Canon 6D vs 5D
The Canon EOS 6D and the Canon EOS 5D are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2012 and August 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The 6D has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the 5D provides 12.7 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
|Canon 6D||Canon 5D|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|20 MP, Full Frame Sensor||12.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-25600 (50-102400)||ISO 100-1600 (50-3200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 1040k dots||2.5" LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|4.5 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|1090 shots per battery charge||400 shots per battery charge|
|145 x 111 x 71 mm, 770 g||152 x 113 x 75 mm, 895 g|
Body comparison: Canon 6D vs 5D
The physical size and weight of the Canon 6D and the Canon 5D 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. 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 side – the 6D – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 5D is notably larger (7 percent) than the Canon 6D. Moreover, the 5D is markedly heavier (16 percent) than the 6D. 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 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, 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 6D»||5.7 in||4.4 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||-||Canon 6D|
|Canon 5D«||6.0 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||31.6 oz||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299||-||Canon 5D|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||5.7 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.0 oz||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 5DS« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 7D II« »||5.9 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||32.1 oz||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 70D« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199||-||Canon 70D|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||33.5 oz||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 1D X« »||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.7 oz||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799||-||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||6.0 in||4.5 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||42.9 oz||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999||-||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||44.6 oz||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D610« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D600« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||-||Nikon D600|
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 6D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 36 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.
Sensor comparison: Canon 6D vs 5D
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.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of chip-set technology, the 6D uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 5+) than the 5D (DIGIC 2), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the 6D offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 12.7 MP of the 5D. This megapixels advantage translates into a 25 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the 6D has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 6.57μm versus 8.25μm for the 5D). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the 6D is much more recent (by 7 years and 1 month) than the 5D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The Canon EOS 6D 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 5D are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-3200..
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 6D provides substantially higher image quality than the 5D, with an overall score that is 11 points higher. This advantage is based on 0.9 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 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.
|Canon 6D»||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82||Canon 6D|
|Canon 5D«||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||-||22.9||11.1||1368||71||Canon 5D|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 5DS« »||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.7||12.4||2381||87||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.6||12.4||2308||86||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 7D II« »||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 70D« »||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||22.5||11.6||926||68||Canon 70D|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 1D X« »||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||-||23.3||11.3||1480||74||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds« »||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||-||21.8||11.0||954||63||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D610« »||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D600« »||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94||Nikon D600|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The 6D indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the 5D does not. The highest resolution format that the 6D can use is 1080/30p.
Feature comparison: Canon 6D vs 5D
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 6D and the 5D 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 6D and Canon 5D along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|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|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||6.5||n||n||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||8000||16.0||n||n||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|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 70D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||8000||7.0||Y||n||Canon 70D|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||6.0||n||n||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 1D X« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||14.0||n||n||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||8000||3.9||n||n||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||8000||4.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds« »||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||8000||3.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D610« »||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||4000||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D600« »||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||4000||5.5||Y||n||Nikon D600|
The 6D writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the 5D uses Compact Flash cards.
Connectivity comparison: Canon 6D vs 5D
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 6D and Canon EOS 5D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 6D»||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon 6D|
|Canon 5D«||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 5DS« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 7D II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 70D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon 70D|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 1D X« »||Y||mono||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D610« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D600« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D600|
It is notable that the 6D offers wifi support, while the 5D does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the 6D and the 5D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 5D was replaced by the Canon 5D Mark II, while the 6D was followed by the Canon 6D Mark II.
Review summary: Canon 6D vs 5D
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 6D better than the Canon 5D or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 6D:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20 vs 12.7MP) with a 25% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (11 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 5+ vs DIGIC 2).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- 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).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 125g or 14 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1090 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (36 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 1 month of technical progress since the 5D launch.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 5D:
- 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 August 2005).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 6D is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 2 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.
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 6D or the 5D 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.
Expert reviews: Canon 6D vs 5D
This is why expert reviews 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 detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Canon 6D»||HiRec||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||-||Canon 6D|
|Canon 5D«||88/100||HiRec||rev||rev||-||Aug 2005||3,299||-||Canon 5D|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Rec||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||-||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 5DS« »||Rec||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||Rec||83/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 7D II« »||Rec||84/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799||Canon 7D II|
|Canon 70D« »||HiRec||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199||-||Canon 70D|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||HiRec||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 1D X« »||-||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799||-||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||91/100||79/100||4/5||5/5||-||Sep 2008||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||-||HiRec||-||-||-||Sep 2004||7,999||-||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds« »||-||HiRec||-||-||-||Sep 2002||8,999||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D610« »||HiRec||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D600« »||HiRec||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||-||Nikon D600|
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.
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Specifications: Canon 6D vs Canon 5D
|Camera Model||Canon 6D||Canon 5D|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2012||August 2005|
|Launch Price||USD 2099||USD 3299|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||12.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||4368 x 2912 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.57 μm||8.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.31 MP/cm2||1.47 MP/cm2|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-25600 ISO||100-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-102400 ISO||50-3200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 5+||DIGIC 2|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||2.5 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||4.5 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF cards|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||LP-E6 power pack||BP-511A power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1090 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
145 x 111 x 71 mm
(5.7 x 4.4 x 2.8 in)
152 x 113 x 75 mm
(6.0 x 4.4 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||770 g (27.2 oz)||895 g (31.6 oz)|
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