Review – Canon 6D

Canon 6D Review_Scuffins_Photography_001-3It’s been a long, long time since I wrote a geeky photography equipment review on this blog. This might sound a little bit superior, but I’ve just found that as I matured as a photographer and found more joy and positivity and passion in shooting people and stories, the less interest I had in the gear side of things. Cameras are just a means to an end.

However, I know that everyone now and then enjoys a little bit of gear geekery, and that’s cool. My first impressions of the Canon 6D and how to set it up, have been two of my most viewed videos on YouTube. So I figured it was about time I did an in depth and long term review of one of my most used and favourite cameras.

As a basis for this review, I shoot weddings and portraits with a 5D MKIII, a 6D and a combination of my three favourite primes lenses, the 35mm f1.4, 85mm f1.2 and 135mm f2. I use primarily natural light and a bit of on camera flash where needed. Therefore, if you shoot sports, use fancy off camera flash setups and big white zoom lenses, please don’t be surprised if my views differ from yours.

Likewise, I don’t do technical details or specs. Life is too damn short. When looking for a camera review, the only graphs you should be looking at are photographs. Haha. Get it? Either way, all the pictures in the post were taken with the 6D in the last year or so. I think they are pretty awesome.

Canon 6D Review_Scuffins_Photography_005Canon 6D Review_Scuffins_Photography_006-2Canon 6D Review_Scuffins_Photography_011

I have owned my first 6D since March 2013 (14 Months at the time of this review), and have just recently purchased a second one as my backup camera and for my second shooter to use at weddings.

First off let’s start off with all the things the 6D can do brilliantly. It has a high megapixel, great in low light full frame sensor. It’s decently built and able to withstand a fair bit of rough handling and bad weather. The control layout and ergonomics are in my opinion, the best of any Canon camera every made. It has all of Canon’s latest and greatest metering, processor and computer gubbins inside. The centre autofocus point works awesome in the dark, and has 10 more points to choose from if you want to. It has built in Wifi and GPS which is nifty. You can even control it remotely using your iPhone. It works with all kinds of on and off camera flash guns, including Canon’s fancy radio wireless ones like the 600EX-RT. The battery lasts ages and then some. It takes SD cards, which is great because they are cheaper and more abundant than compact flash cards, and they slot straight into my Macbook Pro. It’s got a nice decent screen on the back, and all the menus are well laid out. It’s responsive, it’s reliable and takes great pictures.

Canon 6D Review_Scuffins_Photography_018Canon 6D Review_Scuffins_Photography_012-2Canon 6D Review_Scuffins_Photography_010

I can’t think of much else you would realistically need unless you have a particular specialism in shooting in really harsh conditions or capturing super-fast moving subjects where you need a million focus points. And let’s face it. realistically, as a wedding and portrait photographer, as much as I would like to think I’m some sort of epic awesome war journalist, I’m not. The harshest condition I face at a wedding is a bit of light rain, anything worse than that and the bride and groom wouldn’t be out in it. And the fastest thing I photograph is a kid rocking out on the dance floor during the reception.  If your gran’s compact camera can keep up with that, then I’m sure our fancy expensive DSLR’s can.

Speaking of which, the Canon 6D is cheap. Like really cheap. Especially compared to its big brother the 5D MKIII which is nearly twice as much at nearly £2000. I would take that extra grand and take my 6D travelling somewhere cool. Or buy another lens. Or three. Or maybe even just leave that cash right where it is in my business account for another day.

Now I’m not gonna lie, there are some minor annoyances or improvements I would like to see in the 6D MKII or whatever they call it. But they are so minor I certainly wouldn’t pay any more for them. A second card slot would be nice. But the 5D MKII is still one of the most popular wedding DSLR’s, and that has just the one one card slot. So no big deal.  I’ve also noticed that the slightly less durable exterior of the 6D shows up more scrapes and marks than the rock solid Canon 5D MK MKIII, but…meh. What’s a couple or scratches or dents on camera that gets used day in day out and helps me create cool pictures for my awesome paying clients.

Canon 6D Review_Scuffins_Photography_012Canon 6D Review_Scuffins_Photography_015Canon 6D Review_Scuffins_Photography_006

I really really like the Canon 6D. It does all the basics, and it does them really well. Sure it doesn’t have some of the fancy trimmings of a top of the range pro DSLR, but then who cares. For me the 6D hits the goldilocks spot of offering a lot of features for a not unrealistic amount of money. Somedays I actually resent my 5DMKIII…a bit. I mean it does exactly the same job, the pictures I take with them at a wedding or shoot are indistinguishable from each other, but the 5D cost me £1000 more. Ouch.

Seriously, pick up a 6D, chuck a good prime lens on there, a 50mm 1.4, maybe a 35mm 1.4. And go out and take some awesome pictures.

  • Raj said:

    Hello mate,

    On a tight budget what u advice 6D with 50mm 1.4 or 6D with 24-105mm ?

    Thanks.

    • Personally I would go with the 50mm f1.4, its smaller, lighter and cheaper but still a versatile little lens to have. Plus it's a lot, lot better in low light and blurring backgrounds. The 24-105mm is good all rounder, but not particularly great at anything, but it is solid and reliable. In my opinion its a bit of a boring lens, but it is popular for a reason. They are both awesome enough to take pictures of a whole bunch of stuff.

  • Hi Chris

    Need some advice, I have seen you video on Youtube the 50mm 1.2 vs 35mm 1.4 and I was just wondering what would be the best all round lens for the Canon 6D... Can you please look at my FB page for my photography but I still have some good pictures to put up on it.

    Hope you can reply to this email as I am a big fan of you Youtube page and your work...

    Thanks and have a good day!

    Jacob Marshall

    • Hey Jacob,

      Personally I would choose a 35mm over a 50mm, as I like the wider field of view. A 50mm can be a little bit tight for a lot of stuff. Also if you are looking at the Canon 35mm, it focuses faster than the 50mm and is sharper at 1.4. But either lens is super solid and and awesome and seriously fun lens to use, and great for a lot of stuff, portraits, street photography etc. All sorts.

      Hope that helps dude.

      • Thanks for the help Chris! Just two quick question about what are your thoughts on the Canon 135mm f2L USM lens... I know that you use this lens when you do your weddings, would you ever use this lens on engagements shoot? Sorry but any tips on starting your own photography business? Thanks again... Jacob

  • Gregoir Dominic Jackson said:

    lovely photos! and i can't wait to get a 6d, i use a 5dmkii and its great even though the 9 point focus has me tearing my hair out at times! cool review!

  • Jeff Allen said:

    I'm a long time photographer and lucky to own the Canon 5d MKIII, Canon 7d and the Canon 6d. With these I have an assortment of L glass to extract the best from the sensors.
    By far my favourite camera is the Canon 6d it is lighter than the other two and whilst AF points are less in Landscape this is not an issue. The I.Q. Equals the 5dMKIII and it works better in low light I also find the in-built wi-fi great for remote firing from my iPhone. The GPS is very useful just don't forget to disable it when you've finished using the camera it eats the battery up.
    Overall this is a great camera over-looked by many simply because of poor reviews that bang on solely about AF points.

  • Dan said:

    Thanks for this write-up Chris (and gorgeous photos too). I'm looking to upgrade from the 5D ii, and I've been agonising for a while between the 6D and the 5D iii; so far the 6D is winning.

    The focusing concerns me a little bit, although I'm used to the 9 points on the 5D ii so it should be a problem (I'm a focus and recompose kind of guy, so the sensitive centre focusing point on the 6D is all I'll use to be honest). How do you find focusing with it?

  • Roya said:

    Hi! I just purchased a Canon 6D and a 50mm f/1.2 lens, I'm on a budget and couldn't afford the 35mm but am looking to go pro in wedding photography. Should I be discouraged by the fact that no pros I follow use my lens? Can I still get the same quality images as the 5D iii with a 35 mm? Thanks so much. Loved your photos and articles

  • Jesi said:

    Hi! I just recently bought a 6D and I love it! If you don't mind me asking what actions do you use for your photos?

    • Jesi said:

      Never mind! I just watched your thoughts on Lightroom actions/presets and it actually makes a lot of sense! Thank you!

  • Sam said:

    I also use the 6D for wedding photography. Wondering what you typically use for external flash?

  • Praneeth said:

    Hi,

    I have been using 6D for pre wedding and wedding shoot. I am failing somewhere to get sharper images as above, having right lenses with optimal ISO and shutter speed settings and all. Could you please guide me few camera internal settings that I can set to enhance the sharpness of the image.

    Regards,
    Praneeth