Greg is a World Explorer, Film-maker & Travel & Technology Serial Entrepreneur has directed, shot, edited, and produced over 30 high definition travel and lifestyle related videos on Youtube videos in addition to producing ChicVoyage in Asia – modern travel adventures on the Amazon.com store. He has been instructed by globally renown SLR Director and film-maker Phillip Bloom.
There are a number of choices if you are a current Canon 7d owner or looking to enter the Canon DSLR market for videography and photography. There are plenty of good articles on the internet highlighting the strengths and weakness of the current Canon SLR choices:
Canon 7d, Canon 5d Mark II, Canon 5d Mark III, Canon 6d I want to give people planning their purchase a different approach to their purchasing choice by thinking of the Canon 6d and Canon 7d duo to compliment each other (and also to validate the purchase I made). As a current 7d owner I wanted to upgrade my equipment for a major upcoming filming trip and to future proof equipment for next two to three years. I originally was thinking to purchase the popular existing wide angle lens Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 Pro only the 7d (crop sensor only) at the recommendation of renown SLR film-maker Philip Bloom. This lens is almost a must have if you own the Canon 7d. After talking with a friend I realized that purchasing an L series Canon zoom lens with stabilization wouldn’t be a bad idea for travel. The Canon 24-105 L series F4 was the lens offered great value and versatility in comparison to other available lenses in Canon’s line up. The lens offers excellent focal length range and very good quality, which is one of the reasons Canon made it the standard lens for their Canon 5d Mark III and 6d. The cost of the Canon EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM is $1349.99 . I ended up price matching with Best Buy getting the lens for about $1000. I tried the lens out with the Canon 7d and it was good. I went to sushi with my dad with poor lighting conditions and was not happy with the results. I realized that this setup alone would not work.
I noticed that the Canon 6d and 5d Mark III include this lens and when it is paired with either these two camera bodies the lens performs very well in low light. I began to think it would it be a good idea to purchase the 5d Mark III or the Canon 6D, which both include this same lens. The Canon 6d with lens retails for $2399 locally before tax and the 5d mark III with lens retails for $3699 before tax.
Canon 6d value proposition
Canon 6d – Canon 24-105mm lens = $1050 (what this means is that you’re getting the canon 6d body for $1050 which normally goes for $1799. Another way of looking at this is you are paying about $600 for the Canon 24- 105L lens, which normally goes for $1349.) You end up paying $1300 more for the Canon 5d mark III. To find out what you’re paying more for you can google canon 6d vs 5d Mark III. To spare you the details on the video perspective you’re paying for a head phone jack to monitor sound and better performance for moire and aliasing.
Is it worth it to sell the Canon 7d?
The Canon 7d resell market on craigslist averages around $1200 with lens. I originally paid $2800 for my 7d and the kit lens. I would be losing close to 58% of the original value and it hasn’t been two years yet. I thought I could offset some of the cost by selling the lens that comes with it Canon EF-S 15-85mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM ($obo 400) and keeping the body. So I posted my lens on craigslist and sold it for $400 and kept the Canon 7d body. The 24-105mm would cover most of the range for the 15-85mm lens and be redundant. You have to keep in mind that with a Canon 7d crop sensor you have to multiply the focal length of a lens by 1.6 which mean 15-85mm actually offers 24 – 136mm.
Canon 6d and 7d duo value proposition
Many articles on the internet position the crop sensor (Canon 7d is crop sensor) as a weakness and that full frame is a benefit that videographers want to upgrade to. The latter part could be true, but you have to consider the context. What I mean is that the Canon EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM lens can be used on full frame DSLR’s (6d) AND crop sensor DSLR’s (7d). So by using the lens with both bodies you enjoy versatility and leverage off the strengths of both cameras because of the lens. Another smart purchase you can make to leverage the crop sensor for the wide angle range is the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 ($599). This lens provides a very wide angle, good performer in low light, and relatively good value. Here is a summary of the value proposition to help you and make me feel better about the purchase.
- Keeping both a Canon 6d with the 24- 105MM lens and the Canon 7d together is a lower cost than the Canon 5 Mark III if you are already a Canon 7d owner. $2399 versus $3699 (savings of $1300). Don’t forget to price match with other companies. I purchase mine for $2300. You can further offset the cost by selling your Canon 7d kit lens. In my case I sold it for $400 so my net spend is $1900.
- You get two Canon SLR bodies rather than pay for $1300 for the 5d Mark III for one camera body. You can film dual angles while filming or take pictures of yourself filming. Seriously you’ve got a backup body with extra batteries and charger.
- You get additional focal lens range (1.6X) for EF Canon lenses. Using the 24 – 105mm lens on a crop sense you also get 38.4 – 163 mm
- The Canon 6d provides new features such as built-in Wifi and GPS.
- You have access to use lenses made for crop sensor like the Tokina 11-16mm actually 17.6 – 25.6
All this for a $1900 net spend
Sample video and photo’s with the Canon 6d
My Analysis so far after 1 month
On paper this looks good. With both DSLR bodies I’ve got focal range from 17.6 – 163 mm. I’ve spent time with the Canon 6d testing it out with the 24- 105mm and experimenting with the GPS and wifi features. I’ll provide some sample photos and well as a video I shot of my apartment lounge on the weekend. I’m impressed with the video performance in lower light as expected. The photos especially when used with a speed lite are very good. The wifi functionality is useful for connecting your phone to the camera to download pictures onto your phone or viewing images on the camera on your phone. As for the GPS functionality it took a while for the GPS to get a lock. You have to install the included software to use the GPS logger. The map utility provides useful information such as the GPS trail that you covered and the geocoded information from photos. To get this into a sharable format such as google maps is a bit clunky. You have to export it to Google earth first and then google maps. I haven’t yet found a way to retain the geocoded information in the images. There isn’t a whole lot of practical information on the web yet. If you are interested I may write a future article once I get more time with this. Here is a sample map I created in Vancouver. View test vancouver in a larger map. This is a sample of the map exported from the Canon map utility with geologger and geocoded images.
My Analysis so far after a year and a half
After a year and a half I’ve shot over a hundred videos that you can see on the chicvoyagegroup youtube channel. I can say the Canon 6d is definitely a step up from the Canon 7d in terms of video picture quality and in terms of performance in low-light. When the Canon 6d body is paired with the 24-105m F4 lens you have a strong combination for picture and video. The pictures that come out of the Canon 6d are simply amazing. For pictures you can set it to auto, lens to auto, and get the auto focus points (red squares) on your subject with good lighting and I’ve gotten some amazing stuff. Our little secret. For video I use manual settings to get better control based on the lighting I’m in. I’ve tried the same technique with the Canon 7d with much different results. I have seen that the Canon 6d falls short with Moire (patterns on clothing or walls). The Wifi app feature is good, and I’ve used it to help focus when I’m framing my shot for a single person. I don’t think it was designed for this, but you can’t shoot video when the wifi is on. You can connect your phone to the camera to download pictures quickly, but still not with video. The next step would be to allow direct upload from the camera to dropbox. I haven’t found the value with the GPS feature. I haven’t touched in a while, but it wasn’t easy to import my GPS and the locations I took the pictures and share it on a google map.Overall the Canon 6d has allowed me to do professional video and photo shoots, and has been my camera of choice traveling around the world. My Canon 7d hasn’t gotten much use since I upgraded, but my Canon 50mm F 1.4 lens works really well with the Canon 6d for doing portraits and low-light video at night.I have released a new course where I cover the how to film travel videos using a Canon 6d and 7d. This is a comprehensive course covering things from gear, actual live filming and video editing using Final Cut Pro X. Until the end of October for reading this post on my website you can take the course at a discount until the end of October. The course if $20 with discount and there only 15 coupons that can be used. Click here to preview the course.