February 09, 2013 00:00 By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
Enhanced noise reduction, exceptional processing and a 20.2 megapixel CMOS sensor make the EOS 6D a force that's hard to beat
A20.2-megapixel full-frame SLR camera, the Canon EOS 6D offers excellent image quality and impressive performance as well as a built-in Wi-Fi connection and GPS logging feature.
A full-frame DSLR means a digital camera that uses an image sensor, which is the same size as a 35mm (36x24 mm) film frame. The main advantage is that the wide-angle lens designed for full-frame cameras retains the same wide-angle of view. The 6D has a kit lens of EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM and 24-105mm is the focal length in 35mm photography. The focal length is not multiplied by 1.5 crop factor of other Canon DSLRs that use an APS-C size sensor.
And the larger sensor means larger pixels or photosites, providing wider dynamic range and higher signal-to-noise ratio, which is another advantage of a full-frame camera.
The 6D’s full-frame CMOS sensor is about 35.8 x 23.9 mm and it has about 20.20 megapixels resolution. It has ISO sensitivity of 100 to 25,600.
The 6D is powered by enhanced DIGIC 5+ imaging processor, an enhancement to the previous DIGIC 5. So the after-shot processing of images is fast. Together with the full-frame CMOS sensor, the 6D can achieve higher noise processing by two stops.
DIGIC 5+ also helps improve the performance of image processing when the 6D takes continuous shots at the speed of 4.5 frames per second.
The 6D now sports an 11-point auto-focusing sensor with centre AF point performing cross-type focusing.
And it uses an iFCL 63-zone dual-layer metering system, which is optimised to work in tandem with the 11-point auto focusing.
It also features an accurate optical viewfinder, which offers 97 per cent coverage and 0.71x magnification. It comes with a 3-inch Clear View LCD monitor with 1.04 million dots resolution.
The test at The Nation’s newsroom found that 6D captured very sharp and clean photos.
Portrait shots were beautiful and the professionally blurred background could be easily achieved.
Landscape shots were gorgeous too with the 24-mm wide angle of the lens. And the f/4 aperture of the kit lens was bright enough to capture indoor shots without any need for a flash. The 6D has no built-in flash so it needs a bright lens for taking sharp shots in low-light environments. You are in any case advised to buy an external flash to use with the 6D’s hot shoe.
The 6D also captured Full HD 1080p with good and quality. The 1080p clips were sharp, clean and smooth. The 6D has a selector switch to toggle between the video and still shooting modes. When in video mode, you must use the button that brings up live view shooting in still mode to start and stop recording.
The 6D’s controls are intuitive to use. It has a main dial for selecting exposure controls – Program AE, Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority, Manual exposure, Bulb exposure, Special scene mode, Scene Intelligent Auto, Creative Auto and two custom shooting modes.
The modes available under the Special scene option are Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene, and HDR Backlight Control.
I found that the Scene Intelligent Auto or full auto exposure control was effective in capturing good quality shots. The camera automatically analyses the conditions of scene and gathers information based on the subject’s face, colour, brightness, movement, contrast and distance. The camera’s intelligent system then sends the information to related features, including Picture Style Auto, Auto White Balance, Auto Lighting Optimiser, Auto Focus and Auto Exposure.
The 6D also provides five buttons for selections of Auto Focus type, Drive mode, ISO, metering system and white balance. You simply press the button and use the front dial to select the respective choices. There is also the “Q” or Quick button that will bring up parameters for the current shooting mode on the LCD screen so that you can adjust them fast and conveniently.
During the test, I found that I enjoyed two modes under the Special scene option – the High Dynamic Range mode and Handheld Night Scene mode.
The Handheld Nights Scene mode allowed me to captured illuminations without a tripod. The 6D fired four shots consecutively at a fast shutter speed to avoid the camera shaking. Then, the four shots are merged into one sharp and beautiful shot.
The High Dynamic Range mode is very useful when you need to capture beautiful shots in a complex lighting environment. The 6D took the same scene in one underexposed shot, one standard exposure shot and one overexposed shot and combined them into one single vivid, detailed image. This way, subtle gradations in the shadowy area and highlights in brighter spots were all captured so the merged image displayed a rich contrast and expressive details.
Another fun Special Scene mode is Multiple Exposure mode. The 6D allows you to shoot from two to nine shots and combine them into a single shot to create multiple-exposure image with a surreal and artistic outcome.
The 6D’s performance is impressive. It took less than a second to start up and get ready for the first shot. It has an average shutter lag of 0.2 seconds, which you will not feel at all.
The 6D has a strong build, using magnesium alloy housing. Only the top part is plastic allowing the camera’s built-in Wi-Fi and GPS to function well. The camera is also sealed to make it dust- and moisture-proof. Yet despite the strong build, the 6D’s body weighs only 680 grammes. Canon said it has also designed the 6D’s shutter to be highly durable with 100,000 cycles.
The built-in Wi-Fi connection is good for connecting to a Wi-Fi smartphone of iOS or Android system, preloaded with the Canon EOS Remote app. I tested it with an Android smartphone and could use the EOS Remote app to browse pictures taken and store on 6D’s memory card. I could also download the photos from the camera to the phone directly. The app allowed the smartphone to function as a remote control to take photos by using the phone’s screen as a viewfinder.
Canon EOS 6D’s body retails for Bt69,900 and together with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens, the package is selling for Bt103,900.
_Image sensor: 20.20 megapixel 35.8 x 23.9mm CMOS sensor
_Compatible Lenses: Canon EF lenses (except EF-S and EF-M lenses). 35 mm-equivalent lens focal length will be as indicated on the lens