The introduction of the full-frame DSLR camera excited many, and opened many doors for photography, but for a number of years it created a great divide between beginners and professionals. If you wanted the best possible image quality, you had the pay the price. Likewise, if you were on a budget you had to settle for a lesser camera, which subsequently meant a sacrifice of quality.
This gap has slowly been getting smaller and with the announcement of the Canon EOS 6D we finally have a full-frame DSLR camera that is attainable and exciting for enthusiasts, and even some beginners.
The Canon EOS 6D features at its heart a 20.2MP Full-Frame CMOS sensor which works in tandem with Canon’s DIGIC 5+ processor to provide an exceptional ISO range of 100-25600. As is one of the most alluring traits of a larger sensor, low-light is barely a challenge for this camera, and this is where the difference is felt when compared to the admirable, but lower performing entry-level models, such as the EOS 70D. Higher-end cameras like the 5D Mark III can provide this high-level of imaging performance also, but the 6D does it at an more affordable price point and in a more compact package.
Canon's premium L series lens range provides brilliant image quality on all EOS bodies, but it is when mounted on a full-frame body like the 6D that these lenses really start to shine. Firstly, a full-frame camera is not affected by ‘crop-factor’ like APS-C models are, so you can utilise the full potential of your wide-angle lenses. On the 6D Canon’s excellent 16-35mm f2.8 really provides you with the zoom range advertised on the lens, without cutting off any important details around the edges of the frame.
Another characteristic that is evident when shooting with the EOS 6D is the decrease in depth of field, which can be used to full effect with ultra-fast lenses, like the Canon 50mm f1.2. When shooting wide open it is possible to have just your subject in focus, with everything else in the background rendered a total blur - particularly popular with portrait and macro photographers.
By now you are probably wondering why the 6D is so much cheaper than the high-end models. So what's the catch?
Build-quality is the major difference, with the 6D having more in common with the Canon EOS 70D than it does with the 5D range, or even the 7D Mark II. It is also a little slower, both in focus performance and in burst shooting than the 5D Mark III, which is something for Sports and Wildlife photographers to think about before taking the plunge.
Some points to consider in regards to these sacrifices are the benefits that they in turn provide. The aluminum alloy and polycarbonate chassis of the 6D means you are left with a full-frame, high-performance body that weighs under 800 grams. The obvious positive you can take away from these differences is the significant saving in cost, putting the Canon EOS 6D firmly in the midrange of the EOS family, a more realistically attainable option for many an aspiring photographer.