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  • Hi, welcome to the Canon 6D review. About a year ago the Canon 6D was announced by Canon

  • as the lightest, smallest full-frame SLR in the world. So, as a landscape

  • and travel photographer this really intrigued me and I bought one of

  • the first copies to ship. So this review is not going to be based on marketing sheets

  • or data sheets or anything like that. This is going to be based on hands-on

  • experience with the camera. I'm really excited to be doing this review

  • now after having used the camera for the last year and I've put on about 50,000 shutter

  • actuations, so it's gotten some good use into it in the first year. So

  • in this review we're going to take a look at my experience with the

  • camera and we're going to take a look at all the good things, the bad things, and all the

  • stuff in between.

  • Landscape photography is a very unforgiving avenue when it comes to the conditions that

  • equipment has to endure - saltwater, salt flats, high mountains, hail,

  • rain, sleet, sand, snow, saltwater - these are all conditions that the

  • Canon 6D has been subjected to, fortunately and unfortunately, in the past year of use.

  • So, when first holding the Canon 6D for the first time, the lightness and the smallness

  • is really noticeable. In fact, if you're used to using a Canon 5D or

  • a Nikon D3 or a Nikon D700 or a D800 or something like that, in that

  • range, this thing is really, really light. For durability, I'd say it's extremely impact

  • and extremely pressure resistant. So the internal frame of this camera

  • is, of course, metal and the back and the front plates are metal just

  • like the 5D family bodies. But, the top case is actually a polycarbonate reinforced fiberglass

  • material. Now, this is different than any material that Canon

  • has put out in its full frame bodies in the past, and the reason that Canon

  • selected to use this material is due to the WiFi and the GPS, to allow it to permit it

  • through the material. The durability and the design - really nice. Ergonomics

  • of this camera are really good, but it is slightly smaller in

  • physical size. So, if you can fit all four of your fingers on the camera grip of the

  • 5D original, 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, you can still do that on this one, but

  • for people who have big hands, you might not and your pinky might

  • actually be hanging off.

  • I had some doubts about the top-case material which is made of polycarbonate reinforced

  • fiberglass, but after having gotten it, you know, in the field and actually

  • getting some really good use on it, it actually performs very well.

  • Actually, it performs, in my opinion, just as well the magnesium alloy found in the 5D

  • family.

  • Canon implemented a new sensor in the 6D and the pixel level detail of this full frame

  • CMOS sensor is capable of producing incredibly detailed images. I've

  • printed large format prints from the 6D all the way up to 40x60 inches and

  • the level of detail is just incredible, and I'm finding that the print quality between

  • the original 5D, 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III and 6D - they're pretty much indistinguishable

  • from each other. I was thinking there might be better quality

  • in terms of, you know, image quality and print quality but I'm seeing the same results. But,

  • just as important as image quality is, however, is the quality

  • of optics in the light path - you can't overlook that and previsualization.

  • As Ansel Adams once said, image quality is only as good as visual quality.

  • The Canon 6D has Canon's most powerful image processor - the DIGIC 5+ - and the Canon 6D's

  • DIGIC 5+ processor is 17x faster than a DIGIC 4 and 30% faster than

  • a DIGIC 5. The image processor in a camera is responsible for reducing

  • noise as higher ISO's, among other things, and the DIGIC 5+ represents the best to date,

  • so the introduction of the DIGIC 5+ also introduced chromatic aberration

  • correction based on Canon lens profiles which are embedded or added to

  • the memory of the in-camera memory on the 6D and the 5D Mark III. So these in-camera

  • profiles are there for, you know, intended to reduce chromatic aberrations

  • for Canon's lenses, but in real world results I haven't really seen that

  • much of a difference on this. So, again, the DIGIC 5+ is great, but what all this marketing

  • really boils down to is better noise at higher ISO's and higher ISO's.

  • So, one of the biggest and most important questions when researching, reviewing, or

  • buying a camera is image quality. For me, it's the most important question - everything

  • else is secondary. So, what is the image quality like on the

  • 6D? Well, let's take a look at a few examples at actual size to get a better idea.

  • So, let's take a look at this image in Grand Teton National Park. I was there shooting

  • a sunrise, and this is one of my favorite national parks. This sunrise photograph

  • was taken this passed fall during the national park closure.

  • Now, image quality is dependent on the quality of optics in the light path - filters, lenses,

  • etc. So, in talking about image quality we're also talking about

  • optic quality. But let's take a look at a few camera specific image

  • quality characteristics, separate from the lens. So, let's zoom in here. I consistently

  • see excellent color rendition from this camera. Images that come

  • out of the camera are either typically clean and well saturated. I

  • actually find the color rendition to be identical to the 5D bodies - all the way from the original

  • 5D to the 5D Mark III. That is to say it's excellent. And the

  • dynamic range of the 6D is excellent for this range of cameras. So, in

  • this image we're getting pretty good dynamic range between the front of the barn with the

  • mountain peaks. And notice the landscape just below the clouds. So, all

  • in all, this image looks pretty good and it looks as I remembered it.

  • OK, let's take a look at this image. Now, harsh light, harsh environmental conditions,

  • and landscapes that will blow your mind is what Death Valley is all about.

  • Let's take a look at this sunset photograph which also doesn't have much

  • post except for sensor dust. Actually, let me show you really quick what it looks like

  • right out of the camera. So this is the raw file, out of the camera. Again,

  • my post-processing work flow, in it I don't use much post outside of

  • analog darkroom procedures such as dodging, burning, crop, straighten, those kinds of

  • things, and sometimes, on some of my images, I use zero post-processing.

  • Therefore I rely on the camera to accurately record the color saturation as

  • I remember it, and I'm finding that out-of-camera image quality on the 6D is excellent. OK,

  • back to the adjusted image here - use your video play-head to scrub

  • back and forth below this video to get a better idea of the before and

  • after comparison. But, let's dive into the actual size and take a look at what we have

  • here. So the dynamic range of this image is pretty typical of how the 6D

  • performs. There's pretty good highlight headroom in the sky here, probably

  • could have been better if I'd used ISO 100. The ridge-line sharpness is also excellent

  • and controlled well against the sky. Again, I'm just going to reiterate that

  • the image quality is only as good as the lens and most Canon L lenses

  • are pretty good in this respect. But, for dynamic range, highlight control, and definition

  • of the distant mountain details, this one is looking pretty good.

  • The foreground of this image has wonderful detail in the plants and it

  • looks like snow or ice but it's actually salt, and the salt has an incredibly high-level

  • of detail. When printed out to 40x60 this is really impressive - the detail

  • here is just amazing. So, again, a lot of this is depending the

  • quality of optics throughout the light path, but with high quality optics, the 6D captures

  • detail very well and the file is ready for print without much post-processing.

  • Now let's take a look at a sunrise photograph in Bryce Canyon. Bryce Canyon National Park

  • is a pretty impressive landscape and I think this photograph is a

  • pretty good example of quality. Notice the yellow to pink in the ridge-line

  • in the top quadrant. The yellow to pink is a very delicate color gradient and the 6D

  • picks up and preserves it pretty well. Now you may not have guessed it by just

  • looking at this photograph, but this was captured in the fall. And if

  • you notice towards the center of the frame we have some yellow trees, and although a

  • very small detail, only noticeable on close inspection of a large

  • print or actual size like we're looking at here, it was captured pretty well

  • by the 6D sensor. And the lower right quadrant is looking pretty good too, a decent amount

  • of definition there between the foreground and the background, not too

  • muddy. So sharpness here is good and we're getting a bit of lower right

  • quadrant light fall off, but again now we're getting into optic quality. One of my favorite

  • parts of this image is the gradient in the sky - a beautiful deep

  • purple here in the top quadrant, fading into an orange with a narrow band

  • of pink, then to a blueish on the horizon, leading into the distant ridge-line. The gradient

  • and the colors here are pretty delicate and can actually be destroyed

  • with a simple one to two stops of overexposure. And moving to the right

  • of the side of the frame, we see that highlights have been controlled over here pretty well

  • as well. So, all in all this is a pretty decent image, not the best

  • in the world, but I think it's a good example of dynamic range, sharpness,

  • and just overall image quality.

  • So in summary, the image quality in the 6D matches that of the 5D family all the way

  • down to the original 5D. In other words, it's excellent but it's as you'd

  • expect if you are an owner of any of the cameras in the 5D family. The

  • DIGIC 5+ found on the 6D and 5D Mark III delivers the best high ISO noise performance found

  • on any of the Canon cameras and the color rendition and the dynamic

  • range and saturation on the 6D perform impressively.

  • So, Canon advertises the Canon 6D to be "completely sealed" from external contaminants, like the

  • 5D family, like in the 5D Mark II and the 5D Mark III. In my

  • opinion, that's just marketing hype, and although it is very well weather-

  • sealed, I'm not sure if it meets the hype. To give you an example, when I was shooting

  • the sunset at the Golden Gate Bridge, I was shooting and I had about ten

  • gallons of sea water dump on top of me. A wave came over and broke and

  • boom there was seawater all over everything and with this lens and this camera. And I

  • thought that the lens and the camera were done for, but after I dried it

  • off and I shaked it off a little bit, actually the camera body worked fine,

  • the lens did as well, but the Canon 6D performed perfectly afterwards. I don't think that after

  • that incident a regular non-weather sealed camera would've

  • survived. But, on the other hand, here in Death Valley National Park where I am

  • right now doing this review, I actually have to clean the camera sensor once every week

  • or once every two weeks - it's that bad. Much of my genuine excitement

  • about being in the natural world with a camera has to do with close

  • moderation of gear and carrying as little as I possibly can. The Canon 6D fits into

  • that ultralight category and not too many full frame cameras do, in fact, it's

  • one of the only ones on the market as of this review. So, it definitely

  • fits into that special category of ultralight full frame cameras and you still get that

  • image quality that is so essential.

  • Probably the

  • biggest feature difference between the Canon 6D and the 5D Mark III is the auto-focus and

  • I often like to say that the auto-focus is the Canon 6D's

  • worst and best feature. There was some friction with the Canon 5D Mark II

  • when it was released because it had a nine point auto-focus system. Contrast that against

  • the Canon 5D Mark III sixty-one auto-focus system. The Canon 6D

  • has eleven. So the Canon 6D has the lowest light auto-focus performance of

  • any camera Canon has introduced to date and maybe any other still camera in this class

  • of cameras on the market. So, what does this mean? Well, if you shoot in

  • low-light or if you shoot with ND filters on the front, or anywhere where

  • it's difficult for the auto-focus to detect contrast between edges then this is definitely

  • one of the biggest features that you can get on the 6D.

  • OK, so to summarize: if you are shooting sports or fast action for more than 80 percent of

  • your images this camera might not cut it with its simple AF system

  • and its low number of AF points. But, if you shoot sunsets or sunrises or

  • if you shoot anything in low light this camera is currently the king of low light auto-focus

  • performance, and it is, at the moment, unparalleled. This is a huge win

  • for me personally as I often use ND filters and an ND filter is designed

  • to stop light down and if you hold it up to the light it's completely black, which means

  • that it's really hard to compose images, but it's even harder to manually

  • focus. Typically auto-focus stops working when you reduce the stops

  • to a certain amount, whereas with this camera I can typically auto-focus even with the darkest

  • ND filters on the front of the lens. I can even shoot moonlight and

  • have it accurately obtain a lock in the foreground.

  • So the Canon 6D is Canon's first camera that they've implemented an integrated GPS on and

  • for commercial photographers, wedding photographers, event

  • shooters, this feature may not be so important, but for travel, landscape,

  • and wildlife photographers, or any other kind of photography where accurate location based

  • information is useful, this feature is going to be huge. It has a secondary

  • benefit of not just being able to tell you exactly where you are when

  • you took the photograph, but it also sets the date and time. Remember in those days

  • when you had to actually change the time zone when you moved from one place

  • to another? You never have to do that ever again. Or remember the days

  • when you had thousands of photos and you didn't? OK, so those are gone too. So it's a really

  • useful feature in and of itself just for setting the time zone,

  • but given that it also tracks your location and for all your photographs now

  • you have the location based information - that's pretty huge. OK, so another interesting development

  • with GPS is that as the old professionals are predicting

  • that Google and other search engines will actually place a higher

  • emphasis on images with GPS coordinates in the future. So, having images that have GPS

  • data in the exif data have inherently more SEO value as a result. Now

  • although this is definitely not an advantage right now, you can at least

  • know, feel safe to know that you're future-proofing your images, not just for yourself right now,

  • but also for potential future SEO. So the GPS is a really

  • useful feature and for some photographers it's a game changer, but there

  • is one huge downside to GPS and that is, is that it doesn't have an idle shut off time.

  • What does that mean? It means that if you put your camera on the shelf

  • and leave it in the off position and come back in a week, it'll actually

  • be dead. Why? Because the GPS is drawing power and it's enabled and it still stays on even

  • if you turn the camera power off, when the camera's in the off position.

  • Why? Why would they do that? Well, it doesn't really make sense

  • and you just can't try to rationalize why they would forget that. But, it does kind

  • of make sense in an engineering way where if the GPS were to turn off every

  • single time that the power switch is turned off, well, it would have to

  • re-engage with the satellites every single time you turn the power on. But, why not just

  • set an idle shut off time for the GPS? For example: the camera has an

  • idle shut off time of, say, one minute to four minutes to thirty minutes

  • to never. OK, great, so why not just put underneath the GPS menu an idle shut off time that's

  • separate and actually longer than the idle shut off time of the

  • camera. Well, if Canon had their guys from the user experience department

  • on the clock they probably would've figured that out. But, as it stands right now, it's

  • a feature that will actually give you dead batteries pretty quickly if

  • you're not careful. There are a couple of ways around it. The first way is

  • to just remove the physical battery. That sucks, that's not really an option, but I

  • guess it sort of is, and the second option is to actually add the GPS to

  • your menu. So, push the menu button and then once you get into the menu

  • you select GPS, select the internal GPS then you do in the off position. So, sort of a

  • workaround, but not really. So again, hopefully they can get their act together

  • and fix this error in the future in the form of a firmware update.

  • So the next feature I want to talk about is WiFi. Now this was one of the biggest hyped

  • features on the 6D. In fact, it completely overshadowed the GPS when it