Here is my now annual post where I ask a fundamental question about the Canon 6D, still my go to camera in 2023. Who’d have thought it eh? And if you are thinking, the Canon 6D? Isn’t that an ancient camera? Read on……
The Canon 6D is still worth buying in 2023. The Canon 6D was a great camera when it was released in late 2012, and can still take great photos in 2023. The Canon 6D was Canon’s entry level full frame camera when it was released, and whilst it has been superseded by newer models it is a great way to get into full frame photography.
You do not need the shiniest, latest bells and whistles camera to take great photos. You can do this with a Canon 6D Mk 1.
Right, that is you told! In this post I am going to tell you why the Canon 6D is still well worth buying, giving you a great, economical route into full frame photography and great image capture capabilities.
Unfortunately, you cannot buy a new one in 2023, but refurbished/ second-hand ones can be bought for much less than the latest fangle dangled things. I had a quick look and found a nice pristine one for less than £400 here in the UK.
Here is a photo of a Canon 6D, courtesy of Canon.
Now I know my 6D won’t live forever – at the end of this post I tell you what I will replace the Canon 6D with when it finally falls over for good. And I know that at some point I will need to upgrade my camera, just not yet…….
And I will I also point you in the direction of some other stuff that I have written that I think will be of interest to you.
Who am I?
Who am I to tell you about this stuff? I am Rick McEvoy, a professionally qualified photographer (ABIPP). I am also professionally qualified in construction (MCIOB). And I specialise in architectural, construction and real estate photography. Basically I photograph buildings. Well you would hope so…..
And I have been doing both for more years than I would care to admit to.
And I also take photos of nice places, and buildings in nice places.
I am also the creator and all things at the splendid Photography Explained Podcast.
So I know about this stuff OK?
This is becoming an annual post!
I have been updating this post for a number of years, never expecting when I first wrote this post to still be using this wonderful camera all these years on, but here I am in 2023 still using my good old Canon 6D Mk 1.
There are lots of affiliate links in this post – if you click on one of these you will be taken to that product on the Amazon website. And if you buy that product I get a small commission, and you get my thanks! Actually if you buy anything I get a commission….
But not for the Canon 6D itself – you can’t buy that new now. But you can still get the two obvious replacements for the Canon 6D.
Canon 6D Mk 2
What about progress and technological advances?
Despite all the technological advances that can be found in shiny new cameras the Canon 6D is still a great camera. And just because other cameras have advanced significantly since 2012, this does not automatically make the Canon 6D over the hill, past it’s sell by date, irrelevant or obsolete.
And in my humble opinion this applies to many cameras released in the last, well I don’t know, 15 years?
So if you read no further this one point could save you lots of money, by not buying the latest shiny loveliness when you do not necessarily need to.
What did I have before the Canon 6D?
My first full frame camera was a Canon 5D Mk 1. This camera was first released in 2005 would you believe!
This is an image that I took with my Canon 5D which is still one of my favourite architectural photos.
Chideock Manor Library – architectural photography in Dorset
Ok – before I justify my statement about the Canon 6D being still worth buying in 2023 I need to say something else.
Photography is not about gear. Photography is drawing with light. Composition and creativity.
All this technical stuff is not as important as we might think.
No-one cares which camera you or I have used to capture an image. No one cares about the camera settings, if a photo was taken in RAW or JPEG? I have never been asked that question by a client.
The only people who care about these things are other photographers. And I am not working for other photographers!
I am however helping photographers save money and spend more time taking photos which is what photography should be all about.
What Is The Number 1 Most Important Thing In Photography?
The photos you create. And in my case also the photos that I give to my clients.
All most people care about is the photo itself. That is all. Let us not forget that. Everything else is irrelevant to the most important person to me in my photography business – my client.
Right – time to get back to the subject.
OK – so back to the gear….
I know. I complain too much about gear talk. But here I am not talking about gear. But I am talking about gear that I already have, and have learned to use inside out. And I am asking the question about the relevance of an older camera in 2023.
When I say talk I do mean write of course – it is just that I type as I would talk, as things come into/ out of my head.
Let’s start at the beginning. What do I like so much about my Canon 6D?
Firstly, it just works.
Day in, day out. And having used it for so long I know how it works, inside out. I can operate my camera in the dark with no problems. I can change lenses in the dark. Once I have found them that is! I use my Canon 6D without thinking about the camera – it is instinctive to me.
Ok – so now for some specific features, in no particular order.
The sensor and the image quality
These to me are one and the same. I love the images that my Canon 6D produces. I love the look and feel that the RAW files give me.
I like the depth of details that the sensor captures. I like the tones. I like the range of shadows and highlights, lights and darks. And I like the way that I can take bracketed sets and put the photos together in Lightroom.
I like the information that my Canon 6D records that I can work with. Basically I like the photos that my Canon 6D takes. And that is a pretty strong starting point.
The Canon 6D has 11 focus points. The Canon EOS R has 5655 focus points. You might want to read that again.
- The CANON EOS R HAS 5655 FOCUS POINTS.
- THE CANON 6D HAS 11 FOCUS POINTS
I have found 11 focus points just fine. To be honest I tend to only need to use one at a time. So what would I do with the other 5654 focus points on the Canon EOS R? I’m not quite sure (but I am looking forward to finding out!).
The way I take my photos I focus on one part of the composition, typically around 1/3rd into the scene.
And another thing about the focussing on the Canon 6D – it can focus in ridiculously low light. I don’t know how it compares to other more technologically advanced cameras, but it does focus down to ridiculously low levels of light’.
Do I need to be able to focus in near darkness?
I take a lot of photos pre-sunrise and post-sunset but rarely have a problem with focussing.
I compose using the viewfinder and the LCD screen – this works just fine for me even with the relatively small LCD screen and my ageing eyes!
If you research the autofocus of the Canon 6D you will find lots of people who say that it is not that great, especially in low-light. I have no idea what they are talking about, and I have never had a problem focussing in low light.
A word about camera reviews and other people’s opinions
The Canon 6D has its critics. There always seems to be someone somewhere who has to criticise something, or always demand more, or find something better in an alternative (in this case camera) and draw on the negatives.
That is why we all have to be careful how we assess and value people’s opinions.
I have had people say to me that the focussing on the Canon 6D is rubbish in low light. Really? I have never had a problem with this.
Someone else asked how can I work professionally as a photographer using a camera that only has one memory card slot?
I have never had a card failure. Never. I look after my memory cards incredibly carefully. I don’t want to tempt fate now, but this has never happened to me.
You can find numerous negative reviews and comments on the Canon 6D, probably more bad press than good. But be careful with the agendas of these people – the Canon 6D is a great camera. To be honest you are hard pressed to find a rubbish camera these days.
Back button focus
I know that this is by no means a unique feature on the Canon 6D, but I still love this feature, and the way the Canon 6D does it.
Why do I use back button focus?
Simple. I compose my image, and then decide where I want to focus. Then I choose an appropriate aperture. And then I press the shutter release button, which meters for the scene and starts the self-timer.
I have separated focus from exposure and image capture. I take the vast majority of my photos on a tripod, meaning that this makes perfect sense for me. This applies to not only my architectural photography but also to my travel and landscape photography.
This just works for me.
Ergonomics of the Canon 6D
The Canon 6D fits in my hands and the controls are all in very familiar, and to me logical positions. I have never wished that things weren’t where they are. Not that the camera is perfect, it is just that we have grown close to each other over the years! To be fair I do not believe that there is such a thing as the perfect camera.
The familiarity of my Canon 6D is a bit like having a favourite pair of shoes, they mould to you over time and end up being irreplaceable.
I know – I am getting worryingly sentimental here. Having said that we have been through a lot together, me and my Canon 6D!
Before I go on – fancy a break?
If you do why not subscribe to my blog by clicking on this link right here – you will get one email a week plus any special offers I hear about, and that is all.
Done that? Great – lets get back to the Canon 6D!
Wi-Fi – very important
I use the Wi-Fi to take photos in unusual locations and from unusual viewpoints. This is an essential part of my work.
OK the Canon Connect App is hardly cutting edge, but most of the time it works fine and allows me to do what I need to do.
I have not used the Wi-Fi to view photos remotely – the way I work I only want to look at photos on my big, calibrated monitor in my office.
Canon Camera RAW
Canon’s RAW format. I use this all the time – I never use Jpeg. It is so good and gives me so much. Just awesome.
GPS built-in – how did I ever manage without this?
Another invaluable feature. I do a lot of travel photography – much more than I ever did, and also have other websites about specific travel photography locations. Now that I have mentioned them I might as well tell you what they are.
OK – advert over.
I need GPS, and the Canon 6D has it. I use the Map module in Lightroom a lot, which enables me to erm, tell where I took photos from.
Santorini photo locations from the Lightroom Map Module
I also have been known to stop and take photos when travelling – anytime I see something I like the look of I stop and take a photo, and the GPS tells me where I took the shot.
So an invaluable feature that I would not be without.
And I use it on my various websites and for writing articles about my photography work.
Reliability over the years
My Canon 6D is a workhorse. It just works, day in, day out. I turn it on and it is there for me. It has never failed, never let me down.
The Canon Ecosystem
Canon have been criticised for slow technological advances. For getting into mirrorless late. And for not innovating with the technology in their DSLRs.
It seems that there is again so much negativity. Take a step back though and look at the Canon ecosystem – it is an awesome place to be with lenses for every and any occasion.
It’s not all sweetness and light – there are things that are not perfect! What do I not like about the Canon 6D?
The viewfinder and my dodgy old mince pies
I am 55 years old. I am struggling with the viewfinder I’m not going to lie to you. I have a dominant eye. And a lazy one on the other side of my head. And I am short sighted. And my near vision is much worse than it was.
As grim as this sounds this is the reality of being my age! And I am not going to get any younger!
I have tried out EVFs on the cameras on display in shops and at airports. Well every time I go to an airport, which is quite often, I always have a look at all the shiny newness on display.
An EVF is an electronic viewfinder by the way.
Yes this is how I spend my time waiting for flights – trying out EVFs and wishing I had one! And then realising even in holiday mode that the airport is not the place to buy a camera. I nearly cracked once and would have made an expensive mistake but thankfully I saw sense.
This is the thing that has taken me down the road to mirrorless cameras – my age, my short sightedness, and the blurry distance vision I can get from time to time. For travel photography that is.
Yep getting old has its drawbacks, my eyes being a pretty big one.
So it might be ageing that forces me to buy a new camera – I really hadn’t thought about that until writing this!
The GPS. If I do not manually turn off the GPS when I turn off the camera it is still running and drains the battery. Completely infuriating and there is apparently no fix for this. I actually asked Canon people at the Photography Show.
I hope that the Canon 6D Mk 2 and other newer models have had this problem sorted as it drives me up the wall. And for no reason that I can think of.
A small thing I know but an irritation all the same.
The LCD screen
The LCD screen is quite frankly rubbish. Rubbish when compared to my iPhone XS screen that is. Having said that I can’t see my iPhone XS screen in full Greek sunlight anyway!
But no – the screen is much too small. To get round this I have had to buy a Loupe Viewer. You can’t buy the one pictured below but the link is a current one to a much better product.
I had to stick a small plastic window on the LCD screen, onto which I can attach the viewer quickly whenever needed.
I use the LCD screen to compose images all the time, which would be very difficult, even impossible in some lighting situations with just the small LCD screen on the Canon 6D.
And add the problems with my ageing eyes and you will see that the screen is an issue to me.
There is an in-camera HDR merge feature on the Canon 6D, but rather bafflingly this only works with JPEG files?
Why can’t any camera, and not only the Canon 6D, just do the HDR thing automatically in-camera? With RAW files that is. It is only a case of taking three exposures and merging them together. Why do I have to do this in Lightroom?
If the Canon 6D did in-camera HDR with RAW files I would only ever need the RAW HDR file which would save me so much time.
It has a horizontal level but not a vertical level
This is the other thing that is making me think about a new camera. When I use the electronic level I get a big bright green line that tells me the camera is level. There is not however another green line to tell me that my camera is vertical.
This is a genuine problem for me – I often cannot see the bubble on my Manfrotto tripod head.
And getting my camera properly level is very important for me. This is an issue on every architectural photo I take.
What is the working life of a Canon 6D?
I don’t know to be honest.
Shutter actuations are the key thing here. The shutter after all is the major moving part, and rather critical to the workings of the camera.
The Canon 6D shutter has a shutter rating of 100,000 actuations. How many shutter actuations have I made with my Canon 6D?
I could get some software that will give me a number but it is unlikely to be accurate.
No I will go with the number of images in my Lightroom Catalogue. Of course that will not include images that have been deleted, but I don’t think that this will be significant knowing the way I work and how few images I delete once they are in Lightroom.
This will give me a good enough idea.
84,459 images. It was 22,422 when I first wrote this post.
Not too bad and not a concern. Not as much as the state of my eyesight that is!
Let’s not forget 100,000 is a number to provide an indication of the working life of a camera shutter relative to other cameras. To me this number is only of use when I am comparing one camera to another – the number gives me an idea of the relative robustness of two cameras.
A much more relevant factor is how many times I have dropped my camera, how many times I have got it wet.
Basically how badly have I treated it?
- Dropping it – well there was the big drop in the National Trust office at Corfe Castle – this resulted in an expensive repair (at a Canon Authorised repairer I should add).
- And lots of small drops. Mostly onto rocks at sunrise.
- Water damage
- Splashes by the sea.
- Being rained on (not a problem as it is weather sealed).
- A quick spray of Mythos (the Greek beer for those who don’t know!)
- General wear and tear
My camera has been with me every day everywhere I go. Every day I put it in the boot of my car, and every night I take it out again. It has been crammed into tight spaces on planes, buses, trains, and boats of various types. But has always been carefully looked after.
The working life of my Canon 6D is from now until is stops working!
Enough waffle – what about some photos taken with my Canon 6D?
Here are photos taken over the years I have had my Canon 6D
Twin Sails Bridge, Poole, Dorset
Sandbanks Hotel and Sandbanks Beach, Poole, Dorset
Sensory garden at Horndean College of Technology
Unloading gravel at a rail siding facility
House interior photographed for an architect
Changing room refurbishment photographed for the architect Kendall Kingscott
Image coming soon
What lenses do I use with my Canon 6D?
I have just three lenses these days.
These are all I need to be honest. I use the 24-105 for travel photography, and the 17-40 for most of my architectural work.
Well OK I use my 17-40mm lens for 95% of my photos like the one above.
What would my ideal focal lengths be?
Digressing here but just a thought I would like to add.
12-300mm is the range that I would like to cover, ideally with 2 or 3 small lenses.
What would it take for me to change to another camera?
I would like something smaller and lighter, especially for travel photography.
And for travel photography I have invested in an Olympus OM-D EM5. I sold my Canon tilt-shift lens and bought this tiny camera and lens.
So have I changed to another camera manufacturer?
Added, not changed. The only other manufacturer I have used is Fujifilm – my first “proper” camera was a Fujifilm (film) SLR.
I liked the look of Olympus and Fujifilm’s current offerings – this is based on a pretty superficial look at them in camera shops and some stuff I have heard – nothing too scientific or exacting. So I had a more in-depth look and went with Olympus micro four thirds.
And I have to say I enjoy using my Olympus EM5 for travel photography. But I still use my Canon 6D for my commercial work.
Would I go back to film?
No. Why ever would I do that? Why do people do that? I just do not get it!
Do I not want something shiny and new?
Yes of course I do, and after all that talk about how much I hate gear and the time spent talking about gear , I would love to have a new camera.
I love new tech gear. I was very excited to get a new iPhone when my contract ran out in January 2019. I went straight for an iPhone XS. Which I still have….. Not long now Rick….
And every time I use my Apple Airpods they make me smile.
But I must not forget this
I still enjoy using my Canon 6D, even after all these years.
But yes, I do browse new kit at airports and in camera shops and do have those background gear lust feelings.
Before I finish
Photography hasn’t really changed – photography is after all creating new photos.
Let’s not forget that – photography gear is just that – gear. Tools of the trade. The equipment we use to capture what we see in front of us.
If I get a new camera will I take better photos?
I will have additional features that will give me better opportunities to capture better images but no, fundamentally no.
My Canon 6D won’t last forever though?
No it won’t. What would I do now if I broke or it just expired?
What would I replace my Canon 6D with if I had to replace it right now?
There are things that I would need to have in a camera to convince me to change from my good old Canon 6D.
What about the Canon 6D Mk 2?
The Canon 6D Mk 2 version has some very cool features. It is a general evolution of the 6D Mk 1 into a generally more advanced camera.
As well as all that the 6D Mk 1 has there are also some cool new features.
- An articulated screen. And a touchscreen at that!
- More resolution (but not too much) – 26 Megapixels
- A (slightly) better sensor that the 6D Mk 1
- Built-in time-lapse
But to be honest these things did not excite me enough to make me upgrade. My 6D Mk 1 is still working just fine thanks.
But the Canon 6D Mk 2 is a great camera. And there would be no problem with all my lenses and other bits of kit. And there is the familiarity of sticking with Canon.
I am digressing now.
Back to the Canon 6D
I have written some other blog posts on the Canon 6D which I will share with you here.
Is the Canon 6d Mk 1 still a good camera? It’s a yes from me
10 reasons why I love my Canon 6D
This is what I use to take photos – my Canon 6D, Canon 17-40mm lens and Manfrotto tripod and head
The new Canon 6D Mark 2 is on the way – not a bad time to get a Canon 6D Mark 1 if you are ready to go full frame?
I like this picture – I captioned it “Happiness is……” – my Canon 6D looking at something very nice
Video of me taking a photo with my Canon 6D in the New Forest
I left my Canon 6D in Programme by mistake during my sunrise shoot in Altea!
My Canon 6D at work at this great Hampshire wedding venue
A picture of my Canon 6D sat on my Manfrotto Pixi looking at a fantastic sunrise view
And some newer blog posts all about the Canon 6D
Is the Canon 6D weather sealed?
Can Your Canon 6D Use EF-S Lenses?
11 easy steps to sharper photos on Canon 6D
2023 Update – What would I replace the Canon 6D with?
My Canon 6D is not going to last forever. This is what I would get to replace it.
The Canon EOS RP. This is not the expensive one, much like the Canon 6D was not the expensive one when it came out.
That will be fine for me.
Now if Canon offered me the flagship Canon EOS R5 I would not say no of course…
(These are Amazon Affiliate links by the way).
I have updated my website so if you are looking for more good stuff from me about all things photography check out my Start Here page. This takes you right to the beginning of my website.
If you want to work with me on an architectural photography or construction photography project then I would like to point you in the direction of my Work With Me page.
And if you want to learn more about photography then my Learn Photography With Me page is a good place to head over to.
And I have a gear page of course – here it is.
My Photography Explained Podcast
And yes I have my own photography podcast which is well worth checking out – well I would say that! Check out the Photography Explained Podcast website to find out all about it.
Yes, there is even a video for this blog post which you can watch right here on my You Tube Channel.
Blimey. I can go on sometimes. Still it is good to get these things out of my head and out into the wonderful world of the internet.
You may have noticed that on more than one occasion I have used the terms “it works for me”. Well that pretty well sums it up.
The Canon 6D still works for me in 2023
OK I am done now
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and find the related posts that I have added links for interesting as well.