EOS 6D extraordinary battery life with WiFi and GPS

EOS 6D has WiFi & GPS, surely batteries won’t last

When I first saw the information about the EOS 6D I was quite intrigued, with both GPS and WiFi built-in it’s the most connected EOS so far. Several other EOS camera can use Wireless File Transmitters (WFT) or a GPS receiver (GP-E2) but with both built-in the EOS 6D is currently unique among the EOS cameras. For future EOS cameras expect built-in GPS and WiFi to be commonplace. PowerShot cameras that have GPS seem to eat batteries if you keep the GPS active all the time.

I specialise in EOS camera WiFi configuration and the associated computer setup. The camera menu system makes it very easy to configure the EOS 6D WiFi to connect to the EOS Remote app on both Android and iOS devices. It literally worked first time just following the onscreen steps.

 

So I tried the Remote control (EOS Utility) mode. I soon noticed that once configured, the connection was very reliable and reconnected quickly each time the camera was switched on. With the camera on my desk and connected to EOS Utility the camera stayed powered on. Then I remembered that’s how I have EOS Utility set-up for shooting tethered. I started to wonder about the battery life… since PowerShot cameras that have GPS eat batteries if you keep the GPS active all the time.

EOS 6D battery torture test

After a few late night exchanges on twitter I had the makings of a test on my hands. Thanks Gordon 🙂

  • The camera was connected to a Timer Controller TC-80N3 which was set for an interval of 3 seconds.
  • I set the camera’s GPS to update the position every second, to cause as much GPS drain as possible.
  • I activated Live View
  • Set the camera to Manual with 1/60s and f/2.5 at ISO 100, large JPG.
  • I used a 50mm f/1.2L USM lens so the camera is having to drive the aperture diaphragm closed by 2-stops for each shot. Manual focus was used since this ensures the picture is taken each time.
  • Finally a fully charged battery and freshly formatted 64GB SDXC card were installed.

Switch the camera on and EOS Utility started in remote control mode – see the optimum setup for tethered shooting in the studio post for details about this. I pressed start on the TC-80N3 and every three seconds a picture was taken and transferred over WiFi to my mac.

Better than Canon specification… 🙂

EOS 6D power specifications from Canon UK web site

EOS 6D power specifications from Canon UK web site

Since it would take a while to get until the battery would go flat and the camera stop I researched the claimed battery life. Canon’s site shows 1080 shots using the CIPA battery test method (which must be a hard test). I’m intrigued how 50% of the pictures can be with flash and 50% not – there’s no built-in flash on the EOS 6D!!!

Some hours later…

2895 pictures on a single LP-E6

I used one of my well used LP-E6 batteries for the test, it shows two green squares in the health section. I’m simply stunned to find that nearly 3,000 actuations and almost two and a half hours later the camera shut down and stopped sending files. I checked the mac, all the files up until then had transferred and had GPS info in them.

Conclusion

Over the years I’ve often experienced much better than expected battery life from Canon’s DSLR cameras, but this is an impressive result. Sure the purists will ask why not get the GPS to write a tracking log to the card, and also get the camera to drive the lens AF each time too. Since the pictures being taken were simple white wall shots then the files were small, making for faster WiFi transfers, but 3s was easily enough time. I did try with 2s intervals and it was also ok. More complex subjects take longer to transfer, but I didn’t want to wait for five or ten seconds between each picture for this test.

The LP-E6 battery is one of Canon’s most versatile batteries and can be used in a variety of Canon cameras. Check out our complete Canon EOS battery compatibility chart.