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Canon EOS 6D - Image Quality Summary and Verdict

By Mike Topham



  • Recommended by TR
Canon EOS 6D


Our Score:


Canon EOS 6D: Image Quality

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.

ISO Performance

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.


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.

Canon EOS 6D: Verdict

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.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Build Quality 8
  • Design & Features 8
  • Image Quality 9
  • Value 8


September 20, 2012, 11:26 am

I realise this is a preview and not a review, but it's still a bit disappointing - you've missed the fact that this is Canon's first (the first?) DSLR with integrated Wi-Fi (smartphone control and direct uploads) and GPS (automatic geotagging); that it is slimmer and lighter than the D600; that it has no pop-up flash (like 5D; not like 60D/7D); that it won't accept EF-S lenses (the D600 will take DX lenses and automatically crop the sensor accordingly)...

Martin Daler

September 20, 2012, 8:35 pm

"Navigating the menu is extremely too."


Martin Daler

September 20, 2012, 8:45 pm

"...showed quite how bright and sharp and image the screen can produce"


"...it doesn't loose any crucial buttons!"


"...no dedicated shooting rate button meaning that is command has to be done through the menu"



November 13, 2012, 2:34 pm

Why do you prefer the zoom on the right side of the camera? Because you're right handed? I realize this is hands-on and not in depth, but come on.


November 13, 2012, 3:33 pm

Because it allows you to control one of the more frequently used functions on the camera without the need to engage two hands. The more you can control from the hand that's already gripping the camera, the more freedom you have to use the left hand for other things.


January 18, 2013, 11:16 am

Ok, so here's my problem with TR. Michael Topham works for what digital camera and he reviewed the 60D in the latest issue. He scored the 60D at 91% so why on earth has it only got 8/10 with TR??


January 18, 2013, 12:01 pm


Dave Haynie

January 18, 2013, 3:27 pm

No mention of video quality.. that's kind of a thing these days. And given the place of the EOS 5D MkII and MkIII and the 7D in video production, that would certainly be a topic of more than typical interest.

Rick Aungiers

February 5, 2013, 12:47 pm

I read a whole paragraph devoted to the wi-fi and GPS functions. I suggest you re-read his excellent preview.

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