Saying Goodbye to My Trusted Companion: The Canon 6D Mark I

Saying Goodbye to My Trusted Companion: The Canon 6D Mark I

After almost five years of adventures, it is finally time to upgrade. My Canon EOS 6D Mark I has served me well, and it’s been a reliable companion that I’m sorry to consign to bubblewrap, parcel tape, and eBay. Over the years, I've become quite attached to it.

In early 2014, I was in need of an upgrade. My 5D Mark I was starting to feel dated, and I began the long process of researching my options. Having sunk money into a couple of L lenses, stepping away from Canon’s ecosystem felt impossible. My choice seemed to be between the 7D Mark I, the 5D Mark III, and Canon’s first foray into a stripped-down, lightweight, full-frame body: the 6D.

This was not an easy choice. The 7D meant not only compromising on the width of my beloved wide angle lens, but also stepping down from a full frame which, for whatever reason, felt unthinkable. The 5D Mark III, notably bigger than my Mark I, offered a markedly better frame rate than the 6D, along with weather-sealing and the option of great quality video should I ever want to start shooting anything other than stills. By contrast, the 6D was smaller, lighter, and significantly less expensive — almost half the price. The 5D would give me 6 frames per second compared to the 6D's 4.5, and this was a big consideration. As a sports shooter, the higher frame rate would give me the luxury of being able to blast away at an athlete rather than rely on my timing. In the end, I opted for the 6D, figuring that I was used to a low frame rate and could rely on my timing and also save myself a small fortune. It felt like a brave choice.

I should add: photography is a part of what I do, and my tight budget and love of minimalism were also huge factors in making this decision. That said, there have certainly been moments where I’ve been frustrated at missing a shot, and some jobs have taken longer than they should, simply because I’ve had to ask someone to repeat a movement because I couldn't get my timing right. With that said, the smaller body has been hugely appreciated, permitting budget airline travel and much easier hikes up mountains and across strange lands.

Saying goodbye to an old camera: the Canon 6D Mark I

Left image courtesy of Saša Ševo and Skochypstiks.com

In theory, a camera is just a tool, something we shouldn’t get too attached to, but that’s not my experience. As academic/photographer/explorer Bradley Garrett once wrote, the camera becomes “an appendage to the urban body.” Effectively, this magic box becomes a part of us: it shapes what we see and how we see it, and its buttons fall under our fingers with such familiarity that it can seem like an extension of our hands.

The 6D, this ugly, somewhat soulless chunk of metal and plastic, is emotionally embedded within me, having been a consistent presence on countless adventures, not just accompanying me, but shaping how I’ve created my experiences. The 6D was a companion: it came with me when I climbed 150 meters up the side of a building, as well as being a motivation, it was there when I trekked alone half a day into the Bulgarian wilderness to find a remote village that has been abandoned for over 20 years, and it was a reason for driving twice around former Yugoslavia in search of communist monuments characterized by contradiction and mystery. With its brassing and slightly sticky thumb wheel (two hours of shooting in Norwegian snow came at a price), listing this lump on eBay feels almost like a betrayal.

Saying goodbye to an old friend: the Canon 6Dk Mark I

Left image courtesy of Saša Ševo and Skochypstiks.com

As much as I’d like to put the 6D on a shelf, I can’t justify it, and I need to put that money towards the cost of my shiny new Sony a7 III (an equally soulless lump). Fortunately, the excitement of my new camera is a good balance to the sadness I feel at seeing my old friend disappear in the post. It’s not as if I don’t have anything to remember it by — just tens of thousands of photographs.

So, goodbye, 6D. You were a fine friend, and I wish you well. I hope your new owner puts you to good use, perhaps exploring distant lands and stumbling into adventures with remarkable people. All the best.

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82 Comments

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Andy Day's picture

Thanks Harley. Glad you enjoyed the article. :)

Andy Day's picture

I understand your annoyance: you asked why I did something and I gave my reasons. By all means, you're more than welcome to disagree with my reasons and we can move on from there. However, your tone is unnecessary, immature and shows a complete lack of class. Your opinions on accuracy do not justify it.

You could have started a mature discussion about naming conventions but instead you opted for snark from the outset. Instead of a constructive conversation about model names and comprehension, you've opted for anger and confrontation because the internet gives you a degree of distance and anonymity that makes you think that social conventions don't apply to you.

Wow, you're a peach. 5DC is an accepted community alias for the 5D so why not 6D Mark I? 6DC & 7DC would be more consistent with forum usage but whatever. As long as we understand which camera is being discussed it's all good.

Imo the moment a mark II version is released there is an implied mark I attached to the first iteration of the model. It's an important distinction to anyone who wants specificity. The model line becomes 5D, 6D, 7D, etc.

I appreciate the author specifying which model he's referring to since there can be some ambiguity depending on the author's writing style. I've asked 'which model 5D is this guy referring?' reading other articles.

Good article Andy, enjoyed the read.

Andy Day's picture

Glad you enjoyed it. :)

Jonathan Brady's picture

No. It's not accepted. It, too, has caused confusion in many leading them to ask if there was a cinema version of the 5D they were unaware of, or possibly rumored on the horizon. It's yet another ridiculous made up name. Stick to the name the company gives the product and there's ZERO confusion. None. It's people trying to assign their own ridiculous names to things which causes confusion in the first place. If someone typing 6D or 5D or whatever causes confusion, their context was sorely lacking and that's the fault of the writer, not the reader. Just like it would be their fault to just make up a product name.

Sure it is. A bunch of random people all over the Internet agree 5DC is an acceptable alias for the 5D. There'll never be consensus but it's common enough that it's becoming part of the photography vernacular.

Never once saw anyone express confusion over 5DC or 5D Classic. And no one's confusing it for the 1DC which is indeed a cinema body.

If Canon can call the same product different names in different markets, eg 550D/Rebel T2i/Kiss X4, naming is clearly no big deal.

There seems to be a need for differentiation otherwise people wouldn't be calling the first iteration of the series "original 5D", 5DC or 5D Classic. Same with 6D Mark I. There's evidently a need otherwise no one would bother calling it that.

Same reason why Metallica's eponymous record is universally known as "The Black Album" - to disambiguate the record from the band and clarify the topic of discussion even in a conversation exclusively about albums. The record isn't officially called The Black Album. Fans just call it that because it needed a name other than Metallica to prevent confusion.

Generally speaking people don't make up names to clarify things that don't need clarifying.

Fuji got it mostly right with the X series, starting their numbering at 1/10/100 from the get go.

Jonathan Brady's picture

Well, if a bunch of random people, who are still a minority, all over the internet is all that's needed to accept something as a universal truth, then the earth is not only flat but climate change isn't caused by man, vaccines cause autism, school shootings in the US never happen, Barack Obama isn't a native born US citizen, 9/11 was an inside job, ... I could go on, but I think you get the point that "random people on the internet" is hardly an acceptable standard.
And the "need" you refer to is, IMO, simply a need for people to be seen as clever when they're not.
As I said above, if the author felt like "Canon EOS 6D" might be confused with "Canon EOS 6D Mark II", there are superior options to calling it something it's not like: the first generation of the line, not the 6D Mark II (which would have allowed you to throw in another affiliate link), known to some (for who knows what reason) as the 6D Mark I, Canon's first budget FF, or any other unique identifier. Those options provide distinction as opposed to unnecessary confusion.
Apologies for matching my perception of insult to my words, buy my point still stands: if the author's intent was to avoid confusion, he quite likely caused it, ironically, by using a name for the camera which doesn't exist when he could have chosen a more descriptive and less condescending alternative.

Andy Day's picture

From the comments, you seem to be the only one finding my choice condescending. The amount of anger and rudeness that my article has prompted from you is a little odd. You objected to my choice of naming convention and I explained my reasons, as supported by the site's editors. It's absolutely fine that you have a different opinion - I understand your reasoning. That said, I'd be much more willing to take on board your criticisms if you had the decency to express them in a civilised manner. I'm sorry that you're not capable of that.

Jonathan Brady's picture

Hey, I offered an apology for the tone. 👍

Andy Day's picture

Fair point. Appreciated and accepted.

Steven NELSON's picture

After spending time with THE Canon 6D (3years) and then the Sony A7 and A6000(2years)
I have a different take on Sony, they are great cameras but not worth whiching for, in my opinion.

The overall investment is a total let down, Sony is releasing a A7 every year it seems like, which makes your 1year old camera's value drop dramatically.Right now the original A7 can be purchased used for the same amount of the original 5D.

Also, for all of you who have this great and dependable Canon glass and selling it for Sony glass(which eventually happens) will only realize the mistake three years later when Sony primarily electronically operated lenses start to fail.

My first Sony camera was a Hx100 and within 1year 2 upgrades of that camera was made, and three years later I fell for it again, only to find myself buying the Canon glass I sold and getting another Canon camera bodies 1Ds mark ii and a 70D.(keep in mind I mostly do photography not videos ) image taken with 1Ds markii release 13years ago and almost just as valuable as the A7 and A7ii

Xander Cesari's picture

That seems like a weird complaint. You prefer Canon because they update their product line less often? I bought Sony *because* they were iterating and improving on the A7 line quickly. Maybe even faster than their competition required. Most people resent Canon for not innovating fast enough.

Steven NELSON's picture

It's not weird when you understand the up dates are only catch up, updates that should be implemented at one time. Also, these updates are a distraction from the point that these cameras are designed to last three to four years top(with heavy usage). Also have sony fix the focus assist beam that cut off with the bigger glass such as the 70-200? Have sony fixed not being able to use focus assist with on camera flashes? Its the subtle(but important )things that get the working photographers to go back to Canon.
Last but not lease I do not like my noise on my images to be render like lightroom luminance (smeared ) I like the way canon renders their nose, which keeps the image sharp.This is just my opinion from usage, again I am not a videographer.

Steven NELSON's picture

Fyi, most of my electronics are Sony --ps4,xb30 speaker, headphones n1950, phone XA2 so I really did want the camera to work.

Xander Cesari's picture

Sounds like you just didn't really care for the camera on its own merits and were annoyed you couldn't get your money's worth back out of it. That's valid, frustrating situation to be in. But I do like my A7iii and seeing the company iterate gives me confidence investing in lenses knowing that there will continue to be good bodies to upgrade to.

Steven NELSON's picture

I got my monies worth out the A7, however the hype around it was and is still misleading (in my opinion ). Like I said I love the camera, but if you read back through my post, I think a came full circle. Canon still is top dog (for me) for numerous reason.
Also you never answer my questions on the fixes.

Xander Cesari's picture

I didn't think they were questions, just downsides of the system that were dealbreakers for you and clearly don't matter that much to me. I wasn't trying to go tit for tat on features, not really helpful for anyone.

Steven NELSON's picture

Sure its helpful if you shoot low light events like WEDDINGS. I'm sure the A7iii is a great camera just not worth dumping thousands of dolllars worth of lenses, when its more likely the equivalent of the 6D markii with 4K ,auto focus video an IBIS(which allows sony to sell really slow lenses😂🤣😂 while you sell you really fast sharp glass🤣🤣😭😭😂😂😅😅). Anyway, to each its own Thanks for the dialog.

Shawn Mahan's picture

Andy, I curious about the why. Why switch to Sony over the Cannon EOS R which appears to have excellent compatibility with the EF lenses? I love my Cannon 6D and being a hobbiest I have no need to upgrade to the 5D series. I don't want the weight, I love the built in GPS and certainly don't want anything to do with CF cards. I suspect Canon will continue to put more research into its EOS R and RF lenses than into its other product lines. So at some point I will probably looking to a mirrorless system so I am curious about your decision.

It's not only about the performance of adapted lenses. With adapter, a small lens loses this quality, moderately-sized lens becomes a large one, and a large lens becomes huge. In some cases you literally need to purchase a larger camera bag! To me, the growth of lenses' bulk was really frustrating on small mirrorless body.

If and when Canon releases EOS R body for 2000$ with IBIS, thumbstick and 500+ CIPA battery rating, it will be a really credible choice for upgrading from EOS 6D. But back in June 2018 I predicted that upcoming Canon body will be so-so, and I was more right than I could imagine (then I thought that the body will have IBIS).

Andy Day's picture

Hi Shawn,

Suddenly having ten frames per second is huge. Every time I've done a major job over the last 5 years, I've rented a 1DX Mark II (or similar) in order to ensure that I never miss a shot for the client. The Sony is also cheaper than the EOS R (for now), and either way I'd be using an adapter. I don't need the AF performance on my adapted lenses (particularly on my wide), and i and when I do, I'll make the investment.

Hopefully I've made the right decision. After two weeks of shooting, I'm incredibly pleased so far.

Shawn Mahan's picture

My friend has a 1DX, really awesome for sports. Kind of sounds like a gun going off, but man that is a heavy body. Thanks for the follow up. I think I will wait a bit longer and see what Canon rolls out. I would love a second body and the 6D M II would be very familiar to me. But I am intrigued. Maybe I will rent a body for one of my next trips. That's worked great for helping me choose lenses.

Andy Day's picture

Yep, all makes sense. I waited a LONG time to see what Canon would produce and eventually gave in to temptation. I'm intrigued to see what they have coming up, and perhaps it will emerge that I should have waited a year longer. 😂

Patrick Marcigliano's picture

Shawn, I went 60D>6D>EOS R and couldn't be happier. A lot of it has to do with what you shoot I believe. 95% of what I shoot is portraits and headshots, and then the event outliers. So I don't need the extra FPS. I kind of laugh at all the naysayers of the camera. For me it's an upgrade in every way over the 6D which I still love and keep as a backup.

Wow! I've had exactly the same background, but a few months earlier. In late 2013 upgraded my EOS 5D to EOS 6D, which was a large boost in quality and especially in usability. In mid-2018 I upgraded it to Sony A7III.

I can say that while A7III has some inconsistencies in ergonomics (and also it doesn't feature external battery charger, which you'd better buy separately), this is a terrific camera in comparison to EOS 6D. Great dynamic range, great high-ISO performance, totally great AF, which boosted my success rate while shooting unposed portraits of my family... IBIS, which makes you forgetting about the IS in lenses (good-bye, Canon EF 50/1.4L IS USM). And many more.

Unfortunately the performance of adapted lenses wasn't so rosy (even in comparison to kit lens), so I replaced them to Sony equivalents during the summer. The lens which made me switching to Sony was FE 24-240 mm 3.5-6.3, I really missed it on Canon in my bicycle trips.

Setting this camera up for the first time took around 8 hours, not counting the time for studying the manuals, and only after a few months my settings have finally settled. After 6D it's like changing a car to a spaceship. There's a good book about this camera by Gary L. Friedman, which may save a lot of time for a new owner.

Andy Day's picture

Thanks Vladmir. Great to hear that you're pleased with the move. I rented the a7iii for a job in Belgrade a few months ago, and I was impressed. Yes, the ergonomics are not great (I picked up the Meike grip which has improved things), and I picked up a dual battery charger from Amazon which I'm impressed with so far. It charges two batteries via USB, and is still smaller than my old Canon charger which only charged one.

Still settling in. I need to deep dive and sort out a few more shortcuts but I think I'm close to having it the way that I want.

And here I am still shooting with two 1D Mark IIs and a 5D Mark II.

Steven NELSON's picture

Its nothing wrong with that if you primarily do photography.

I don't expect 100% perfection in these (free) posts - likewise I certainly will not worry about my slightly imperfect comments. Lol "ain't nobody got time for that".

Ugly? Not at all. The 6D is a beautiful camera.

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