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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Max Katz's picture

Hey Andy I've just migrated from many, many years of Nikon to the new Sony A7R111. Don't waste time mourning your old kit. The Sony mirrorless is the best camera I've ever owned. When you consider that I started shooting at age 16 and I'm now 67, that's a helluva lot of cameras. Enjoy.

Andy Day's picture

Ha! Good to know. Happy shooting. :)

Linas Laukevicius's picture

Canon 6D i loved this camera. Switched from 7D and that time High ISO performance was amazing. Now I am using 6D MK II and I love this camera too.

I bought a 6d yesterday, now trying to sell my 5d mk 1 ahah

I'm still shooting weddings with Nikon D4/D600 kombo, which would be 7 years old in few month... and I don't see any reason to replace both while they are working perfectly.

Alex Dilem's picture

I went T3i -> 6D mk1, a little less than 3 years ago.

Just sold my T3i this year (250$ CDN) as I never needed it as a backup.

calaveras grande's picture

I lugged around a 6D for the last 4 years as my street photography camera. There are worse things. It can actually focus in low light with that one center focus point. It can get some decent shots under the right circumstances. While it isn't the best for video. I have done some semipro video stuff using the 6D. As the lenses are more than half the equation anyway.
But once I tried out a Fuji Xpro2 I was hooked. Going back to the clunky Canon approach to digital photography seemed like taking a time machine to the 90's. So I got an X-T3, which is a nice spec bump, but the immediacy of the camera means I'm getting better shots not because of specs, but because the camera is not fighting me.

Andy Day's picture

Yep, the X-T3 was on my list but plumped for the Sony because of lenses. I'm deliberately avoiding trying out the Fuji so that I don't start questioning my decision..! 😂

Matthew Odom's picture

This camera jumpstarted my career and I still use it for when I travel...a WORKHORSE

Wasim Ahmad's picture

I owned a EOS-1D X, a 5D Mark III, and the 6D, and the one I kept of the three was the 6D. I never liked the image quality out of the 5D3 and the 1D X was overkill in terms of size and weight. I've shot plenty of sports with the 6D and it works just fine as any of my higher end stuff with careful handling.

I still use my 6D more than most of my other cameras. It just works and produces nice files. It has some quirks, like any camera, but when you know what those are (like use the center point only!) then you're all set.

I love the 6D - it's a no-nonsense workhorse of a camera. What a fitting tribute.

Andy Day's picture

Ah, what a lovely comment. 😊

Only using the centre focusing point - was that a known thing?! I thought it was just me being rubbish at focusing. 😂 Looking back, that makes so much sense!

You've made me want to hang on to it now. Putting it on ebay is now going to be even harder..!

Wasim Ahmad's picture

The big deal with the 6D was that the center point was the only one that was cross-type while the others were not. It's magic trick was that it could focus in low-light down to -3EV (that would be about the light level of a landscape lit by moonlight).

In theory, this autofocus system looked worse on paper than its main competition, the Nikon D600 with its 39 overall points and 9 cross-type points. Having owned both cameras and used both in weddings, sports, etc., while the D600 had the edge in overall image quality (and I found the body quite comfortable to hold), hands down the 6D out-focused it every time as long as I used the center-point on the 6D. The D600 was never amazing at focusing in any situation, at least for me.

I tend to look at cameras like I do my old cars: Is it worth more driving on the road or being a backup to my main car? Then I'd keep it. If there's a large financial gain to be had or if it mitigates the purchase price of the newer model, then it's probably worth it.

You've clearly gotten your money's worth out of it though! I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in shooting sports with a 6D. People on the sidelines with me always thought that was weird but I was making more money than a lot of them with this camera.

Andy Day's picture

That makes so much sense. Never realised!

Buying a house so need all the pennies I can muster, unfortunately! Otherwise yep, would definitely be my back up.

Antony Trivet's picture

There is something special about 6D

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

I hope you will reconsider selling it. Given your history with it, the camera has much higher sentimental value than whatever its cash value. It will be worth even more to your 70-year-old self and to your children one day, if applicable. I'm definitely not advocating accrual of "stuff," but some inanimate objects do earn a permanent residency based on how they aided us during our journey through life, particularly if it was during a phase of significant growth.

Andy Day's picture

The comments here are certainly making me think again! I moved countries a few years ago and went through a process of shedding a huge amount of personal possessions - something I found quite liberating. Since then, I've tried to keep my life as minimal as I can manage, so clinging onto something I don't need purely for sentimental reasons is tricky. But you make an excellent point!

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

I say give it 90 days. A little time to think generally yields the best decision. The resale value will certainly not change meaningfully in that time. And that's enough time for you to pretend you sold it and gauge whether or not you wish you hadn't.

Mike Hines's picture

I've had my 6D for about 2 years and I also just switched to Sony. I went for the a7riii and the image quality has absolutely blown me away! I thought it would be heartache switching from Canon as well, but Sony has definitely made it easy.

Joel Meaders's picture

I'm replacing my 6D with a Fujifilm X-T3 but I'm not too sad about it, mostly because I got it as a backup to my 5D Mk III. I will be sad when I get rid of the Mk III. The time flies though... I can't believe how old they are already.

Lutte Kikker's picture

I still shoot with my Canon Eos 6D (even paid jobs) because I like the clean files it produces. I rather have a full frame sensor with a relative low megapixelcount for better dynamic range and less noise due to the bigger pixels. I would love to have a Canon 5D IV with a 22Mpix sensor and a good 4K codec and DPAF and dual cardslots. Add clean HDMI out to it and you have a beast of a camera. However, last saturday I was shooting the Gilets Jaunes in Paris and there I suddenly did have a problem that I could not change settings by using the "Q" button...that was pretty scary since you need to adjust setting pretty fast in those crazy environments where you have teargas bombs one moment with smoke everywhere and nothing 5 minutes later. Maybe the gasgranades influence the camera...I don't know, but something there affected the 6D. Still, I trust the Eos 6D in those situations because you can work with it blind almost (very intuïtive button layout).

Andy Day's picture

Yep, I will miss the ease of use. Still getting used to the Sony and hoping that I can get it to the same level of familiarity as my beloved 6D.

Might be heading into Paris in the next few weeks also to shoot the gillet jaunes. Feel free to give me a shout if you're heading in again. :)

Debated selling my 6D for a year now. Just can't do it. There's something about the sensor. Canon did a great job with it. I upgraded to a heavily discounted 5D3 shortly after the 5D4 hit the shelves and made the 6D available to our kids. They're rockin' it. I'm not particularly sentimental. Happy to sell unused stuff. But the 6D I think I'm going to keep.