September 17, 2012

Canon Announces New Budget Full-Frame DSLR Camera, the 6D

Canon has joined Nikon, Panasonic, and Sony by announcing a brand new camera aimed at both the stills and video market, but this time, it replaces the camera that changed the entire market for good 4 years ago, the 5D Mark II. The Canon 6D is set to go head-to-head directly with Nikon's recently announced D600, but the only question is how well does it stack up, and does it have what it takes to move people away from their 5D Mark IIs? Here is the Canon introduction video:

Sample movie shot with the 6D:

The important specs:

  • 20.2MP Full-Frame (35.8 x 23.9 mm) CMOS Sensor
  • 3.0" Clear View High Resolution LCD
  • DIGIC 5+ Image Processor
  • ISO 100 – 25600 (Extended 50-102400)
  • ALL-I or IPB Compression (Similar to 5D Mark III)
  • 1920 x 1080: 30 fps, 24 fps, 25 fps // 1280 x 720: 60 fps, 50 fps
  • Built-In Wi-Fi and GPS Connectivity
  • Single Card Slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • 11-Point AF with Center Cross-Type Point
  • 63-Zone Dual Layer Metering Sensor
  • Max Shutter Sync: 1/180 sec
  • 30 sec - 1/8000 sec shutter
  • Up to 4.5 Full Resolution FPS
  • 97% Viewfinder Coverage
  • AV Output, HDMI C (Mini), USB 2.0 (no uncompressed HDMI out)
  • Built-In HDR and Multiple Exposure Modes
  • LP-E6 Battery (Same as Mark II and Mark III)
  • 29:59 record limit per clip
  • Availability: October
  • Price: $2,100 Body Only, $2,900 with 24-105mm f/4

Here's a little bit from The Verge about video quality:

...the company told us that the video quality should be more in line with the 5D Mark II than the 5D Mark III. We asked Canon to clarify whether this means that the 6D skips lines when downsampling video...but we haven't heard back yet. Unfortunately, the camera lacks the ever-important headphone jack that the company finally introduced on the Mark III earlier this year.

We'll see what that means for image quality. The Mark III does not resolve nearly as much detail as a lot of the competitors, but it also does not suffer from aliasing and moire pattern. Unfortunately it doesn't seem like that will be the case here, and it's likely the camera will suffer from the same issues as the Canon 7D and the Mark II. Canon is certainly positioning the line in a very strategic way, and if you want true video quality, you'll have to move up to the C100, which will set you back $6,500. Now, certainly you could make very nice-looking video with this camera, just like the Mark II is capable of great results, but after 4 years, it seems the true video improvements have all gone to the higher-end cameras.

The omission of the headphone port is a very strange one. The camera seems to feature the same type of audio controls that the Mark III has, but without being able to actually hear the audio going into the camera, it's rather useless. Canon seems to be positioning it as a step-up from a Canon 7D, rather than a step down from a Mark III -- because in a lot of ways it's a huge step down -- except for high ISO performance, which should actually rival the higher-megapixel 5D Mark III. We'll see what the video quality is like, but it seems like it will be comparable to the Mark II (at least at lower ISOs), with the additions of the better compression. If you're a Canon APS-C DSLR user, and you're looking to move up, this is certainly the cheapest option.

WiFi integration and GPS tagging are definitely interesting features, and it's the first time a Canon camera has featured these internally right out of the box. These are more for the still photography side of the camera, so they aren't as important for video shooting -- though it's not clear whether we'll ever be able to monitor live-view using smart-phone app that uses the WiFi integration.

If you've got a lot of EF lenses, the video noise performance and compression formats may be a good enough upgrade -- especially if you're Mark II owner. If you don't own a camera right now, or you aren't tied to Canon, there are a lot of interesting options that are being released right now, and many of them may be better options if you're planning to use the camera for video only. The only hope now for many is that Canon will at some point release an even more budget-friendly C100 camera, to truly put a video camera in the hands of people who can only afford a camera like the 7D or the 6D. We'll just have to wait and see. You can pre-order the camera using the links below, and also check out a few more photos.

Links:

[via Canon Rumors & The Verge & planet5D]

Your Comment

109 Comments

Really strange to put a camera in between the 7D and the 5D, with no unique/redeeming qualities and an awful price. You can get a used mark II for 1500. Canon is on crack.

September 17, 2012

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john jeffreys

I agree. This is more or less the same camera that Canon has been giving us for the past 4 years, and yet they expect everyone using their APS-C cameras to jump ship just because this one is full frame? It's especially laughable considering what all of their competitors are doing right now. I seriously think that Canon is dead in the water, in terms of holding onto the budget filmmaker demographic, because they simply refuse to innovate.

September 17, 2012

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Robert

they are just so conservative with their DSLR offerings, and then if you want actual filmmaking features and design you have to drop at least 6.5k + on the C series (although, their leasing options are nice and democratizing, and something that nobody has really noticed). I get their strategy and THEIR logic behind that type of product line, but its vastly different from the philosophies behind blackmagic, red, et. al; either way, my next camera won't be a DSLR at all, thats for sure.

September 17, 2012

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john jeffreys

Leasing options? Seriously? What a novel idea for a product that has maybe a 2-3 year lifespan. It would be even better if you could lease something with an already good price/performance ratio; like an FS700.

September 17, 2012

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Actually B & H photo offers leasing on FS700 if you wanted to lease the camera

September 17, 2012

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Mark K.

Cant tell if you are being sarcastic or not.
Basically, you put a down payment in, and pay a few hundred per month for 36 months- at the end of the term, you keep the camera for 1 dollar.
Its pretty much like leasing a car. I'm sure most filmmakers would lease a nice camera than a car, right? I would. It puts high end gear into that hands of those who are in college or have a day job, can afford a few hundred per month but NOT 10k at one time.

September 17, 2012

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john jeffreys

No sarcasm here. I had never noticed that before. Not a bad option. I always thought it would be cool to set up a co-op timeshare on high end gear. You would need to have contracts and bonds and whatnot, but a small group of filmmakers in a particular area could have part-time access to gear that would otherwise be out of reach. But leasing is a less complicated option.

September 17, 2012

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Haha, they do that private jets. Something like 1200 dollars per month gets you 25 hours of flight time per year. Perhaps they can do that with high end cameras? Better than renting, thats for sure. Fractional camera ownership.

September 17, 2012

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john jeffreys

I'm not selling my 5dm2 to get this camera....

September 17, 2012

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No mention of uncompressed hdmi output? And the lack of the audio out is really a detractor.

September 17, 2012

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Dana

"No mention of uncompressed hdmi output?" Yeah, don't hold your breath on that one. With everything else that isn't on this thing, I can't imagine they would put that in this camera.

September 17, 2012

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David

I figured that would have been obvious from the exclusion of that feature on the Mark III, but I've added it above anyway.

September 17, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

I JUST upgraded to 5D. It came in 1 week ago. Die, Canon, die.

September 17, 2012

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Adriana

that camera is the same exact thing.

September 17, 2012

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john jeffreys

Bro, you get CF card slot. Be happy... I don't even think as a "step up from a 7D" just for putting a SIGLE SD SLOT!... WTF! I have a 60D and my wife owns a D7000 and the ONLY thing that I always envy it's the dual SD ports and all the configs it could take. Canon's directive board (or whatever makes the decisions) drop dead dudes!

September 17, 2012

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Rafa Ga

Well, assuming you're referring to the Mk III, I hope you at least paid only $2750 from that Ebay deal a few days ago. Not the silly $3500 list price.

September 17, 2012

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Hummer

I don't see enough difference between the 7D and the 5D to be affected that much by it. It seems like a 7D with full frame and not much else.

September 17, 2012

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Miles L

What about higher bitrate? It gives you more detail and more data which is important for color grading.

September 17, 2012

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Matrox

Is that an SD card slot instead of a CF slot? If so, that's an odd decision if they are trying to coax 7D and Mark II users to buy the new one.

September 17, 2012

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David

Its definitely SD. Compact flash would most likely be too big for this 'mid size' DSLR

September 17, 2012

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Joe

why did they move the damn zoom button on both this and the mk 3

September 17, 2012

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aaron g

I agree. The location of the zoom button on the 5D II is absolutely perfect falling right under your thumb. My D800 has it all the way on the left side of the LCD, which is a worse location than even the 6D and 5D III.

September 17, 2012

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Markus

Excluding its Stills capabilities, so far, I see the "step up from a 7D" to be the BMCC. I wouldn't even be able to use my APS-C lenses on the 6D.

September 17, 2012

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Jeff

Ok, so there is a promotional video shot on 6D:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwqo91NsIZI

Personally, I didn't like the concept, but talking about the same camera - high ISO gives really nice image and could be one of the most important features.

September 17, 2012

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Matrox

This camera just seems to be a total waste of time.

September 17, 2012

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Robert

The apprentice has outdone the master. Thank you Canon for innovative DSLR video four years ago. Time to move on....

September 17, 2012

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Guanaco_264

This is very uninspiring. I can't think of anyone who would want to upgrade to this,

September 17, 2012

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Peter

The video looks terrible. It doesnt look filmic at all.

September 17, 2012

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Laurel

A note of caution for everyone who would also use the 6D for photography: According to PetaPixel, (http://bit.ly/SLs49p) the shutter sync speed is expected to be 1/180 -- which means if you're lighting with strobe/flash, you can't set the shutter speed to faster than 1/180. It's hard enough working with the 7D's 1/250 sync speed. At 1/180, using off-camera lights to kill bright, daytime ambient light is gonna be more trouble than it's worth.

That's a deal killer for me.

September 17, 2012

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Shawn

Thats bad news.

BTW, why this camera does not have an articulating LCD screen when cheaper DSLRs have it?

September 17, 2012

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Laurel

Yeah the specs list that, wasn't sure how big of a stat that was to most people, but I've added it in above.

September 17, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

"A note of caution for everyone who would also use the 6D for photography: According to PetaPixel, (http://bit.ly/SLs49p) the shutter sync speed is expected to be 1/180 — which means if you’re lighting with strobe/flash, you can’t set the shutter speed to faster than 1/180. It’s hard enough working with the 7D’s 1/250 sync speed. At 1/180, using off-camera lights to kill bright, daytime ambient light is gonna be more trouble than it’s worth.

That’s a deal killer for me."

--------------------------------

If you're using strobe/flash, you can use HSS which supports 1/8000 speed. Nowadays, it's hard to find a flash that doesn't offer HSS. Shutter sync. speed limitation remains at an other area, do your research.

BTW, GH3's max sync. speed is 1/160.

The problem with

September 18, 2012

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TomTom

what the F are you doing Canon?
and what the F was that stupid promotional deep green video?

September 17, 2012

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Joe

I don't think anyone who has been shooting DSLR video will 'upgrade' to this, but it is a nice camera for those just getting into it. It's basically an improved MKII for $500 less. It's so hard to tell anything for promotional videos especially those using YouTube's awful compression (even at 720p it's blocky as hell), but there's something to be said for full frame and good performance in low light (I'm assuming). I think the GH3 is a much more interesting and affordable option. It seems that this camera is no intended for low budget filmmakers but instead for photography and casual travel videography.

September 17, 2012

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Marko

And with the C300 Canon has demonstrated that 'yes we still know how to make bad ass video cameras,' but it seems that they're drawing a clear line between photo and video and if you want their video you're going to have to pay for it. Not sure if it's the smartest move in the increasingly competitive market but I guess we'll see.

September 17, 2012

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Marko

I'm rather confused, someone please clarify. Is it worth buying this over the 5D MK II for video? The 5D has Magic Lantern. the 6D has...better compression method and slightly upgraded sensor? Is that the main differences for video?

September 17, 2012

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Samuel

Moire and alaising is most likely improved

September 17, 2012

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Joe

You should wait until this is released to see the results but I would definitely lean towards this over the MKII. First off the MKII is a four year old camera, and regardless of how much of an upgrade this is it is still and upgrade. Magic Lantern can be nice but really it's just a few bells and whistles and doesn't improve the image quality like the Panasonic hacks of the GH2. And when buying a camera the image quality should be your #1 concern. Plus I'm sure magic lantern will release their software for this one as well. If you're just now getting into DSLR video I would really suggest you look at the GH2 and the upcoming GH3.

September 17, 2012

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Marko

Well the 5D Mark II is most likely going to be discontinued, so if you want a new Canon full-frame camera, this one is going to be the only option. There will probably be a decent improvement in noise performance over the Mark II if that's something that you need.

September 17, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Thanks for the help, guys, and good job on the article Joe M.
Regarding the first Joe's comment, "Moire and alaising is most likely improved" , the article states otherwise.

"The Mark III does not resolve nearly as much detail as a lot of the competitors, but it also does not suffer from aliasing and moire pattern. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like that will be the case here, and it’s likely the camera will suffer from the same issues as the Canon 7D and the Mark II. "

Interesting...lots of choices to consider these days. Which is not bad at all.

September 17, 2012

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Samuel

Ah that was a tricky sentence had to read it a couple times. I guess I just figured the moire and alaising would be improved..thought wrong. In my opinion I can't stand the moire of the mark II and sometimes there is nothing you can do about it...so I am overlooking this release and giving two poops about it.

September 17, 2012

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Joe

It's not 100% confirmed yet, without detailed video samples, but based on the comment from The Verge and the documentation not focusing on moire improvement, there is no question it won't be as good as the Mark III.

September 17, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

And the Magic Lantern team seems pretty serious about supporting new models (even though they just NOW cracked the 7D) so ML for the 6D is very probable down the road.

September 18, 2012

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Yawn. Canon recycling the same crap...again...thinking somebody is gonna eat it up. Sad part is, somebody will.

September 17, 2012

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Johnny Unitas

It's the same old story

September 17, 2012

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Samuel

Would Technicolor's Cinestyle picture profile work with this camera?

September 17, 2012

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Laurel

Yes Laurel. Cinestyle is for Canon's EOS Cameras.

September 17, 2012

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Canon, you are truly missing the magic you started 4 years ago. You once accidentally stumbled upon a great business model providing a competitive priced DSLR camera with a quality FF sensor and the unique ability to record video with your great glass. You actually made your own video camera's obsolete but you started a movement.

We jumped through hoops to make the camera work because you opened the door to creativity, indie film-making and a unique aesthetic with an affordable price.

We soon grew to anticipate what you would do next. Perhaps you would give us a true next-generation product that capitalized on quality and fixed the many issues that hindered our film-making process. Of course we never thought you'd price it almost 8 times above the 5dmkII calling it the C300.

And then the actual Mark III came out SOFTER than the 5dmkII and much more expensive.

Your solution was to give us a 6d that is 4 years old technically speaking but with a fat price tag.

Canon, I've moved on. Thanks for the ride.

September 17, 2012

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Yep, that's just it, they "accidentally stumbled upon it then." They didn't know what they were doing then, and they're still clueless.

September 17, 2012

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Jeff

amen to that. ive switched to the fs100 and never looked back

September 17, 2012

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Mark K.

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