressive stills.
And, of course, you can combine this performance with the lens, or lenses, of your own choosing, meaning that the performance can be carefully tailored to suit your requirements or photography interests. Depressingly for a Canon though, the 1080p video capability seems rather lacklustre alongside other models in the EOS portfolio.
Canon EOS 6D: Wi-Fi
As we’ve already touched on, one of the features that prove very useful is the wireless capacity of the 6D. This can be called up in a range of ways, with the option of using your smartphone to control the way the camera works proving to be one of the more interesting diversions.
There are plain and simple practical benefits of the Wi-Fi controls too though, including quick and easy cable-free transfer of images to other devices and also wireless printing using the PictBridge software and a compatible printer.
Delve even deeper into the manual and you’ll find that there are actually a whole raft of other uses for the built-in Wi-Fi, some of which might make you whoop with delight or, alternatively, feel rather confused. Curiously, the Canon seems far less adept when you want to call upon it for more basic sharing of images on social networks, mainly because of the clunky Canon Image Gateway service that’s an in-built part of the package.
Canon EOS 6D: Verdict
You’ll get top images from the Canon EOS 6D, of that there is no question, while you’ll also make a huge saving compared to the hugely popular Canon 5D Mark III if that’s still firmly beyond your means. It ticks all the boxes on the design, build and user-friendliness fronts too.
Unfortunately its arch-rival, the Nikon D600, packs a similar punch and for the same money, and that could make the decision-making slightly more complicated. Normally, a premium Canon model makes a safe bet if you’re looking to shoot video footage and often tips the balance for a lot of people who want quality stills and HD footage to boot, but the 6D blows it at this juncture and proves disappointing on that front. So, all things considered, this is a good camera but, if you have no brand allegiance, then the Nikon may well prove equally as tempting.
Canon EOS 6D: Available now £1,799 (body only) £2,500 (with EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM kit lens)