The Canon 6D DSLR vs 5D Mark III – Head-to-Head Comparison

Today’s consumers have a wide variety of options for full frame DSLR cameras with the Canon 6D and the Canon 5D Mark III being among the best on the market.  Introduced in 2013, the 5D Mark III was a follow up model of the extremely popular 5D Mark II, while the 6D was a completely new camera introduced to capture the budget full frame camera market. Although both cameras are a couple of years old now, they are both still leaders of the pack in full frame DSLR cameras.

In a rush? Check out my high level overview of the advantages of the Canon 6D vs 5D Mark III:

Canon 6D Advantages Canon 5D Mark III Advantages
More lightweight (25.7 ounces vs 33.5) Slightly higher megapixels (22.3 vs 20.2 for the 6D)
Almost $2000 less expensive (see this listing) 61 Autofocus points (instead of just 11 on the 6D)
Faster shutter speed
Double memory card capacity (single for 6D)
Slightly bigger LCD screen
100% viewfinder coverage (vs 97% for 6D)

Canon EOS 6D | Amazon
$1,699.00

EOS 6D is the world's lightest full-frame DSLR equipped with a 20.2 megapixel CMOS sensor with a precision 11-point AF system and also offers built-in WiFi and GPS support.

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05/26/2022 05:22 am GMT

For the full details, read my in depth comparison below.

Canon 6D vs 5D Mark III Similarities

Although the 6D and the 5D Mark III are in many ways very different cameras, they do share a number of similarities including excellent image quality sharing the same processor, having identical ISO range and the ability to shoot video.  The heart of both cameras is the Digic 5+ processor, which like the CMOS sensor, is key to both the 6D and 5D Mark III capturing excellent images.

The normal ISO range of both cameras is 100-25,600, with both cameras having the ability to shoot at lower and higher ISO settings using the Lo-1 (50 ISO), H1 (51,200 ISO) and H2 (102,400) settings.  While these high ISO capabilities are impressive, it is important for the photographer to keep in mind that the images may be soft, as the noise reducing software used in today’s cameras tends to eliminate detail at very high ISO settings.

As with almost all DSLR cameras on the market, the 6D and the 5D Mark III are both capable of shooting high definition video at 1920 x 1080 at speeds of 29.97, 23.976 and 25 frames per second.  All video is recorded to the camera’s memory card in MOV format, while still images are captured in JPEG or RAW format.

Canon 5D Mark III | Amazon
$2,999.00

While it's not a no-brainer upgrade over the Mark II, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is worth the price premium if better performance and reconfigurability matter to you.

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05/26/2022 06:16 am GMT

Differences to Consider

While very similar, there are a number of subtle differences between the 6D and 5D Mark III.  These differences, while relatively small, resulted in the 6D being priced significantly lower than the 5D Mark III.  These differences include megapixel count, autofocus points, viewfinder coverage, speed as measured in frames per second, shutter speed, card slots and memory format, as well as LCD size, size, weight and WIFI / GPS / Wireless capabilities.

Image: The 6D captures images at 20.2 megapixels, while the 5D Mark III captures images at 22.3 megapixels.  While the difference may appear significant, in reality the images are virtually indistinguishable.

Autofocus: Another difference between the two cameras in the cameras autofocus system, with the 5D Mark III having 61 autofocus points, while the 6D has 11 autofocus points.

Viewfinder: The two cameras also differ in the coverage of the viewfinders, with the 6D having 97% coverage, while the 5D Mark III has 100% coverage.

FPS: While both cameras are relatively fast and suitable for most sports shooting, the 6D shoots slightly slower at 4.5 frames per second, while the 5D Mark III shoots at 6 frames per second.

Shuter Speed: Related to this is the shutter speeds of the two cameras with the 5D Mark III having a shutter speed ranging from, 1/8,000 to 30 seconds, while the 6D has a significantly slower shutter speed of 1/4,000 to 30 seconds.

Memory Card: The 6D and the 5D Mark III differ in the number of card slots and the type of memory used, with the 6D having a single slot capable of using SD, SDHC or SDXC cards.  The 5D Mark III has two slots, with one holding SD, SDHC or SDXC cards and the second slot using larger CF cards.

LCD Display: While both cameras have fixed LCD screens, the screen on the 5D Mark III is slightly bigger at 3.2” compared to the screen on the 6D, which is 3.0”.

Dimensions and Weight: The 6D is slightly smaller than the 5D Mark III, with the 6D measuring 5.7” x 4.4” x 2.8”, while the 5D Mark III measures 6.0” x 4.4” x 3.0”.  There is also a significant weight difference between the two cameras with the 5D Mark III weighing 33.5 ounces, while the 6D weighs only 25.7 ounces.  Another difference between the two cameras is the lack of WIFI, GPS and Wireless capabilities in the 5D Mark III.

Canon EOS 6D | Amazon
$1,699.00

EOS 6D is the world's lightest full-frame DSLR equipped with a 20.2 megapixel CMOS sensor with a precision 11-point AF system and also offers built-in WiFi and GPS support.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/26/2022 05:22 am GMT

Pros and Cons of Both

Canon 6D

Pros: While the image quality of the 6D is virtually identical to the 5D Mark III, the biggest “pro” to the 6D is the excellent value it represents for a full frame camera and is priced extremely competitively at $1,699 for the body only, while the 5D Mark III is priced at $2,700 for the body only.

Cons: The biggest “con” of the 6D is the lack of an internal flash unit, which is very useful in dim lighting situations or as fill in flash.  The 5D Mark III shares this “con” as well.  Another “con” of the 6D is the single memory slot.  While memory card failures are rare, two slots are useful, especially when recording images in both JPEG and RAW.

Canon 5D Mark III

Pros: The 5D Mark III’s biggest “pro” is the inclusion of three user defined custom settings, where the photographer can instantly recall the settings by simply turning knob on the top of the camera.  While the 6D has two, the 5D Mark III has three.  Another “pro” of the 5D Mark III is the camera’s slightly faster shutter speed and frames per second rate.

Cons: Other than the lack of a built in flash, the only other “con” of the 5D Mark III is the high cost of the camera.   Depending upon the lens selected, a photographer could end up spending $4,000 plus on a basic kit, which is a significant amount of money for most people.

Side-By-Side Features Comparison

While most serious photographers look at image quality over technical specifications, many feel that the specifications are equally important.  The Canon 6D and the Canon 5D Mark III both have excellent image quality, as well as technical specifications, which are shown in the table below.

Item Canon 6D Canon 5D Mark III
Year Introduced 2012 2012
Format Full Frame Full Frame
Megapixels 20.2 22.3
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Processor Digic 5+ Digic 5+
Image Format RAW or JPEG RAW or JPEG
Sensor Size 35.8 mm x 23.9mm 36.0 mm x 24.0 mm
Sensor Cleaner Yes Yes
Auto-focus Points 11 61, Including 41 Cross-Type Points
Modes Aperture Priority (A), Manual (M), Program (P), Shutter Priority (S), Special Scene Aperture Priority (A), Manual (M), Program (P), Shutter Priority (S)
Metering TTL Metering With 63 Zone SPC TTL Metering With 63 Zone SPC
View Finder Coverage 97% 100%
Live View Yes Yes
Frames Per Second 4.5 6
ISO 100 –25600 100 –25600
Lowest Expandable ISO Lo-1 (50) Lo-1 (50)
Highest Expandable ISO H1 (51200)

H2 (102400)

H1 (51200)

H2 (102400)

Shutter Speed Range 1/4,000 – 30 Seconds 1/8,000 – 30 Seconds
Built In Flash No No
Card Slots 1 2
Card Type SD, SDHC, SDXC SD, SDHC, SDXC and CF
LCD Size 3.0” 3.2”
LCD Fixed or Swivel Fixed Fixed
Video Yes, Full HD Yes, Full HD
Video Type / Speed 1920 x 1080 at 29.97p, 23.976 or 25p.  Other Types As Well 1920 x 1080 at 29.97p, 23.976 or 25p.  Other Types As Well
Video Format MOV MOV
Internal Autofocus Motor No No
GPS Yes No
Wireless Yes No
WIFI Yes No
Battery LP-E6 LP-E6
Unique Features C1 and C2 Settings, Mostly Magnesium Alloy Body C1, C2 and C3 Settings, Magnesium Alloy Body
Size Without Lens 5.7” x 4.4” x 2.8” 6.0” x 4.6” x 3.0”
Weight Without Lens 25.7 Ounces 33.5 Ounces
Manufactured In Japan Japan
Body Only or with Kit Lens Both Options Available Both Options Available
Included Accessories Lp-E6 Battery, LC-E6 Battery Charger, Eyecup, AVC DC400ST Stereo AV Cable, IFC-200U USB Interface Cable, EW EOS 6D Wide Neck Strap, Software Disk Lp-E6 Battery, LC-E6 Battery Charger, Eyecup, AVC DC400ST Stereo AV Cable, IFC-200U USB Interface Cable, EW EOS 5D Mark III Wide Neck Strap, Software Disk, Software Instruction Manual
MSRP, Body Only Around $1,699, see here for lowest price see here for lowest price
Cost With Kit Lens (Various Lens Options Available) Varies Depending On Lens Varies Depending On Lens

*Information from Canon’s website, including pricing.

Final Take 5D Mark III vs 6D – Which Would I go With?

The Canon 6D and 5D Mark III are both remarkable cameras and produce excellent results in the images that they capture.  Either would be an excellent choice for a photographer looking for a full frame camera, however I prefer the 6D for several reasons including the light weight, simpler autofocus system and overall value.

A lightweight kit is really important in the type of outdoor and street photography that I do, which often involves walking for hours at a time.  Every ounce in my bag makes a difference between an enjoyable day and a really bad day.  I shoot mostly with prime lenses and a 35mm, 50mm or 85mm lenses attached to the 6D is the perfect set up!  No need for a zoom lens as the 6D offers enough resolution to allow the images captured with one of these prime lenses to be cropped.

While more might seem to be better, I found the 61 autofocus points in the 5D Mark III to be distracting and hard to use, especially while on the move in the field.  While it just may be a matter of getting use to the 5D Mark III’s autofocus system, I found the 11 autofocus points on the 6D to be more than sufficient for my needs.

Finally, the Canon 6D is an outstanding value for an advanced full frame camera (see here for a significantly discounted price).  While the 6D is sold with a number of kit options including the popular 24-105mm f4 L lens, I would recommend that you buy the body only and invest in either one really good L series prime lens or a couple of Canon’s Non L lenses.  Great lenses are timeless if taken care of, but bodies come and go due to technological advancements.  At the end of the day, either camera would meet the needs of any serious photographer.

Canon EOS 6D | Amazon
$1,699.00

EOS 6D is the world's lightest full-frame DSLR equipped with a 20.2 megapixel CMOS sensor with a precision 11-point AF system and also offers built-in WiFi and GPS support.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/26/2022 05:22 am GMT

The Camera Guide Team
 

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