Canon 6D Review

682 1024 Tim Breaseale

Canon 6D

 I am not one of those reviewers that will use numbers and charts to justify how good or bad a camera is.  I just want to share with you real world photos and my thoughts about the new Canon 6D.  Click any image to enlarge.

I received the Canon 6D late January with the 40mm f/2.8 STM lens and the vertical battery grip.  I have had almost two months now to really play with it.  I have to say, I am really liking this camera.  When I first took the camera out of the box, I could not believe how good it felt in my hand.  This camera body is a little smaller than my previous Canon 40D and with the grip attached, it’s smaller than my Canon 1D Mrk IIn.  With the attached vertical grip, the camera is very well-balanced and has a good weight.

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The menu system is pretty easy to figure out.  I spent a few hours configuring the menu and  custom functions to the way I shoot and also checked out some new features that my other cameras never had.  I would say that 50% of the time I shoot in manual mode, and the other 50% I shoot in aperture priority mode.  The two custom mode positions on the creative dial are set up for C1-black & white and C2-multiple exposure for when I am shooting for HDR images.

Epcot-0588The images I want to share are from my trip to Walt Disney’s Epcot Center.  This was a good chance to really use the camera under many different lighting conditions.  The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is a big event that happens every year at Epcot, and I happened to be visiting during this event.  With so many colorful flowers, I think I got a little carried away with the saturation.  The image quality of this camera is amazing.  I used the 40mm f/2.8 STM lens and processed all the images with Lightroom 4.4.  It was great to start the day with full sunlight to see how the camera would handle the contrast.  The Canon 6D did a wonderful job capturing the dynamic range of these high contrast images.  And what was a little overexposed, Lightroom was able to bring back the detail.  I have to admit that I tweaked the images to show you how I would use them.  I did not want to show you a lot of before and afters with pixel peeping 200% crops.

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I love black & white images.  Lightroom does a wonderful job of converting color to B&W.  It does help to that the 6D captures amazing detail.

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When you’re inside the rides, there is the disclaimer of no flash photography.  I shot this scene of Gutenburg’s printing press while the ride was slowly moving.  The lighting conditions were all over the spectrum.  Canon’s auto white balance setting did pretty well, but I did have to work with Lightroom to get something that looked a little more natural to the human eye.  This was also a good chance to crank up to ISO 3200.  I have not used any higher ISO yet.  I have found that with my work, there is no need to go beyond ISO 3200.  I know the camera is well capable of ISO 25600 with good, usable results, though.

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I just love the colors.  This very saturated scene just needs some clouds.

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I couldn’t stop myself, with so many mirrors, I just had to do a self-portrait.  The tonal range of this sensor is amazing.  I don’t think my other cameras could even come close to the range that this sensor captures.

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You can’t get by without seeing Mickey and Minnie.  The park was very crowded.  It was hard being patient with people walking in front of you.  Every time I would put the camera to my eye, someone would walk by or stop in front of me.

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We started the tour of the worlds with Mexico.  This is where we had our dinner.  This was the perfect time to get a long exposure.  The Mayan temple scene was shot at ISO 100 at f/8 for 25 seconds.  I think the scene turned out pretty good.  I just wish I had a more sturdy place to put my camera.  I had the camera on a pedestal ledge angled with the neck strap using the self timer.  It worked out, but if you look close enough there is a slight movement in the temple from camera shake.  While waiting for our table, I walked around and got some shots of Mexican souvenirs.  I loved the color of the skulls.

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The bokeh (soft transition with circular highlights in the background) of the 40mm f/2.8 STM lens is very pleasing.  I just wished it focused a little bit faster.

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The glass blower is cropped in about 40%.  Cropping this much still holds a good resolution.  The perks of a full frame sensor.

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Above is in Morocco and the only shot I will show a before and after for comparison.  The image on the left is straight out of the camera.  The image on the right is tweaked to get that HDR look.  What do you think?  There is a lot of detail that Lightroom can bring out from a flat file.  Remember to click any image to enlarge.

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I also had to do a B&W of the same scene.  I love the contrast.

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Here is a troll protecting a castle of Norway.

Now to finish off the evening, I had to get one shot of the ball all lit up.  It would have been nice to have fireworks in the shot, but I was on the wrong side.  While looking at the ball, I was a little disappointed that it was not more colorful.  After shooting several frames, the camera picked up more color than I could see with my eyes.  Lightroom helped finish the shot with boosting the saturation of the colors to make it look like I envisioned.  I am very happy on how this image turned out.

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I will say that this camera is awesome!  The 40mm f/2.8 STM lens is a little slow to focus, but is very sharp.  The vertical grip doubles your shooting capacity while holding two batteries.  If you shoot vertical a lot, this will be very handy.  The focusing points have been a major issue for some people.  I do a lot of manual work, so it’s not that big of a deal for me.  I do wish the camera had some more focusing and cross type focusing points as I do use them for shooting sports.

While at Epcot, I would set my camera up so it would use all the focusing points and hand the camera off to someone to take my picture.  I would ask them to try to get the background in the shot.  Whoever took my photo would always place me to the lower corner, just out of reach of the focusing points.  Most of the pictures I had that were shot by others had a nice sharp background while I was out of focus (the average person does not know how to focus and recompose, even though I would explain the process).  Come on Canon, get some focus points closer to the edge!  Use a square pattern not an oval pattern!  I know there are limitations with technology, but with the new hybrid sensors (sensors that also have focusing points embedded), the focusing points should be able to go a little closer to the edge of the frame than the tradition CMOS sensors that have no focus point embedded.  The image of me below actually turned out pretty well.

One of the coolest features of this camera is to be able to connect to WiFi devices.  I was able to  connect my camera to my iPad and download images from the camera.  Of course it crops them to S2 JPEG size (1920×1280), but that’s perfect to share with social media sites.  When I transfer images to the iPad, I process them with Snapseed or Photoshop Touch.  I process and manage all my files on the computer with Lightroom.  One other feature I want to learn how to use is GPS embedding.  I  think this would be an awesome feature for travel photography.  This camera also does video.  I know nothing about video, so I will not included video to the review.  That is something else I am eager to learn.  My overall opinion, I would highly recommend the Canon 6D.

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Oh, I can’t finish up without saying that it was my new, little nephew’s 1st birthday.  I did get some shots of him under some strange blinking lights and harsh tungsten lights.  This Canon renders some really nice skin tones.  The auto white balance did a pretty good job, but I did use Lightroom to tweak my colors just a little.  Happy Birthday James!!!!

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