This past summer, Canon’s announcement of their new professional mirrorless camera bodies rocked the industry a bit. As they’re discontinuing the Canon standard body for professional photographers, the 5D line, a lot of photographers are now considering making the switch- including me.
I’ve been using the R6 for about a week and here are my initial thoughts and whether or not you should invest, too.
Initial Thoughts (5D vs R6)
Out of the box, it’s lighter and smaller. To be completely real, I used to be against this, because I thought a smaller body looked less “legit”. I’ve retired that mindset and now I’m actually looking forward to not carrying around such a hefty chunk of metal on 8+ hour wedding days. I shot two portrait sessions with the R6 this using the adapter so I could use my 50 mm and 85 mm… y’all. THE FOCUS. It’s on another planet. I shot the entire sessions with an aperture of 2.0 or faster and even at 1.2 mm it was nailing focus in every. single. shot. I had my senior literally twirling and running around and it was contiuously getting ~95% of images in perfect focus. This is going to be the biggest difference. The battery life was fine- I used it for about 4 hours, using the LCD screen on the back a good amount, and it’s still at half capacity.
R6 or R5?
At first, I didn’t consider the R6…until I saw the specs. To me, the R5’s biggest difference is the 8K video, but as a photographer, that doesn’t mean much- the R6’s 4K is perfectly sufficient. The higher MP I actually found to be a drawback, because 45 megapixels felt like overkill- I don’t do billboard work and it would just take up too much storage. The last drawback to the R5 is the card slots, which require CFexpress cards. A 64 GB CFexpress card is $99, for reference. Overall, the R6 felt like the choice for photographers while the R5 could be worth it if you’re a videographer or if you are a commercial photographer who would regularly be doing work that gets blown up past life-size.
Control Ring Adapter
There are two Canon adapters to fit your EF Lenses on the R body. The simple adapters (no control ring) are back-ordered for months so I went for the control ring adapter. It gives extra control that’s natural to adjust so I set it to control shutter speed. I’m actually loving it- can adjust my kelvin, shutter speed, aperture, and iso with just the external buttons. My EF-L themselves perform IMMACULATELY. Even though they’re native to DSLR bodies, they focus FASTER and with almost flawless accuracy. I am still amazed by this.
This is one of the main differences… the RAW files from the R6 have different colorings (a little flatter and duller), but once I tweaked my preset, this wasn’t a problem.
One of the biggest differences between shooting mirrorless and DSLR is instead of a glass viewfinder there’s an electronic viewfinder (EVF) that you look through. I was hesitant about this at first only because it was an adjustment. After using it for about 10 minutes, I definitely prefer because it shows the real-time exposure and camera settings of the image you’re about to capture, which is going to prevent overexposing an important shot or using a shutter speed way too slow. The photo above is what you see when you’re looking out of the EVF.
Your clients are not going to notice a difference between a photo taken with a 5D and a 6R. Both are incredibly bodies, the 6R just has some new technology that is going to make your job as a photographer easier. I’m more impressed by the focus than anything else. The reason I decided to go mirrorless came down to the fact that my main body needed a LOT of maintenance, and with the 5D line being discontinued, it felt like the right choice. If your DSLR body is working perfectly fine, there’s no urgency to switch… but if you’re in the market for a new body as a Canon shooter, I would hands down switch to mirrorless.
Meghan Baskin is a wedding and portrait photographer serving brides in Philadelphia, DC, NYC, and beyond.