Canon 6D vs Canon 5D Mark ii: Differences and how do they compare?

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Canon is one of the most popular DSLR camera brands. It has a wide variety of DSLR offerings that cater to amateur photographers, hobbyists, and professional users. Canon DSLRs are classified by the type of sensor that they use.

Crop-sensor cameras are known as crop-frame while full-frame-sensor cameras are known as full-frame. Two of Canon’s full-frame cameras are very popular – the Canon 6D and the Canon 5D Mark ii.

Both of these models are old and have been superseded by newer models. However, if you are planning to buy these models for a discount or if you happen to find a great deal for a used model, then the following information will help you make a decision.

In this guide, we will compare the various specifications of these two models and see how they stack up against each other.

Megapixels

Canon-5D-Mark-ii

Megapixels in a camera are a marketer’s favorite metric. They make sure that it is mentioned in most ads or even the box of the camera. Megapixels are nothing but the resolution of the image that the camera captures. They represent the quality of the image. The more the megapixels, the more detail the picture can show.

One megapixel is one million pixels. Each pixel is a small square and millions of such squares make up the overall image. While a higher number of megapixels should be desired when selecting a camera, it is not the most important metric. Sometimes, cameras with a lower megapixel capability can actually give you better images. So, megapixels should be looked at in conjunction with other metrics.

The Canon 5D Mark ii offers 21.1 megapixels while the Canon 6D offers 20.2 megapixels.

+1 for the Canon 5D Mark ii

Sensor Size

The sensor in a camera is perhaps the most vital component that determines image quality. Full-frame sensors are usually 36mm X 24mm. The pixels of the full-frame sensor are also larger in size than those of a crop-sensor. Full-frame sensors also capture more of the view that is visible to you when you frame an image.

As both, the Canon 5D Mark ii and the Canon 6D, are full-frame sensors, they provide superior image quality. The Canon 5D Mark ii has a standard 36mm X 24mm sensor giving a maximum resolution of 5616 X 3744. The Canon 6D, on the other hand, has a 35.8mm X 23.9mm sensor giving a maximum resolution of 5472 X 3648.

+1 for the Canon 5D Mark ii

Autofocus

A camera’s autofocus system is important in order to capture sharp-looking images. Whether you use your camera for landscape photography or portraits with a bokeh effect, having a powerful autofocus system makes a big difference in terms of quality.

A camera’s autofocus system consists of multiple autofocus points. There are two types of points, vertical and cross-type. Cross-type points are two-dimensional while vertical points are one-dimensional.

The more cross-type points the autofocus system has, the better is the performance. So, it is desirable to have more autofocus points and a higher proportion of cross-type points.

The Canon 5D Mark ii has 9 autofocus points and one of them is cross-type. The Canon 6D has 11 autofocus points with 1 cross-type.

+1 for the Canon 6D

ISO Range

The ISO function controls the light sensitivity. Low-light conditions such as night photography require higher light sensitivity while daytime conditions with bright weather require lower sensitivity. Changing the ISO gives a degree of freedom to play around with your aperture and shutter speed settings in order to get the perfect image.

Given the importance of ISO, it is logical that the wider the ISO range, the better the performance of the camera in a wide variety of environments. The Canon 5D Mark ii comes with an enabled ISO range of 100 to 6400, though it can be expanded to a range of 50 to 25600. The Canon 6D comes with an enabled ISO range of 100 to 25600 which can be further expanded to a range of 50 to 102400.

+1 for the Canon 6D

Video Resolution

Canon-6D

If you plan to use your DSLR for filming video, then the resolution that the camera can capture along with the frame rate becomes an important consideration. The higher the resolution the sharper and more detailed the video. The larger the frame rate, the more you can slow the video down and still get a smooth-looking movement.

The Canon 5D Mark ii, being a slightly older model than the Canon 6D, is capable of capturing a maximum resolution of 1920 X 1080 at 30 frames per second. It can also capture 640 X 480 at 30 frames per second. The Canon 6D is capable of capturing a maximum resolution of 1920 X 1080 at 30 frames per second. It can also capture 1280 X 720 at 60 frames per second.

+1 for the Canon 6D

Battery Life

The battery life of a camera is all about making it last for as long as possible without recharging. The longer the battery life, the more shots you can take on your camera without interruptions. The battery life of a camera also becomes important in instances where you have to shoot in an outdoor location or away from civilization.

The battery life of a camera is usually expressed as the number of pictures that the camera can take from full charge to zero charge. That number is 850 (viewfinder mode) for the Canon 5D Mark ii and 1090 (viewfinder mode) for the Canon 6D.

+1 for the Canon 6D

Interface Screen

Cameras come with a variety of screens, fixed and flexible, as part of the user interface. It allows the camera user to interact with the camera and adjust the settings. Neither the Canon 5D Mark ii or the Canon 6D has a flexible screen that can tilt or move at an angle. Such a feature is very useful for those who plan to use the camera for video.

Both the Canon 5D Mark ii and the Canon 6D come with an LCD screen which is fixed to the body. There are 25 different languages to choose from. The only difference is the number of pixels or dots on the LCD screen. The Canon 5D Mark ii has 920,000 dots while the Canon 6D has 1,040,000 dots. Both cameras are pretty much on par when it comes to LCD screens.

Connectivity

Connectivity options allow you to transfer images, RAW files, video files, and data onto a computer. Wireless connectivity allows you to transfer data wirelessly. Having multiple connectivity options is always desirable.

The Canon 5D Mark ii does not have any wireless connectivity options like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The Canon 6D does have Wi-Fi functionality. Both the Canon 5D mark ii and the 6D have HDMI Type C output and high-speed USB connectivity.

+1 for the Canon 6D

Size and Weight

Let’s admit it – we all want the most powerful camera in the most compact format. We do not like to carry bulky things around with us. Cameras with a smaller and lighter body are, therefore, considered to be more desirable.

Whether you use the camera for work, at a holiday, or for a family function, holding and carrying around a lighter smaller camera is something that many people find to be a valuable feature. The Canon 5D Mark ii measures 152mm X 113.5mm X 75mm and weighs 810 grams. The Canon 6D measures 144.5mm X 110.5mm X 71.2mm and weighs 680 grams. So, on both weight and size metrics, the Canon 6D fares better than the Canon 5D Mark ii.

+1 for the Canon 6D

Price

The price of a camera can be a significant deciding factor for any purchaser. For those buyers who do not have any budget limits, going for the camera with the most features makes sense. However, for others who have to stay within certain limits, prioritizing the most useful features becomes a way of picking a camera for purchase.

The Canon 5D Mark ii can be availed of on Amazon for $799. The Canon 6D, on the other hand, can be bought online for around $820 to $850. So, on the pricing front, the Canon 5D Mark ii fares slightly better than the Canon 6D.

+1 for the Canon 5D Mark ii

Strengths of Canon 6D

✔ Megapixels
✔ Autofocus
✔ ISO Range
✔ Battery Life
✔ Video Resolution
✔ Battery Life
✔ Connectivity
✔ Size and Weight

Strengths of Canon 5D Mark ii

✔ Sensor
✔ Price

Total Scores

By adding up the strengths of each camera model, let us see how the two models stack up:

Canon 6D: 8

Canon 5D Mark ii: 2

A metric by metric comparison suggests that the Canon 6D wins hands down. However, it does not mean that anyone reading this guide should blindly go and purchase it.

Specifications Table

Canon 5D Mark iiCanon 6D
Dimensions152mm X 113.5mm X 75mm144.5mm X 110.5mm X 71.2mm
Weight810 grams680 grams
Megapixels21.120.2
Resolution1920 X 1080 at 30 fps
640 X 480 at 30 fps
1920 X 1080 at 30 fps
1280 X 720 at 60 fps
Sensor Size36mm X 24mm35.8mm X 23.9mm
Autofocus9 autofocus points (1 cross-type)11 autofocus points (1 cross-type)
ISO Range100 to 6400 (expandable 50 to 25600)100 to 25600 (expandable 50 to 102400)
Battery Life8501090
ConnectivityUSB (high speed), HDMI Type CUSB (high speed), HDMI Type C, Wi-Fi
Price$799$820 – $850

So which camera is better?

Both the Canon 5D Mark ii and the Canon 6D have their own strengths. In terms of absolute numbers, the Canon 6D offers significantly superior features than the Canon 5D Mark ii. However, the two core performance metrics, megapixels and sensor size, which affect image quality, are slightly superior in the Canon 5D Mark ii. Hence, photographers focused on image quality might want to consider the Canon 5D Mark ii over the Canon 6D.

For those who desire a lighter smaller camera with more battery life and Wi-Fi capability, the Canon 6D makes sense. Besides, the Canon 6D is only $20 to $50 more expensive than the Canon 5D Mark ii. So, price-wise, there isn’t a major difference between the two models.

Users who plan to utilize their camera for video filming may also want to look at the Canon 6D. The model can do 1080 full HD at 30 fps and 720p at 60 fps. A frame rate of 60 per second is sufficient for making reasonable quality slow-motion videos.

We hope that you found this comparison guide useful. After going through the information above, you should have a good understanding of what the key strong points for each model are. Understanding the specifications and how they compare for both the Canon 5D Mark ii and the Canon 6D will enable you to make the right purchase decision.