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Why the Canon 6D is the Best Choice for mid-level Product Photography

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Product Photography Cannon 6D

Being a product photographer myself, I have found it difficult to see how light is reflected off a product. In the past you had to set your light in a approximate position and take a picture to see the results. This leads to tons of pictures made without any purpose except testing. This leads to time loss, camera wear, flash wear and as we all know, money lost.

Here’s where Canon hit the jackpot for us product photographers. It came up with the Wi-Fi function on the 6D. This, my friends, has changed the whole concept of product photography.

Why? Well first of all, because it works damn well. The first important aspect is that connecting to a wireless device is straightforward. In just 2 easy steps the camera is connected to any device, be it a smartphone, Andoid or iOS, tablet, laptop or even PC. You can find an in-depth, step-by-step video tutorial on how to connect the Canon 6D to a Samsung Note Tablet. Second of all, the app that Canon offers for free of course allows you to remotely shoot and remotely view the images on the card.

The remote shooting mode allows for fast basic setting changes like aperture, shutter speed and ISO, while displaying the pictures taken in real time. The remote shooting mode allows live view mode. Image viewing mode displays the images stored on your SD card, which you can easily save to your device at small res.

Advantages of this setup:
– Connecting to a tablet with remote live view allows you to see the results of your changes in real time. Moving a light slightly can sometimes inflict dramatic changes in the shot. Now you can move a light and see the changes as they happen directly from the camera’s point of view. This is especially helpful when shooting reflective objects.
– Being able to shoot remotely means that you have at least one free hand to be able to, say, throw some liquid in the air for the shot.

Ok, now you’ll ask: what’s the advantage over the USB cable connection that works with almost every camera. Well there are a couple of advantages. First and most important is the absence of the damn wires. I guess we all have one-to-many wires all over the studio all the time. So this is really a win. The second advantage is that you can connect to your phone or tablet anywhere, on location or in your studio and through live view see every subtle change in light positioning. I have found it quite difficult to connect to a laptop or PC because of the position. Sometimes you need to make minor adjustments to your setup or your subject, move to one part of the studio or the other, making it impossible to see the monitor, whereas if you connect to a mobile device, it can be in your hand or within easy reach anytime.

Are there any disadvantages of this setup? Well I’ve been working with this system for over a year. It really works quite well. The wireless connection is really easy to set-up. You can create three connections to three different devices and switch between them with relative ease.

Another advantage of the Canon 6D camera is that it packs a magnificent sensor. The full frame sensor basically has identical performance compared to the 40% more expensive Canon 5D MK III, which is considered a great camera. The 20.2 megapixels on the Canon 6D offer sufficient resolution for high quality prints, and loads of crop space when shooting products for online stores, for example.

The size of the full frame sensor offers great advantages, as shallow depth of field for food photography, stunning ISO performance and overall great image quality.

The Canon 6D has some disadvantages of its own. First of all, the sync speed with flash is just 1/180th of a second. As the exposure value can only be set at 1/160th or 1/200th of a second, that leaves the 6D with a real life sync speed of only 1/160s. In still life photography this is really not a problem, because your subject will be, well, still most of the times. When facing a subject that needs action “freezing”, like splash photography, the sync speed of the camera will have no impact on the image. In these cases the only decisive factor will be the flash duration. But if you are an outdoor portrait photographer, or a wedding photographer, I would not recommend buying the Canon 6D. The low sync speed just won’t work for you.

Another disadvantage is the autofocus system. It has only 11 AF points and just ONE damn cross AF point. Although the center AF point of the Canon 6D is rated at -3EV, and works amazingly well in poorly lit environments (literally focusing on almost zero contrast objects like walls or smooth surfaces), overall the system is not as snappy as it should be in this age. This will not be an issue as in product photography you rarely use AF. Manual focus is the way to go.

There is one more thing that is wrong. The lack of a white balance button on the Canon 6D seems stupid. It would have made the camera a great competitor to the Canon 5D III. But still as a product photographer, there is no need for such a button. We will always set our white balance with a grey card or a color checker.

So to conclude, the Canon 6D is a great camera for product photographers due to its marvelous Wi-Fi function, great image quality and high megapixel number. And also the disadvantages just mentioned, as sync speed, autofocus system or lack of a white balance button are not crucial for a product photographer. To sum it up it’s the best choice for mid-level product photography.