Tone and Exposure
Given that the 6D uses the same tried and tested 63-zone metering system used by both the 7D and 5D Mark III, it came as no great surprise to find that the 6D’s metering is as accurate and consistent as those two models. If we were to be really critical, images are perhaps -0.3 EV darker than we’d ideally like them to be. A quick tweak of the Exposure slider in Adobe Camera Raw can easily fix this however, or alternatively you can of course dial in 0.3 EV of exposure compensation.
White Balance and Colour
The vibrant and pastel colours on our Spyder Checkr chart were recorded accurately from ISO 100 through to ISO 12,800. At ISO 25,600 we noticed that colour saturation dropped ever so slightly, but even at the maximum extended ISO setting of 102,400, colours remain bright and vibrant.
Sharpness and Detail
The 6D’s all-new 20.2MP sensor provides exceptional levels of detail, resolving finely spaced horizontal lines right down to 34 lines per millimeter – the equal of Nikon’s D600 at the same ISO sensitivity. Used at the expanded ISO setting of 102,400 and the 6D’s sensor is still able to resolves 20 lines per millimetre.
Between ISO 100 and 3200 the 6D produces clean, noise-free images. With a small amount of noise reduction applied at the post processing stage you’ll be able to produce acceptable results at ISO 6400 and even 12,800 with a push. For maximum image quality, we’d advise to stay clear of the 6D’s expanded ISO settings, although the in-camera noise reduction options for JPEGs aren’t quite as destructive as expected.
RAW vs JPEG
Comparing shots side-by-side at 100%, Raw files display finer levels of detail than their JPEG counterparts, potentially due to the absence of noise reduction at default settings. That said, the in-camera processing shows JPEGs to control chromatic aberrations well along high-contrast edges.
The 6D offers superb image quality at a price that’s more realistic than the 5D Mk III. That said, at around £1,689 it still represents a fairly hefty outlay – especially for those looking to upgrade from an APS-C DSLR who will find that their collection of EF-S lenses becomes redundant overnight. APS-C upgraders faced with such a predicament may want to consider selling their EF-S lens collection in order to meet the additional costs of upgrading to an EF lens set, unless of course they plan to keep their APS-C body as a back-up camera. Additional lens costs aside, the 6D occupies an attractive position in the market and comes with a feature set advanced enough to please the vast majority of enthusiasts. While some compromises have inevitably been made – most notably in respect of the autofocus system – in order to keep the overall cost down, the 6D remains a very competent camera in its own right. The addition of GPS and Wi-Fi are also very welcome, with the later especially helping to give the 6D a degree of future proofing.