Canon 5D Mark III vs 60D
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Canon EOS 60D are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2012 and August 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (5D Mark III) and an APS-C (60D) sensor. The 5D Mark III has a resolution of 22.1 megapixels, whereas the 60D provides 17.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Canon EOS 60D? 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 physical size and weight of the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 60D are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 60D is notably smaller (13 percent) than the Canon 5D Mark III. Moreover, the 60D is markedly lighter (21 percent) than the 5D Mark III. 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 5D Mark III) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (60D). You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon 5D Mark III||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||950 g||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 5D Mark IV||151 mm||116 mm||76 mm||890 g||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499||amazon.com|
|6.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 7D II||149 mm||112 mm||78 mm||910 g||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||ebay.com|
|14.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|15.||Canon 5D||152 mm||113 mm||75 mm||895 g||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 60D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 60 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 tend to be more expensive and 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 60D an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the 60D 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 60D (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 60D (17.9MP), but the 5D Mark III nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.25μm versus 4.31μm for the 60D) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the 5D Mark III is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the 60D, 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 60D 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 60D are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the 5D Mark III provides substantially higher image quality than the 60D, with an overall score that is 15 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.8 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|5.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91|
|7.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|8.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|9.||Canon 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|11.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|13.||Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|15.||Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. 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).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 5D Mark III and the 60D 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 60D (96%), 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 0.59x), 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 60D along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5/s||n||n|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0/s||n||n|
|5.||Canon 5D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|6.||Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 5DS||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|8.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|9.||Canon 7D II||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon 6D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5/s||n||n|
|12.||Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9/s||n||n|
|14.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3/s||Y||n|
|15.||Canon 5D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 60D has one, while the 5D Mark III does not. While the built-in flash of the 60D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The 60D 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 60D 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 60D 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 60D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon 80D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon 5DS||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 7D II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Canon 6D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Canon 7D||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon 5D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 5D Mark III has a headphone jack, which is not present on the 60D This port makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process.
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Both the 5D Mark III and the 60D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The 60D was replaced by the Canon 70D, while the 5D Mark III was followed by the Canon 5D Mark IV. Further information on the features and operation of the 5D Mark III and 60D can be found, respectively, in the Canon 5D Mark III Manual (free pdf) or the online Canon 60D Manual.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 5D Mark III better than the Canon 60D or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
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 (15 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.8 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 96%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.59x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 5.3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- 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 and 6 months after the 60D).
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 60D:
- 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 (145x106mm vs 152x116mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 195g or 21 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1100 versus 950) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (60 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2010).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 5D Mark III is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 8 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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 60D 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 5D Mark III or the 60D perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Canon 5D Mark III||..||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||4/5||+||4/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||..||..||4.5/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 5D Mark IV||4.5/5||+ +||4/5||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499||amazon.com|
|6.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 5DS||..||+||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 7D II||4.5/5||+||3.5/5||84/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||..||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499||ebay.com|
|14.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|15.||Canon 5D||..||88/100||..||+ +||o||..||Aug 2005||3,299||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Canon R8
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Fujifilm X-M1
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Nikon D70s
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Nikon Z6 II
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Olympus E-M1 III
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Panasonic GF5
- Canon 5D vs Canon 60D
- Canon 60D vs Canon G16
- Canon 60D vs Leica X1
- Canon 60D vs Panasonic GM5
- Canon 60D vs Pentax 645Z
- Canon 60D vs Sony A900
Specifications: Canon 5D Mark III vs Canon 60D
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 60D|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2012||August 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 3,499||USD 1,399|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 5D Mark III||Canon 60D|
|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||66|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.0||22.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||11.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2293||813|
|Screen Specs||Canon 5D Mark III||Canon 60D|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||96%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|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 60D|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||6 shutter flaps/s||5.3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||150 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 5D Mark III||Canon 60D|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|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 60D|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||950 shots per charge||1100 shots per charge|
152 x 116 x 76 mm
(6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
145 x 106 x 79 mm
(5.7 x 4.2 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||950 g (33.5 oz)||755 g (26.6 oz)|
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