Canon 5D Mark III vs 600D
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Canon EOS 600D (labelled Canon T3i in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2012 and February 2011. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (5D Mark III) and an APS-C (600D) sensor. The 5D Mark III has a resolution of 22.1 megapixels, whereas the 600D provides 17.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon 5D Mark III||Canon 600D|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|22.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor||17.9 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 102,400)||ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.2 LCD, 1040k dots||3.0 LCD, 1040k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|6 shutter flaps per second||3.7 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|950 shots per battery charge||440 shots per battery charge|
|152 x 116 x 76 mm, 950 g||133 x 100 x 80 mm, 570 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Canon EOS 600D? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 600D. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 600D is notably smaller (25 percent) than the Canon 5D Mark III. Moreover, the 600D is substantially lighter (40 percent) than the 5D Mark III. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 5D Mark III is splash and dust resistant, while the 600D does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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 5D Mark III) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (600D). You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 5D Mark III||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||33.5 oz||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499|
|Canon 600D||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.1 oz||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||5.9 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||31.4 oz||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499|
|Canon 5DS||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 5DS R||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 760D||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.9 oz||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|Canon 100D||4.6 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||14.4 oz||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|Canon 700D||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.5 oz||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|Canon 6D||5.7 in||4.4 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Canon 650D||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.3 oz||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|Canon 550D||5.1 in||3.9 in||2.4 in||18.7 oz||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|Canon 5D Mark II||6.0 in||4.5 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499|
|Canon 5D||6.0 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||31.6 oz||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299|
|Nikon D610||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Nikon D600||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Nikon D800||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||35.3 oz||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999|
|Nikon D800E||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||35.3 oz||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The 600D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 83 percent) than the 5D Mark III, 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the 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 5D Mark III features a full frame sensor and the Canon 600D an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the 600D is 62 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of chip-set technology, the 5D Mark III uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 5+) than the 600D (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 22.1MP, the 5D Mark III offers a higher resolution than the 600D (17.9MP), but the 5D Mark III nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.25μm versus 4.31μm for the 600D) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the 5D Mark III is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the 600D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 5D Mark III implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 5D Mark III for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 28.8 x 19.2 inches or 73.2 x 48.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 23 x 15.4 inches or 58.5 x 39 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 19.2 x 12.8 inches or 48.8 x 32.5 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 600D are 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS 600D are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the 5D Mark III provides substantially higher image quality than the 600D, with an overall score that is 16 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.9 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91|
|Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
|Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
|Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95|
|Nikon D800E||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.6||14.3||2979||96|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 5D Mark III and the 600D 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 viewfinder in the 5D Mark III offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 600D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 5D Mark III has a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 600D along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||n|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||7.0||n||n|
|Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n|
One feature that is present on the 5D Mark III, but is missing on the 600D is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.The 600D has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the 5D Mark III does not have a selfie-screen.
The 5D Mark III writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the 600D uses SDXC cards. The 5D Mark III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 600D only has one slot.
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 5D Mark III and Canon EOS 600D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 5D Mark III has a headphone jack, which is not present on the 600D This port makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 5D Mark III (unlike the 600D) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 5D Mark III and the 600D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 600D was replaced by the Canon 650D, while the 5D Mark III was followed by the Canon 5D Mark IV. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 5D Mark III better than the Canon 600D or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (22.1 vs 17.9MP) with a 11% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (16 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.9 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 5+ vs DIGIC 4).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.53x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (950 versus 440) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year after the 600D).
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 600D:
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (133x100mm vs 152x116mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 380g or 40 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (83 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2011).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 5D Mark III is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 600D place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 5D Mark III and the 600D in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Canon 5D Mark III||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499|
|Canon 600D||o||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499|
|Canon 5DS||+||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 5DS R||+||83/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 760D||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|Canon 100D||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|Canon 700D||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|Canon 6D||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Canon 650D||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|Canon 550D||+ +||77/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|Canon 5D Mark II||91/100||79/100||4/5||5/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499|
|Canon 5D||88/100||+ +||o||o||..||Aug 2005||3,299|
|Nikon D610||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Nikon D600||+ +||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Nikon D800||+ +||82/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||2,999|
|Nikon D800E||..||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||3,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1Ds vs Canon 600D
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Canon 700D
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Canon 850D
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Fujifilm X-T3
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Leica V-LUX Typ 114
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Panasonic LX100
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Sony RX10 III
- Canon 600D vs Canon 6D
- Canon 600D vs Canon G5 X Mark II
- Canon 600D vs Leica TL
- Canon 600D vs Olympus E-PL3
- Canon 600D vs Ricoh WG-6
Specifications: Canon 5D Mark III vs Canon 600D
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 5D Mark III||Canon 600D|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2012||February 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 3,499||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 5D Mark III||Canon 600D|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||22.1 Megapixels||17.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5760 x 3840 pixels||5184 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.25 μm||4.31 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.56 MP/cm2||5.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 102,400 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 5+||DIGIC 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||81||65|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.0||22.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||11.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2293||793|
|Screen Specs||Canon 5D Mark III||Canon 600D|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 5D Mark III||Canon 600D|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||6 shutter flaps/s||3.7 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||150 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 5D Mark III||Canon 600D|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 5D Mark III||Canon 600D|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||950 shots per charge||440 shots per charge|
152 x 116 x 76 mm
(6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
133 x 100 x 80 mm
(5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||950 g (33.5 oz)||570 g (20.1 oz)|
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