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6d wrong choice for portrait work?


Ok guys,


I was debating for quite some time whether to by the 6d or the 70d. Then I debated the 6d vs 5dIII. I went with the 6d based on many reviews, opinins and some great help on this forum. I haven't really had the chance to put it through it's paces yet. I really hate reading manuals, so I bought this short Creative Live class the John Greengo held on the 6d. He was saying that hardly anyone would use this camera in the studio since you have to run it at 1/100 to get a decent sync speed. This makes me nauseous. This was the main reason I bought this camera was for studio portraits. Does anyone have any encouraging words to make me feel like I made the wrong choice? I definitgely want a full frame, so if this isn't the one, I would have to spend twice as much on the 5dIII. 



I don't have a 6D (I have a 5D III) -- but I seem to recall that the 6D has a 1/180th sec sync speed.  That sort of spec tends to be reliable (everyone would notice if it couldn't really sync at 1/180th).  


Some 3rd party off-camera triggers introduce delays of their own (not the fault of the camera).  I have heard of people using some off-camera triggers and having to run them fractionally slower than the camera's sync-speed because the delay introduced by the trigger.


In any case, it would be very easy to test.  



Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Thanks Tim,


That's a good point about the 3rd party triggers. Greengo didn't specify that, although he seemed to be using and recommending Canon products. You are correct on the advertised sync speed of 180, but he showed  banding all the way down to 125th. I don't have any triggers yet to test it, as that was going to be my nexty purchase.

I have a 6D, and I do a lot of off-camera flash work using 3rd party triggers.  It works reliably at 1/160 without ever having any banding issues.  I don't usually shoot at 1/180 because I don't feel like changing my camera to work in half-stop increments.  With third party triggers (Yongnuo RF-602 and RF-622) I have been unable to push it to 1/200; some camera/trigger combinations have reported to function fairly reliably a little above the max reported sync speed.  But if someone is getting banding at 1/125 it's most likely the triggers, not the 6D.


The real impact of the 1/180 max sync, and really 1/160 is where most will shoot (if using 3rd party gear that won't automatically set to 1/180) is when using long lenses, like the Canon 200mm 2.8 (No IS).  You pretty much have to use a tripod.


The 1/180 sync speed is a shame.  The reality is that it really isn't very different, relative to the traditional FF max sync of 1/200, but it seems an intentional blemish that Canon put on the camera to separate it from the 5d3.  But the actual impact to most photographers isn't as bad as many think.


As far as the 6d vs 70D.  As I said, I frequently shoot with off-camera lighting, so I've wondered if I would have been better off with a good crop sensor like the 70D with max sync speed of 1/250.  But every time I mix with ambient, or just use ambient, and get near noiseless images at ISO 1600 I know I made the right choice. YMMV.  You're really choosing between amazing high ISO performance (6D), and more advanced AF and higher sync speed (70D).  If you want both, then you'll have to spend the money on the 5d3.

I should add... once upon a time nearly every camera that I worked with for studio photography... had a flash sync speed of 1/60th, there was no such thing as "high speed sync", and this really was no problem at all.  It's not like we felt we needed to overcome a weakness in the camera to do studio shooting.


As Skirball points out, I do not think you'll have any trouble at all at 1/160th.


Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Thanks again Tim. That really does make me feel better and don't think I need to return this camera.

Thanks skirball! That is such great info and makes me feel better. So it sounds like you are happy with the Yongnuo triggers? Can I ask if you mostly use speedlights, or do you use strobe as well? I have a Canon speedlight, and was thinking about buying another one or two, or investing in a couple strobes. Thanks again!

@rswannabe wrote:
Thanks skirball! That is such great info and makes me feel better. So it sounds like you are happy with the Yongnuo triggers? Can I ask if you mostly use speedlights, or do you use strobe as well? I have a Canon speedlight, and was thinking about buying another one or two, or investing in a couple strobes. Thanks again!

I love my Yongnuo triggers and have never seen the need for anything more, for my work.  The Canon 600ex RT is a great flash, but I can build a small studio of Yongnuo equipment for the price of a single 600exRT.


I only use speedlights; I'm currently up to 7 of them  ...the first step is to admit that I have a problem.  If I had dedicated studio space I would probably buy a set of strobes just to not have to deal with batteries and have ultra-fast recycle times.  But I really don't run into much limitation from speedlights.  They have plenty of power for most indoor work.  The only time I'm anywhere near full power is when coloring a backdrop or maybe using heavy attenuating modifiers like a beauty dish along with high-aperture settings; but that is rare.


Speedlights are weak against the sun or when using high speed sync.  But studio strobes are often a PIA to take into the sun and don't have HSS.  There's only so much you can do to battle the sun, and sometimes speedlights just don't have enough fight in them.  I don't really use HSS, I'd rather just put on an ND filter and get below my sync speed.  The one time that I really wish I had studio strobes is for architectural photography, when I have a big glass wall and it's bright outside.  I throw all the speedlight I have at it, but usually I have to mix in a bit of HDR to compensate.  It'd be nice to have at least one studio strobe to just blast against a back wall and pump some watts into the room.  But then I'd also have to lug around a studio strobe.

Thank you so much for taking the time to get all that info to me, I reaqlly appreciate it. I was trying to weigh the price options of more speedlights plus softboxes/umbrellas etc and triggers vs. a strobe kit. Most of what I'm trying to do, at least for now, would be indoors. Thanks again, I am def going to check out the Yongnuo brand.

No problem.  Always enjoy talking lighting.  Here's what I'd recommend:



(2) Yongnuo 560III - $140

(1) Yongnuo RF-603II - $30

(2) Manfrotto Nano Stand - $100

(2) Manfrotto Umbrella Adapter - $70 (don’t skimp on cheap plastic umbrella holders)

(2) Umbrella softboxes - $60

(1) Gorillapod (basic) - $20

(1) 16 pack of Eneloop AA rechargables - $40

(1) Large 5-in-1 reflector, round or oval, Generic (Neewer is good) - $20

(2) Stroboframe cold shoe (don’t skimp, get Stroboframe). Mounts 560III to stands. - $15


Total - $495


It’s a pretty good starter kit, IMHO, for less than the cost of a 600ex-RT. You can go cheaper, but this will give you a decent 3 light kit (you mentioned you have a Canon flash), plus a reflector/scrim/flag. You don’t need 3 lights, but it’s a standard portraiture setup (2 plus reflector is very doable). Set up two lights in a softbox, the third on a Gorillapod with the extra RF-603 to trigger. Or use the reflector for fill and you have an extra light for hair light or rim lighting.


Umbrellas are cheap modifiers, but they spill light everywhere. The generic umbrella softboxes cost just a few bucks more but allows much more control of light and fold down almost as small. Two small problems with them, you have to pull off the white diffuser to change your settings, and it can be troublesome to tilt too far forward or back due to hitting the stand. I frequently just shoot without the white diffuser like a bounce umbrella.


A shoot through softbox fixes this problem. And also means you don’t have to buy an umbrella holder. Only problem is that they are difficult to setup and take down. If you have space to keep them assembled, they’re totally worth it. This one is rock solid for $50. They have various sizes:


The Gorillapod is optional. You can just use the little feet that comes with the flashes. But I find them very handy for holding strobes when not using modifiers.




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