Canon EOS 6D review

The pitch for the EOS 6D is that it’s a cheaper way for keen amateurs to enjoy a digital SLR that offers a sensor the same size as professional models costing £5K. Whilst not inexpensive at £1799.99 body-only, the Canon 6D is comparable price-wise and feature-wise with the simultaneously announced Nikon D600, also ‘full frame’. As it sounds, this term indicates the sensor is a size match for a frame of 35mm film. Incredibly, the majority of digital SLR bodies are still based on their film equivalents, but there is good reason; anyone with a hoard of expensive old lenses can use them without an adapter.

A full frame camera also does away with the tedious need to quote ‘35mm equivalent’ when determining the focal range provided by any lens: what’s inscribed on the barrel is what you get. Also, the sensor dimensions are larger than the APS-C sensors used in cheaper consumer DSLRs, the inference being that, as bigger is better, image quality will be too. The other 6D features to take note of are the 11-point auto focus, maximum ISO102,400 for shots by moonlight, plus a plentiful 20.2 million-pixel count. Whilst this makes it a potential a back up for pros too, a further benefit is that the 6D is the first Canon DSLR to offer integral Wi-Fi, not just for beaming shots to that digital device, but allowing the camera to be controlled by one. A case in point: your iPad can be used as a remote. By contrast the Nikon D600 requires purchase of an optional wireless dongle for any wireless shenanigans.

Pictures are composed via the large and bright optical viewfinder, though there is the ability to use the 6D’s 3-inch, 1020k dot resolution LCD on the back when in Live View mode. The latter is the default option when filming video, with up to Full HD 1920x1080 pixel clips at 30fps offered as standard.

We used the EOS 6D with jack-of-all-trades 24-105mm image stabilised lens, the wider end of which is good for landscapes whilst the fact that it’s a zoom means it offers a broad range of framing options that also make it a fair choice for travel photographers. For portraits we were able to get some attractively arty shallow depth of field effects – subject sharp/background blurred – as well as images with plenty of colour and contrast straight out of the camera, so an option for wedding snappers too. A further bonus is the ability to map your picture-taking route via on-board GPS.

Enthusiasts with deep pockets will be tempted by the full frame 6D’s mix of professional features and results yet consumer DSLR-type build and handling

OUR VERDICT

For anyone who has previously thought they’d have to go the second hand route to afford a full frame DSLR like an EOS 5D Mark III or 1DX – or who wasn’t keen on the bulk usually associated with a pro model – this Canon offers a brand new alternative that won’t feel alien. In other words it’s a bridge to more professional photography for those who wouldn’t consider themselves professionals.

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