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Is the Canon 6D a Budget Full-Frame Secret Weapon with Mosaic Engineering's New Anti-Aliasing Filter?

02.6.13 @ 10:45PM Tags : , , , , , , , ,

Many were hopeful that Canon was going to rid all of their DSLRs of moire and aliasing, but they’ve saved those improvements to all but their most expensive cameras. The full-frame Canon 6D, which was announced back in September, is about a $1,000 cheaper than the Mark III, but unfortunately suffers from aliasing and moire (something that is absent from the Mark III’s image). Mosaic Engineering has been developing anti-aliasing filters for Canon and Nikon DSLRs, and they’ve finally come out with one for the Canon 6D, the VAF-6D. Could the new filter make it the perfect full-frame camera in terms of price/performance in Canon’s lineup? Check out the first sample video below.

Here is the VAF-6D filter in action, thanks to DSLR News Shooter for the find:

Dan Chung mentions this one quirk about the filter that actually applies to anything put between the lens and the sensor (even ND filters):

There is also a shift to the back-focus setting of the lens, which means that the distance scale will be rendered inaccurate. Early versions of the filter for the 5D mkII also had very soft and dark corners with wide angle lenses. Mosaic claim to have improved both back-focus shifts and wide angle performance with a new second version for the 5D mkII. The 6D version should share these improvements but I haven’t tested it.

While there is still a tiny bit of moire/aliasing left in the image, it’s much, much better than without the filter, and it doesn’t look like it’s really affecting the resolution. I think the 6D at $1,900 for the body is a great value in terms of Canon’s lineup, even if you can get used Mark IIs for dirt cheap. At this point the technology for both stills and video is better in the 6D, and noise performance is also improved. The only issue here is the cost of the filter, which definitely isn’t cheap at $365. For some people, however, it will be worth the money they spent the first time they go out and shoot with it.

Though the Mark III is more expensive at $3,150, it still has a few advantages over the 6D, namely a headphone jack, and an uncompressed HDMI firmware update coming in April. You also don’t need a filter on the Mark III for moire-free shooting, so it’s one less piece of gear to worry about. If you want the full-frame look but can’t deal with the moire and aliasing anymore, getting the filter and using it with the 6D would still be a savings of almost $900 over the Mark III, which is certainly nothing to scoff at.

To read more about the VAF-6D, or purchase one if you’re already a 6D owner, head on over to Mosaic Engineering website.

Link: Mosaic Engineering

[via DSLR News Shooter]


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Description image 55 COMMENTS

  • Robert Hardy on 02.6.13 @ 10:57PM

    Can someone please explain why we’re so obsessed with using full frame DSLR’s for video production when s35 sensors are the standard in professional digital cinema cameras? I understand the wider field of view and the effects on depth of field due to the larger sensor, but why on earth are people so hell-bent on this aesthetic when it’s hardly necessary for narrative (or any other type) of filmmaking?

    • You can get faster wides with full-frame, and the full-frame cameras are usually less noisy. The Canon 6D is 2-3 stops cleaner at equivalent ISOs than a camera like the 7D. If we’re just talking about narrative cinema where you’re lighting everything anyway, no, there really isn’t a practical advantage, but if you’re shooting lots of events or doc stuff, and you need to be incognito (or not, either way), those advantages definitely come into play.

      • Robert Hardy on 02.6.13 @ 11:34PM

        Thanks Joe. I didn’t realize that the full frame sensors were that superior the the s35 in terms of low light ability. Pretty impressive.

        But I guess I’m wondering how you feel about the notion that there’s a zeitgeist surrounding the 5D (and therefore full-frame cameras in general) that prompts people to buy that type of camera when something with a smaller sensor will more than suffice for their needs. I’m just kind of skeptical about why narrative filmmakers use the camera so extensively when it offers very few video features that justify the price difference between the CMOS models and the full frame models.

        • I think some of it comes from full-frame being that much superior in stills photography. I also think since people never had it before the Mark II and 35mm adapters, naturally they gravitated to the extremes since it made the videos stand out, and it was a look that no one had ever seen before. I am kind of on both sides of the argument, a smaller sensor makes everyone’s lives easier in terms of focus, but a full-frame sensor, if you can keep everything in focus, it can really bring out your subject in a way that looks three-dimensional.

          If you’re doing narrative work and you can’t keep anything in focus, full-frame may not be the best choice though.

          • I shot a statement on a (rented) 5D Mk II recently – I opened the lens to 2.8 and it looked real cinematic. However after viewing the first take, the customer asked me if I could get more depth of field in the shot because you couldn’t read the name of the company on the backdrop. I stopped down to 5.6 and he loved it.

            Just an anecdote, but it shows that often you not only don’t need the shallow dof of a full frame dslr, very often you don’t even want it.

            However a full frame camera is still a very nice thing to have, especially for low light photography and video, no doubt about that. I am thinking about going full frame with my next dslr maybe, mainly because of still photography, but also for an additional low-dof video shot here and there.

        • Gary Simmons on 02.7.13 @ 5:15PM

          Although I feel many over used it at first remember also that full frame makes it easier to keep back ground out of focus on close ups ans permits you to do that closer to the subject when your in tight spaces for those of us who are limited to locations with less space ( like your friends or families house in stead of big studio
          space blah blah you get the point. I have shot with the cameras back almost against the wall with attached monitor on my canon and just barely achieved the composition lens choice that I was going for on a Living room shot. the form factor has it’s advantages for us poor beginners.

      • CameraRick on 02.7.13 @ 2:48AM

        But that’s only half true, isn’t it?
        A 7D isn’t S35, it’s a APS-C DSLR. Compared to a “real” S35 Cam, the advantage with light sensivity is, during the pixel-size, not really a matter when you compare dedicated S35 cams against a Fullframe DSLR when shooting video (of course except for a RED which isn’t that strong in lowlight).
        I know that this won’t affect the incognito-stuff, as most S35 Cams (like the FS100 or C300) is fairly bigger, yet saying “Fullframe DSLR has a better Lightsensivity then S35″ is simply not true in most cases

        • Yep, both the FS100,C300,C100 all S35 sensors are waaay sup[erior in light sensitivity than any full frame right now. I guess now that we have “real” affordable cinema cameras to choose from, majority of people who shoot narrative should not anymore be interested in DSLRs..I mean, have you guys seen this in a proper TV screen? Its AMAZING!

          Full Frame DSLRs that shoot video are the default video cameras for modern wedding videographers, since they have to be both agile, small, lasts all day, need shallow DOF to blur out dirty prep rooms, and great lowlight to expose well in dimly lit hotel rooms, homes, churches and reception. But for all other filmmakers with the luxury of time, set up and lights..get real cinema cameras.

          • - need shallow DOF to blur out dirty prep rooms-

            For me key advantage of full frame over APS-C is not extra light sensitivity but the increased control over depth-of-field. DOF is related to the distance to the subject. The closer you get to the subject, the smaller the DOF. In order to get a scene with a few people in your frame, a full frame camera puts you much closer to the subject than a APS-C with a 50mm@1.4 and therefore have a smaller DOF. Using a 35mm@1.4 on a APS-C doesn’t compensate for this entirely because a 35mm@1.4 has other DOF characteristics. Maybe a 35mm@1.2 could achieve the same but at a budget.
            A full frame can be a better storytelling tool, because you have more options to separate the subject from the background and point the viewers eye to the spot that matters for the story. Especially at a bigger distance to the subject.

          • The way I feel about super-shallow DOF and the popularity of full-frame cameras as tools to achieve it is that it provides an excuse not to think carefully about directing the viewer’s attention composition, lighting and staging; instead all of these are all-too-often neglected in favour of using a single technique over and over, regardless of its narrative implications for a scene.

          • I am just saying it gives you more options. You can use it in any way you like. But for event shooting like weddings you often have very little control over the environment. Blurring out background distractions can be very useful in maintaining an intimate romantic mood.

    • Full frame is incredibly superior when it comes to low light shooting, there is no comparison in noise levels between a full frame and aps-c bodies. You also get a much wider view with lenses, since the sensor is much larger.

  • Whoa – I thought people were just exaggerating when they said the 6D has some moire issues. But OH MY GOODNESS that is downright hideous.

    Canon honestly released a camera like that? Unbelievable.

    Why anyone would buy one of these when the GH3 is now on the market – for $600 less – is utterly beyond comprehension.

    • Robert Hardy on 02.6.13 @ 11:10PM

      Agreed, the fact that the 5D3 seems to have solved the moire and aliasing issues prevalent in other DSLRs while this camera makes them worse than they were before is not only extremely confounding, but it’s kind of insulting if you’re the type of filmmaker that relies on these cameras. I realize that this camera is meant to compete with other entry level full frame DLSRs and that these cameras are primarily for shooting stills, but issues like this are simply unacceptable in this day in age..

      • marklondon on 02.7.13 @ 1:02AM

        I’m with Daniel – this is a stills camera. Although now maybe for video. the filter can be a pain in the ass though.

        • No one is saying it isn’t a photo camera. But they did put a microphone input with manual audio control…so it’s not like they’re surprised people might buy this to shoot video. It doesn’t excuse this sort of blatant hardware crippling.

      • this camera is a very serious photo camera, far above being a video camera, that is very evident in pricing between 6D and 5d MKIII, any photographer that does mostly landscape stills has been cursing anti aliasing filters for years, same with astrophotography, etc. even in a perfect video world, you would want a body with and without anti aliasing filters.

    • Daniel Rico on 02.6.13 @ 11:13PM

      dont forget those are cameras designed for photos

  • Because they’re affordable

  • IMHO, 35mm looks better.

  • Seems like there are less down sides to Metabones Speed Booster adapter like devices.

    • Yeah, for the full frame look on a mirrorless camera that’s a good point.
      Especially since it negates the whole investment into Canon glass deterrent for changing camera bodies.
      There are some caveats to this method too, but like you said, it could be the lesser of two evils.
      Meta-Bones Speed booster on a BMCC or Digital Bolex could be a very tasty set up indeed.
      I left my Canon gear behind in favour of GH2 and GH3 for the no-overheating that allows me to shoot entire day long events only stopping to swap cards, but I should mention that the boost in resolution is noticeable, and I can deliver media with broadcast data rates (thanks to the hacks).

  • Does the anti-aliasing filter need to be removed to shoot stills? If yes, how long does it take? If not, what effect does it have on stills?

    • Technically no, but it’s not going to take very good stills with it in, and you wouldn’t be able to use the viewfinder. Basically it will soften the image.

      I haven’t done it myself but after you get the hang of it, it probably wouldn’t take longer than a minute or so.

    • My understanding is that you can only take stills in Live View mode while the filter is installed. This is due to the filter being placed under the raised mirror of the camera. Most likely, if you decide to shoot photos with the filter installed, the photos will look very blurry since the filter is designed for the lower resolution of the video mode.
      Installation and removal of the filter should take less than a minute, if not only a few seconds, if you know what you’re doing.

    • marklondon on 02.7.13 @ 1:03AM

      It can be fiddly if you’re in a rush. I have one on my video D800. I eventually got annoyed so now I go with two bodies.

      • vinceGortho on 02.7.13 @ 11:16AM

        Just got my d800. Looking to get a set of NIKKOR lenses from
        Do you know if its worth grabbing the atomos recorder? I’ve heard the internal coded was good enough.
        And does the added aliasing filter soften your image much?

        • If you plan on using any green screen, get the external recorder, otherwise, the internal codec is good enough, despite the seemingly low bitrate.

          Keep in mind that while the Nikon’s give amazing results in good light, they are noisier than the 5DmkIII in low light.

          • vinceGortho on 02.8.13 @ 9:24PM

            Right. It is more noisy than a 5dIII. but the noise is nice and grainy without without the ugly compression pixels that show up on the canons. And the image is gradeable!
            Such a great cam!

  • NEX 7 + Speed Booster seems like a far better option than getting this. You’ll get a better image quality, faster lenses, full frame-ish size image and save more money.

    • Carlos dee on 02.7.13 @ 1:09AM

      I have a nex 6 w speed booster for my leica r’s 28,50,90mm. Something about the nex footage thats feels cheap to me. The bitrate just seems a bit low. Maybe i was expecting too much because i got the body just to have full leica r w speed booster. Ive been a hacked gh2 user for a couple years.
      I cant wait for the bmc to come out so we can move forward and stop expecting miracles from dslrs.
      Its been a great ride but im ready for the next chapter w/ cameras.

  • Carlos dee on 02.7.13 @ 1:01AM

    Oh god. Not again. Looking forward to the day when we stop asking these questions.

  • john jeffreys on 02.7.13 @ 2:43AM

    “Something about the nex footage thats feels cheap to me”

    Maybe because it’s a fucking point and shoot made for somewhat-techie consumers and not for actual filmmaking?

    • CameraRick on 02.7.13 @ 2:50AM

      How good the DSLRs were made for filmmaking, as they all come with the essentials of what normal Pro’s from the filmworld need… :)

      • john jeffreys on 02.7.13 @ 1:29PM

        DSLRs are terrible for filmmaking. People only use them because they cant afford a real cinema camera. Including me.

    • jake johns on 02.7.13 @ 5:57AM

      LOL, what a funny guy…:)

    • chopnshoot on 02.7.13 @ 4:14PM

      the NEX cameras aren’t point and shoots. point and shoot implies there are no interchangeable lens mount. i haven’t seen any NEX 5n, 6 or 7 footage look as bad as this 6D footage with or without filter. those telephone lines were killing me.

      • john jeffreys on 02.7.13 @ 5:09PM

        It’s a tiny little camera that fits in my coat pocket. Interchangeable lenses or not, it’s a consumer level unit that you buy at the mall.

        • chopnshoot on 02.8.13 @ 4:32AM

          You can buy it at the mall? I can go to the mall and get a Canon 5D Mark III from a Best Buy. I wouldn’t but I could.

          Excuse me if i’m wrong but isn’t the post about getting a budget full frame camera? 6D is a miserable option. I think the Speed Booster makes all the NEX cameras including the FS100 and FS700 better options than anything Canon is offering besides their high end cinema cameras.

          Is there anything that makes the 6D better than the smaller NEX cameras equipped with the Speed Booster? They have similar fields of view.

        • Its a tiny little camera that fits into my coat pocket but shoots fantastic 1080p 60p videos. We use it professionally on PAID jobs and I wouldnt have been able to do some of my shots if it wasnt as small and awesome as it is:

  • ThunderBolt on 02.7.13 @ 8:43AM

    Anyone notice that even with the filter power lines still have issue? It would of been nice to see this comparison with exposure being the same. Filtered frames are darker, buildings not holding as much detail making it harder to cop are. Previous 7D test was a better comparison.

  • Can you guys do an article on CCD vs CMOS sensors? Don’t CCDs outperform CMOS in pretty much every way? I’d like to learn more about the differences.

    • john jeffreys on 02.7.13 @ 1:28PM

      Nope, only camera wars here.

    • There has been some other articles on the very subject. like most things in life, Both have advantages and disadvantages. If you want an extremely nerdy (engineering) explanation of the two, check out this video series.

      From what I have read, one of the biggest factors affecting the development of new sensors is the fact that CMOS is “easier” to make, since it uses the same fabrication as microchips and memory chips. That means more companies are able to make and work on developments for them.

  • Just get a 5D MKIII lmao!!!!! that speed booster won’t eliminate moire….the 5d3 sell at $2900 now….it only makes sense….why are we talking about this? That filter can’t take take stills…silly just silly

  • on 02.7.13 @ 9:18AM

    Both the 6D and the Mosaic filter are out of my price range, but it’s good to know that this is available for people who are able to spend more yet are still looking for a deal.

  • This camera was DOA. I’d rather shoot with a used Canon 5D Mark II.

  • I have been wrestling with this issue myself for some time, and eventually pulled the trigger on a 6D. The low-light capabilities are astounding, but I grew concerned after seeing moire (colour banding) on fine patterns during interview shots. Of course Canon releases no information on these sorts of things so I conducted my own test, with a Canon 6D, 5D2, and 5D3. The 5D3 easily surpasses all the others under the same conditions in this particular chair test.

  • Well, since Magic Lantern just enabled RAW video for 5D, too, who’s still talking about Sony, Nikon or other marks? It’s ridiculous spending 3000$ for a D800 now. Even though the 6D just can shoot 1600×600 until now, it’s still so much better result upscaled to 1080. Combined with its astonishing lowlight performance and – in case it works well – with the Mosaic filter.

    Look at this detail, damn it:

    Guess all Nikon users are eating their shorts now ;)

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