On using the 6d and its fragile shutter in 2019

May 5, 2019 • news, Reviews

I have a Canon 6d. Actually, I have two.

One, now my backup camera, has been my workhorse for a long time. I bought it in april 2014 and it has several hundred shots on it, and still works.
It’s battered and scratched, the mode dial has lost its cover (gaff tape has replaced it) and the shutter’s first actuation once you turn it on is always a black shot, but it works.

The second one is more recent. I bought it in july 2017, and barely used it. I would say that, in december 2019, it had no more than 15k shots.

cano eos 6d canon ef 85mm L f/1.2 USM

Good old 6d

December 2019, a weird month.
I quit Paris for Strasbourg, change job, buy a heavily discounted Billingham bag, and two good friends of mine nearly die in the Strasbourg Christmas market shooting, since they were helping me moving.
Moreover, I find a dust spot on my beloved Fuji X100F.
Being a non-interchangeable lens camera, I had to send it for repair (under warranty).

The old 6d, I had lent it to a friend who needed it to shoot some videos.
Well, I said to myself, it’s the occasion to use my newest 6d with my two beloved L glasses (the 85 1,2 an the 200 2,8), which on my day-to-day life I neglect because the X100F is so much more practical.

New city, (sort of) new camera. I remember it clearly, it’s a sunny saturday afternoon after work and I’m exploring the city centre with my 85mm.
I take a shot and I see this.

6d shutter problem


I take another one. I try all aperture settings. I wanna cry. Why?
There’s a light leak on the top of the image, very visible at f/1.2, thinner at narrower apertures, but still there. Looked like shutter bounce to me.

canon 6d shutter problem


I was very close to a camera shop and I went there to ask whether they had ever seen that problem (no, never).
Discouraged I got home, did some online searching and apparently I was not the first one to experience shutter bounce on a 6d.
Good job it was still under warranty, and in around a month I had my shutter replaced.

I know the original Canon 6d is old news but many people still use it, so this post might be useful.
Shutter mechanism looks like the place where Canon did a cheap job in order to keep its price low: that’s my take at least, as both my two 6d experienced issues on that. Either I’m very unlucky, either the 6d shutter is sub-standard quality.
Digital cameras, with a few exceptions, aren’t built to last anyway.

Talking about the 6d.
I’ve been using it a bit more lately as I bought two vintage lenses – the Nikkor 105mm f/1.8 AiS and the Industar 50-2 f/3.5 – as it is the only camera I can adapt them on.
The 6d, even in 2019, keeps being what it was back then: the best Canon full frame camera if you plan on using ultrafast Canon primes and/or vintage glass.

canon eos 6d nikon ais 105mm f/1.8

canon 6d eos industar 50-2 50mm f/3.5
The reason is in the possibility of using the Eg-S focusing screen, which actually lets you see the real depth of field (unlike the original one, with which after f/2.8 everything looks the same): on the 5d mk III/IV and the 6d mk II you can’t replace the focusing screen, thus achieving precise focus is IMPOSSIBLE.

I don’t mean difficult, I mean downright Impossible, unless you just wanna put your subject on autofocus points all the time (so basically just around the center) (and don’t even get me started about lens and camera calibration).
You can’t focus and recompose at f/1.2 because the focal plane will go immediatly off.

So there you go. That is why the Canon 6d was a good choice back then and in some ways even today, since if you want a DSLR with native EF mount + the ability to use fast glass properly the only alternative it’s the big and expensive 1Dx.
That’s it, the whole offer from crippling Canon.

Nowadays of course mirrorless camera with their lovely EVFs made this talk about lens calibration and focusing screen ridicoulous and obsolete.
So, while I’m putting money on the side to buy the X-T3 and then the GFX50R, I’m enjoying the 6d with all its flaws (it has many: to me the 6d is basically a sensor with a focusing screen attached, plus an inferior shutter and cheap build to boot).
That is, I’m enjoying it as long as the shutter keeps going.


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