Canon EOS 6D review

29 Jan 2013
Our Rating 
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Page 3 of 3Canon EOS 6D review

Flawless image quality at a tantalising price, but the basic autofocus won't suit everyone


36x24mm 20.0-megapixel sensor, N/A zoom (N/A equivalent), 755g

It's well specified as a video camera, with 1080p capture at 24, 25 or 30fps, encoded in AVC format at around 30Mbit/s or 50Mbit/s. The latter gives extremely low compression artefacts even for complex, fast-moving scenes. It also includes manual exposure control for video, including adjustable aperture while recording – something that's not possible on the D600. Priority modes aren't available for video, but it is possible to set the shutter speed and aperture manually and let the camera adjust the exposure via the ISO sensitivity.

Video picture quality trailed behind the D600, though, and it can't begin to compete with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3. Details in the 6D's videos appear pixel-sharp but direct comparisons reveal much finer details in the D600 and GH3's output. Video autofocus is as slow and clumsy as it has always been on Canon SLRs, and there's no headphone out to monitor the microphone while recording.

Canon EOS 6D smple shot

These 1:1-pixel details from 1080p videos reveal the varying detail levels from the Panasonic GH3, Nikon D60 and Canon EOS 6D


Most people who are contemplating spending £1,500 on a camera will be upgrading from a cheaper or older SLR. In many respects the 6D is very similar to the 5D Mark II but with significantly lower noise and built-in Wi-Fi and GPS. However, Mark II owners will be much better served by the 5D Mark III, which makes for a much more substantial upgrade.

Canon EOS 6D

For people coming from a cropped-sensor Canon SLR, the 6D's allure is much stronger. Noise levels are massively improved, the viewfinder is much bigger, the depth of field is shallower and there's the Wi-Fi and GPS features once again. However, it's important to remember that EF-S lenses that are designed exclusively for cropped-sensor cameras aren't compatible – unlike the D600, there's no cropped-sensor mode on the 6D. More importantly, we're not sure how happy we'd be about moving from the 60D or 650D's nine cross-type autofocus points to the 6D's 11-point autofocus with a single cross-type point.

Canon clearly needed to differentiate the 6D from the 5D Mark III, but £1,499 is a lot to pay for a camera that you might have mixed feelings about. Then again, the 5D Mark II sold well with its 9-point, 1 cross-type autofocus – ultimately, it's a personal decision as to whether this issue is a deal-breaker. It keeps the 6D from a five-star rating, but this is still the best camera for a lot of people. We can easily imagine it being a best seller, and deservedly so.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
CCD effective megapixels 20.0 megapixels
CCD size 36x24mm
Viewfinder optical TTL
Viewfinder magnification, coverage 0.71x, 97%
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 1,040,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom N/A
Zoom 35mm equivalent N/A
Image stabilisation Available in lenses
Maximum image resolution 5,472x3,648
File formats JPEG, RAW; QuickTime (AVC)


Memory slot SDXC
Mermory supplied none
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 1,090 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, mini HDMI, wired remote, microphone minijack input, Wi-Fi
Body material Magnesium alloy front and rear body covers. Polycarbonate top cover
Lens mount Canon EF
Focal length multiplier 1.0x
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables, neck strap
Weight 755g
Size 113x146x72mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £1,499

Camera Controls

Exposure modes program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed 30 to 1/4,000 seconds
Aperture range N/A
ISO range (at full resolution) 100 to 102400
Exposure compensation +/-5 EV
White balance auto, 6 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness, color tone, auto lighting optimiser, noise reduction, chromatic aberration correction, peripheral illumination correction, colour space
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus N/A
Auto-focus modes 11-point (one cross-type)
Metering modes multi, partial, centre-weighted, spot
Flash External flash only
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket, HDR

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Page 3 of 3Canon EOS 6D review