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Canon 5D versus Canon T6i

The Canon EOS 5D and the Canon EOS Rebel T6i (labelled Canon 750D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2005 and February 2015. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (5D) and an APS-C (T6i) sensor. The 5D has a resolution of 12.7 megapixel, whereas the T6i provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon 5D vs Canon T6i

The physical size and weight of the Canon 5D and the Canon T6i are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size 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 5D – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon 5D vs Canon T6i
Compare 5D versus T6i top
Compare 5D and T6i rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon T6i is notably smaller (22 percent) than the Canon 5D. Moreover, the T6i is substantially lighter (38 percent) than the 5D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 5D is splash and dust resistant, while the T6i 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 (T6i). You can find a comprehensive overview of suitable optics in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 5D gets 400 shots out of its BP-511A battery, while the T6i can take 440 images on a single charge of its LP-E17 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon 5D» 6.0 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 31.6 oz 400 Y Aug 2005 3,299- i
Canon T6i« 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749- i
Canon 77D« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 19.0 oz 600 n Feb 2017 899 i i
Canon T7i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 18.8 oz 600 n Feb 2017 749 i i
Canon 5DS R« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon M3« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.7 in 12.9 oz 250 n Feb 2015 679- i
Canon T6s« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.9 oz 440 n Feb 2015 849- i
Canon T5i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i
Canon 6D« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i
Canon 5D Mark III« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 33.5 oz 950 Y Mar 2012 3,499- i
Canon 5D Mark II« » 6.0 in 4.5 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499- i
Canon 50D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i
Canon 1D Mark II N« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 55.2 oz 1200 Y Aug 2005 3,999- i
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 42.9 oz 1200 Y Sep 2004 7,999- i
Canon 1D Mark II« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 54.1 oz 1200 Y Jan 2004 4,499- i
Canon 1Ds« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 44.6 oz 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999- i
Nikon D700« » 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The T6i was launched at a markedly lower price (by 77 percent) than the 5D, 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 5D vs Canon T6i

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 features a full frame sensor and the Canon T6i an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the T6i 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.

Canon 5D and Canon T6i sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the T6i offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 12.7 MP of the 5D. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 8.25μm for the 5D). However, it should be noted that the T6i is much more recent (by 9 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.

5D versus T6i MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon 5D» Full Frame 12.7 4368 2912-22.911.1136871
Canon T6i« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971
Canon 77D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178
Canon T7i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----
Canon 5DS R« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886
Canon M3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972
Canon T6s« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
Canon T5i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
Canon 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082
Canon 5D Mark III« » Full Frame 22.1 5760 38401080/30p24.011.7229381
Canon 5D Mark II« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579
Canon 50D« » APS-C 15.1 4752 3168-21.811.469663
Canon 1D Mark II N« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.297566
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » Full Frame 16.6 4992 3328-23.311.3148074
Canon 1D Mark II« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.1100366
Canon 1Ds« » Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704-21.811.095463
Nikon D700« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2230380

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The T6i indeed provides for movie recording, while the 5D does not. The highest resolution format that the T6i can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 5D vs Canon T6i

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 5D and the T6i 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 5D and Canon T6i in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Canon 5D»optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n
Canon T6i«optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon 77D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Canon T7i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Canon 5DS R« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Canon M3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Canon T6s« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon T5i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n
Canon 5D Mark III« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 6.0 n n
Canon 5D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 3.9 n n
Canon 50D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 6.3 Y n
Canon 1D Mark II N« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 8.5 n n
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 4.0 n n
Canon 1D Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 8.3 n n
Canon 1Ds« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n
Nikon D700« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n

Both the 5D and the T6i have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 5D was replaced by the Canon 5D Mark II, while the T6i was followed by the Canon T7i.

Review summary: Canon 5D vs Canon T6i

So how do things add up? Is the Canon 5D better than the Canon T6i or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 5D:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2005).


Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel T6i:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 12.7MP), which boosts linear resolution by 37%.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p 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 swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (132x101mm vs 152x113mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 340g or 38 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 (77 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 9 years and 5 months of technical progress since the 5D launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the T6i is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 5 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.

5D 05:13 T6i

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 5D or the T6i handle or 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 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.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon 5D»88/100HiRecrevrev- Aug 2005 3,299- i
Canon T6i«-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i
Canon 77D« »-82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i i
Canon T7i« »-80/1004.5/54/54/5 Feb 2017 749 i i
Canon 5DS R« »Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon M3« »rev75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i
Canon T6s« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 849- i
Canon T5i« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i
Canon 6D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i
Canon 5D Mark III« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2012 3,499- i
Canon 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i
Canon 50D« »HiRecHiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i
Canon 1D Mark II N« »----- Aug 2005 3,999- i
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »-HiRec--- Sep 2004 7,999- i
Canon 1D Mark II« »-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 4,499- i
Canon 1Ds« »-HiRec--- Sep 2002 8,999- i
Nikon D700« »89/100HiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999- i

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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