Last year was a landmark in its own way for the keen amateur photographer. A number of leading photographic companies presented several new SLR camera models with a frame size of 24×36 mm. It is not a secret that the use of the sensor of such size in combination with powerful optics allows to apply effective art tricks, to underline the main object on the photos, to work delicately with the background, to use features of optical design of lenses – that is to create that magic image which becomes an object of discussion among spectators and colleagues. That’s why full frame cameras are a constant tool for a professional photographer and a technological pinnacle of quality, reliability and smart design for the manufacturer. Accordingly, they are very expensive.
Canon has a lot of experience in creating cameras with a sensor size of 24×36 mm. First of all it would be desirable to recollect legendary “five” – Canon EOS 5D. This is the model that opened up the world of full-frame digital photography. The new model Canon EOS 6D WG , according to the manufacturer, was the lightest and most affordable full-frame DSLR to date, the camera for travelers. During a two-month trip to the Valdai National Park I could understand the features of the new model.
The frame, ergonomics and useful additions
When you talk about an affordable full format camera, you might compromise on a few extra features, but not on image quality. This is understood, it seems to me, by the company’s engineers as well. Therefore new camera is constructed on absolutely new sensor with the permission 20,2 megapixels. DIGIC 5 processor is responsible for the processing+. It is much faster than its predecessors and can work well with large amounts of data, including at high ISO speeds.
Before the trip I tried, as I always do, to compare visually the quality of images taken with different cameras in the same conditions, with the same good lens. In the test participated the flagship of full frame of last years Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II, newcomer Canon EOS 6D and modern reporter’s DSLR Canon EOS 1Dx. Our Canon EOS 6D turned out to be absolute image quality leader among unequal in price and possibilities. It was his files are the richest in shadows and highlights, the most accurate in exploring details, such as the fine twigs of trees, throughout the image field.
And the files from Canon EOS 6D were the most quality when working at high sensitivity in the range of 800-6400 ISO. At lower sensitivities from 100 to 400 ISO all cameras gave approximately the same result, but as the sensor of Canon EOS 6D has a higher resolution, the detail was a little bit better. When working at prohibitive ISO values, such as 12,800 or 20,000, the reporter’s camera came out on top.
So it’s safe to say: the image quality produced by the budget camera Canon EOS 6D was not at all budget. This was especially true for photos taken at high sensitivities, there was no so-called noise and the image was clear and detailed.
The sizes of the camera are really not large, it is smaller than other Canon full frame cameras. The control is traditional for those who are already used to technique of the firm, logical and convenient. There are some small differences from senior model Canon EOS 5D Mark III: the quantity of operating buttons has decreased, options of a white balance have migrated in the menu, the habitual small joystick is absent, its functions are carried out by the big switch combined with a steering wheel. to these small changes you get used very quickly, they do not influence comfort of shooting, especially when the task is not shooting dynamic reportage.
Once again, the style of display of the camera control menu has slightly changed, all options are visible at once, it is rather convenient, it is not necessary to travel much on tabs. As usual, the most requested options can be put on My Menu page.
For the first time the manufacturer has implemented Wi-Fi and GPS modules in the SLR camera the letters WG in the model name say about it . I was able to quickly connect via Wi-Fi to my home network and my Android smartphone, though I could only maintain a strong connection up to 5 meters away. But reception of signals from global positioning system satellites is pretty reliable. As a nature photographer, I really need this feature: previously it used to take a long time to tie the photos to the travel route.
There is no need for that now, as the EXIF of the frame is geotagged. But there’s a certain pitfall a traveling photographer should keep in mind here, especially when away from power sources. After you turn on the option to record coordinates, the camera ALWAYS receives a satellite signal, even if it is turned off. A fully charged battery when the camera is turned off uses all its power in three to four days. That’s why I’ve developed a certain algorithm: turn on the option only before and turn it off immediately after shooting. This saves battery power in the field.
Autofocus and shutter system
On possibilities of system of an automatic focus the Canon EOS 6D in many respects reminds predecessors on a class – Canon EOS 5D and 5D Mark II, but with some differences. Above all, the focus system works great in low light, which has been tested many times. Naturally, the most tenacious is the central cross-shaped focus sensor. Other focus points are less accurate, especially when rhythmic vertical lines appear in the frame.
But this necessary fee can be pretty easily bypassed at the low price of the camera, by selecting the image sections with horizontal lines for focusing or by recomposing the image after aiming at the central point. I was completely satisfied with the sharpness accuracy, I had no problems with a small inaccuracy, popularly called back focus or front focus, when working with different lenses. Although it is possible to correct the lens work, there was a corresponding item in the menu of the camera control.
Live View is especially good when working with a tripod. Using the FlexiZone focusing system it’s possible to precisely control focus almost anywhere in the frame using a tenfold magnification.
Unwittingly surprised by the sound of the shutter. So quiet and soft it doesn’t scare wary birds, even from a short distance. Shutter speed was up to 4.5 frames per second in certain conditions. I liked the silent mode better, where the speed is reduced to three frames per second, but the noise and vibration from the triggering is minimal. This could be useful for theater or temple shootings, or wildlife photo ops from camouflaged hideaways. After that whispering sound of the shutter the clicking sound of the reporter’s camera seems deafening.
Minimum shutter speed of 1/4000 sec. This is a very high speed, allowing you to freeze, to stop in time most of the fast-paced processes. Though there are limited scenes where higher speed is required. I specifically tested this by using a fast lens at fully open aperture on a bright day.
Practical Shooting and Results Processing
As I mentioned above, I made sure of the high quality of the files from the camera beforehand. A little later, on a research expedition describing the territory of the Valdai Park, the Sappo EOS 6D perfectly fulfilled its role. All the shots that didn’t require high shutter speed were taken with it: landscapes, macro shots of plants and insects, everyday life of the expedition members.
I used a set of lenses with focal lengths from 15 mm to 500 mm with my camera. When shooting with big differences in contrasts under the forest canopy the camera performed great in working out the lights or shadows. I didn’t want to use the special dynamic range expansion mode, as it seems to me that it worsens the result and creates only a resulting JPG file, which is not always good for high-quality printing. The landscape shot was processed using special software Digital Photo Professional v. 3.13.10 which is supplied with the camera and can take into account the peculiarities of optics, suppress chromatic aberrations, minimize various peculiarities of optical systems photo 1 .
Canon 24-105 L IS, ISO 100, f/4.5, 1/200 s.
When shooting a macro of a rare primrose, the open-mouthed St. John’s wort, it was necessary to create a backlit image of a delicate plant, and to emphasize the down that surrounds its stems. The shot was being taken through a mass of grass, so the automatic focus could not help the photographer – it “didn’t understand” which part of the image was scene-sensitive. I habitually turned on the manual focus mode in Live View mode by pressing the on-screen magnifier button and moving the focus area on the LCD monitor with the multi-position switch. I enlarged the detail, focused accurately and shot the picture with a 2 second delay in the shutter photo 2 .
Canon 180 L Macro, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/160 sec.
The shot of the spring thaw over the rocky creek bed had to be made with slow shutter speed and from a very low point. Exactly here I had to decrease ISO speed with L value in order to get necessary exposure. The details of the unlit recess under the small bank worked out quite well. The lack of a flip-down focusing screen made me use Live View mode again, because if I had used the viewfinder layout I would have had to lie down in freezing water and get wet photo 3 .
Sigma 15-30 EX DG lens, ISO 50, f/14, shutter speed 1.3.
The very case when the camera was required to its full potential. The shot of the tufted duck as they are called dispersing for takeoff was made from a boat that was sailing slowly and softly up to the bird. Knowing the bird’s behavior, I set the tracking focus to the center point, continuous shooting at 4.5 frames per second, and disabled the optical stabilization system on the long focal-length lens. Knowing I didn’t have a big series of 15 or so RAW shots to shoot, I intentionally skipped the first moments of the run-up, then pressed the shutter, and kept shooting until the camera buffer was full. Trimmed the image slightly later with an image editor. The shortest shutter speed of 1/4000 s helped freeze the motion photo 4 .
Canon 500 L IS, ISO 500, f/6.3, 1/4000 sec.
To take pictures of the girls watching the birds, I had to try to separate them from the chaotic background of the branches, spruce trunks and trees. I had the help of a long lens with a fairly wide-open aperture for a telephoto lens. Overcast day helped get rid of the differences in contrast, but needed to raise the sensitivity a bit. Later, looking at the parameters of the image, I realized I could increase the sensitivity to higher values, for example 1600 or 2000 ISO, without loosing quality photo 5 .
Canon 180 L Macro, ISO 640, f/5, 1/60s.
A portrait of an underwater photographer after surfacing, I mistakenly shot with a large plus exposure correction, resulting in a much brighter shot than I would have liked. It happens when you are expecting one thing, but something completely different happens. But the capabilities of the RAW file and software helped correct the error, illustrating the possibilities for image correction photo 6 .
Canon 24-105 L IS, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/400 sec.
Let’s leave nature photography where you can afford to choose your shots, wait for the light or for the right moment. Let’s try the camera in a commercial report on the customer’s assignment. It often happens that during such shootings there is low light, which means you have to use quite high sensitivity. At a car service company car wash, the lighting conditions were quite challenging.
Great difference in contrast, humidity and splashes everywhere, glare on the lacquered surfaces of cars. An external flash is out of the question, and I had to shoot using the available light. The camera handled the task perfectly, capturing details in the light while preserving the shadow areas photo 7 .
Canon 24-105 L IS, ISO 1000, f/6.3, shutter speed 1/60 sec to keep the flow of water from looking frozen.
Photo 8. Canon 24-105 L IS lens, ISO 1000, f/7, 1/2000 s. Exposure correction of -0.33 EV to keep the clouds in the sky.
800 ISO is considered a quite working sensitivity for all types of photography, because the quality of the file is not affected by noise at all, even with the noise reduction system in the camera turned off. That way, you can keep small details in the frame photo 8 .
And lastly, a technical illustration of the camera at 8000 ISO. For shooting certain scenes it is quite justified photo 9 .
Canon EOS 6D can be recommended for keen amateur photographers who want to buy their first full-format camera. Yes, it has everything you need for good quality results, but without the frills, without the large deployed menus, complex and delicate systems set everything and everything. The help system is there to help the beginner, and for the advanced user it delivers what you buy a full frame camera for: a good picture.
I think that Canon 6D is a good replacement for the iconic Canon 5D Mark II, and can serve as a second camera in a serious professional system. In any case creation of rather inexpensive camera with big possibilities only pleases. You can use the money you save to buy good optics.