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Canon 6D versus Canon SL1

The Canon EOS 6D and the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (labelled Canon 100D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2012 and March 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (6D) and an APS-C (SL1) sensor. The 6D has a resolution of 20 megapixel, whereas the SL1 provides 17.9 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 vs Canon SL1

The physical size and weight of the Canon 6D and the Canon SL1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the 6D – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon 6D vs Canon SL1
Compare 6D versus SL1 top
Compare 6D and SL1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SL1 is considerably smaller (34 percent) than the Canon 6D. Moreover, the SL1 is substantially lighter (47 percent) than the 6D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 6D is splash and dust resistant, while the SL1 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 6D) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (SL1). You can find a comprehensive overview of suitable optics in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 6D gets 1090 shots out of its LP-E6 battery, while the SL1 can take 380 images on a single charge of its LP-E12 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)
Camera
Model
Canon 6D» 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon SL1« 4.6 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 14.4 oz 380 n Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
Canon 6D Mark II« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
Canon SL2« » 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i Canon SL2
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.0 oz 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon T5« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
Canon 7D II« » 5.9 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 32.1 oz 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon T5i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Canon 70D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon G16« » 4.3 in 3.0 in 1.6 in 12.6 oz 360 n Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
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 III
Canon 1D C« » 6.2 in 6.5 in 3.3 in 54.5 oz 1120 Y Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
Canon 1D X« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.7 oz 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799- i 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- i Canon 5D Mark II
Nikon D610« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
Nikon D600« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Nikon D600
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6

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 SL1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 74 percent) than the 6D, 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 6D vs Canon SL1

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 6D features a full frame sensor and the Canon SL1 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the SL1 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 6D and Canon SL1 sensor measures

With 20MP, the 6D offers a higher resolution than the SL1 (17.9MP), but the 6D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.57μm versus 4.31μm for the SL1) due to its larger sensor. However, the SL1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the 6D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

6D versus SL1 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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 SL1, with an overall score that is 19 points higher. This advantage is based on 2 bits higher color depth, 0.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.5 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.

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» Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082Canon 6D
Canon SL1« APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363Canon SL1
Canon 6D Mark II« » Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285Canon 6D Mark II
Canon SL2« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179Canon SL2
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon T5« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463Canon T5
Canon 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270Canon 7D II
Canon T5i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161Canon T5i
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668Canon 70D
Canon G16« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054Canon G16
Canon 5D Mark III« » Full Frame 22.1 5760 38401080/30p24.011.7229381Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D C« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34564K/24p----Canon 1D C
Canon 1D X« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
Canon 5D Mark II« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
Nikon D610« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594Nikon D610
Nikon D600« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.2298094Nikon D600
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961Panasonic G6

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Canon 6D vs Canon SL1

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 6D and the SL1 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 and Canon SL1 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»optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n Canon 6D
Canon SL1«optical n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.9 Y n Canon SL1
Canon 6D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.5 n n Canon 6D Mark II
Canon SL2« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon SL2
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon T5« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon T5
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n Canon 7D II
Canon T5i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon T5i
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 70D
Canon G16« »optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 2.2 Y Y Canon G16
Canon 5D Mark III« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 6.0 n n Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D C« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D C
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
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
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n Panasonic G6

Both the 6D and the SL1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 6D was replaced by the Canon 6D Mark II, while the SL1 was followed by the Canon SL2.

Review summary: Canon 6D vs Canon SL1

So how do things add up? Is the Canon 6D better than the Canon SL1 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 6D:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (20 vs 17.9MP) with a 6% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (19 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1090 versus 380) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).


Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel SL1:

  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More compact: Is smaller (117x91mm vs 145x111mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 363g or 47 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 (74 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (6 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 6D emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 6 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.

6D 09:06 SL1

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 or the SL1 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
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 6D»HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon SL1«Rec78/1004/54/54/5 Mar 2013 549- i Canon SL1
Canon 6D Mark II« »Rec80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
Canon SL2« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i Canon SL2
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon T5« »Rec-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i Canon T5
Canon 7D II« »Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i Canon 7D II
Canon T5i« »-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i Canon T5i
Canon 70D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i Canon 70D
Canon G16« »Rec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i i Canon G16
Canon 5D Mark III« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D C« »----- Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
Canon 1D X« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
Canon 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Nikon D610« »HiRec87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
Nikon D600« »HiRec87/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Nikon D600
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i Panasonic G6

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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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