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Pentax 645D versus Canon 6D Mark II

The Pentax 645D and the Canon EOS 6D Mark II are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2010 and June 2017. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a medium format (645D) and a full frame (6D Mark II) sensor. The Pentax has a resolution of 39.5 megapixel, whereas the Canon 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: Pentax 645D vs Canon 6D Mark II

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Pentax 645D and the Canon 6D Mark II. 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 – the 645D – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Pentax 645D vs Canon 6D Mark II
Compare 645D versus 6D Mark II top
Compare 645D 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 notably smaller (12 percent) than the Pentax 645D. Moreover, the 6D Mark II is substantially lighter (48 percent) than the 645D. 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. Hence, you might want to study the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the 645D gets 800 shots out of its D-LI90 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)
Pentax 645D» 6.1 in 4.6 in 4.7 in 52.2 oz 800 Y Mar 2010 9,995- i
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 5D Mark IV« » 5.9 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 31.4 oz 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i
Canon 80D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 25.8 oz 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i
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 6D« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i
Canon 1D X« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.7 oz 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799- i
Canon 1D Mark IV« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 43.4 oz 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999- i
Leica S Typ 006« » 6.3 in 4.7 in 3.1 in 44.4 oz .. Y Sep 2012 21,950- i
Nikon D850« » 5.7 in 4.9 in 3.1 in 35.5 oz 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 i i
Nikon D500« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 30.3 oz 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i
Nikon D810« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299- i
Nikon D800« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 2,999- i
Nikon D3S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 43.7 oz 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199- i
Pentax K-1« » 5.4 in 4.3 in 3.4 in 35.6 oz 760 Y Feb 2016 1,799- i
Pentax 645Z« » 6.1 in 4.6 in 4.8 in 54.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2014 8,499 i i
Sony A7R« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- 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 6D Mark II was launched at a markedly lower price (by 80 percent) than the 645D, 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: Pentax 645D vs Canon 6D Mark II

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Pentax 645D features a medium format sensor and the Canon 6D Mark II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the 6D Mark II is 41 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 0.79 and 1.0. The sensor in the 645D has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the 6D Mark II offers a 3:2 aspect.

Pentax 645D and Canon 6D Mark II sensor measures

With 39.5MP, the 645D offers a higher resolution than the 6D Mark II (26MP), but the 645D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.06μm versus 5.76μm for the 6D Mark II) due to its larger sensor. However, the 6D Mark II is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 years and 3 months) than the 645D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the 645D has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

645D versus 6D Mark II 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. 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 Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Pentax 645D» Medium Format 39.5 7264 5440-24.612.6126282
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 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082
Canon 1D X« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682
Canon 1D Mark IV« » APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074
Leica S Typ 006« » Medium Format 37.5 7500 5000-23.912.282476
Nikon D850« » Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483
Nikon D810« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397
Nikon D800« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.314.4285395
Nikon D3S« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382
Pentax K-1« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60i25.414.6328096
Pentax 645Z« » Medium Format 51.1 8256 61921080/60i26.014.74505101
Sony A7R« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The 6D Mark II indeed provides for movie recording, while the 645D does not. The highest resolution format that the 6D Mark II can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Pentax 645D vs Canon 6D Mark II

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 645D 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 Pentax 645D, the Canon 6D Mark II, and comparable 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
Pentax 645D»optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 1.1 n 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 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n
Canon 1D X« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n
Canon 1D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n
Leica S Typ 006« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 4000 1.5 n n
Nikon D850« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 9.0 n n
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n n
Nikon D810« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 4000 5.0 Y n
Nikon D800« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 4.0 Y n
Nikon D3S« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n
Pentax K-1« »optical Y 3.2 1037 full-flex n 8000 4.4 n Y
Pentax 645Z« »optical Y 3.2 1037 tilting n 4000 3.0 n n
Sony A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 4.0 n n

The 6D Mark II is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the 645D has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 645D was succeeded by the Pentax 645Z.

Review summary: Pentax 645D vs Canon 6D Mark II

So what is the bottom line? Is the Pentax 645D better than the Canon 6D Mark II or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Pentax 645D:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (39.5 vs 26MP) with a 21% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in March 2010).

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 6D Mark II:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k 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 (6.5 vs 1.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (144x111mm vs 156x117mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 715g or 48 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1200 versus 800) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (80 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 3 months of technical progress since the 645D 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 (12 : 4 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.

645D 04:12 6D Mark II

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 645D or the 6D Mark II handle or perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why expert reviews 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 full reviews are available 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)
Pentax 645D»---4.5/5- Mar 2010 9,995- 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 6D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i
Canon 1D X« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i
Canon 1D Mark IV« »-89/100-5/5- Oct 2009 4,999- i
Leica S Typ 006« »----- Sep 2012 21,950- i
Nikon D850« »HiRec89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 i i
Nikon D500« »HiRec91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i
Nikon D810« »-86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299- i
Nikon D800« »HiRec82/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2012 2,999- i
Nikon D3S« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199- i
Pentax K-1« »-84/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2016 1,799- i
Pentax 645Z« »--4.5/55/55/5 Apr 2014 8,499 i i
Sony A7R« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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