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Why The Canon 6D Is A Groundbreaking New Camera

Canon 6D

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?

Canon 6D Wi-Fi

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

 EOS Utility

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).

 Conclusion

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

 

Your Turn!

How will you incorporate Wi-Fi into your photography? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

Rob Lim

Hi there, I’m Rob! I’m a photographer and head ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I love all things photography: shooting, teaching and always learning more! If I’m not reading up on the latest photography news, or studying a technique, I’m probably reading a book or planning our next adventure!

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Discussion

25 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. On Android, you have been able to hook up your dSLR to your phone over USB, the same way you can do with a computer. It does however take some skill and technical know-how. Have you tried it and compared it to this new native solution from Canon?

    It would also be nice to hear how well it works to compose images using a 7″-10″ tablet for live view instead of the “tiny” screen on the camera.

    • I haven’t tried the Android USB connection so I can’t really compare. One thing about the iPhone (and I’m guessing Android) EOS Remote app is that it’s designed for smaller screens. When viewing the photos they scale up nicely, but the live view using the remote function doesn’t scale up as nicely for larger screen (pixelated).

      Hopefully they release dedicated iPad and tablet apps to take advantage of larger screens. Future firmware upgrades might also improve functionality.

  2. Thanks so much for the review, Rob. I want to make the jump to full frame at some point, so this may be the way to go.

  3. How would a 6D compare to a 5D2? Essentially the same except with the wireless goodies?

    • I would compare it more to the 5D3. It has a lot of the same features the main differences being the number of auto focus points (smaller with the 6D), the plastic top of the 6D (vs. magnesium alloy with the 5D3). Compared to the 5D2 the 6D has a better screen, smaller body, a couple more autofocus points, higher ISO capability, dedicated buttons for video, more options for HD video (like 60fps at 720p). The 6D also take SD cards vs. the 5D2′s compact flash.

      I feel the 6D also has better build quality and ergonomics, but we’ll have to see how durable the plastic polycarbonate is vs. magnesium alloy.

  4. I used the wifi last night to send photos from my camera to a fellow soccer mom in the stands as the game played on. This was such a convenience, as I didn’t have to remember to download the photos then email them when I got home.

    I can see the wifi getting a lot of use!

  5. I’ve already been doing this with my DSLR via Eye-Fi and its mobile app.

  6. Great review.

    I am upgrading from a Canon 550D, so am weighing up the 6D against the 5D Mark II and III. I have had a look at all of these cameras in store and I love the 6D as it is lightweight in comparison the 5Ds.

    As you say, I feel it is overpriced at the moment, I might sit back and see what happens with Canon’s pricing.

  7. I agree w/the commenter above — just use an Eye-Fi card?

  8. Thanks for commenting everyone!

    To be honest I haven’t tried an Eye-Fi card yet. I know they’ve been around for quite some time but every time I’ve researched them they’ve seemed like a bit of a flakey solution (slow transfer, difficult to use / setup).

    Another problem is that Eye-Fi has never had a model that supported compact flash cards (which most of the prosumer and professional DSLRs use). I believe the Canon Rebel series has used SD cards for a long time, but an SD card slot was only added to the 5D3 and now 6D relatively recently.

    If anyone can compare the Eye-Fi vs. the built in wi-fi of the 6D I would love to read about it. Or if you can share more about your experience using the Eye-Fi that would be great!

    On a final note it does seem like the 6D has built in support for the Eye-Fi card as a menu option. So you can still use your Eye-Fi card if you prefer.

    • Sorry,
      As for as i know the Rebels have always had CF cards as mine is a very old XTi and has a CF card.
      I ready to purchase a new camera and trying to make a decesion between the 7D(cropped senor) or The 6D( full-frame) im tring to figure ot what differences out weight each other.
      For me i am not a pro as i dont take pictures for money or weddings or have my own studio, however, I want to take portrates of my kids as i do and love playing (trying to learn photo shop and lightroom)and i do want them to look professional. I cant offord the 1D X but boy i would love to have it. I have been asked in the past to take pictures for people as they feel i do an excelet job. Im not concerened with video-NOT wanting my camera for that reason. I just want on that will produce a crisp image in low lighting as well as outdoors. I also take my camera with me to my kids school sporting events and i just change out the lens. Please help me with this decision. Is Full frame a MUST or not so much? i dont want to buy the 7d knowing i could have bought the 6d and someone say OMG- why didnt you go for the FULL FRAME if you could! On tho the CF and SD cards is this a real deal breaker for the 6D? Help me PLEASE!!! Im about to go nuts of course becase EVERYONE has their own opinions about each camera. I know they are both EXCELENT, but with the description of what i do can you please persuade me one way or the other? Thank you all so very much.

  9. Rob do you think the focusing system is as good as the 5d3? I know it has less points but hit accuracy is it as good?

  10. Using the remote shutter for an extra camera would be fabulous! The 6D may become my new backup camera!

  11. Erik Hornung says:

    I just purchased to 6d and I’ve been spending hours trying to get the camera to connect to the EOS utility on my Mac. I’m pretty geeky too, but I can’t get it to connect.

  12. Great review, thanks….

    I’ve been thinking of trading my 5D mark II for the 6D, The better high iso and bettwe low light focusing might make it a worth wile upgrade. I’d use it for wedding photography, still on the fence..

  13. Just a note about getting connected to the camera using the EOS app. I walked into Best Buy with my Android phone. I had never touched a 6D or seen any info on how to use the wi-fi capabilities. While I was standing there, I downloaded the app, set up the connection and was having a nice time shooting. It took about ten minutes and a little fiddling, but I got it. No, it was certainly not intuitive, but I did it with no instructions at all. I think if I had some instructions on what I was doing, it would have taken about 2 minutes.

  14. Need support. How can I connect my 6D with my MacBook Pro wireless?
    I need a step by step support…for dummies. Many thanks in advance.

  15. I own the 6D and an Android phone and a PC. 6D to Android via Canon’s EOS app is fairly easy. Connecting to a PC is not nearly as straightforward. Particularly if the PC is wired into network that has wireless capacity as opposed to being a wireless connection on the network.

    Works well once established.

    Eye Fi was great for me when it worked. But it didn’t always work. And to be honest, if your engineering team can’t deliver a seamless, intuitive wifi transfer solution in 4 years when that is your only business, well, you deserve mixed if not bad reviews.

  16. nice you answered all of my app questions concerning the 6d!
    But now i’m bummed that the app doesn’t work with video functions. I guess I could still use it to check composition and set focus and manually record. If i were to do this would i have to switch out of the video mode on the camera or does the app still give a live preview when set to video mode?

  17. Leslie B. says:

    the lens i mostly use to shot photos(portraits inside and documenty type outside ) of my kids is the canon 85MM EF f/1.8 as all others were too pricey. I have to say i LOVE this lens and has NEVER let me down. I love having a bruken(blured background effect it gives me in my photos.

  18. Rob, first let me give you credit for a great site and all the stuff that you do!

    Today I received my Canon 70D that also has the built in wi-fi. Curious to hear how you connected to the computer. Where you able to import photos straight to say Lightroom?

  19. I’ve had the 6D for several months now and I must say that I really like it. The GPS and wi-fi features weren’t important to me personally, but they are nice features to have. The photo quality is outstanding, even in low light. The 5D Mark III would be nice, but as you mentioned, the price difference is pretty substantial. One of the complaints I saw from a lot of people when I was reading reviews before buying the 6D was the quality of build in the frame/body. I can understand why some people wouldn’t really like the plastic body, and I don’t think it would be my first choice, but it hasn’t bothered me at all. Overall I would definitely recommend the 6D.

  20. No direct connection to lightroom. However, you can use the EOS Utility to transfer images to a folder (wirelessle) then configure Lightroom to monitor that same folder. The phone app has so many uses!
    1. Lets you see & position a group of people, focus and take the picture while your standing in the group!
    2. Lets you mange (preview, rank and even delete) images while your camera dets in your camera bag!
    3. Lets your wife remotly preview images while your shooting an event
    4. Lets you pllace the camea in a position where you cant frame your shot and yse the app to see what is going on.

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