Photo Gear,  Travel

Canon 6d vs. Olympus OM-D E-M5 for Travel Photography

Since I’ve purchased the Olympus OM-D E-M5, I have been trying to determine when to when to take the Olympus OM-D on a trip versus the Canon EOS 6D. Both are good travel photography cameras and deliver high quality photos. Each camera also has its pros and cons for travel photography.

In this blog post, I discuss the camera characteristics that are important for travel photography and whether the Canon 6d or Olympus OM-D has the edge for each feature.

Canon 6d and Olympus OM-D

Size 

The Canon 6d is 5.7 x 4.4 x 2.8 inches (14.45 x 11.05 x 7.122 cm) while the Olympus OM-D is 4.8 x 3.5 x 1.7 inches (12.19 x 8.89 x 4.31 cm).  The Olympus OM-D is about an inch smaller in length, height, and width than the Canon 6d.

If carry-on space is a concern, take the Olympus OM-D E-M5.  Also the Olympus OM-D E-M5 could be a better fit for street photography when you don’t want to look like a professional.

Weight

The Canon 6d weighs in at 24.0 ounces (body only) while the Olympus OM-D weighs only 13 ounces.  The Canon 6d’s weight is not bad for a full frame camera.  However, if carry-on weight restrictions are a concern or if you’ll be doing a lot of hiking and don’t want a heavy pack, bring the Olympus OM-D along.


Lens Kit

I find when traveling overseas with the Canon 7d, I am limited to taking two lenses in my carry-on.  This is due to airline carry-on weight restrictions and space limitations in my carry-on due to a laptop and other gear I need to bring.

The weight of the Olympus OM-D plus the Olympus 12-50mm kit lens is around 20.4 ounces while the Canon 6d with the Canon 24-105 f4 lens is around 47.6 ounces.  At that weight and the smaller size, it would be easy to pack an extra lens or two with the Olympus OM-D E-M5.

GPS

I’ve really gotten used to the convenience of the GPS in the Canon 6d when traveling.  When photographing outdoors, the camera automatically records and stores the GPS data in the EXIF data of the photo.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 does not come with a built in GPS and at this time there are no external GPS accessories available.

If automatically logging GPS data is important to you, the Canon 6D is your choice.

Resolution

Shooting in RAW mode, the Canon 6d has approximately 20 megapixel images (5,472 x 3,648).  The Olympus OM-D E-M5 has 17 mexapixels in RAW mode (4,608 x 3,456).  So if super High Res images are needed for your photography, pack the Canon 6d.

Taj Mahal Mosque

This photo of the Taj Mahal Mosque at Sunset was handheld with the Canon 6d

High ISO Performance

While traveling, I often find myself shooting in low light conditions without a tripod.  Some attractions don’t allow tripods and sometimes luggage space dictates not bringing a tripod.  The Canon 6d has good high ISO performance in low light conditions.  Turning up the ISO has enabled be to get some good photo opportunities that I would have otherwise missed.  If you will be photographing in low light without a tripod, bring along the Canon 6d.

2 Comments

  • Skyring

    I've just returned from a round the world trip with my EM5. Top marks for being an excellent travel camera compared to pretty much any SLR. My big Canons staid home.

    I wonder about your low light preference for the 6D, however. I found the 5-axis IBIS of the EM5 to be a lifesaver in getting otherwise impossible shots. I didn't even bother bringing a flash.

    • Martin Belan

      Thanks for the comment!  I still think full frame cameras have better low light/high iso picture quality. However, I do agree that the 5-axis image stabilization is great in getting sharp photos in low light conditions.

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