I have to say the Canon 6D blew past me like arctic spindrift along with all the others this year, barely receiving a quick glance as I headed into the maths of the remarkable 1Dx I purchased in December. Is it just another predictable 5D3 lookalike, with less features, fewer capabilities? Let me start by telling you from this increasingly uncomfortable train seat, this understated camera is almost an enigma to me, everything the platinum selling 5D2 wasn’t.
In a nutshell...
So what has me so captivated? Is it the WIFI or GPS? Let’s forget all that and start with a list and an early conclusion so you leave this review and head elsewhere –
Here’s what I love and it’s a big list in no particular order -
All operation is from the right thumb, what utter joy, unlike the 5D3.
The not so great list
….and that’s it, that’s my list. Small isn’t it.
I could write in about the lack of 100% viewfinder and the exclusion of ‘pro features’ that forums with gnash on and on about, but its not relevant - we’re adults. You can prioritise your own feature relevancy list from the points above and adapt this to your shooting, but here’s why I can see this camera in my bag for the next few years.
I originally bought the Canon 5Dmk2 for travel and it sat in my camera bag for three years until I sold it. It was a large disappointment to me – average, unpredictable IQ with weird shadow banding and a warm LCD screen that rendered questionable images in the field, no mojo in other words. I had no affiliation with it at all. The list above would have been heavily weighted the other way around.
This was taken on a rocking train at ISO800 at 105mm, 24-104f4L IS for 100th sec. AIServo is outrageously accurate.
The Ultimate Travel Camera Conclusion
In one week in India the Canon 6D has become the answer to my travel photography prayers. I have to say, I have never shot a camera under £2k that is so accurate, so fast and so reliable, nailing pin sharp images every time, even in the most awkward of light.
It looks basic, unexciting perhaps, especially at first glance, but it has precision electronics under the bonnet at the heart of every travel photographers requirements. Let us forget GPS and WIFI for now (seperate review soon), you need accurate AF at the heart. It doesn’t even have to be that fast, just solid and reliable. The 6D delivers again and again, and I have been astounded by its consistency so much so that I have started trying things no other camera would never attempt (except the 1Dx).
The files look utterly superb and they can be pushed a good deal in post processing. I have been able to purposefully underexpose images at 1/15thsec, hand held in dark museums at ISO800 and restore them to full exposure in RAW without any excessive noise or banding whatsoever. (see below)
This is the original... purposefully underexposed as it was hand held at f5.6 1/15th sec ISO800, cant get much lower...
So, if you are a landscape photographer looking for a new camera, is it worth considering? I think the initial draw of GPS will be of little use to you after the honeymoon period as you know where you were. I also think the astounding AF performance will too, as most will manual focus. I would lean towards the Canon 5D3 with its semi weather sealing and remarkable in-viewfinder level that I love on the 1Dx in particular.
If I had to recommend a landscape camera, if you can handle the weight, a second hand, low mileage 1Ds3 is still the weapon of choice and literally the same cost as a new 6D. Although the 6D will shoot anything you aim it at, I believe its strengths lie elsewhere, but if you walk a lot, or climb for your photographs, the 6D would still be an ideal lightweight companion. I know nothing of any weather resistance, so excuse me on this subject.
Finally, the WIFI feature looks compelling. Position the camera and then focus and shoot from your tablet or phone! Surely that has to be the ultimate app. Unfortunately I have such miserable internet everywhere in India I am yet to get the app. I will wait to feature this in another review when I get home.
So there it is, I hope my India portfolio does this camera some considerable justice. I am inspired to say the least and I feel I have a camera to compliment the arsenal I seem to be building. When I get home I am purchasing two, yes you did read that right. The second will be converted to infrared as its about time my IR system had an upgrade, and an upgrade it will certainly be.
Finally, here's my office -
Smelling a little fruity, but dont knock it, its got power sockets everywhere. You wont find that on many trains in the UK.