About a month ago I purchased a Canon 6D to try it out with my landscape and travel photography. I have been using the 5D Mark III ever since it was released, and while it’s a great camera, it is missing a few features that I have come to appreciate with some of the consumer-level and mirrorless cameras (such as the Canon 70D and FUJIFILM X-T1, for example). These are my thoughts since I have started using the camera with my photography.
Please keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive review. There are plenty of sites out there with very detail technical reviews on each of these cameras (I recommend checking out the reviews on CameraLabs.com: Canon 6D and Canon 5D Mark III). This article is a personal look at the Canon 6D from my perspective, taking into consideration the type of photography I do and the features I want to have to make my photography experience more enjoyable.
The Canon 6D Has Two Features I Need When Traveling: Wifi and GPS
The biggest reason I wanted to try the Canon 6D is because of two features it has that are missing on my 5D Mark III: GPS and WiFi. When I travel, the easiest way to share photos is through my iPhone. In fact, I find that I share more of my images during my travels because of my camera’s WiFi. Being able to quickly transfer an image and post it to my Instagram account through my iPhone means that I spend more time out in the field and less time behind my laptop. I also have started to use a small FUJIFILM Instax Share printer, which allows me to print images directly from my iPhone. A camera with WiFi means that I can immediately print photos and give them away, or use them in one of my #nicolesygram shots.
GPS is another feature I really enjoy having with my cameras. With the Canon 5D Mark III, I have been using an external device that sits on the hot-shoe of the camera and embeds the location data into each photo. That device works perfectly, but it is one more thing I have to carry with me and remember to use. With the 6D, the GPS is internal. All I have to do is turn it on in the menu and the location data is automatically logged into my images.
First Impressions with the Canon 6D
Before purchasing this camera for myself, I had heard some very good things about it which I found to be spot-on. First of all, it is definitely smaller than my 5D Mark III. Maybe not by a large amount, but it is noticeable. There are no buttons on the left side of the 6D, whereas the 5D3 has buttons all around the LCD screen. I’ve had to re-train my muscle memory to press the preview button, but other than that it doesn’t feel like it is missing anything.
Here are some of the things I noticed right away with the 6D:
- The 6D is smaller than the 5D Mark III (both in size and weight).
- The button locations are different than the 5D Mark III (no buttons on the left side of the 6D’s LCD).
- I am unable to change the Set button to zoom in-and-out. I would use this all the time on my 5D Mark III, so I’m having to change my muscle-memory to use the zoom button instead.
- The GPS needs to be turned off when not using it, as it still runs if the camera is turned off (which, in turn, quickly drains the battery).
- One thing I will miss from the 5D Mark III is having two slots for memory cards. Having a second slot is mostly for peace of mind, just in case a card gets corrupted. I do prefer SD cards, which the 6D takes, as I can plug it directly into my MacBook pro.
How I Will Use the Canon 6D
For now, the Canon 6D as my landscape and travel camera, and the 5D Mark III will stay home and be used as my dedicated food photography camera. I don’t need WiFi or GPS for food, so it is a good fit. In fact, I have a trip to Iceland and Norway coming up at the end of the month, and the 6D will be a perfect camera for that trip. I will also bring my Canon 70D along as a backup and second body (it has WiFi on it as well, so I can still easily transfer images to my iPhone, and it’s nice and compact).
A Note on Autofocus
When I mentioned that I got the Canon 6D, a few commenters asked me if I was concerned about the autofocus on the camera. The 5D3 has more AF points than the 6D, so that could be a concern for some. And it seems to be a bit slower to catch focus, although I haven’t done any serious AF shooting with it yet. Will it affect me? Probably not. Most of the work I do is from a tripod, and I don’t need a camera that works well handheld in low light, nor do I need fast auto-focus (the majority of my images are manually focused from a tripod). The gear I use is very much shaped by the type of photography I do, and for me, I don’t need a camera with fast autofocus.
Image Quality on the Canon 6D
I have been using Canon cameras since 2009, and have always been happy with the quality of my images with both their crop and full-frame cameras. I’ve also had a few chances to really use the Canon 6D, and have no doubts that I am getting good images The 6D has slightly fewer megapixels than the 5D Mark III, but it’s not a deal-breaker. And from what I can tell, image quality is almost identical. Here is a side-by-side comparison to show the difference in quality between the two cameras:
5D3 – ISO 100
6D – ISO 100
5D3 – ISO 800
6D – ISO 800
5D3 – ISO 3200
6D – ISO 3200
6D – ISO 25600
5D3 – ISO 25600
But really, the bottom line for me comes down to two things: camera experience, and the end-use of the photos. The experience I get when using a Canon camera is great. I trust my gear, know it inside-and-out, and I know without a doubt that I will come home at the end of the day with great images. The last thing that I want is to be frustrated with a camera, especially when I am traveling and have no other option.
The other thing that I consider when choosing a camera is the end-use of the photos. When I analyze how my photos are used and where they are shared and viewed, the answer is almost always one of the following: on a website, on a mobile device, or in an eBook or tutorial. In other words, they are shared digitally, and usually at a much smaller resolution than the original file. Pixel-peeping is definitely a thing of the past for me, and even though I still upload to stock (currently to my Stocksy portfolio), I just don’t stress over it.