Sony A6000 versus Canon 5D
The Sony Alpha A6000 and the Canon EOS 5D are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2014 and August 2005. The A6000 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the 5D is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (A6000) and a full frame (5D) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the Canon provides 12.7 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: Sony A6000 vs Canon 5D
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A6000 and the Canon 5D is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button 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 A6000 – represents the basis or 100 percent 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 considerably larger (114 percent) than the Sony A6000. Moreover, the 5D is substantially heavier (160 percent) than the A6000. It is noteworthy in this context that the 5D is splash and dust-proof, while the A6000 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 will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A6000) and the Canon EF Lens Catalog (5D). Mirrorless cameras, such as the Sony A6000, have moreover the advantage that they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance and can thus use many lenses from other systems via adapters.
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
|Sony A6000 (⇒ rgt)||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||no||2014||599||discont.||check|
|Canon 5D (⇒ lft)||152 mm||113 mm||75 mm||895 g||400||YES||2005||3,299||discont.||check|
|Canon 5DS R (⇒ lft | rgt)||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||YES||2015||3,699||latest||check|
|Canon 6D (⇒ lft | rgt)||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||YES||2012||2,099||discont.||check|
|Canon 5D Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt)||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||950 g||950||YES||2012||3,499||discont.||check|
|Canon 5D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||YES||2008||3,499||discont.||check|
|Canon 1D Mark II N (⇒ lft | rgt)||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1565 g||1200||YES||2005||3,999||discont.||check|
|Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||YES||2016||999||discont.||check|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||no||2014||549||latest||check|
|Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||no||2014||449||discont.||check|
|Sony A3000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||no||2013||329||discont.||check|
|Sony NEX-3N (⇒ lft | rgt)||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||no||2013||499||discont.||check|
|Sony NEX-5T (⇒ lft | rgt)||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||2776 g||330||no||2013||699||discont.||check|
|Sony NEX-6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||345 g||360||no||2012||999||discont.||check|
|Sony NEX-F3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||no||2012||599||discont.||check|
|Sony NEX-7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||400 g||430||no||2011||1,349||discont.||check|
|Sony NEX-3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||no||2010||599||discont.||check|
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 A6000 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 82 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison: Sony A6000 vs Canon 5D
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. 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 Sony A6000 features an APS-C sensor and the Canon 5D a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the 5D is 135 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Sony A6000 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 12.7 MP of the Canon 5D. 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 3.91μm versus 8.25μm for the 5D). However, it should be noted that the A6000 is much more recent (by 8 years and 6 months) than the 5D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
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 review, the A6000 provides substantially higher image quality than the 5D, with an overall score that is 11 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.2 bits higher color depth, 2 EV in additional dynamic range, -0 stops of reduced 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.
|Sony A6000 (⇒ rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82|
|Canon 5D (⇒ lft)||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||no||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
|Canon 5DS R (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|Canon 6D (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|Canon 5D Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24||11.7||2293||81|
|Canon 5D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|Canon 1D Mark II N (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||no||22.3||11.2||975||66|
|Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||12.7||1347||80|
|Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.8||13.0||1089||79|
|Sony A3000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.7||12.8||1068||78|
|Sony NEX-3N (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||22.8||12.5||1067||74|
|Sony NEX-5T (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60p||23.6||13.0||1015||78|
|Sony NEX-6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.7||13.1||1018||78|
|Sony NEX-F3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||22.7||12.3||1114||73|
|Sony NEX-7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60i||24.1||13.4||1016||81|
|Sony NEX-3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||14.0||4592||3056||720/30p||22.1||12.0||830||68|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The A6000 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the 5D does not. The highest resolution format that the A6000 can use is 1080/60p.
Feature comparison: Sony A6000 vs Canon 5D
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A6000 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), while the 5D has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A6000, the Canon 5D, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Sony A6000 (⇒ rgt)||1440||no||3.0||922||tilting||no||4000||11.0||6||no|
|Canon 5D (⇒ lft)||optical||YES||2.5||230||fixed||no||8000||3.0||no||no|
|Canon 5DS R (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.2||1040||fixed||no||8000||5.0||no||no|
|Canon 6D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||1040||fixed||no||4000||4.5||no||no|
|Canon 5D Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.2||1040||fixed||no||8000||6.0||no||no|
|Canon 5D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||920||fixed||no||8000||3.9||no||no|
|Canon 1D Mark II N (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||2.5||230||fixed||no||8000||8.5||no||no|
|Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2300||no||3.0||922||tilting||no||4000||11.0||6||no|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||922||tilting||YES||4000||6.0||4||no|
|Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||461||tilting||no||4000||3.5||4||no|
|Sony A3000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||202||no||3.0||230||fixed||no||4000||2.5||6||no|
|Sony NEX-3N (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||460||tilting||no||4000||4.0||4||no|
|Sony NEX-5T (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||922||tilting||YES||4000||10.0||no||no|
|Sony NEX-6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||921||tilting||no||4000||10.0||6||no|
|Sony NEX-F3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||920||tilting||no||4000||5.5||6||no|
|Sony NEX-7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||2359||no||3.0||921||tilting||no||4000||10.0||6||no|
|Sony NEX-3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||920||tilting||no||4000||7.0||no||no|
Both the A6000 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 A6000 was followed by the Sony A6300.
Review summary: Sony A6000 vs Canon 5D
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A6000 or the Canon 5D – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A6000:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 12.7MP) with a 37% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (11 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.2 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (2 EV of extra DR).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- 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 (922k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 152x113mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 551g or 62 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (82 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 5D launch.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 5D:
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Has a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 360) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2005).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6000 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 6 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the A6000 and the 5D in practical situations. 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. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Sony A6000 (⇒ rgt)||Rec||80/100 Gold||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||2014||599||discont.||check|
|Canon 5D (⇒ lft)||88/100||HiRec||reviewed||reviewed||-||2005||3,299||discont.||check|
|Canon 5DS R (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||83/100 Silver||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2015||3,699||latest||check|
|Canon 6D (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||83/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2012||2,099||discont.||check|
|Canon 5D Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||82/100 Gold||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2012||3,499||discont.||check|
|Canon 5D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt)||91/100||79/100 HiRec||4/5||5/5||-||2008||3,499||discont.||check|
|Canon 1D Mark II N (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||-||-||-||2005||3,999||discont.||check|
|Sony A6300 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||85/100 Gold||5/5||5/5||5/5||2016||999||discont.||check|
|Sony A5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||2014||549||latest||check|
|Sony A5000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||-||4.5/5||reviewed||4.5/5||2014||449||discont.||check|
|Sony A3000 (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||-||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||2013||329||discont.||check|
|Sony NEX-3N (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||2013||499||discont.||check|
|Sony NEX-5T (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||2013||699||discont.||check|
|Sony NEX-6 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||78/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2012||999||discont.||check|
|Sony NEX-F3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||74/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2012||599||discont.||check|
|Sony NEX-7 (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||81/100 Gold||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||2011||1,349||discont.||check|
|Sony NEX-3 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||70/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4/5||2010||599||discont.||check|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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 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 the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.
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