Canon 6d review – upgrading from the Canon 60d

Let me start by saying that this is not going to be a technical pixel peeping review. Plenty of people have already done that. This review will be taken from the perspective of someone who has used and loved the Canon 60d and then made the leap to Canons entry level full frame dslr, the Canon 6d.

Initial impressions – holding the camera in the hand felt very similar to the 60d, and the controls and dials were also very similar. There are a few notable exceptions, but it’s all very intuitive and easy to navigate and learn. Existing 60d users will have no problems using the functions of this camera very quickly. Probably worth reading the manual at some stage, but easy enough to start without it.

Features – from menus to dials, there are no nasty surprises. The menu navigation is quick and easy to use. The most pleasing feature of the camera for me was the image quality, more on that under image quality. You have all the expected controls over ISO, flash, lighting, white balance, plus some interesting wifi options that although they look cool and easy to use, I’m yet to incorporate this into my shooting routine. If you’re into high quality selfies this remote app wifi shooting feature will really make you happy. For me there is nothing missing. Yes you could have timelapse options etc but there are other ways to tackle that.

Setup – really simple. Take out of the box, fix a lens, insert battery and SD card and off you go. Tinker with the settings as you see fit, or get some advice from others on the net who have share their favourite settings. Most of my shooting is done in the custom C1 and C2 settings, one for fast moving subjects/sports, the other for still subjects where depth of field is important.

Image quality – yep it’s true, there is a BIG difference moving from APSC to full frame. No question. This is the same sensor as the 5d iii. The details, colour, general IQ of the output is simply amazing. There is so much detail that you should rarely require anything other than jpeg as a setting. Sure shoot raw if you want, but I found it won’t make that much of a difference. Additionally another great feature of full frame sensors is the ability to digitally crop without losing significant detail in the picture – ideal for sports photos for most of us who don’t have a fast 600mm lens.

AF – what’s it’s really like? Many people have been quick to critique the limited 9 point AF with 1 cross type. Let me tell you that if you are a reasonably skilled photographer, then this is not a problem. Why? For stills whether you have 9 or 90 points it won’t matter, as your subject isn’t moving. Just change the AF point selector to the one you prefer or focus and recompose. So what about sports. Again no problem. Just select the centre AF point and use the AF back button and you’ll capture incredible sports photos… long as you’re shooting above 1/250 – most of mine are at more than 1/1000 of a sec.

Lenses I use – the standard 24-105 IS f4 and 70-200 IS f4. The 24-105 is a great general purpose lens, and it is very sharp if you know how to take a sharp photo. The 70-200 is amazing, and for me, a bargain compared with the 2.8. Most of my shooting is during the day, and at night it’s mostly on a tripod. Both re L lenses, Canons pro line, weather sealed and reasonably tough, although I do not suggest testing this assertion. Always treat your lenses very carefully. I also have a Sigma 85 f1.4 but have yet to test this thoroughly. With 3rd party lenses, if your lens focus is slightly off you can always use the micro adjustment feature in the camera, but I seriously advise you to read the manual on that one.

Samples – take a look. Most of sports pictures are digitally cropped and processed from jpeg in Perfectly Clear. I don’t have the time to spend hours on computers playing with raw files, and the difference is not worth the effort for me.

Sunset through dirty double glazed glass and horizontal blinds with 70-200

AFL game captured with 70-200

Conclusion – if you’re a Canon shooter and you have have Canon lenses, yes it’s a great upgrade well worth the investment. I will enjoy using this camera for many years to come.

FYI, the picture near the headline at the top was taken with a Canon 60d.

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