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I'm planning to buy a new camera body, and I'm unable to decide between the 6D and the newly announced 7D Mark II. Which camera should I go for? How much of a difference does a full frame camera (6D) make over an APS-C? I'm mainly into landscapes and a little bit of astrophotography. From what I understand, Full frames are much better for astrophotography, but is the difference in image quality big enough to justify the loss of all the other features? As far as I can see, the only advantage of the 6D is the full frame sensor. Every other feature that I need is much better in the 7D Mark II. Exactly how much of a difference is there in the image quality of these sensors?

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    Only you can decide whether image quality or features is more important to you. – Philip Kendall Sep 23 '14 at 11:01
  • When I consider all the features, the 7D is a clear winner for me. However, image quality is quite important, and I haven't used either crop or ff sensor cameras, so I have no idea how the image quality compares in real life. I'm hoping to get some inputs on comparative image quality between these two sensor types. – adarsha joisa Sep 23 '14 at 11:24
  • Do you have a motorized mirror for astrophotography? - one that can automatically track the movement of the sky allowing long exposure without trails. – Pete Sep 23 '14 at 14:16
  • No. My current camera allows a maximum exposure time of 30 seconds, and it lacks a bulb mode. So I never really required a motorized mirror till now. – adarsha joisa Sep 23 '14 at 15:35
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From an image quality standpoint the 6D has a fairly significant advantage over any of Canon's current APS-C offerings. Since the 7D Mark II has been announced but not yet released and hasn't been in the hands of most reputable reviewers/independent testers yet, it is hard to judge the image quality. Suffice it to say it would need a totally revolutionary sensor that exceeds the image quality of any APS-C camera made by anyone now on the market to approach that of the 6D.

I can tell just by looking at one of my images whether it was shot with my 7D or with my 5DII or 5DIII. The advantages hold all the way through the processing workflow with regard to single images, so for landscape photos the 6D is definitely the more capable camera.

For astrophotography the 6D also has an advantage, but for different reasons. Since much astrophotography involves stacking multiple photos to create one image, the difference in noise performance can be pretty much equalized. But the difference in Field of View when using the same lenses can not. And the wider the lens, the more it usually costs and the slower it is. To get the FoV of a 24mm f/2.8 using a FF camera you would need a 15mm f/1.8 on an APS-C body. The EF 24mm f/2.8 runs about $600, There is no 15mm f/1.8, but an EF 14mm f/2.8 L II wil cost you about $2300.

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The EOS 6D and the EOS 7d Mark II are very different cameras in so many ways making them hard to compare.

The EOS 6D is the least expensive full frame DSLR from Canon and the 7D Mark II is their most expensive APS-C. You say you are into landscape and astrophotography and in my world buying a 7D Mark II over a 6D for that is crazy. The 7D Mark Ii is made for fast moving action and has both an extremely advance AF system as well as high burst rate, none of them important for your applications. The full frame sensor of the 6D is to me more than enough to completely beat the 7D Mark II in landscaping and astro applications.

However

Full frame is not a requirement for the kind of photography you want to do and the APS-C alternative in this situation, to me, would be the entry level cameras. They are not nearly as expensive as the 7D Mark II as well a lot cheaper than the 6D.

Verdict

It's especially hard to recommend a camera given that you have no experience with either full frame or APS-C and don't really know what you want from the cameras.

To just buy a $2k camera without knowing that is not something I would have done. I would borrow (or buy if I have to) an entry level DSLR and practice with it. When you know what limits your photography you know what camera you need. Don't spend thousands of dollar trying to figure it out.

  • Completely agree! I have the 6D as well as a 60D APS-C and the 6D blows my older camera completely out of the water. The 6D is so great in low light and noise control there is no reason for me to ever use the older 60D other than backup. I was out last night and I put the Canon 50m f1.4 on the 6D to take a few portrait-orientation shots of the milky way (rather than the usual 17-40mm f4 I typically use for this) and I actually had to stop down to f2.8 and ISO 800 because i was getting in too much light at f1.4 f1.6 @ 25 second exposures and ISO higher than 800. – Jakub Sisak GeoGraphics Sep 23 '14 at 15:32
  • Thanks a ton for the answer! I currently have a fairly capable bridge camera that lacks only a few features compared to entry level DSLRs (RAW image capability being one). The most annoying thing when I capture night photos is the insane amount of noise it produces. If I upgrade to an entry level DSLR, it'd be just a minor incremental upgrade, and I feel it's not really worth the investment. But with the 6D, I can expect a huge improvement in image quality (especially noise), so I think buying the 6D makes more sense to me. – adarsha joisa Sep 23 '14 at 15:46
  • @adarshajoisa The features the bridge camera is missing that the entry level camera equals a huge jump in possibilities, both RAW and bulb support as well as the lens of your choice is pivotal for astrophotography and it helps in landscaping. The jump from entry level DSLR to a 6D is relatively minor. The noise performance is not especially important since you can stack multiple photos to lower the noise. As always the lenses are among the most important and the bodies less important. I still strongly recommend not buying an expensive camera, but good luck with the photography no matter what. – Hugo Sep 23 '14 at 15:55
  • @Hugo Thanks for the advice! It was really helpful! After some research and trying out some friends' DSLRs, I went and got myself a Canon EOS 1200D. It's extremely affordable, and has almost all the features I need. Like you said, once I spend a year or two shooting with it, if I strongly feel the need to upgrade to a full frame, I'll go for it. For now, a 1200D seems to fit my needs perfectly well. :) – adarsha joisa Oct 6 '14 at 18:00

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