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Canon 6D Mark II versus Canon 5D Mark II

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II and the Canon EOS 5D Mark II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2017 and September 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The 6D Mark II has a resolution of 26 megapixel, whereas the 5D Mark II provides 21 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 6D Mark II vs Canon 5D Mark II

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 6D Mark II and the Canon 5D Mark II. 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. 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 6D Mark II – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon 6D Mark II vs Canon 5D Mark II
Compare 6D Mark II versus 5D Mark II top
Compare 6D Mark II and 5D Mark II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 5D Mark II is notably larger (8 percent) than the Canon 6D Mark II. Moreover, the 5D Mark II is markedly heavier (11 percent) than the 6D Mark II. 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 6D Mark II gets 1200 shots out of its LP-E6N battery, while the 5D Mark II can take 850 images on a single charge of its LP-E6 power pack.

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.

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)
Camera
Model
Canon 6D Mark II» 144 mm 111 mm 75 mm 765 g 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
Canon 5D Mark II« 152 mm 114 mm 75 mm 850 g 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon R« » 139 mm 98 mm 84 mm 660 g 370 Y Sep 2018 2,299 i i Canon R
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« » 151 mm 116 mm 76 mm 890 g 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 80D« » 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon 5DS« » 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 930 g 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R« » 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 930 g 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Canon 7D II« » 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon 5D Mark III« » 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 950 g 950 Y Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 6D« » 145 mm 111 mm 71 mm 770 g 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon 5D« » 152 mm 113 mm 75 mm 895 g 400 Y Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
Nikon D500« » 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
Nikon D610« » 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610

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 6D Mark II was launched at a markedly lower price (by 43 percent) than the 5D Mark II, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 6D Mark II vs Canon 5D Mark II

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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

In terms of chip-set technology, the 6D Mark II uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 7) than the 5D Mark II (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon 6D Mark II and Canon 5D Mark II sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Canon 6D Mark II offers a higher resolution of 26 megapixel, compared with 21 MP of the Canon 5D Mark II. 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 5.76μm versus 6.41μm for the 5D Mark II). However, it should be noted that the 6D Mark II is much more recent (by 8 years and 9 months) than the 5D Mark II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The 6D Mark II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in relatively fast and reliable autofocus acquisition during video recording.

6D Mark II versus 5D Mark II MP

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 review, the 6D Mark II has a notably higher overall DXO score than the 5D Mark II (overall score 6 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, and 0.7 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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Canon 6D Mark II» Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285Canon 6D Mark II
Canon 5D Mark II« Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
Canon R« » Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p----Canon R
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« » Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.813.6299591Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579Canon 80D
Canon 5DS« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886Canon 5DS R
Canon 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270Canon 7D II
Canon 5D Mark III« » Full Frame 22.1 5760 38401080/30p24.011.7229381Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082Canon 6D
Canon 5D« » Full Frame 12.7 4368 2912-22.911.1136871Canon 5D
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483Nikon D500
Nikon D610« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594Nikon D610

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the 6D Mark II provides a higher frame rate than the 5D Mark II. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the 5D Mark II is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 6D Mark II vs Canon 5D Mark II

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 6D Mark II and the 5D Mark II 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 6D Mark II and Canon 5D Mark II 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
Model
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
Camera
Model
Canon 6D Mark II»optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.5 n n Canon 6D Mark II
Canon 5D Mark II«optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 3.9 n n Canon 5D Mark II
Canon R« »3690 n 3.2 2100 swivel Y 8000 8.0 n n Canon R
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 7.0 n n Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 80D
Canon 5DS« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS R
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n Canon 7D II
Canon 5D Mark III« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 6.0 n n Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n Canon 6D
Canon 5D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 5D
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n n Nikon D500
Nikon D610« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 6.0 Y n Nikon D610

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The 6D Mark II has a touchscreen, while the 5D Mark II has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The 6D Mark II writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the 5D Mark II uses Compact Flash cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Canon 6D Mark II»YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 6D Mark II
Canon 5D Mark II«YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 5D Mark II
Canon R« »YstereomonoY-mini3.1Y-YCanon R
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0YY-Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 80D« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon 80D
Canon 5DS« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS R
Canon 7D II« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 7D II
Canon 5D Mark III« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 6D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 6D
Canon 5D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 5D
Nikon D500« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D500
Nikon D610« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D610

The 6D Mark II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the 5D Mark II has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 5D Mark II was succeeded by the Canon 5D Mark III.

Review summary: Canon 6D Mark II vs Canon 5D Mark II

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 6D Mark II better than the Canon 5D Mark II or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Canon EOS 6D Mark II:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (26 vs 21MP) with a 11% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 7 vs DIGIC 4).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.5 vs 3.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 85g or 10 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1200 versus 850) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (43 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years and 9 months of technical progress since the 5D Mark II launch.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 5D Mark II:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 6D Mark II is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 2 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.

6D Mark II 17:02 5D Mark II

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 6D Mark II or the 5D Mark II 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 6D Mark II»Rec80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
Canon 5D Mark II«91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon R« »rev79/1004.5/5-4/5 Sep 2018 2,299 i i Canon R
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« »HiRec87/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon 5DS« »Rec83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R« »Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Canon 7D II« »Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon 5D Mark III« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 6D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon 5D« »88/100HiRecrevrev- Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
Nikon D500« »HiRec91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
Nikon D610« »HiRec87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods 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? 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. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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