Canon 6D Review

 
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Canon 6D Performance


Timing and Performance

Generally good performance for a prosumer full-frame digital SLR, though autofocus and burst speeds could be better.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~0.5 second

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~0.3 second

How long it takes camera to turn off with empty buffer.

Buffer clearing time
2 seconds
after 20 large/fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
9 seconds
after 17 RAW files*
7 seconds
after 7 RAW+L/F JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

The Canon 6D turned in fast startup and shut-down times, fast enough that they were difficult to measure. The Canon 6D's buffer clearing times were quite good, but of course depend on the image quality and size, as well as the speed of the memory card. We used a fast UHS-I compliant card rated at 95MB/s.

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.3 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~0.9 second

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.4 second

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

The Canon 6D's Play to Record mode switching time was very good (difficult to measure), though Record to Play was a tad sluggish.

Shutter Response (Lag Time)
Optical Viewfinder

Full Autofocus
Single Point AF

0.290 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. (All AF timing measured with Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro lens.)

Full Autofocus
11-point Auto Selection AF

0.206 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Continuous AF
0.235 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual Focus
0.074 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.059 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Live View
Full Autofocus
"Quick Mode"
(Phase Detect)
1.679 seconds
This is phase-detect autofocus, the camera drops the mirror to focus, then raises it to grab the shot.
Full Autofocus
"Live Mode"
(Contrast Detect)
0.670 second
This is contrast-detect autofocus, the camera reads Live View data from the image sensor to determine focus.

Prefocused

0.066 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Canon 6D's full autofocus shutter response was a little slower than average for a prosumer DSLR, at 0.29s using single (center) point AF mode. Full 11-point auto select AF mode was faster at 0.206 second on average, but we found it varied a lot, ranging from 0.1 to about 0.3 second in our tests. Continuous AF was somewhere between at 0.235s, but your subject may not be in focus in that mode. Manual focus shutter lag was quite fast, though, at 0.074 second. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure resulted in a lag time of only 0.059 second, which is very fast for a DSLR.

The Canon 6D's AF lag time in Live View mode was longer, as expected. We measured about 1.7 second using "Quick Mode" (phase-detect AF). Oddly, "Live Mode" (contrast-detect AF) was quite a bit faster in our tests, at about 0.7s. The speed of the lens' AF system has a bigger impact here, though. Prefocused shutter lag in Live View mode was only 0.066 second which is very fast, almost as fast as when using the optical viewfinder.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance. We also use the same Sigma 70mm f/2.8 macro with every camera (on all platforms except Four Thirds/Micro Four Thirds and Nikon consumer models lacking an in-body focus motor), to further reduce variation, and because our tests showed that focus-determination time with this lens was close to the fastest, across multiple camera bodies from different manufacturers. Being an older design with a non-ultrasonic motor, it wouldn't be the fastest at slewing from one focus setting to another, but that's exactly the reason we measure focus determination speed, which is primarily a function of the camera body, vs focus adjustment speed, which is primarily a function of the lens.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.52 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 1 second to clear.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.52 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 6 seconds to clear.

Single Shot mode
RAW + Large/Fine JPEG
0.52 second

Time per shot, averaged over 9 shots, 7 seconds to clear.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG

0.23 second (4.44 frames per second);
20 frames total;
2 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots with no signs of slowing.

Continuous mode
RAW

0.23 second (4.44 frames per second);
17 frames total;
9 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 17 frames, then slows to about 0.67s or 1.50 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous mode
RAW + Large Fine
JPEG

0.23 second (4.41 frames per second);
7 frames total;
7 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 7 frames, then slows to about 0.94s or 1.06 fps when buffer is full.

Flash recycling

N/A

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times in the Canon 6D's single-shot mode were about average for non-pro DSLR, at just over 0.5 second no matter the file type.

Continuous mode speeds were a little slower than average for a full-frame model, at about 4.4 frames per second, but the camera didn't really slow down for RAW or RAW+JPEG files.

Buffer depths were over 20 frames for large/fine JPEGs, 17 frames for RAW mode and 7 frames for RAW+JPEG. (Note that in our cycle time testing we shoot a target consisting of a fine-grained digital noise pattern, designed to be very hard to compress. This gives us worst-case buffer capacity numbers: You're likely to see greater buffer capacity when shooting more normal subjects.)

Buffer clearing times were good with a fast UHS-I compliant card, ranging from 2 seconds for a burst of JPEGs to 9 seconds for RAW.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

8,068 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Reasonable download times, though we've seen much quicker. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-1 SD card: Slower cards would likely show slower transfer times.)

Bottom line, the Canon 6D is generally a responsive camera with fast startup, shutter lag and buffer clearing, but autofocus speeds and burst rates are a little below average for its class.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery Life
Excellent battery life when using the optical viewfinder.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard, Optical Viewfinder)
1,090
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard, Live View LCD)
220

The Canon 6D uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Although the Canon 6D's battery life is excellent when using the optical viewfinder, we recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand if you plan on using Live View or wish to shoot movies.

The table above shows the number of shots the Canon 6D is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 



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