New Year’s Resolution – Go Mirrorless

Canon R6 front view

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.

Camera Selection

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.
Canon R6 – rear view

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.
Buttons on top made function changes easier than using the menu system
R6 has no LED screen and buttons, but gains an additional dial

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.

Summary

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.

2 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolution – Go Mirrorless

  1. Looks fantastic Andy. I looked up a site comparing the Cannon EOS 5R vs 6R… it sounds like you found yourself a very impressive camera. Way too many controls for an armature like me. I was considering buying a new camera to use on our upcoming cruise, however time had gotten away from me and so I’m going with the fallback of using my son’s Nikon which we bought for him as a college graduation gift. The biggest issue with using that camera is the loose nut behind the eyepiece.

    While I was at a wedding reception this past summer, I spoke with a photographer about her full-frame digital camera; I found it to be much too heavy.

    I did a quick check as to whether you could buy a DSLR camera at a lower price abroad. It sounds like the U.S. offers some of the best prices, but other locations that might offer lower prices include Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Dubai, and the UAE. Coincidentally, we just might be in those neighborhoods over the next several months, so I’ll keep my eye open for a good buy.

    Like

    • Hi Cory,

      Good luck on the world cruise. I guess you probably flying out of Seatac by the end of the week.

      Just a quick word of caution, if purchasing camera gear in some of the ports – as it is tough knowing who are reputable dealers and spotting fakes is becomming increasingly difficult. These challenges increase, if they know you’re from a cruise ship, as you are most likely gone by the next day.

      Many years ago, I found Hong Kong had the best prices on camera bodies and watches, but I bought lenses in Japan. Of the ports you are visiting, Singapore is probably the safest, but I have never found the prices cheaper than at home. Dubai might be your best all round option, just check the warranty is valid internationally, not just Dubai.

      Yes, the full-frame DSLR’s are heavy, especially when you tack on a power drive on the bottom. My new camera and 100-400 lens is less than 1/2 the weight of the 5D with a 70-200 lens.

      Like

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