Canon 6D with the 24-105: Breaking the rules

I finally received my Canon 6D after an anxious week of waiting. This is the first full frame body I have owned. Prior to this I started with a Canon T3, then I upgraded to a 60D, and now here I am in full frame land. I am a frugal person, so it took a lot to put that money down, but what sealed the deal for me was that 6D's had just recently dropped in price all the way to about $1,200 USD. I additionally got the L series kit lens. I pushed passed my frugality in that sense because buying them together makes the lens significantly cheaper, making a potential re-sale an investment. I won't be selling this lens, however, just after the findings of my initial test.

Initial photos taken running out to the back yard

The next photo is an initial demonstration of the dynamic range of this camera (which is rated BETTER then the 5D mark 3). Lightroom was used a little to pull up the shadows and down the highlights to show the dark/light data in the image more clearer.

The next several images are examples of one of the biggest reason I bought this bad boy: ISO capabilities. This camera has some of the highest ratings of all modern DSLR's. The low light performance is unmatched at the price range by far (excluding mirrorless, but that's another story). The 1DX is the only Canon model that really beats the 6D, however that isn't too big of a deal when we are talking about a $4,800 USD price difference.

The first cat image is 25,600 ISO. The second image is at 6,400 ISO. From my testing I will probably try to keep it under 12,800, but you can see that it can easily go above that. I used a technique called expose-to-the-right (ETTR) with the cat image and lowered the noise a little in Lightroom so I could see how an actual final product might turn out if I needed to go that high in ISO.

ISO handling

The final test I did was with the kit lens, or more specifically, the 24-105mm f/4L with AWESOME IS. I was hesitant with the aperture limitation of f/4, however with the IS (image stabilization) technology, you can almost get those f stops back. 

Canon describes the IS on this lens as a 3 stop difference from what one could normally lower their shutter speed to. I find this almost an understatement. Although this really is only beneficial to static subjects, it is an awesome feature. I was able to get the lens fairly easily stable with 24mm to 1/4 second. I got the 105mm stable regularly at about 1/10th. This is an achievement with my jittery coffee-drinking ass. I was even able to get one clean shot with 105mm at 1/5. Something that broke all the initial rules I thought I knew.

1 is 24mm at 1/4. 2 and 3 are each 1/10 at 105mm. 4 is 105mm at 1/5!!!

IS test

Overall, the awesome low light ISO capabilities coupled with the 24-105's crazy IS abilities makes this set up a powerful low-light destroyer. It is unfortunate that the lens doesn't open too far, but really I am trying to keep it around f/7.1 to 9 these days to ensure the sharpest image. The other minor downfall I noticed is a little fringing and mis-focus on the edges of a 24mm shot (see the first image in the IS tests). This is easily manageable with lightroom and a knowledge of shooting subjects wide, up close. 

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