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Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Review

The Canon EOS 6D is one of the cheapest new full frame Digital SLRs available, find out how it performs in our review.

| Canon EOS 6D in Digital SLRs

Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Review: Canon Eos 6d Front New

Canon's new full frame Digital SLR, the Canon EOS 6D features an all new 20.2 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, and has impressed many with it's high specification and competitive price point. Previously users of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, looking to upgrade, had to choose whether to invest in the more expensive Canon EOS 5D Mark III priced at around £2300, whereas now they can purchase the Canon EOS 6D for around £1599, and also benefit from built in GPS and Wi-Fi.

Canon EOS 6D Features

Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Review: Canon Eos 6d Dslr Large (11)

The Canon EOS 6D is one of the smallest full-frame digital SLRs available and offers low light focusing with an 11-point autofocus system, that is responsive down to -3EV, sensitive enough to operate under moonlight. With a 20.2 megapixel sensor the camera offers ISO 50 to ISO102400 when using the ISO expansion feature.

Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Review: Canon Eos 6d Dslr Large (17)

The Canon EOS 6D has a completely new 20.2 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, which sits neatly in between the 18.1 megapixel sensor in the Canon EOS 1D X and the 22.3 megapixel sensor in the Canon EOS 5D Mark III in terms of resolution, but not price, and combined with a DIGIC 5+ processor should deliver noise performance levels somewhere in between these two cameras.

Key Features

  • Full-frame 20.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor
  • 97% view optical viewfinder
  • 3.0inch screen, 1040k dot
  • 11-point AF sensitive down to -3EV
  • GPS records your location
  • Wi-Fi file transfer and remote control
  • Full-HD 1080p video, Max ISO 12800, expandable to 25600
  • ISO100 - ISO25600, expands to ISO50 - ISO102400
  • ±5 stop exposure compensation and ±3-stop auto exposure bracketing
  • 4.5fps continuous shooting
  • Magnesium Alloy front and rear body covers, polycarbonate top cover
  • Weather sealed body - to same standard as EOS-1N
  • Multiple exposure, HDR mode
  • In camera RAW image processing
  • DIGIC 5+ image processor
  • EOS integrated sensor cleaning system
  • AF Microadjustment

Canon EOS 6D Handling

Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Review: Canon Eos 6d Dslr Large (7)

Handling - The Canon EOS 6D feels quite light when first picked up and thanks to a relatively thin body front front to back, feels quite compact, particularly if you're used to using a larger full-frame camera. The camera has a deep hand grip with rubber where needed, with a good sized rubber grip at the rear for your thumb, as well as rubber on the left of the camera to aid two handed grip. The camera has a locking mode dial, which means you have to press the centre button before turning it, and the on/off switch can be found underneath. The top LCD can be lit up with the press of the light button.

Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Review: Canon EOS 5D Mk III vs Canon EOS 6D
Image courtesy of Canon.

The Canon EOS 6D is one of the smallest full frame Digital SLRs available, and weighs just 680g body only, while the nearest competitor, the Nikon D600 weights 850g. The 6D is noticeably smaller than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, as shown above, and also smaller than the Nikon D600, although the D600 does feature a built in flash.

Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Review: Canon Eos 6d Dslr Large (8)

Menus – The Canon EOS menus are clearly laid out with each section colour coded and will be familiar to anyone who's used Canon's recent Digital SLRs. There are a large number of settings and options, which may mean it's a good idea to spend some time reading the manual, although the camera has hidden a number of custom settings instead of giving you direct access to them. To quickly get access to options, you simply press the Q button, and a control panel is shown on the rear screen.

You can set the auto ISO mode so that you control the ISO range available as well as the slowest shutter speed used by the camera before it boosts the ISO setting. It works well and can give you additional confidence that a fast enough shutter speed will be used. Another useful feature for anyone shooting a lot of images is the ability to rate your images on a scale of one to five on screen.

Wi-Fi connectivity - The camera can be connected to your current Wi-Fi network, or alternatively a direct Wi-Fi connection can be made from the smartphone to the camera. Connection options include: connecting to another Wi-Fi camera, EOS utility, Wi-Fi printer, upload to Web service, view the images on a DNLA compatiable TV, or using the EOS Remote app - available here - you can connect the 6D to an Android phone or tablet or iPhone / iPad.

Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Review: Eos Remote Utility Wifi
EOS Remote Utility Wi-Fi

The app lets you use the phone as a live view remote control adjusting Av/Tv/ISO and exposure when in the correct mode on the camera, as well as check focus. You can view images - where you can also rate them on your phone, and transfer images to the phone (max size: S2 (1920 x 1280) JPEG). As the app uses the live view mode of the camera, focusing is quite slow, and the remote app adds a slight delay.

Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Review: Canon Eos 6d Dslr Large (1)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 1090 shots according to Canon / CIPA test results, we were able to take over 700 shots before the battery went flat - this was after using live view and Wi-Fi quite a lot and the battery life should be longer if you use Wi-Fi/GPS and live view as little as possible. A battery grip is available if you wish to extend the battery life.

Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Review: Canon Eos 6d Dslr Large (10)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

"Max. Approx. 4.5fps. (speed maintained for up to 1250 images (JPEG)¹²or 17 images (RAW))³ (with UHS-I card)²"

  Canon EOS 6D Sony RX100
Shutter Response 0.05 0.0
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.3 0.3
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.3 0.3
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 0.35 2.2
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.3 0.9
Shot to Shot with Flash N/A 2.1
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
4.5fps (28 shots) 7fps (speed priority mode, 15 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A 1.6s
Continuous Shooting - RAW 4.5fps (13 shots) 4fps (13 shots)

Tested with a Sony UHS-I 94mb/s U:1 card. Focus speed is very quick, and shutter response is excellent, although live view focusing is much slower. Shot to shot speed and switch on time is also very good.

Silent shooting single shot or continuous shooting is available, and this makes the shutter sound noticeably quieter, as shown in the video above, although there is no noticeable shutter release or focus delay as a result, there is a slowdown of continuous shooting to 3fps.

Canon EOS 6D Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Canon EOS 6D Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The Canon EOS 6D is capable of producing excellent images in a variety of conditions with particularly pleasing skin tones and colour reproduction. Dynamic range is good with detail in both bright and shadow areas despite the difficult shooting conditions.

Canon EOS 6D Lens test images

Lens Performance - Detail is good in photos whether using the 24-70mm f/4 L IS USM lens at the wide or telephoto end. The camera and lens produce reliable focus, however, as with other full-frame cameras, care needs to be paid to focus when shooting wide-open as the shallow depth of field could cause problems if the camera focuses on the wrong area. The Canon 24-70mm f/4 L IS USM lens has a macro switch on the side that allows the lens to focus extremely closely when fully zoomed, with the subject just 4cm away from the front of the lens.

Canon EOS 6D ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - The Canon EOS 6D has ISO100 to ISO25600, which is expandable to ISO50 - 102400. Images are virtually noise free at ISO50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600, with a very slight increase in chroma noise at ISO3200. There is also a very slight loss of detail at ISO3200. There is a more noticeable increase in noise at ISO6400, with the slight loss of detail again, however images are still very impressive. At ISO12800 the camera does a good job of controlling the noise, with just a slight increase again, although detail does suffer. At ISO25600 noise becomes quite dominant particularly in darker colours. At ISO51200 noise is more noticeable again as red, green and blue dots and patches start to appear. Noise gets quite ugly at ISO102400, and it's best to avoid this setting.

Canon EOS 6D Low light images

We've added a couple of low-light images taken at ISO12800, and ISO25600 to show noise levels in darker lighting, than our normal studio test shots.

Canon EOS 6D White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) gives warm results under tungsten lighting, with the Tungsten preset giving a slightly warmer result. AWB performs well under fluorescent lighting, with just a slight green cast, with the fluorescent preset giving a good, but slightly magenta, result. For more accurate results, you can shoot RAW and correct later, or alternatively use manual white balance.

Canon EOS 6D Other sample images

HDR - HDR photos can be automatically created in the camera, although RAW shooting needs to be switched off. Options are Auto, +/- 1, 2, or 3 EV, with the option to shoot just one image, or continuous, and the camera gives the option to auto align as well. The camera takes 3 shots at different exposures. To go beyond this range, and shoot in RAW, you can use Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB), and the camera will let you set how many shots are taken in the Custom/Exposure menus with the choice of 2, 3, 5 or 7 shots.

Canon EOS 6D Digital filters

Digital Filters - Picture style can be set to: Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, as well as three custom settings, with each one letting you set the sharpness, contrast, saturation and colour tone. The camera features a Creative Auto mode that allows you to easily alter background blur without having to know aperture settings, as well as shoot "ambience-based shots" with the options being: Standard, Vivid, Soft, Warm, Intense, Cool, Brighter, Darker, Monochrome. The strength of these can be altered.

Video - 30, 25, 24fps, 1080p, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec, ALL-I / IPB compression, time-code, mono microphone built in, microphone socket provided for stereo audio recording, although there is no headphone socket. The microphone has a 64-level scale setting for the audio level. Focus is reasonable, although as it relies on live view it can be slow. Additional videos can be viewed on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel.

Value For Money

The Canon EOS 6D is available for £1599 body only, this makes it rougly £700 cheaper than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, leaving you a decent amount of money to spend on a lens. Although it's roughly £200 more expensive than the Nikon D600, available for £1400 body only. You could also consider the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, if you can still find it, then they're available for around £1149 - £1299. The Nikon D800, with 36.3mp full frame sensor is £300 more at £1899 body only. These all make the Sony Alpha A99, £2299 body only, and Canon EOS 5D Mark III, £2298 body only, seem quite expensive in comparison.

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Canon EOS 6D Verdict

The Canon EOS 6D feels like it's an improvement over the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, and gives most of what you get with the 5D Mark III, but with the addition of GPS and Wi-Fi, as well as the excellent 20.2 megapixel sensor for improved noise performance, but with a fraction of the price of the 5D Mark III, making this an excellent camera for those wanting a full-frame Digital SLR.

Image quality is impressive with excellent colour both in photos and on the rear screen of the camera, and noise performance is excellent. Focus performance is good with 11 point auto focus that works down to -3EV, and as long as you are not using live view it is very quick and reliable.

For anyone looking to upgrade from an earlier Canon camera, the Canon EOS 6D delivers some of the latest features such as Wi-Fi, GPS, built in HDR shooting, and reasonably quick continuous shooting at 4.5fps. The camera feels extremely well built, and pleasantly compact and light-weight for a full-frame Digital SLR, making it an enjoyable experience to use.

  Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Review:
  The Canon EOS 6D delivers excellent image quality and low noise levels and is feature packed.

Canon EOS 6D Pros

Excellent image quality
Excellent high ISO performance
Built in HDR shooting
Good value for money
Built in GPS / Wi-Fi
Quiet single / continuous shooting mode
Lightest / Smallest full frame DSLR
Lens AF fine tuning and distortion correction
Electronic level

Canon EOS 6D Cons

1 memory card slot
Competitors feature built in flash
Lacks headphone socket for people keen on video
RAW shooting not available when using the HDR mode


Canon EOS 6D Specifications

Effective Magnification1x
Image Sensor
Pixels20.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5472
Pixels (H)3648
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeFull-Frame
Sensor Size (width)36mm
Sensor Size (height)24mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution1,040,000 dot
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Partial
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity50 - 102400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Bracket
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
  • Incandescent
Exposure Comp+/-5
MagnificationNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting4.5fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS1080p at 30,25,24fps, 720p and 480 recorded at 50/60fps
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Lithium-Ion LP-E6
Battery Life (CIPA rating)1090shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsEOS 6D, Eyecup Eb, Camera Cover R-F-3, Wide Strap EW-EOS 6D, Battery Pack LP-E6 (Except JP/CN), Rechargeable Li-ion battery LP-E6 Battery

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Photographs taken using the Canon EOS 6D

Nude on the beachWinter MistNude.A Siren.Riding the wavesSplashAnnAutumn leaves.Nude in B/W.A white elephant ?And the seasons go round and roundVampires.Vampires.NellaVampires.

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goexplorephotography Avatar
21 Jan 2013 7:37PM
Having used a 6D for the last few weeks, i can happlily say its an impressive camera to use. Well built but lightwieght, it fits perfectly in hand. The low light focusing is great as to is the high iso performance. I recently took it on an assignment to morocco where i carried the camera all day every day, and i never tired of lugging it around. As a professional travel & Landscape photographer with a passion for street photography i found the 6D to be perfect. If wildlife and sport was my thing id probably recomend the 5D mark iii. Just for the more advanced focusing. However for the alround photographer who occasionly does a bit of sport or wildlife the 6D is more than capable.
Overall im impressed with a full frame camera in such a small wellbuilt body that produces stunning results. The GPS is a great touch and very useful as a travel photographer, and so is the wifi. If your into your lowlight and night photography to can download the free canon app to control your camera via an ipad or iphone. Inc focusing and most settings.
For the money its great way to get into full frame photography, but you will need to use top quality lenses to get the most out of it?

If your a Nikon user the D600 is an equally fab camera so no need to change to canon.
JackAllTog Avatar
JackAllTog Plus
14 6.4k 58 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2013 11:08PM
I assume "RAW shooting not available when using the HDR mode" - but you could still manually shoot bracketed images and then combine them yourself?
joshwa Avatar
joshwa Plus
13 927 1 United Kingdom
22 Jan 2013 9:29AM

Quote:I assume "RAW shooting not available when using the HDR mode" - but you could still manually shoot bracketed images and then combine them yourself?

Yes: "To go beyond this range, you can use Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB), and the camera will let you set how many shots are taken in the Custom/Exposure menus with the choice of 2, 3, 5 or 7 shots." < I'll add in that you can also shoot RAW.
Canonshots Avatar
Canonshots 13 206 13 United Kingdom
25 Jan 2013 5:39AM
Only 11 AF points -what are Canon playing at?

Where is the sense in producing a camera this good and then spoiling it with a Mickey Mouse AF system? I'll stick to my 7D.
gearhead Avatar
24 Jan 2014 6:20PM
Five stars for features even though this camera doesn't have a built-in flash??? Despite having only one memory card slot and a sub-par AF system(as mentioned above)? Despite not having many of the features of the D610 which is the only other camera in its class that you can compare it to? That's just nuts. You've gotta be a Canon Fanboy.
User_Removed Avatar
29 Nov 2014 12:01AM
The middle af point is the most sensitive af point today. No problems to focus in the dark. Nothing Mickey Mouse about that. That is what I need, if I need a sport camera I should buy the 5D mark III. I should never go back to a APS-C. The 7D (markII) is not for me.

But it is the same old story, even with the 5D mark II and I never had an issue with the auto focus. Bang, always right! I own also an old 1D mark II N , does a fine job with the occasional sport photography.

The 6D is a fantastic camera, very nice IQ, very nice result with high iso's. It is cheap for a FF. The only thing I do not like is the fasted shutter-time of 1/4000 sec. But Canon had to make a difference with the 5D mark III.

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