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