Canon EOS 6D Canon, Full-Frame DSLR with built-in Wi-Fi

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Nikon threw the photography world for a loop last week by announcing the D600 — a full-frame DSLR that hits a reasonably affordable price point. Apparently, Canon has its sights on the exact same market, as the company has just introduced the EOS 6D: the lightest, smallest, and least expensive full-frame DSLR the company has ever produced. Canon’s latest entry not only compares favorably with the D600, it also provides a compelling alternative to photographers who don’t have $3,500 to spare — but are nonetheless enamored with the 5D Mark III’s stacked spec sheet.

However, the 6D is far more than a repackaged 5D Mark III with some corners cut to achieve its $2,099 retail price — the camera is Canon’s first DSLR to contain integrated Wi-FI and GPS capabilities. This opens up a wide variety of features for users, including an EOS Remote app for iOS and Android that lets users remotely connect and control the 6D from their smartphone. It also allows users to view all the photos on the camera on their phone or tablet; full metadata is displayed and photos can be rated right on the device, as well. Of course, photos can be transmitted right from the camera to other devices.

As for the GPS, it geotags every photo taken on the 6D, includes a Coordinated Universal Time stamp, and lets users see a “photo trail” map that shows an exact route between all your shots. While Canon has offered Wi-Fi and GPS accessories before, having these features built-in should offer a much simpler experience.

As for its more standard features, the 6D comes with an all-new 20.2-megapixel full-frame sensor and is powered by the DIGIC 5+ processor, the same as that found in the 5D Mark III. While the sensor packs less pixels than that of Nikon’s D600, we’ll need to see sample images from both cameras before passing judgement on which is the superior option. The 6D also has an ISO range of 100 to a high of 25,600, with extended settings that go as low as ISO 50 and as high as ISO 102,400 — again matching the 5D Mark III and far surpassing that of the D600.

Another major upgrade is the 6D’s new autofocus system. While its 11 autofocus points and single cross-type sensor are far fewer than what’s in the 5D Mark III, Canon says that the autofocus sensor is the most sensitive sensor in low light the company has ever built. We’ll need to test this out before we can verify, but low-light shooters should appreciate the combo of high ISOs and improved autofocus sensitivity.

Of course, Canon had to make some changes to achieve the 6D’s significantly lower price point, and while none of them are deal-breakers, they might be enough to keep pushing pros to the more expensive 5D Mark III. From a physical standpoint, the 6D is indeed lighter and smaller than the 5D Mark III, but the outer body lacks the more expensive camera’s magnesium alloy construction. While it sounds like the camera is much sturdier and solidly built than Canon’s Rebel series, it’s not quite up to the same design standards as the 5D series — but the trade off is a camera that’s 10 percent lighter (770 grams, compared to the 860-gram 5D Mark III) and shaves size off of every dimension.

Other concessions include the optical viewfinder, which only offers 97 percent coverage, not the 100 percent seen in the 5D Mark III. The camera manages to shoot at a continuous 4.5fps rate, and saves files to a single SD card. That’s better than the 3.9fps for the 5D Mark II, but a good bit behind the 6fps pushed by the 5D Mark III. To go along with its smaller body, the 6D’s back LCD is a bit smaller as well — it’s a 3-inch display (with no touchscreen or swivel capabilities), but has the same 1.04 million-dot resolution as the Mark III’s screen.

Videographers in particular might have incentive to stick with Canon’s more expensive options — the company told us that the video quality should be more in line with the 5D Mark II than the 5D Mark III. We asked Canon to clarify whether this means that the 6D skips lines when downsampling video (which can lead to the unpleasant CMOS skew effect seen in lots of DSLR video), but we haven’t heard back yet. Unfortunately, the camera lacks the ever-important headphone jack that the company finally introduced on the Mark III earlier this year. Still, users can shoot 1080p video at 24, 25, and 30fps and shoot 720p video at 50 and 60fps.

Despite these few drawbacks, the 6D sounds like it’ll be an exceptionally compelling camera, particularly for photographers who’ve longed to shoot full-frame photos but not break the bank to do so. In many ways, the 6D feels much like what Canon’s 60D line has done for many years — provide advanced, enthusiast photographers who’ve outgrown the Rebel lineup with a fully-featured camera at a more reasonable price point than its top of the line models. With the $2,099 6D (body-only, $2,899 with the 24-105mm F/4 L lens), Canon’s finally bringing that philosophy to full-frame. Nikon will have a good head start on this segment (the D600 launches this week), but Canon fans will likely be able to wait until the 6D launches this December.

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Best Video Camera 2012

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The best camera for one filmmaker isn’t necessarily the best video camera for another filmmaker. It really depends on the type of work you plan on doing. For example, a filmmaker looking to shoot music videos, wedding videos or commercials for clients may prioritize a camera that can shoot slow motion in HD (i.e. faster frame rates to be slowed down later on). However, this feature may be of little importance to a documentary filmmaker planning to shoot their footage in 24p from start to finish.

Of course, frame rate isn’t the only consideration to take into account. You need to ask yourself as assortment of other questions as well. Do you plan to exhibit theatrically, through broadcast TV or online? What data-rate and resolution do you require? Do you have any lenses that are adaptable to one brand over another? Does the size of the camera matter to you? Do you like the color output of one camera over another? Do you prefer the ergonomics of one camera over another? Will you be recording sound in camera or through a double system? These are only a few of the many questions you need to ask yourself before you choose a camera.

Below, we’ve included a list of recommend cameras. However, we’re not listing them from “best to worst”. We’re listing them in three different price groups. Each camera within the group serves it’s own set of purposes.

At the end of each group we provide notes that go into a little more detail with regards to each camera. Also, over the next couple of days you’ll be able to click the links of each camera to learn more about each camera in more detail. You’ll be able to see sample footage and read about the camera’s specs.

Large Sensor Video Cameras ($3,000 – $20,000)

Red Scarlet X – $10,000 (body only) or $15,500 for PL version
Canon C300 – $16,000
Sony NEX-FS100 – $5000
Black Magic Cinema Camera – $2995

Notes: The two big players in this category are the Red Scarlet and the Canon C300. At first glance the Canon may appear more expensive, but the Scarlet can quickly surpass the Canon C300’s price range when you add the necessary ad-ons to make the camera operational (memory cards, batteries, screens, power supply etc). Take just the memory cards for example. Each 128gb SSD card costs $1800. The point being, is that the Red Scarlet X can quickly turn into a $20,000 to $25,000 camera.

DSLR video cameras ($500 – $4000)

Canon 5D Mark III – $3500
Canon 5D Mark II – $2100
Canon 7D– $1300
Nikon D7000 – $1000
Canon 60D – $900
Panasonic DMC-GH2
Canon t3i = $600
Canon t2i – $500

Notes: The Canon 5D Mark II and Mark III are very interesting options for those that have the budget for these higher end DSLRs. The main benefit to upgrading to the 5D from the 7D is that the 5D series has a much larger sensor size. That being said, the 7D is a fantastic camera and it can shoot 60fps (meaning you can shoot slow motion footage), which the Canon 5D Mark II can’t do (Although the Canon 5D Mark III can shoot 60fps in 720p). So if you’re planning on doing slow motion work in your videos then the 7D or 5D Mark III is a better choice for you.

Canon 60D and the Nikon D7000 are also great options for those looking to do video work. They have similar specs to the Canon t2i, t3i and Canon 7D.

The canon t2i and t3i are also great cameras. There is very little difference between them. the biggest difference is that the t3i has an articulated LCD screen making it a bit easier to shoot room high or low angles.

Small consumer camcorders (Less than $500)

Canon Vixia HF S21 – $500
GoPro – $300

Notes: There are countless options to choose from in this category, but we choose the Canon Vixia HF S21 because it’s a great all around camera. We’ve also added the GoPro to this list since it’s focus on durability has made it a great camera of choice for doing action videography where you need your camera to withstand the elements (surfing, skateboarding, skiing etc).

Lights Film School Online plans on keeping this page up to date with new camera additions through the year. So check back for updates!

KNOW by stillmotion | A Cinema Tour

KNOW is about finding your voice as a storyteller – how your light, audio, lenses, composition, and edit shape your story.

KNOW by stillmotion | A Cinema Tour.

Be a part of KNOW and join one of our 36-cities! Click here to register!

KNOW is brought to you by stillmotion between September 8th and November 20th, 2012. 

 Come join the party!

Can’t make it to one of the cities? We’ve got a way for you to participate too! An awesome DVD and 370 page work book is available around the world.