Canon 6D Review

 
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Canon 6D Optics


The Canon 6D is available body-only, or bundled with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM "kit" lens. The test images shown on most other pages of this review were taken with very sharp references lenses, so we use this page to explore kit lens quality.

Kit Lens Test Results

Zoom
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens offers focal lengths both wider and longer than the typical "kit" lens.

The Canon EF 24-105mm kit lens has a versatile optical zoom ratio of about 4.4x, ranging from a generous 24mm at wide angle to a moderate 105mm at the telephoto end, when mounted on a full-frame body like the Canon 6D. The lens also features Canon's excellent Image Stabilization system, which helps avoid or reduce image blur due to camera shake when shooting at slower shutter speeds.

Unfortunately, the weather hasn't cooperated with us thus far to take a zoom range series with the kit lens, but we'll be adding said series here as soon as possible when it does. In the meantime, see the rest of our kit lens test results below, and also visit our detailed review of this lens on SLRgear.com.

Macro
A larger-than-average macro area with slightly soft detail.

Macro with EF 24-105mm f/4 lens
105mm @ f/8

The Canon 6D's macro performance will of course depend entirely on the lens in use. With the EF 24-105mm lens set to 105mm, the Canon 6D captured a much larger-than-average minimum area measuring 5.80 x 3.86 inches (174 x 98 millimeters). Sharpness is decent though a touch soft in the center of the frame, while quite soft in the corners and along the edges of the frame. (Most lenses have some softening in the corners at macro distances, so that's not unusual.)

Geometric Distortion
Higher than average barrel distortion at wide angle and moderate pincushion distortion at telephoto with the 24-105mm kit lens.

Barrel distortion at 24mm is 1.5 percent
Pincushion distortion at 105mm is 0.5 percent

The Canon EF 24-105mm lens produced images with about 1.5 percent barrel distortion at wide angle, which is higher than average and quite noticeable in some shots. At the telephoto end, the lens produced just over 0.5% pincushion distortion, which is also slightly higher than average though not quite as noticeable.

The Canon 6D does not correct for geometric distortion in its JPEGs in capture mode, as uncorrected RAW files have identical amounts. The camera can however correct for distortion for supported Canon lenses when performing in-camera RAW conversion. Geometric Distortion is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide-angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

Chromatic Aberration and Corner Sharpness
Low levels of chromatic aberration in the corners with the 24-105mm lens (the 6D suppresses C.A. by default). Mild to moderate softening in the corners.

Aperture: Maximum
Wide, f/4: Upper right
C.A.: Low
Softness: Slightly soft
Wide, f/4: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Sharp
Tele, f/4: Lower right
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Moderately soft
Tele, f/4: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Slightly soft

Chromatic Aberration. Chromatic aberration in the corners with the Canon EF 24-105mm lens is low at maximum wide angle (24mm) and very low at full telephoto (105mm), because the 6D suppresses C.A. by default. See below to see how much chromatic aberration is present when C.A. Correction is disabled.

Corner Softness. The EF 24-105mm lens produced some slightly soft corners at wide angle at maximum aperture, though performance here is actually very good given the wide 24mm focal length. At full wide angle, the right corners our test target are slightly softer than the left, though softness doesn't extend very far into the frame, and the center of the image is fairly sharp. At full telephoto, the bottom right corner is noticeably softer than the others, and the lens is a touch soft in the center at full telephoto as well. Still, this is very good performance, especially wide open.

Vignetting. Vignetting or corner shading is quite mild in the above crops, but that's because the Canon 6D's Peripheral Illumination Correction is enabled by default. See below for comparisons with PIC disabled.

Aperture: f/8
Wide, f/8: Upper right
C.A.: Low
Softness: Fairly sharp
Wide, f/8: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Sharp
Tele, f/8: lower right
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Fairly sharp
Tele, f/8: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Fairly sharp

Stopped-down to f/8. Chromatic aberration is still quite low, as you'd expect. Corner sharpness improved from wide open, but corners are still not tack sharp, particularly at the telephoto end. Center sharpness at full telephoto also improved, but is still a bit softer than wide angle. As you can see, the Canon 6D's Peripheral Illumination Correction over-corrected corner shading at full telephoto, producing a noticeably brighter corner crop than the center.

Chromatic Aberration Correction
The Canon 6D offers Chromatic Aberration Correction to reduce lateral C.A. with Canon lenses. The default setting is Enabled.

C.A. Correction Enabled (default)
C.A. Correction Disabled
Wide, f/4: Upper left
C.A.: Low
Wide, f/4: Upper left
C.A.: High
Tele, f/4: Upper left
C.A.: Very low
Tele, f/4: Upper left
C.A.: Moderate

As you can see, the Canon 6D's Chromatic Aberration Correction feature was quite effective at removing almost all the lateral chromatic aberration in our EF 24-105mm lens test shots above.

Note that Canon recommends turning lens corrections off for third-party lenses, though. The corrections appear to be database driven (as opposed to real-time image analysis), so they probably wouldn't work properly with most third-party lenses, if at all.

Peripheral Illumination Correction
Like most Canon DSLRs, the 6D features a Peripheral Illumination Correction feature to reduce vignetting or corner shading with Canon lenses.

24mm @f/4 105mm @f/4
Peripheral Illumination Correction: Enabled (default) Disabled

The Canon 6D provides what the company calls "Lens Peripheral Illumination Correction," which corrects for lens shading (commonly called "vignetting"), attempting to produce a more uniform exposure across the frame by compensating for the light fall-off seen with most lenses in the corners of the frame. Mouse over the links above to see the effect in the corners with the 24-105mm kit lens at wide angle and telephoto at maximum aperture.

As you can see, corners are quite a bit darker with PIC disabled, particularly at 24mm. We measured just over an EV of shading at wide angle,and just over 1/2 EV at telephoto when we tested another sample of this lens on SLRgear.com.

Peripheral Illumination Correction and Chromatic Aberration Correction are supported for over 85 different Canon lens models, in both RAW and JPEG workflows. For JPEG shooting, the correction is made at capture time, while RAW shooters can access the function in Canon's Digital Photo Professional software. From the factory, the 6D body ships with correction data for about 25 lens models. Canon's EOS Utility software allows correction data for lenses (including models as-yet unreleased) to be uploaded to the Canon 6D.

 


Canon 6D Viewfinder Accuracy


Viewfinder Test Results

Accuracy
Good coverage from the optical viewfinder, excellent from the LCD in Live View mode.

70mm, Optical 70mm, LCD Live View

The Canon 6D's optical viewfinder accuracy is good, showing just under 98% coverage in our test, slightly better than Canon's 97% spec. Tilt and offset compared to what the sensor is exposed to are also quite low for an optical viewfinder. As you'd expect, Live View mode accuracy using the LCD monitor is excellent, with essentially 100% coverage.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Canon EOS 6D Photo Gallery.



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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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