Today, Canon Inc. announced its mid-range full frame EOS 6D camera. This camera is built around Canon’s new CMOS 20.2 megapixel senor and DIGIC 5+ processor. Packing this hardware, Canon 6D offers a standard ISO range of 100-25600 (expandable to 50 and 102,400) and, according to Canon, capable of operating at extremely low light levels. It also features a built in GPS unit and integrated Wi-Fi transmitter while weighing only 1.7 lb (including battery). However, Canon 6D lacks a built-in flash, has 11 AF points with only central one being cross-type and only capable of 4.5 frames per second (fps) burst. Therefore, Canon is giving this camera just enough key specs to be tempting for people interested in upgrading to a full frame body but not enough improvements to take ways from Canon 5D Mark III sales.
Last week, Nikon announced its D600 camera, calling it lightest, smallest and most affordable Full-Frame HD-SLR. Today, Canon EOS 6D comes as a direct competitor to Nikon’s D600 and offers a slightly smaller and lighter Full-Frame body at the same price point. At 145(W) x 111(H) x 71(D)mm (5.7 x 4.4 x 2.8”), Canon 6D is extremely portable and can be a great travel and landscape camera, especially since it weighs only 1.7lb (770g).
Canon EOS 6D has 20.2MP CMOS sensor, which is sufficient for most photographers. However, it is a smaller megapixel count that the newly announced competitors, Nikon D600 and Sony A99 full frame cameras, which feature 24MP sensors. Although, these days high megapixel count doesn’t hold as much weight as some of the other camera features, such as low light sensitivity, fast and accurate autofocus quick continuous shooting. With 6D camera, Canon claims that it will operate well at extremely low light levels, even as far as -3 EV, which is a stop lower than the more expensive 5D Mark III. With its DIGIC 5+ processor, 6D offers ISO range of 100-25600 (expandable down to 50 and all the way up to 102,400). But 6D only offers 11 autofocus points from which only the central one is sensitive to vertical and horizontal detail. Its rival, Nikon D600, on the other hand, has 39 autofocus points but standard ISO range of only 100-6400. In addition, Canon 6D is only able to shoot 4.5 fps during continues shooting, while Nikon D600 offers 5.5 fps. Canon EOS 6D is compatible with SD sized memory cards, such as SDHC, SDXC and the new UHS-I cards.
Canon EOS 6D features a fixed 3.0-inch 1040k dot ClearView LCD screen but lacks touchscreen controls, available in Canon’s EOS T4i (650D). Additionally, 6D also lacks on-chip phase-detection which improves autofocus during live view or movie mode. Speaking of movie mode, EOS 6D offers 1080p recording at 30 fps or 720p at 60 fps and a stereo sound via external microphone. This camera also provides full manual control over exposure and audio levels. Its full frame sensor will also give a great creative control over depth-of-field; so many video makers might also find this camera as a useful and affordable tool to make their vision a reality.
But perhaps one of the more interesting things Canon has done with this camera is the inclusion of GPS unit and Wi-Fi transmitter. This is the first Canon EOS camera what has both of these wireless units built into the body. GPS will allow for shoot coordinates to be embedded into file EXIF data. This makes it very convenient to use this camera for a location and travel photography. I often find myself thinking back to the exact position from where I have taken a specific shot, with GPS coordinate I can use Canon’s software or a program such as Adobe Lightroom to pin point the exact point from which a specific shot was taken and even track my positions by checking all the clustered points from my shots on a map. However, be weary when shooting with enabled GPS at more private locations. When shooting at home or studio it is often better to disable GPS since many social sites, such as Flickr and Facebook can display GPS location associated with a photo, which might be problematic if you do not want to share the location of your residence.
Wi-Fi internal transmitter is also a nice touch. It allows for a wireless transmitting of images to devices such as digital tablets, smartphones or even various social sites. In addition to wireless sharing, Wi-Fi also allows for a remote control over the camera through a smartphone or other wireless device, with the help of free Canon EOS Remote app. Using this app on iOS or Android will let the photographer remotely see live view footage and give the ability to control all the manual settings. Including these transmitters in a fairly compact body is a good step for Canon, especially since Nikon offers an external USB Wi-Fi unit for additional $59.95 SRP.
Additionally, Canon EOS 6D has some interesting features, such as ‘Silent’ shutter mode (also found on 5D Mark III) which allows for a more discreet shooting. It also features HDR mode which allows the camera to capture three separate exposures and combine them into one image, all this done in-camera. However, while 5D Mark III can record these in RAW, 6D will only do these in JPEG. EOS 6D also features a Multiple Exposure mode which lets photographers to combine up to nine separate images into one, all done in-camera.
Overall, Canon 6D looks like a solid portable full frame camera which will be an ideal choice for travel and wildlife photographers looking for an affordable unit. It is expected to hit the stores in December 2012 and is available for preorder on Amazon for $2099 (body only)and $2,899 with Canon 24-105 f/4L IS lens