Scott's Column

July 1, 2017
By Scott Lewis

My patience has paid off. I thought long and hard about buying the Canon 5D Mark IV (and before that the 5DsR). I went through a lot of soul searching on whether those cameras where worth their high prices (around $3500 each, give or take a few hundred based on deals, rebates, donated limbs, etc.).

Last year I ended up buying a house, which prevented me from using the money I had saved to a) put a down payment on a car, of b) buy one of those cameras. The primary reason I started do "Automotive Enthusiast Photography" as a side business was to earn the money to get more camera gear.

I have a LOT more gear now then I did 3 years ago. But I am still using my consumer grade Canon EOS Rebel T2i. This camera was purchased in 2010. I am a full believer in the fact that it is the person behind the camera that makes the difference, and not the camera itself. However, there are some serious limitations I face with the Canon T2i. The largest is that its low light capabilities SUCK! Setting the camera above ISO 800 produces very noisy images, and using software to reduce that is only good when the images are seen at low resolution. They are worthless for printing.

Canon 6D Mark II

The Canon 6D Mark II is rumored to be announced on June 29th, and be available in early August for $1,999.

As you read this I may have pulled the trigger for this camera. I vowed to myself that I would not buy another camera until after I earned the money from my side business first. As of this writing I am sitting at about $1,500 profit for 2017. I have no doubt I will make at least another $500.

The rumors of the Canon 6D Mark II are that it will have the following spec (that are important to me):

26.2 million pixels
45 points AF
Up to 6.5 frames / sec
Standard ISO: 100 – 40000

In comparison my T2i is 18 mp, 9 focus points, 3.4 fps and as stated sucks at ISO above 800 (and it's kind of bad at 800). Granted, I do not know how good or not the 6D Mark II will be at high ISO, but it has to be better than the mark one. I know someone with a first generation 6D and he has shown me very good photos taken at 6400 ISO. The testing I did with a rented 7D Mark II and a 5DsR at 6400 revealed that is the target for the type of photography I do.

When shooting indoor events I need 6400 ISO with minimal noise. I fully expect the 6D Mark II to do very well in this regard. The increase in megapixels will come in handy in my printing (I regularly print at 24x36). And the improvement in focus (the 6D 1 has 11 focus points) will benefit me greatly with track day events. I was not expecting the 6D to reach 6.5 fps. This is getting awfully close to the 5D Mark IV's 7 fps, but I will not complain.

So the camera will hopefully be announced on June 29th. I am writing this a few days before that. I am also going out of town the weekend of July 1-4. So... I will not have time to update this article before I have to post it early (before July 1 since I will not be around to post it on July 1). I am not sure, but I may have pre-ordered this camera as you are reading this. I do not know when pre-orders will be open.

Assuming this camera will be available in early August, I have two events I would really like the camera for. 1st is my girlfriend's graduation. She passed her dissertation for her PhD, and will receive her doctorate on Aug 11. It would be awesome if I could photograph the ceremony with the 6D Mark II. 2nd is the total eclipse of the sun on August 21st.

The later is a bit of a double edged sword. Yes, I would like to use the best camera I can for the eclipse. So get the 6D Mark II in time for the event. Wait a second. My T2i is a crop sensor camera and has a 1.6 crop factor. I will be using my 70-200 f/2.8 lens with my 2x teleconverter for 140-400 mm of zoom. The 1.6 crop factor gives me the equivalent of 224-640 mm. Wow!

On the other hand... the increased megapixels of the 6D Mark II is pretty close to the same thing. Meaning if I cropped the 6D2's images to 18 mp it will be almost the same size the T2i will produce. This would be an interesting experiment to see which camera could produce the best images. I do NOT know if I would want to be switching bodies during the 2-1/2 or so minutes during the actual eclipse. And I really want to concentrate on getting images leading up to and away from the total eclipse.


Granted, I don't have the money to buy the camera (the $1,500 is gone on regular bills and such), so that means putting it on a credit card and paying for it later in the year, or maybe next year. Not the best plan. But VERY tempting.

I will likely make this decision when I get back from my holiday trip.

Stay tuned!