Last Christmas (after I made sure all the kids and wife got their toys), I bought myself a new Canon EOS 6D to replace my aging Canon Rebel xTI. It was really start to show signs of old age. It was suffering from dead pixels and at only 8 megapixels, it’s image size had been surpassed by most smartphones.
I wanted to make the jump to full-frame photography for a couple reasons. The first being, the photo-sensors are bigger (more on that later), and second, all my lenses are EF mount which means they “match” a full-frame sensor.
It’s now almost been a year that I’ve owned the Canon EOS 6D and I thought I’d write-up my take on how well it performs for my skill level and the type of photography I’m interested in, which is namely landscapes and nighttime photography. This isn’t a full review by any means. It’s just the things I really notice as being an improvement over my old camera.
Higher ISO Without as Much Noise
The full-frame photo-sensor is a great improvement over the old crop-sensor I had on the Canon Rebel xTI. Low light shooting is much better, and the noise at higher ISO’s is much less noticeable. I could only go up to about ISO 400 on the old camera before the noise was quite visible. I can easily double that to 800. This makes fast action shots of the kids much easier. The old Canon xTI could only go up to 1600 ISO, but the EOS 6D can go all the way up to 25,000. However, being able to set the ISO to 4,000 allows for some pretty cool Milky Way and star photography. There is a bit of noise at the level, but nothing Abode Lightroom can’t clean up. This really opens up a whole new area of photography that just wasn’t possible before.
The newer photo-sensor is remarkably better than the old camera as well. The color and temperature on the images are far more accurate. The 20 megapixel DIGIC 5+ image processor and 14-bit A/D conversion really make a difference over the older 10.1 megapixel DIGIC II Image Processor and APS-C size CMOS Sensor. Images are twice as large, which makes printing poster size images look awesome.
The larger photo-sensor size captures a lot more light. This is really important when doing nighttime photography. Light is gold, and the more you can capture, the better. The old camera simply couldn’t take nighttime photos. But the Canon 6D can, which opens up a whole new area of photography I couldn’t do before.
Some might not find this all that useful, but I sure do. When I’m out taking pictures of lightning, it’s a lot more comfortable and safe to shoot from inside my truck rather than standing out in the open with the Camera on a tripod. The Canon EOS app for the iPhone allows you to remote shoot and and view the photographs via the built-in WiFi. You can also operate the camera in LiveView mode and see everything in real-time. The 6D is weather resistant, so it can take some rain. I haven’t had it sitting exposed to the elements in a downpour, but it’s done just fine when sprinkling. The only issue is water spots on the lens.
Auto-Focusing Points (11)
Although there are 2 more auto-focusing points than my old xTI, there are still too few at 11. I knew this when I bought the camera, but I didn’t think it would be that big a deal. Sadly, I was somewhat wrong. On occasion, I find myself having to modify the composition a bit so that the auto-focus points line up with the subject I want in focus. Albeit, a very small re-composition, but nonetheless I have to take it into consideration. The higher end models have a lot more points, but the jump in price was too much for me to stomach. I’ve learned to work around the issue, and it’s almost never an problem with wide angle landscapes. But when I want to bring a subject in close and still obey the rule of thirds, it can require additional composition planning.