Canon 5D vs 600D
The Canon EOS 5D and the Canon EOS 600D (labelled Canon T3i in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2005 and February 2011. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (5D) and an APS-C (600D) sensor. The 5D has a resolution of 12.7 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 5D 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 and the Canon 600D. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures 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 (23 percent) than the Canon 5D. Moreover, the 600D is substantially lighter (36 percent) than the 5D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 5D 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) 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 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||152 mm||113 mm||75 mm||895 g||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299|
|2.||Canon 600D||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||151 mm||116 mm||76 mm||890 g||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499|
|5.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|6.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|7.||Canon 760D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|8.||Canon 100D||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|9.||Canon 700D||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|10.||Canon 5D Mark III||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||950 g||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499|
|11.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|12.||Canon 650D||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|13.||Canon 550D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||n||Feb 2010||699|
|14.||Canon 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499|
|15.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|16.||Canon 1D Mark II N||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1565 g||1200||Y||Aug 2005||3,999|
|17.||Nikon D700||147 mm||123 mm||77 mm||1074 g||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The 600D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 82 percent) than the 5D, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 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.
Technology-wise, the 600D uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4) than the 5D (DIGIC 2), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the 600D offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 12.7 MP of the 5D. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 8.25μm for the 5D). However, it should be noted that the 600D is much more recent (by 5 years and 5 months) than the 5D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 600D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 600D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 5D are 21.8 x 14.6 inches or 55.5 x 37 cm for good quality, 17.5 x 11.6 inches or 44.4 x 29.6 cm for very good quality, and 14.6 x 9.7 inches or 37 x 24.7 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 5D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 50-3200. 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.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 review, the 5D has a notably higher overall DXO score than the 600D (overall score 6 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV of lower dynamic range, and 0.8 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.
| DXO |
|1.||Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91|
|5.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|6.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|10.||Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|11.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|14.||Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|16.||Canon 1D Mark II N||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.2||975||66|
|17.||Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The 600D indeed provides for movie recording, while the 5D does not. The highest resolution format that the 600D can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 5D 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 offers a wider field of view (96%) 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 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 5D, the Canon 600D, and comparable cameras.
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||7.0||n||n|
|6.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|10.||Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||n|
|14.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n|
|16.||Canon 1D Mark II N||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.5||n||n|
One feature that is present on the 5D, 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 does not have a selfie-screen.
The 5D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the 600D uses SDXC cards.
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 and Canon EOS 600D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Canon 1D Mark II N||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 5D (unlike the 600D) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 5D and the 600D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 5D was replaced by the Canon 5D Mark II, while the 600D was followed by the Canon 650D. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 5D or the Canon 600D – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 5D:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (96% 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.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- 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.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2005).
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 600D:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (17.9 vs 12.7MP), which boosts linear resolution by 19%.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4 vs DIGIC 2).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
- 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.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.7 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (133x100mm vs 152x113mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 325g or 36 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 (82 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 5 months of technical progress since the 5D launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 600D is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 9 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. 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 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 remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 5D or the 600D 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], 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||..||88/100||+ +||o||..||Aug 2005||3,299|
|2.||Canon 600D||3/5||o||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||4/5||+||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark IV||4.5/5||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499|
|5.||Canon 5DS||..||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|6.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|7.||Canon 760D||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|8.||Canon 100D||4/5||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|9.||Canon 700D||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|10.||Canon 5D Mark III||..||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499|
|11.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|12.||Canon 650D||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|13.||Canon 550D||..||+ +||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||699|
|14.||Canon 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499|
|15.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|16.||Canon 1D Mark II N||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2005||3,999|
|17.||Nikon D700||..||89/100||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon 5D 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||Canon 600D|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2005||February 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 3,299||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 5D||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||12.7 Megapixels||17.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4368 x 2912 pixels||5184 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||8.25 μm||4.31 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.47 MP/cm2||5.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 2||DIGIC 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||71||65|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.9||22.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.1||11.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1368||793|
|Screen Specs||Canon 5D||Canon 600D|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||96%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 5D||Canon 600D|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||3.7 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 5D||Canon 600D|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 5D||Canon 600D|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||400 shots per charge||440 shots per charge|
152 x 113 x 75 mm
(6.0 x 4.4 x 3.0 in)
133 x 100 x 80 mm
(5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||895 g (31.6 oz)||570 g (20.1 oz)|
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