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Canon 7D versus Canon 6D Mark II

The Canon EOS 7D and the Canon EOS 6D Mark II are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2009 and June 2017. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (7D) and a full frame (6D Mark II) sensor. The 7D has a resolution of 17.9 megapixel, whereas the 6D Mark II provides 26 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 7D vs Canon 6D Mark II

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 7D and the Canon 6D Mark II is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth 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 7D – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon 7D vs Canon 6D Mark II
Compare 7D versus 6D Mark II top
Compare 7D and 6D 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 6D Mark II is somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Canon 7D. Moreover, the 6D Mark II is markedly lighter (11 percent) than the 7D. 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. A larger imaging sensor (as in the 6D Mark II) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (7D). You can find a comprehensive overview of suitable optics in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 7D gets 800 shots out of its LP-E6 battery, while the 6D Mark II can take 1200 images on a single charge of its LP-E6N 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 7D» 148 mm 111 mm 74 mm 860 g 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i
Canon 6D Mark II« 144 mm 111 mm 75 mm 765 g 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i i
Canon 5D Mark IV« » 151 mm 116 mm 76 mm 890 g 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i
Canon 80D« » 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i
Canon 7D II« » 149 mm 112 mm 78 mm 910 g 670 Y Sep 2014 1,799 i i
Canon 70D« » 139 mm 104 mm 79 mm 755 g 920 Y Jul 2013 1,199- i
Canon 6D« » 145 mm 111 mm 71 mm 770 g 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i
Canon 60D« » 145 mm 106 mm 79 mm 755 g 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i
Canon 5D Mark II« » 152 mm 114 mm 75 mm 850 g 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499- i
Canon 50D« » 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 800 Y Aug 2008 1,299- i
Canon 30D« » 144 mm 106 mm 74 mm 785 g 750 n Feb 2006 1,399- i
Canon 20D« » 144 mm 106 mm 72 mm 770 g 700 n Aug 2004 1,499- i
Canon 10D« » 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i
Nikon D7000« » 132 mm 105 mm 77 mm 780 g 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i
Nikon D300S« » 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- 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 7D was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 15 percent) than the 6D Mark II, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 7D vs Canon 6D 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. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 7D features an APS-C sensor and the Canon 6D Mark II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the 6D Mark II is 160 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 7D and Canon 6D Mark II sensor measures

With 26MP, the 6D Mark II offers a higher resolution than the 7D (17.9MP), but the 6D Mark II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.76μm versus 4.31μm for the 7D) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the 6D Mark II is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 9 months) than the 7D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

7D versus 6D Mark II MP

For most 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 consideration, the 6D Mark II offers substantially better image quality than the 7D (overall score 19 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.4 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.7 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 Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon 7D» APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466
Canon 6D Mark II« Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285
Canon 5D Mark IV« » Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.813.6299591
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788
Canon 7D II« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.411.8108270
Canon 70D« » APS-C 20.0 5472 36481080/30p22.511.692668
Canon 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366
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 30D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.510.873659
Canon 20D« » APS-C 8.2 3504 2336-21.911.072162
Canon 10D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157
Nikon D7000« » APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the 6D Mark II provides a faster frame rate than the 7D. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the 7D is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 7D vs Canon 6D Mark II

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 7D and the 6D 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 7D, the Canon 6D Mark II, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

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 7D»optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n
Canon 6D Mark II«optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.5 n n
Canon 5D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 7.0 n n
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n
Canon 7D II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 8000 10.0 Y n
Canon 70D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n
Canon 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 8000 5.3 Y 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 30D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n
Canon 20D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n
Canon 10D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Nikon D7000« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 7.0 Y n

The 6D Mark II is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the 7D has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 7D was succeeded by the Canon 7D Mark II.

Review summary: Canon 7D vs Canon 6D Mark II

So how do things add up? Is the Canon 7D better than the Canon 6D Mark II or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 7D:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 6.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (15 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2009).


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 6D Mark II:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (26 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 20%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (19 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.4 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • 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: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 95g or 11 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1200 versus 800) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 9 months of technical progress since the 7D launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 6D Mark II is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 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.

7D 05:11 6D Mark II

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 7D or the 6D Mark II handle or perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon 7D»HiRec84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i
Canon 6D Mark II«Rec80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i i
Canon 5D Mark IV« »HiRec87/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2016 3,499 i i
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i
Canon 7D II« »Rec84/1004/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 1,799 i i
Canon 70D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jul 2013 1,199- i
Canon 6D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i
Canon 60D« »Rec79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- 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 30D« »HiRecHiRecrevrev- Feb 2006 1,399- i
Canon 20D« »-HiRec-rev- Aug 2004 1,499- i
Canon 10D« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2003 1,999- i
Nikon D7000« »-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i
Nikon D300S« »HiRec82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i

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. 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. 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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