Updated: Sep 8, 2018
My day job consists of shooting a lot of video and photograph's of people mostly at events. While it can be a lot of fun, this type of work is not my preferred medium. My heart is much more into landscape photography. More specifically, night sky photography. Night sky photography is a calming, relaxing way to enjoy the stars with bursts of exhilaration every time a new image appears on your view screen.
The first time I laid eyes on an image with a sky full of bright stars I knew immediately, this was something I just had to learn but first, I needed the gear. Two key elements to capturing stars in the sky, which by the way are most prominent when the moon is at its most minimal is a lens with a very low aperture setting and a camera that performs well at high ISO settings. This is where the Canon 6D has earned an excellent reputation and outperformed it's Nikon counterparts. ISO in the camera world is actually a Greek word meaning "Equal." The ISO setting on your camera determines the light sensitivity of your image sensor.
Shooting images of the night sky can at times require an ISO setting all the way up to 3200. For many cameras, 3200 ISO's creates an image full of noisy grain. Sure, you can shoot longer exposures at lower ISO's but generally after 30 seconds exposure time, your stars begin to blur because of the earths rotation.
The Canon 6D is also the most cost effective of all of the full frame sensor line yet it produces near identical image quality. For comparison, the 5D Mark III has a built in flash, two SD card slots and a few more bells and whistles for a price tag of right around $3,400. If you are a fashion photographer, or use your DSLR to shoot a lot of video, the extra card slot comes in handy but, a lighting system far more sophisticated than a built in camera flash is needed for fashion photography, so there is no big advantage here.
The Canon 1D has a very sturdy build that suits sports sideline photographers who frequently get flattened by football players. It's built to fire lightning fast, and withstand a few knee caps. It does record in Cinema 4K which is great but the 18.1mp sensor will leave you disappointed if you expected better image resolution than the 6D for the $5,699 you would spend to acquire this workhorse.
The Canon 6D Full-Frame, 20.2 MP Sensor seems almost designed specifically for the landscape photographer. Landscape photographers have no interest in a built in flash features and even have to disable it to prevent it from popping up in low light. I keep a 64GB 2000X SD card in my camera with a 32GB backup. I do not believe that I have ever even hit 1/3 capacity after a day of landscape shooting, so an extra SD card slot would not make any sense either. The 6D is a no brainer for me, when I'm out enjoying a terrific road trip, waiting for darkness to come so that I can find a cool foreground and capture the heavens behind it.
There is no better time to make this purchase as Canon has recently released the 6D Mark II with a slightly bigger sensor at 26.2 megapixels and a price tag of around $1,899.00. This new model release has driven the price tag of the 6D down to around $999.00 which is fantastic news if you are currently in the market to move from a crop sensor to full frame.
My personal recommendation for the amateur landscape photographer is learn the skill of shooting manually and stay away from the bells and whistles so that you can spend more on your lenses. After all, a camera is only as good as it’s lens and when paired correctly, they are still only as good as the photographer.