Canon echoes rival, launches affordable full-frame EOS 6D SLR


posted Monday, September 17, 2012 at 4:03 AM EDT


After last week's announcement of the affordable full-frame Nikon D600 digital SLR, it's no surprise to see the Canon EOS 6D finally emerge from behind the curtain of rumor and conjecture. The new Canon 6D is another camera designed to appeal to the photographer who wants to step up to full-frame but has found the $3,000-$3,500 price tag prohibitively expensive. Instead, the Canon 6D body retails for US$2,100, just like the Nikon D600, and sports a 20.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, powered by a DIGIC 5+ processor, has a 3-inch 1.04-million dot LCD, a UHS-1 SD card slot, and includes both WiFi and GPS built-in.

To lower the cost, Canon naturally had to change a few of the specs. First, its sensor isn't quite as large as the 36 x 24mm sensors of the 5D Mark II and Mark III. Instead it's 35.8 x 23.9mm. Not a big deal, but not quite full-frame. It's worth noting that this smaller sensor size is nearly identical in size to the sensor in the original 5D. The Canon 6D's sensor also has 2.1 million pixels fewer than the 5D Mark III. With a pixel pitch of 6.55 microns, that could be a boon in the sensitivity department, as the 5D II was 6.4 and the 5D III was 6.25 microns. The Canon 6D also doesn't have that wonderful array of 61 autofocus points like the 5D Mark III; instead there are 11, arrayed in a familiar diamond pattern.

Some pictures tell a thousand words: this one tells half the story. At the heart of the Canon EOS 6D sits a brand-new full frame 20.2 megapixel CMOS image sensor.

The 6D weighs about 3.2 ounces (90g) less, so that's a good reduction. And in this case, the cost is $1,400 less than the 5D Mark III, so if you're looking for why it seems less feature-rich, there are 1,400 good reasons. As has often happened with EOS introductions for more than 20 years, the Canon 6D leapfrogs all others in the line with two advanced features no other EOS has, regardless of price: built in WiFi and GPS radios; two features we expect to see proliferate in all manner of cameras through 2012 and 2013.

The Canon EOS 6D will be offered body-only, or with an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens.

Priced at US$2,100 or thereabouts, the Canon 6D body will ship this December. A kit version will include the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens for US$2,900 all-in. Want to know more about the Canon EOS 6D, the company's most reasonably-priced full-frame model to date? Read our preview!