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Canon 6D - Best Used Value Stills Camera in 2018

Looking for an entry level stills focused full frame shooter on a budget? We got you.

Highlights

  • Look for used pricing to be between $725-$800 for a clean one with fewer than 40k actuations
  • As a stills shooter, the 6D's beauty is in its simplicity
  • Don't let the only 11 AF points scare you away

With the A7III hype of recent weeks, a lot of focus has been placed on specs, video features, and many of the other properties that may sell cameras, but don’t guarantee the purchaser will be able to take great photos.

At its essence, a camera needs just take darn good stills. In this article, we’re going to tout one of our favorite “bang for your buck” cameras you can buy today for stills photography: the original Canon 6D.

Everyone Loves To Bash Canon

Mirrorless hype has reached a fever pitch, and it’s been largely at the expense of Canon and Nikon. We’ve even been guilty of piling on both of them. But like the tough love you give a younger brother to teach a life lesson, we give Canon a hard time because we expect more from the market leader.

So Why The 6D?

The 6D represents a time when Canon was deliberately providing value to customers beyond those at the top of the food chain. Released in 2012, this camera wasn’t a spec monster with it’s 11 AF points, 20 megapixels, and video features inferior to those found on the then 4-year-old 5D Mark II.

But the 6D provided a budget minded consumer a gateway drug into Canon’s full frame world. Here’s the basic specs on the original 6D:

  • 20.2 Megapixel full frame sensor
  • 11 Autofocus points
  • DIGIC 5+ image processor
  • Iso range: 100-25,600
  • 4.5 continuous shooting
  • 1080p/60/30/24 video

Why is the 6D a good value in 2018?

Since the announcement of the 6D Mark II, prices have trended down for the 6D. This, in spite of the fact that multiple outlets have shown it to be a better stills camera in many scenarios.

If you’re not video focused but looking for great full frame stills on a budget, this camera is probably for you. 6 years later, this camera still absolutely holds up as a great stills shooter. With so many cameras touting hundreds autofocus points, or absurd top ISO ranges, you may think the 6D doesn’t hold up. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

The 6D’s best feature is something DSLR’s still hold over mirrorless cameras: it just works. There’s beauty in the no fuss design, menu structure, and overall operation that puts picture taking at the forefront.

If you’re shooting portraits, you can opt for the incredibly good value $250 Canon 85mm 1.8 and have a sub-$1000 portrait ready combo.

We also think the 6D is a smart buy for pros looking for a 2nd camera. If you’re already shooting a 5D Mark IV and don’t want to drop $2600 (used) on another one, the original 6D is a great way to keep a Canon full frame backup in your arsenal without breaking the bank.

What’s it going to Cost me?

Currently, our price guidance on the original 6D is right around $800. But there’s been so much recent downward pressure on this price that $750 is closer to the true price that you should be paying for a clean Canon 6D with fewer than 40k actuations.

What Are My Alternatives?

Nikon D610 ($830 used)

Released a year after the 6D, the D610 has a few features that are nominally better than the Canon, but these two are quite comparable. We like the D610 as well, but its street price is a little higher than the Canon 6D, likely do to no newer model announced and the D750 being significantly more expensive in the secondary market.

Sony A7II ($907)

The Sony A7II has now been replaced by the A7III and will likely see significant price erosion. Right now, however, it’s tough to recommend it over the 6D as a pure stills shooter. It does have a key feature the 6D lacks for video: good continuous AF. But as a stills shooter it doesn’t hold up. Canon’s 11 AF points outperform Sony’s 117, and adapted Canon glass doesn’t work nearly as well on the A7II as it does the newer Sony bodies.

Nikon D750 ($1240)

The D750 is considerably more expensive than the 6D. It’s absolutely a better camera, packed with features and a proven wedding photographer hero. But if you’re looking for the best VALUE in a stills shooter, the 6D beats it by a wide margin.

Others

There are a number of other crop sensor cameras that could also be considered. But we wanted to limit the options to full frame given the range of glass specifically made for these cameras and having an apples-to-apples comparison. Nikon and Canon both have released some great APS-C cameras like the 80D, the D7200, D7500, and D500. But those are in a different price category and you’re paying a little more for video features and newer bodies.

What Do We Like (And Dislike) About The Canon 6D?

Likes

  • A capable stills camera whose sensor has held up 6 years later
  • Surprising dynamic range and low light performance
  • Great price that probably wont erode too much more in the near future
  • Straight forward no frills functionality puts picture taking at the forefront
  • Has GPS and WiFi
  • Canon glass/ecosystem

Dislikes

  • AI Servo/continuous focus is a challenge
  • Larger than its mirrorless competition
  • 20mp sensor while a good performer, lacks the resolution of newer performers
  • One SD card slot

In a sea of mirrorless camera makers constantly one-upping themselves in an attempt to gain marketshare, the Canon 6D is a shining example of what happens when you execute a product right. 6 years later, this camera holds up, is great value, and reminds us of a time when Canon was creating products to elevate their ‘basic model’ to bring more people into full frame – instead of intentionally crippling its products to protect its line. We’ve seen Canon have the vision, now we’re just hoping history can repeat itself.


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