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Canon EOS 6D vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III Comparison

We compare the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Canon EOS 6D, both full-frame Digital SLRs from Canon, but with a big price difference.

|  Canon EOS 6D in Digital SLRs
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Canon Eos 5d MarkIII Vs Canon Eos 6d To Scale
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Vs Canon EOS 6D*

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III announced last year disappointed some with it's higher than expected price of £2999 (RRP), since then, Canon has announced the Canon EOS 6D with a much more wallet friendly price of £1799 (RRP). Actual prices in shops is different of course, however there is still a large gap, leading many to wonder whether they need a 5D Mark III, or whether the cheaper 6D would do the job. Here we compare the two cameras in our quick comparison review. We have reviewed them, previously, so for full details, please see the following reviews:

Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Review
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR Review

* Images not shown to scale, unless otherwise stated.

Canon EOS 6D vs 5D Mark III Features

Canon Eos 5d MarkIII Vs Canon Eos 6d To Scale 2
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Vs Canon EOS 6D (Shown to scale)

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III didn't appear to be a huge upgrade over the Canon EOS 5D Mark II at first glance, however a number of updates were made, and when compared to the Canon EOS 6D, there are a number of noticeable difference, as outlined below:

Key differences at a glance:

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 6D
22.3mp Full-Frame CMOS sensor 20.3mp Full-Frame CMOS sensor
3.2inch screen, 1040k dots 3.0inch screen, 1040k dots
100% viewfinder 97% viewfinder
Focus points: 61-point, 41cross, -2EV 11-point, 1cross, -3EV
1/8000s shutter speed 1/4000s
6fps continuous shooting 4.5fps continuous shooting
Flash X-sync 1/200 (EX speedlites only) 1/180
Dual CF/SD 1 SD slot
None Wi-Fi / GPS built in
Headphone / Mic / PC-Sync socket Mic socket only
950 shots battery life 1090 shots battery life
950g 680g body only weight
152 x 116.4 x 76.4mm (WHD) 144.5 x 110.5 x 71.2mm  (WHD)

Canon EOS 5D Mark III overlaid with Canon EOS 6D
Image courtesy of Canon

Both cameras feature built in HDR creation, multiple exposure, AF Micro-adjustment, full HD video recording, electronic level (dual axis on the 5D Mark III), the same ISO settings from ISO50 to ISO102400 when expanded and similar layout of controls. The Canon EOS 6D has a silent single and continuous shooting mode for quieter operation.

Canon EOS 6D vs 5D Mark III Handling

Canon Eos 5d MarkIII Top Canon Eos 6d Dslr Large (7)

Handling - Both cameras have a familiar layout of main controls and options, with the 5D Mark III featuring a larger scroll wheel on the back and a larger memory card cover due to the support of CompactFlash cards. Also noticeable is the difference in size and weight of these cameras, with the 5D Mark III weighing in at 950g compared to the 6D's relatively light 680g. The Canon EOS 6D feels comfortable in the hand and the lighter body helps if you are using the camera for any length of time. Both cameras offer weather-sealing to the same specifications. The 5D Mark III offers a joystick styled controller for moving through menu options or controls on the rear screen, this can be a little easier to use than the directional control pad on the rear of the 6D, which occassionally can feel a little small.

Canon Eos 5d MarkIII-rear Direct Canon Eos 6d Dslr Large (8)

Menus – The Canon menus are well laid out with the sections colour coded to provide simpler access to each main area, however the Canon EOS 5D Mark III offers a number of focus menus and case scenarios, as well as more direct access to Custom menus, whereas the 6D has a number of custom menu options hidden in a submenu.

Canon Eos 5d MarkIII Battery Canon Eos 6d Dslr Large (1)

Battery life - The Canon EOS 6D will suffer decreased battery life if the Wi-Fi and GPS features are used.

  Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 6D
CIPA rating 950 1090
Actual 930 700

The Canon EOS 6D was used with Wi-Fi and Live view which drained the battery noticeably.

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

  Canon EOS 5D MKIII Canon EOS 6D
Shutter Response 0.05 0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.15 0.3
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.15 0.3
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 0.5 0.35
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.6 0.3
Shot to Shot with Flash N/A N/A
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
6fps (19 shots) 4.5fps (28 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW 6fps (11 shots) 4.5fps (13 shots)

Shutter response, focus and shot to shot times from both cameras is very quick, and there is a slight advantage in the speed of the 5D Mark III's continuous shooting speed, as well as focus.

Canon EOS 6D vs 5D Mark III Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Canon EOS 6D Review, and Canon EOS 5D Mark III Review.

Canon EOS 6D ISO test images

Canon EOS 5D Mark III ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - You can view full size images by clicking "High Res" on the required image. We have shown crops below from each camera side by side:

Actual Pixels, High ISO comparison 6D vs 5D Mark III

Actual view at 100%. The Canon EOS 6D delivers usable images at ISO25600, and perhaps even ISO51200, whereas the 5D Mark III struggles at ISO25600, and definitely at ISO51200. The most noticeable difference is when you view the ISO102400 images, where it's clear the 5D Mark III is struggling to control the levels of noise.

Canon EOS 6D White-balance test images

Canon EOS 5D Mark III White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Both cameras perform well under a variety of lighting conditions, and this shouldn't cause any issues, particularly as you're able to correct any issues when shooting RAW. Both cameras give similar results whether shooting in Auto WB mode or using one of the presets, although the Canon EOS 6D images are slightly more neutral than the 5D Mark III.

Video - Both cameras share very similar video specifications, however the 5D Mark III adds a headphone socket, a larger screen, and dual memory card slots may also be advantageous for longer recording.

Value For Money

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is available for £2335 vs £1599 for the Canon EOS 6D, a saving of £736. The Canon EOS 6D is available for £1599 body only, this makes it rougly £730 cheaper than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, leaving you a decent amount of money to spend on a lens.

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Canon EOS 6D vs 5D Mark III Verdict

  Canon EOS 6D: based on price the Canon EOS 6D delivers a boat load of features along with GPS and Wi-Fi for significantly less money.
Both cameras are capable of delivering stunning image quality with excellent colour and detail.

The Canon EOS 6D is noticeably cheaper than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, making the case for the 5D Mark III even more difficult to justify.

The Canon EOS 6D may deliver lower resolution images (20mp vs 22mp), however this gives the 6D the benefit of lower noise at higher ISOs. The Canon EOS 6D also benefits from a smaller body, as well as built in GPS and Wi-Fi, although these last two features do have a negative effect on battery life when used. The Canon EOS 6D has noticeably less focus points, just 11 compared to 61 on the 5D Mark III, which could be another concern for some.

The optical viewfinder in the Canon EOS 6D isn't a full size (97% vs 100%) viewfinder like the 5D Mark III, however it does have the benefit of allowing it to be swapped out for an alternative viewfinder if required. The 6D also features a slightly smaller 3inch screen, instead of the 3.2inch screen on the 5D Mark III, as well as slower continuous shooting. Another potentially off-putting negative of the 6D is the lack of a headphone socket on the 6D which could be of concern for video recording (although this could be resolved by an external audio recorder).

In this day and age of austerity, perhaps a full frame camera packed full of features is exactly what is needed, and while the Canon EOS 5D Mark III delivers a higher specification, you can save a lot of money by going for the more compact Canon EOS 6D, and spend some of the money you've saved on a lens instead. For those looking to upgrade to a full-frame Digital SLR, the Canon EOS 6D fits the bill very nicely.

Canon EOS 6D Digital SLR Review
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR Review

Comparison Table

Canon EOS 5D Mark IIICanon EOS 6D
Effective Magnification1x1x
Image Sensor
Pixels22.3Mp (Megapixels)20.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)57605472
Pixels (H)38403648
Sensor SizeFull FrameFull-Frame
Sensor Size (width)36mm36mm
Sensor Size (height)24mm24mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 3:2
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3.2in3in
Screen resolution1040k dots1,040,000 dot
Touch ScreenNoNo
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Multi
  • Centre
  • AF Fine Tuning (Micro Adjustment)
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/8000sec1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec30sec
Bulb modeYesYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Multi Pattern
  • Partial
  • Spot
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Partial
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity50 - 10240050 - 102400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Bracket
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Bracket
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
  • Incandescent
Exposure Comp+/-5+/-5
Magnification0.71xNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting6fps4.5fps
Movie modeYesYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS29.97, 25, 23.976 fps1080p at 30,25,24fps, 720p and 480 recorded at 50/60fps
Stereo SoundYesNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYesYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNoNo
Card Type
  • CF1
  • CF2
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E6Rechargeable Lithium-Ion LP-E6
Battery Life (CIPA rating)950shots1090shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo DataEOS 6D, Eyecup Eb, Camera Cover R-F-3, Wide Strap EW-EOS 6D, Battery Pack LP-E6 (Except JP/CN), Rechargeable Li-ion battery LP-E6 Battery
View Full DetailsView Full Details

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Photographs taken using the Canon EOS 6D

Awaiting restorationPerfumed GardenCrete - Evening Sun IIIDawn GlowA feiry sunset on the cutThe Last DropletWater sports dangerNot the normal viewCrete - Sunrise - Incomming TidePortrait.Antony Gormley: Another Time, MargateCrete - Evening Sun IIMargate StepsThe Toll Bridge

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JackAllTog Plus
13 6.4k 58 United Kingdom
8 Feb 2013 9:58AM
Super to see them side by side, looks at the noise performance of the 6D - wow.
This is probably the most realistically possibly affordable camera I've ever wanted, in part for the noise performance that would be possible at party events; Also for the FF capability that would give me a new working perspective on studio work and richer colours from the bigger pixels.

Wifi might be useful too - especially if it could be used to auto transfer the jpgs to a viewing screen as the shot went on.
So now just need to find the difference between selling my 60D and my trusty APS-c Sigma 10-20mm lens buying the body above, perhaps by June.
The 24-105mm would become my new wide angle for a while - the sigma was an effective 16-32, so i'll get to keep half that range anyway.
11 5.3k 128 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 12:02PM
A well written comprehensive review. Being an owner of a 7D and several other Canon models, I have been toying with the idea of moving up to full frame imaging for some time.

From what you have said in your review, along with others that I have read since its launch Canon have really shot themselves in the foot with the launch of the 6D. A differing price tag of 1000 compared to that of the 5D MkIII RRP is a lot of money, and if the big boys can afford a 5D MkIII let them carry on.

I shall be seriously thinking about and saving for the 6D.

Once again a great review, thank you for taking the time out to carry it out.

"Let's home I find a moderately rich benefactor in the near future?"

13 Feb 2013 2:55PM
Very interesting review but I'm confused by the ISO test images you present here. Are the jpegs images shot in jpeg mode or a jpeg conversion of the the original RAW files? If the former then they are pretty meaningless as they will have been subjected to Canons in-camera processing and looking at the smoothness of some of the higher ISO ones that would be appear to be the case.

The set of images for the 5D III have a RAW file links but none of these seem to work so I can't down load the RAW files to check. I have a 5D mk-III myself and I find I start to see noise, loose detail and contrast from around ISO 800 onwards. I recently shot some at ISO 1250 and most I thought were unusable for full size prints, so I'm rather mystified by the ISO shots you present.
joshwa Plus
11 927 1 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 5:01PM
Hi John,

They are JPEG images straight from the camera to show what cameras are capable of. We will have a look at the RAW links as they should work.


14 Feb 2013 1:25AM
Enjoyable read, thanks for the review. However I should perhaps point out that the weather sealing is not the same for both bodies as you suggested. While Canon state that the same sealing is used on the parts of the 6D that does have sealing, not all the parts of the 6D are sealed. Canon have released cutaway drawings of both bodies to the press which show that in respect of the 6D, there is no sealing under the shutter button and mode dial. There is also only one gasket and a precision fitted part on the rear control dial. The 5D3 on the other hand has gaskets under both the shutter and mode dials and 2 gaskets and a precision fitted part on the rear control dial.

I do agree that when introduced, the 5D3 was offered at a horrendous price. Had it been priced similarly to the 5D2 at launch, this would have been a lot more reasonable.

I wonder if a comparative review should rightly be presented since these are two quite different cameras. The 6D is aimed at those upgrading from a APS-C body to FF and as a possible back up unit to a 5D3 owner while the 5D3 is essentially a more versatile camera, shooting faster than the 1Ds3 and employing a AI Servo system that is out of the 1Dx. From a price POV one could perhaps justify a comparative overview but I think it should be noted that this is almost a case of comparing apples and oranges. The 6D is a newer body, hence possessing attributes which the 5D3 or indeed 1Dx do not have. But the other two bodies as stated, are not in a similar category to the 6D. A user of the 5D3 or 1Dx can, though at great cost, add on wifi and GPS capabilities to match the 6D but the 6D will always shoot no faster than 4.5 fps nor provide beyond a solus cross point AF point and not any more than 11 AF points in total or indeed provide an advanced AI servo system. You may also think twice about taking the 6D out in the rain. To many, these are noteworthy attributes and while the 6D does offer a great price saving, it does not offer a user a comparable body to the 5D3 beyond providing a FF sensor and marginal performance on noise levels.

Just a thought or two and all my 2c as they say.
hi john
i'm about to get a student loan and blow it bigstyle on canon.i'm all decided for the L series for the lenses but,allthough this was very usefull i have not reached a conclusion. i dig the wi-fi on one side but those extra 2 mpixel do marvells for my my shoes(i'm starting an hnd in photography in sept. and come from a battle-hardened eos 50d)would you say i can justify splashing a grand more on the mark iii?
please say yes anyway.
thank you
13 May 2013 3:54PM
RAW file links are still broken.
markjh 9 Singapore
2 Jun 2013 8:09AM
Great review. I use the Mk III as my main camera, with the 6D for second lens/back-up, thanks to a birthday and a wonderful wife.

I like both and agree the 6D is better value for money overall. However, the 5D really scores on AF performance. I notice the AF on the 6D is significantly slower, as you'd expect.

Also, the HDR on the 6D only keeps JPG files, whereas the Mk III keeps RAW files. I use the HDR function a lot, as an easy auto-bracketing function & this is a big disadvantage to me.

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