Full-frame bar­gains

Canon EOS 6D with EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens

Amateur Photographer - - Testbench -

AN­NOUNCED at Pho­tok­ina 2012 and re­leased a cou­ple of months later, the EOS 6D was mar­keted as a smaller and more af­ford­able al­ter­na­tive to the hugely pop­u­lar EOS 5D Mark III. It was re­leased with a body- only price of £1,680 and it’s now pos­si­ble to source a sec­ond-hand 6D in ‘ex­cel­lent’ con­di­tion with a shut­ter count un­der 10k for £599 from MPB.com. Throw in a ‘like new’ sec­ond-hand EF 50mm f/1.8 II prime for a fur­ther £79, and a full-frame DSLR starter kit could be yours for un­der £700 – for those look­ing to buy brand new in to­day’s DSLR mar­ket that’s barely enough to se­cure a mid-range APS- C DSLR.

Ful­fill­ing its brief, the 6D bor­rows some hard­ware from the 5D Mark III, but also brings some of its own to the ta­ble in or­der to keep costs down. For ex­am­ple, while the 5D Mark III was built around a 22.3MP full-frame CMOS sen­sor, the 6D in­stead em­ploys a 20.2MP chip. Both cam­eras share the same DIGIC 5+ im­age pro­ces­sor though, and both pro­vide a na­tive sen­si­tiv­ity range of ISO 100-25,600 that can be ex­panded to the equiv­a­lent of ISO 50-102,800. Last but not least, whereas the 5D Mark III of­fers a top con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing speed of 6fps, the 6D maxes out at 4.5fps.

Aut­o­fo­cus and me­ter­ing

An­other area where the 6D dif­fers from the 5D Mark III is with its phase- de­tect aut­o­fo­cus mod­ule. While the 5D Mark III comes with a 61-point sys­tem, the 6D in­stead em­ploys 11 AF points that are spread out in a di­a­mond for­ma­tion in the cen­tral por­tion of the viewfinder, in­clud­ing one cross-type sen­sor in the mid­dle. In our orig­i­nal re­view we noted how the 6D’s AF sys­tem none­the­less does a good job, pro­vid­ing fast and ac­cu­rate fo­cus­ing. As with many Canon DSLRs that don’t come equipped with Canon’s Dual Pixel AF tech­nol­ogy, aut­o­fo­cus per­for­mance when the cam­era is be­ing used in live view is no­tice­ably slug­gish.

Me­ter­ing is han­dled by Canon’s own 63-zone Dual Layer SPC me­ter­ing sys­tem – the same mod­ule em­ployed the 5D Mark III – and of­fers a choice of Eval­u­a­tive, Par­tial, Spot or Cen­tre-weighted me­ter­ing. The back of the 6D is equipped with a fixed 3in/1.04mil­lion- dot LCD dis­play that pro­duces a clear and sharp im­age. Above this sits a pen­taprism-style op­ti­cal viewfinder that

pro­vides 97% frame cov­er­age at a mag­ni­fi­ca­tion of 0.71x. As is usu­ally the case with more-ad­vanced DSLRs, the 6D also sports a small LCD dis­play on the top of the cam­era pro­vid­ing a quick ref­er­ence point to key cam­era set­tings.

In terms of ex­po­sure modes, the 6D is well served by the full quar­tet of PASM modes, along with a fully au­to­matic Scene In­tel­li­gent Auto mode and a range of spe­cific Scene modes for less- ex­pe­ri­enced users. In ad­di­tion, the 6D also pro­vides a High Dy­namic Range mode that cap­tures a se­quence of JPEGs at dif­fer­ent ex­po­sure val­ues and blends them to­gether into a sin­gle im­age. Video-record­ing abil­i­ties, mean­while, ex­tend to 1080p Full HD cap­ture at up to 30fps.

Wireless con­nec­tiv­ity

While built-in Wi- Fi con­nec­tiv­ity is some­thing that we largely take for granted these days, the 6D was ac­tu­ally the first DSLR to im­ple­ment the tech­nol­ogy – un­til its re­lease, the fea­ture was only re­ally seen in mirrorless cam­eras and a few high- end com­pacts. DSLR users, mean­while, had to ei­ther at­tach be­spoke Wi- Fi mo­d­ules or wait un­til they were able to man­u­ally trans­fer their im­ages to a com­puter via a card reader.

In terms of build qual­ity, the 6D ben­e­fits from front and rear mag­ne­sium al­loy pan­els book­ended by a poly­car­bon­ate top-plate. By full-frame stan­dards it’s quite a small cam­era too, which makes it eas­ier to trans­port around when not in use. Paired with the EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens, the com­bi­na­tion weighs 890g.

The EOS 6D has a fixed 3in screen at the rear

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