Cameras, a key tool for every travel enthusiast, and if you have checked out my camera page in the “Products & Resources” tab, you will note that I am definitely not an exception. Having used a Canon SLR since the early 70’s, it is not surprising that my introduction into the “Mirrorless” SLR world is another Canon, as pictured above. Read on for my selection process and initial thoughts.
I rarely make an early jump onto the new technology bandwagon, having taken about 5 yrs after Canon launched DSLR’s to purchase my first digital camera, a 20D, in 2005. Well, having now purchased a mirrorless Canon R6, I beat that by a year, as the first “R” series were only introduced in 2018.
Judi has been suggesting it was time for a new camera for almost a year, so I have spent a few months researching options, quickly deciding on brand and DSLR or Mirrorless:
- Brand – probably no secret that it would be another Canon
- DSLR/Mirrorless – Canon were slow moving into the mirrorless SLR world, but have made great strides in catching up. With reduced DSLR development and limited new model introductions, going mirrorless was increasingly enticing.
Mirrorless cameras are more compact than DSLR’s, as they do not require the mirror sitting between the lens and the sensor. The mirrorless “RF” lenses sit closer to the camera’s sensor than the lenses on DSLR’s, so unfortunately, without an adapter, none of my existing lenses would work. With hundreds of millions of DSLR lenses produced in the past 20 years, Canon addressed this issue by developing a mount adapter for EF lenses to R mounts. Therefore, with the mount adapter, I can use all my existing lenses on a mirrorless body, which removed the last impediment to going mirrorless.
In 2020, Canon released their latest mirrorless SLR’s the R5 and R6. Both are full frame “Pro-sumer” standard cameras. I quickly refined my search to 1 of these 2 options, which were very similar, but some of the R5 specs were vastly superior. The decision was based on getting the best specs, or what I really needed. The R5 has:
- Sensor – 45 megapixels, which translates into huge file sizes
- Video – shoots video at 8K, which has a tendancy to overheat the camera. Personally I might use 4K, but see no point in 8K, as we have nothing to show it on
- Storage Card – due to file sizes and shooting rate of up to 20 photos/sec, it requires a new ultra-high speed card
The R6 only has a 20 megapixel sensor, shoots a maximum of 4K video and uses SD cards that also fit my remaining 5D MkIII. Therefore, opting for the R6 was eventually an easy decision.
Canon R6 – First Impressions
After only a couple of days of predominantly getting familiarised with the new camera, these are my initial impressions:
- Weight – it is definitely less bulky than the 5D Mk III and it weighs about 9 oz less. Might not seem much, but after carrying it around for a day, I expect to notice the difference.
- Camera Controls – by staying with Canon, many of the same controls are on the new camera and some are even in the same location. However, I did have a potential concern, as the R6 doesn’t have the buttons on top for making changes to white balance, ISO, drive mode, etc.
My initial concerns are unfounded, as the ease of control is amazingly simple, with the top 2 dials and rear dial controlling the 3 main functions – shutter speed, aperture and ISO. In the viewfinder they also provide small icons at each setting to remind you which dial controls each function. Other functions – White balance, shooting mode, focus preference, shooting speed can all be controlled while looking through the viewfinder.
Autofocus – all I can say is Wow, what an improvement. The number of auto-focus points is immense and it is ultra-fast. The camera can also be set to identify the human face, when it immediately finds and stays on an eye. If the subject moves, the focus remains on the eye. I also tried it on the “Animal” setting and it again focussed on the dog’s eye.
Photo Uploads – Using a USB C cable, the upload speed was significantly higher than the regular USB connections.
It is definitely a good fit for me and my camera bag, as an additional benefit is that it uses the same battery and charger as my 5D, so I don’t have to carry multiple types of batteries. The same storage cards can also be used in both cameras.
I expect the learning curve to use and become proficient in all the camera’s capabilities will eventually be rather steep, but the initial use for basic photos is easy and controls are well placed. The autofocus is simply amazing and is a huge improvement.
Can’t wait to get back to travelling to give this new camera a good workout.