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Insights & Thoughts

Making The Jump: Upgrading to the Canon 6D

By Anthony Thurston on October 26th 2013


My journey in this wonderful world of photography until this point has all been through that of an APS-C sensor camera. I first started with a Nikon D7000, then switched to the semi-pro D300s, then I made the switch to Canon because I wanted better video capabilities. I tried out both the Canon 60D and ended up upgrading to the 7D, both are great cameras. As much as I enjoyed my crop sensor cameras I always had the goal of getting a full frame body.

This week I finally bit the bullet and decided to upgrade my Canon 7D to a Canon 6D. I wanted to share my experience so that any of you who are on the fence like I was about making the jump from a higher end APS-C camera to a budget full frame camera can get some insight on it.

Why I Made The Jump

I am primarily a portrait shooter, but I also do a lot of sports photography. This means that the 7D was an ideal camera for me for a variety of reasons including the high 8fps burst rate and great image quality. The camera is getting old though, and its ISO performance leaves a lot to be desired in dark high school gyms. The latest rumors that I have been hearing say that the Canon 7D Mark II is likely be announced within the next 6 months (Qtr 1 2014), and with that in mind if I wanted to trade in my 7D it would have to been soon to get the most value out of it.


I took a trip to my local camera shop and I had an opportunity to hold the 6D in my hands and try it out a bit. I was really impressed with it (it feels great in the hands) and asked about what sort of value I would be able to get for my 7D with the battery grip. After some wheeling and dealing we came to an arrangement that I was happy with (trade + cash considerations), and so I decided that now was the time to make the jump.

I was loosing several conveniences like 8FPS, more physical buttons, better overall AF performance, and more AF points. But after really thinking about my situation and how I use those conveniences. You see that is what the jump from a high end crop body like the 7D to a budget full frame like the 6D are really about, conveniences vs performance. It is not the same for everyone, but in the end I decided that the benefits of making the jump into full frame outweighed the comfort of my 7D.

My Initial Canon 6D Impressions

First off – this is not a review on the Canon 6D, if you are looking for a Canon 6D review fellow SLR Lounge writer Matthew Saville already has that covered here, I just wanted to share some quick initial impressions.

What can I say, I love the camera so far. There are definitely some things that are going to take some getting used to though. The 3.5fps drop on the burst rate from what I had with the 7D will make shooting sports a bit more interesting, though in the end I hate “motor boating” for sports anyways so ill see how it goes.

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The Wifi connectivity and ability to control the camera from my tablet or smartphone is really cool. I can’t say that is a feature that I find myself “needing”, but it is pretty neat none the less. I also really dig the built in GPS feature, it makes site like Flickr and 500px so much more fun.

Probably the biggest thing that may take some getting used to for me is the lack of physical buttons on the back of the camera. On the 7D there are lots of buttons and ways to access information, on the 6D they simply are not there . This means more time in the menu system , something I am not looking forward to. But as far as gripes go, its not that huge of a deal, I will get used to it.



In the end here I was always going to make that full frame jump, it was just a matter of when my finances would allow. This week was that perfect storm for me and I am glad that I was able to make the move. I will miss some aspects of the 7D, but overall I feel like the 6D opens more doors for me than it closes and that gets me really excited.

If you are still on the fence about upgrading to a full frame body like the Canon 6D or Nikon D610 get off of it. Really, unless you have invested in a ton of crop only lenses you can trade in your current crop body and get a great deal on a new full frame body. It may feel like a big decision and it is, but in the end you will be the better for it.

(Alternatively if you have the money to purchase a new 6D outright while keeping your crop DSLR that is a great way to go as well. B&H Currently has a great bundle deal on the 6D which expires on the 27th)

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. James

    I was reading your article and I see where you had few issues with the 6D, but didn’t really say why it’s better other than GPS and Wifi. I’m on a crop sensor and have always wanted a full frame, but not for the sake of saying I have a full frame camera. I’m not a seasoned vet, but I understand what FF brings to the table. It just seems like you lost more than you gained in this switch.

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  2. Bryan Decker

    Thanks for the thoughts Anthony! My biggest concern in upgrading from my 7D to a full-frame is losing the extra reach from the crop factor. I shoot a lot of kids performances and being able to reach the stage from the balcony has been a lifesaver. I know you can just crop it in post to get the same reach, but was not sure about the quality. Are you seeing the same quality in your sports photos when cropping them in post to get the same zoom?

    I have been disappointed by the 7D’s iso performance as well and would like the better DOF that comes with a full-frame.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I have found that my images at 100% are much cleaner than they were with my 7D. I would have no issues cropping a shot down to a crop field of view for the sake of extra reach.

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  3. Sean

    The camera in the second photo most definitely is not a 7D. The 7D has a popup flash and a smaller mirror. There’s some weird Photochopping going on there.

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  4. Tomas

    Why you have 5Dc with 7D logo in the second image :-)

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  5. BR

    I bought my 6D in February and loved it immediately. However, I was shooting a wedding in July and the mirror came loose and fell out. No big deal I thought. Covered by warranty.

    But no. Canon said impact. Despite the fact that I had 10 people looking straight into the lens when it happened Canon remained adamant the it was impact.

    Finally (3 months later) after some pressure from the owner of the store where I bought it Canon agreed to repair it free as a courtesy.

    This is not meant as an indictment of the 6D. Manufacturing flaws can happen in any product and I still love my camera. It is a condemnation of Canon’s repair department and their arrogance.

    I am looking forward to getting my 6D back this week.


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  6. Rob

    Nice writeup but i’m back on a 7d from my first one that got in contact with salt water in the Indian Ocean. Sure GPS is nice in flickr but you can put your shots on the map without it fine. And for the Wifi, I run Magic Latern in my 7d and control it through my android tablet and smartphone fine over usb. I would hate to leave wildlife without the burstrate of the 7d. My occasional portrait work is also fine when using flash and for indoors w/o flash i got the ef 50mm f/1.4 and ef 20mm f/1.8 so no high ISO is needed above 800 there. Here is a portrait with flash at high speed, worked out fine but be happy with what you got and enjoy your photography! :)

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    • Anthony T.

      Hey, Thanks for the comment rob! I agree, the Canon 7D is a great camera. For me though it was important to get a full frame body, and so I decided it was time to make that jump. If I get the funds available again I fully intend on purchasing another 7D (or 7d Mk II) as a second body.

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