The 6D or Why I’m Glad I Bought a 7D

So Canon announced the 6D at Photokina and while it was exactly what some of the most recent rumours had said it would be, it still took me by surprise. My initial reaction is “this camera doesn’t make any sense”, and it seems others agree with my sentiment.

The Canon 6D comes out at an interesting time, as competitors try to take bits and pieces of every level of camera gear, and raising the bar in terms of price for performance, Canon needed another machine to smash it out of the park and line up well with their Canon 1DX and the 5D Mark III.

Everyone knew that the options were such that they should either release an entry level full frame camera or an update to the 7D. What Canon delivered was something that looks like it was aimed to be an entry level full frame camera, but with features that have me confused.

You have to compare this new offering with the 5D Mark II and the 7D. It has a bigger megapixel sensor than the 7D but smaller than the 5D Mark II that it hopes to replace. In terms of performance gained with the new sensor, I will have to wait and see what kind of real world results people get. The two things that I’m not sold on are the auto-focus system that they gave the new camera and the higher price.

The pricing of the camera is coming in at two hundred dollars more than the 5D Mark II that it is supposed to replace (or nearly six hundred dollars more in the US).

The auto-focus system is the biggest stumbling block for me. Everything else, makes some sense in the competitive market they want to make inroads in. They gave it a good ISO range, some cool features (GPS and WIFI), a solid body, and the same battery as the 7D and 5D Mark II. Then they threw in an 11 point auto-focus system with only one cross type point.

Yes, the 5D Mark II only had 9 AF points, with one being a cross type, but if you compare that to the 61 point, 41 cross type of the 5D Mark III or the 19 point, all cross type of the 7D, and you have a camera that could potentially have the same downfall as the 5D Mark II. Everyone will potentially say “great camera with a terrible auto-focus system”.

They also limited the maximum shutter speed to 1/4000 of a second, which is half the speed that the 5D Mark II or 7D could get.

I don’t know what their plan was with this camera. I am sure it will be able to take some amazing pictures in the hands of a competent photographer, but it isn’t really the entry level full frame camera that most people were expecting. I don’t feel like it has earned the price increase over what the 5D Mark II is selling for, and I don’t think Canon made a smart move in releasing something like this.

The GPS and WIFI features are nice, but are a bit of a gimmick. They could have used the 5D Mark III sensor, put in the 7D AF system, and made most of their other changes (body size, viewfinder), and probably wouldn’t have had to spend so much on research and development to release a camera that people would have been clamoring over.

I’m really happy with my Canon 7D, and I’m glad I bought it.

For those looking at getting a digital SLR in the near future, I am not warning you against purchasing the 6D. I haven’t seen enough information in terms of how good or bad the auto-focus system is, nor any information on the overall performance of the camera. I am just looking at the specifications and comparing them to what we have and had previously.

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