It’s been a long, long time since I wrote a geeky photography equipment review on this blog. This might sound a little bit superior, but I’ve just found that as I matured as a photographer and found more joy and positivity and passion in shooting people and stories, the less interest I had in the gear side of things. Cameras are just a means to an end.
However, I know that everyone now and then enjoys a little bit of gear geekery, and that’s cool. My first impressions of the Canon 6D and how to set it up, have been two of my most viewed videos on YouTube. So I figured it was about time I did an in depth and long term review of one of my most used and favourite cameras.
As a basis for this review, I shoot weddings and portraits with a 5D MKIII, a 6D and a combination of my three favourite primes lenses, the 35mm f1.4, 85mm f1.2 and 135mm f2. I use primarily natural light and a bit of on camera flash where needed. Therefore, if you shoot sports, use fancy off camera flash setups and big white zoom lenses, please don’t be surprised if my views differ from yours.
Likewise, I don’t do technical details or specs. Life is too damn short. When looking for a camera review, the only graphs you should be looking at are photographs. Haha. Get it? Either way, all the pictures in the post were taken with the 6D in the last year or so. I think they are pretty awesome.
I have owned my first 6D since March 2013 (14 Months at the time of this review), and have just recently purchased a second one as my backup camera and for my second shooter to use at weddings.
First off let’s start off with all the things the 6D can do brilliantly. It has a high megapixel, great in low light full frame sensor. It’s decently built and able to withstand a fair bit of rough handling and bad weather. The control layout and ergonomics are in my opinion, the best of any Canon camera every made. It has all of Canon’s latest and greatest metering, processor and computer gubbins inside. The centre autofocus point works awesome in the dark, and has 10 more points to choose from if you want to. It has built in Wifi and GPS which is nifty. You can even control it remotely using your iPhone. It works with all kinds of on and off camera flash guns, including Canon’s fancy radio wireless ones like the 600EX-RT. The battery lasts ages and then some. It takes SD cards, which is great because they are cheaper and more abundant than compact flash cards, and they slot straight into my Macbook Pro. It’s got a nice decent screen on the back, and all the menus are well laid out. It’s responsive, it’s reliable and takes great pictures.
I can’t think of much else you would realistically need unless you have a particular specialism in shooting in really harsh conditions or capturing super-fast moving subjects where you need a million focus points. And let’s face it. realistically, as a wedding and portrait photographer, as much as I would like to think I’m some sort of epic awesome war journalist, I’m not. The harshest condition I face at a wedding is a bit of light rain, anything worse than that and the bride and groom wouldn’t be out in it. And the fastest thing I photograph is a kid rocking out on the dance floor during the reception. If your gran’s compact camera can keep up with that, then I’m sure our fancy expensive DSLR’s can.
Speaking of which, the Canon 6D is cheap. Like really cheap. Especially compared to its big brother the 5D MKIII which is nearly twice as much at nearly £2000. I would take that extra grand and take my 6D travelling somewhere cool. Or buy another lens. Or three. Or maybe even just leave that cash right where it is in my business account for another day.
Now I’m not gonna lie, there are some minor annoyances or improvements I would like to see in the 6D MKII or whatever they call it. But they are so minor I certainly wouldn’t pay any more for them. A second card slot would be nice. But the 5D MKII is still one of the most popular wedding DSLR’s, and that has just the one one card slot. So no big deal. I’ve also noticed that the slightly less durable exterior of the 6D shows up more scrapes and marks than the rock solid Canon 5D MK MKIII, but…meh. What’s a couple or scratches or dents on camera that gets used day in day out and helps me create cool pictures for my awesome paying clients.
I really really like the Canon 6D. It does all the basics, and it does them really well. Sure it doesn’t have some of the fancy trimmings of a top of the range pro DSLR, but then who cares. For me the 6D hits the goldilocks spot of offering a lot of features for a not unrealistic amount of money. Somedays I actually resent my 5DMKIII…a bit. I mean it does exactly the same job, the pictures I take with them at a wedding or shoot are indistinguishable from each other, but the 5D cost me £1000 more. Ouch.
Seriously, pick up a 6D, chuck a good prime lens on there, a 50mm 1.4, maybe a 35mm 1.4. And go out and take some awesome pictures.