Hands On With The Canon 6D, An Affordable Full-Frame With Wi-Fi On Board

Besides spending some time with the Canon EOS M, I also got to test out the Canon 6D, a new full-frame offering from the camera-maker that’s set to arrive later this year. The $2,099 DSLR lowers the barrier to Canon full-frame ownership, and actually has a few tricks up its sleeve that the more expensive and extremely capable 5D Mk III doesn’t even offer.

The big one is Wi-Fi built-in, which is only possible with the 5D3 via an add-0n transmitter that costs nearly $800. Using the 6D’s Wi-Fi, you can transmit images to an Android app, which Canon’s Chuck Westfall demoed at the event, in order to browse through your pictures, transfer photos to your device and even change camera settings. An iOS app is coming soon, which, like the Android app, will be a free download. Eventually, the plan is also to make it so that the 6D can communicate directly with Canon’s Wi-Fi-enabled printers, too, meaning you’ll be able to print from camera without using any intermediary.

While Wi-Fi makes post processing a much easier task, the 6D really shines when you’re shooting, too. The silent shutter mode is absolutely whisper quiet, and while still audible in a silent room, nature and street photographers, and those hoping to be less auspicious in a crowd will definitely appreciate the significant difference between it and the standard shutter sound on any DSLR.

The 6D also feels incredibly solid, even though it isn’t quite as rugged and weather-resistant as the 5D3, and with the attached Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II lens it wasn’t overly heavy, but definitely has a premium, weighty feel compared to the 60D and 7D. The control layout is slightly tweaked from the 5D3, and should make it much easier for those stepping up to a full-frame DSLR from entry-level devices like the Rebel line.

When this camera was initially announced, my only qualms about putting down a pre-order were around the AF system. Now, based on my experience, those qualms are gone. The 6D may only have one center cross-type AF point, compared to the 41 cross-type points on the 5D3’s AF system, but Westfall actually said that AF speed on the 6D could potentially outperform the 5D3 in low-light situations using that single cross-type. With image quality, too, Westfall said that the 6D should be on par with the 5D3 at lower ISOs, but should outperform at higher ISOs, thanks to larger pixels on the full-frame sensor.

I didn’t get much chance to check out the 6D’s video-shooting capabilities, but it seems to perform well enough there, too. I’m a still shooter at heart, however, and the 6D seems to be an amazing camera for photography in every respect, especially for those graduating to full-frame after lots of experience on more affordable APS-C entry-level DSLRs.

The Canon 6D is scheduled to hit retail shelves by December, though I’m told Canon is pushing to maybe bring it out even earlier. This would definitely make a great stocking stuffer for the prosumer crowd, so hopefully we’ll see it sooner rather than later.