While many photographers know of the value of carrying around a camera at all times, it’s only a rare few that lug their dSLR with them everywhere. Though it undoubtedly produces the best quality images, the size, and the long process of getting images off the camera in order to post them online has many turning instead to using their phones to document their everyday life.
But there’s a problem with camera phone photography.
Don’t get me wrong. Camera phones have lot going for them – ease of use, extreme portability, and tons of compatible apps that make it fun and easy to share photos. For a lot of people camera phones have probably completely replaced their need for a point and shoot or dSLR.
However, if you’re interested in taking your photography further there is only so much you can do with a camera phone. The incredibly small sensor, tiny fixed lens, and complete lack of controls don’t allow for a lot of flexibility. The biggest problem though is that you’ll never be able to achieve the same kind of high quality results that you could with a full sized dSLR. That might not seem like a huge deal today, but years down the road you may wish you had better quality photos of those important moments!
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could combine the quality of a dSLR with the mobility (and internet connection) of your smartphone?
Well, a new generation of cameras is starting to bridge the gap, allowing photos taken on bigger cameras to be quickly and easily wirelessly transferred to your phone, tablet, or computer. And the Canon 6D is one of those nifty cameras.
Why You Should Be Excited About The 6D
Recently Canon released the EOS 6D. It’s their newest full frame camera and their first dSLR that includes built in Wi-Fi! Canon has also released a free compatible iPhone app called EOS Remote. There’s a version of EOS Remote available for Android devices as well.
The 6D combined with the EOS remote app allows you to use your phone to wirelessly browse through images you’ve taken, save them to your phone, or email them. You can also use the EOS app to control the camera (live preview on your phone, adjust settings, select focus point, and release the shutter). Plus you can install the EOS Utility on your computer (Mac or Windows) and shoot directly onto your computer over Wi-Fi.
After spending a week playing around with the 6D and the EOS Remote and Utility I can tell you that Wi-Fi is a pretty awesome feature to have in a dSLR!
Canon 6D Wi-Fi + EOS Remote App Video Demo
Imagine The Possibilities
Eventually Wi-Fi will be standard in all point-and-shoot cameras and dSLRs. The 6D is by no means the first camera to have Wi-Fi built in, but Canon did a good job creating an app that ties in the functionality of your smart phone. This sort of disruptive technology always takes a while for people to get used to and make use of. It’s exciting thinking about how a feature like this could be used creatively.
Here are a few ideas that come to mind for how to incorporate Wi-Fi:
- Photo Booth - Save photos directly to a computer, where the photos are automatically printed or added to a slideshow
- Family photography - When shooting at home, save all your photos directly to your computer (instant backup). This also gives you instant access to photos, no need to download the memory card
- Self portraits - With a the 6D on a tripod you can use the remote feature to check composition and exposure before wirelessly releasing the shutter
- Portrait photography - Sort through a session using the iPad, making the process super portable!
- Wedding photography - How about setting up an extra camera for an alternate angle and using the remote feature to trigger the shutter release
- Photojournalists - Send photos directly from your phone – skip the computer step
The biggest thing to think about is the removal of the computer as a necessary step to sharing the photos you take with your camera. (And yes camera phones have been able to do this for a while – but with the limitations of quality and flexibility that I mentioned earlier. Now you can have it all!)
A Quick Look At The Canon 6D
The 6D has a lot of the same features as it’s bigger brother the 5D mk III (5D3)
- Similar sensor size: 20+MP
- High ISO (l0w light shooting) capability
- Shoots HD video
Some of the differences you’ll find with the 6D:
- Body is smaller than typical full frame DSLRs
- With a $2099 price tag the 6D costs over $1000 less than the 5D3
- Has an 11-point autofocus system instead of 61-points like the 5D3
- Includes built in Wi-Fi to connect to your computer or mobile phone – a feature I’m excited to talk more about!
- Also has built in GPS so you can track the locations you take photos
- The 6D camera body and frame features a mixture of aluminum, magnesium, and polycarbonate (plastic) frame vs. the tougher 5D3 body of magnesium-alloy
- Only takes SD memory cards
How Does The Built-In Wi-Fi Work?
The first thing that I’ll mention is that setting up the camera for Wi-Fi use isn’t very intuitive. If you’re tech savvy it will probably take you a couple of hours of fumbling around with the camera and the EOS app to figure things out — it took me longer than that. Things might go faster if you read the manual (though possibly not!). The good news is that once things are set up, connecting to your phone takes only a couple seconds.
Here’s roughly how things work:
1. You can turn Wi-Fi on and off. Ok, that makes sense.
2. When Wi-Fi is enabled you can select an option called “Wi-Fi function”. This lets you choose what you connect to through Wi-Fi. The first option is to transfer images to another camera (kind of a dumb first option), second option is connect to a smart phone, third option is to connect to a computer, fourth is print to a Wi-Fi printer, fifth is upload to Web service, and sixth is view images on “DLNA devices” (like compatible TVs). I’ve tested all but the TV option and the camera to camera transfer. I wasn’t able to print to my Wi-Fi printer (it might not be compatible), and the Web service option didn’t work. I was successful connecting to my iPhone, iPad, and my computer.
3. The first time you’re connecting to your phone or computer you have to setup the connection. The camera will detect your wireless network and you’ll need to put in your network password to connect to it. You can then save those settings under a shortcut name so that connecting the next time is much faster. You can also setup a connection so that the camera itself acts as a wireless network (so that you don’t need to connect to existing wi-fi network). This is a good option if you’re on the go and all you have is your smartphone and your 6D.
EOS Remote App
So as I mentioned earlier you can use the free EOS Remote app to view images, save images from the camera’s memory card to your phone’s camera roll, or email images. A bit more about the app:
- You can view images in thumbnail, or full size as well as double tap to zoom in
- You can apply a star rating from 1-5
- In the thumbnail mode you can sort by ratings or date
- You can only email / download individual photos to your iPhone / iPad
- The app is designed for the iPhone, not the iPad. However you can still use the iPhone app on the iPad and the photos do scale up nicely
- One downside is that it takes approximately 4 seconds to load a full screen image. However once a full screen image is loaded there is no lag when zooming in further. You do get a pixelated preview so you know what the photo is of but it would be nicer if the app loaded previews in the background instead of on demand
- For the remote control feature you can adjust aperture, shutter speed, and ISO
- The live preview is pretty slow but useable
- Unfortunately it’s not possible to record movies while using the EOS Remote app, and you can’t transfer movies either
The EOS Utility is one of the software programs that’s included with the camera. It comes on a CD that you install on your computer. A few of the main features worth highlighting
- You can do pretty much everything the EOS Remote can do (but through your computer instead)
- You can shoot directly to your computer (while still recording to your memory card). This has big potential for photo booth setups!
- It takes approximately 4 seconds to transfer images from the camera to the computer (for both RAW and JPEG)
I’ve only done rough testing with the camera so I can’t comment with certainty about Wi-Fi range or how it affects battery life. The connection has worked well around the house and it doesn’t seem to be going through batteries faster than usual with the Wi-Fi turned on (and I leave it turned on all the time).
While this certainly isn’t a full review of the Canon 6D, I hope it’s given you a glimpse of the potential a camera like this represents. I didn’t even get a chance to chat about the built in GPS which is also a cool addition to this camera. If you’re a wedding or portrait photographer considering the 5D mk III then you should certainly give the 6D a look as it could end up saving you a bunch of money (while gaining you some valuable features).
The price of the 6D ($2099) might be a bit out of range of for the family and enthusiast market right now. But I’m guessing over the course of a year Canon will drop the price below $2000. They dropped the price of the 5D III by about $500 (it’s on sale right now for under $3000). I could see them eventually doing the same with the 6D as $1600-$1750 seems like a more realistic price range for this camera.
Overall I think this is a camera that’s going to appeal to a pretty wide audience, especially being Canon’s most affordable full frame camera.
Where To Buy the Canon 6D
Camera Body Only
Kit with 24-105mm lens