Canon 1D Mark IV vs 6D
The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV and the Canon EOS 6D are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in October 2009 and September 2012. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D Mark IV) and a full frame (6D) sensor. The 1D Mark IV has a resolution of 16 megapixels, whereas the 6D provides 20 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
|Canon 1D Mark IV||Canon 6D|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|16 MP, APS-H Sensor||20 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 100-12800 (50-102400)||ISO 100-25600 (50-102400)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 920k dots||3.0" LCD, 1040k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||4.5 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|1500 shots per battery charge||1090 shots per battery charge|
|156 x 157 x 80 mm, 1230 g||145 x 111 x 71 mm, 770 g|
Body comparison: Canon 1D Mark IV vs 6D
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D Mark IV and the Canon 6D. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the 1D Mark IV – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 6D is considerably smaller (34 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark IV. Moreover, the 6D is substantially lighter (37 percent) than the 1D Mark IV. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor (as in the 6D) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (1D Mark IV). You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the 1D Mark IV gets 1500 shots out of its LP-E4 battery, while the 6D can take 1090 images on a single charge of its LP-E6 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1D Mark IV has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the 6D, Canon provides the BG-E13 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Canon 1D Mark IV»||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||43.4 oz||1500||Y||Oct 2009||4,999||-||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 6D«||5.7 in||4.4 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||-||Canon 6D|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||5.7 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.0 oz||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 5DS« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 7D II« »||5.9 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||32.1 oz||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 70D« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199||-||Canon 70D|
|Canon 1D X« »||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.7 oz||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799||-||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 60D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||30.3 oz||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699||-||Canon 7D|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||6.0 in||4.5 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||40.7 oz||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||54.1 oz||1200||Y||Jan 2004||4,499||-||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||42.9 oz||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999||-||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Nikon D4« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.3 oz||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||43.7 oz||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199||-||Nikon D3S|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 6D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 58 percent) than the 1D Mark IV, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison: Canon 1D Mark IV vs 6D
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1D Mark IV features an APS-H sensor and the Canon 6D a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the 6D is 66 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, the 6D uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 5+) than the 1D Mark IV (DIGIC IV), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 20MP, the 6D offers a higher resolution than the 1D Mark IV (16MP), but the 6D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.57μm versus 5.70μm for the 1D Mark IV) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the 6D is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 10 months) than the 1D Mark IV, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS 6D are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400..
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the 6D has a markedly higher DXO score than the 1D Mark IV (overall score 8 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Canon 1D Mark IV»||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 6D«||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82||Canon 6D|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 5DS« »||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.7||12.4||2381||87||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 7D II« »||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 70D« »||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||22.5||11.6||926||68||Canon 70D|
|Canon 1D X« »||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 60D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.5||813||66||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.0||11.7||854||66||Canon 7D|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||-||22.7||11.7||1078||71||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II« »||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||-||22.3||11.1||1003||66||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||-||23.3||11.3||1480||74||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Nikon D4« »||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S« »||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82||Nikon D3S|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).
Feature comparison: Canon 1D Mark IV vs 6D
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1D Mark IV and the 6D are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 1D Mark IV and Canon 6D along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 1D Mark IV»||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||8000||10.0||n||n||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 6D«||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||4000||4.5||n||n||Canon 6D|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||6.5||n||n||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||8000||16.0||n||n||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 5DS« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 7D II« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||8000||10.0||Y||n||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 70D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||8000||7.0||Y||n||Canon 70D|
|Canon 1D X« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||14.0||n||n||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 60D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||n||8000||5.3||Y||n||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||8000||8.0||Y||n||Canon 7D|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||8000||3.9||n||n||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||8000||10.0||n||n||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II« »||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||8000||8.3||n||n||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||8000||4.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Nikon D4« »||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||8000||11.0||n||n||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S« »||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||8000||11.0||n||n||Nikon D3S|
The 1D Mark IV writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the 6D uses SDXC cards. The 1D Mark IV features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 6D only has one slot.
Connectivity comparison: Canon 1D Mark IV vs 6D
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV and Canon EOS 6D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 1D Mark IV»||Y||stereo||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 6D«||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon 6D|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 5DS« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 7D II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 70D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon 70D|
|Canon 1D X« »||Y||mono||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 60D« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||Y||mono||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Nikon D4« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S« »||Y||stereo||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3S|
It is notable that the 6D offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the 1D Mark IV does not offer wifi capability.
Both the 1D Mark IV and the 6D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 6D was replaced by the Canon 6D Mark II, while the 1D Mark IV does not have a direct successor.
Review summary: Canon 1D Mark IV vs 6D
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 1D Mark IV better than the Canon 6D or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV:
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1500 versus 1090) on a single battery charge.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in October 2009).
Advantages of the Canon EOS 6D:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 16MP), which boosts linear resolution by 12%.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 5+ vs DIGIC IV).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
- More compact: Is smaller (145x111mm vs 156x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 460g or 37 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (58 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 10 months of technical progress since the 1D Mark IV launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 6D is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 6 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1D Mark IV or the 6D. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
Expert reviews: Canon 1D Mark IV vs 6D
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Canon 1D Mark IV»||-||89/100||-||5/5||-||Oct 2009||4,999||-||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 6D«||HiRec||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||-||Canon 6D|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Rec||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||-||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 5DS« »||Rec||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 7D II« »||Rec||84/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 70D« »||HiRec||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199||-||Canon 70D|
|Canon 1D X« »||-||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799||-||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 60D« »||Rec||79/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699||-||Canon 7D|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||91/100||79/100||4/5||5/5||-||Sep 2008||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||-||-||-||rev||-||Feb 2007||4,499||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II« »||-||HiRec||-||rev||-||Jan 2004||4,499||-||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||-||HiRec||-||-||-||Sep 2004||7,999||-||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Nikon D4« »||-||-||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S« »||-||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199||-||Nikon D3S|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1Ds vs Sony A850
- Canon 70D vs Fujifilm X-A5
- Canon 77D vs Canon 760D
- Canon 800D vs Canon 77D
- Canon G1 X Mark III vs Ricoh GR
- Fujifilm X-T2 vs Canon 5D Mark III
- Fujifilm X100T vs Fujifilm X-Pro1
- Nikon D3500 vs Panasonic G80
- Nikon D5300 vs Leica Q Typ 116
- Nikon D5500 vs Canon 1D
- Panasonic TZ90 vs Panasonic FZ2000
- Sony A7 II vs Canon 80D
Specifications: Canon 1D Mark IV vs Canon 6D
|Camera Model||Canon 1D Mark IV||Canon 6D|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2009||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 4999||USD 2099|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||27.9 x 18.6 mm||36.0 x 18.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||518.94 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||33.5 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4896 x 3264 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.70 μm||6.57 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.08 MP/cm2||2.31 MP/cm2|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-12800 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-102400 ISO||50-102400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC IV||DIGIC 5+|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||4.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||LP-E4 power pack||LP-E6 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1500 shots per charge||1090 shots per charge|
156 x 157 x 80 mm
(6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
145 x 111 x 71 mm
(5.7 x 4.4 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||1230 g (43.4 oz)||770 g (27.2 oz)|
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