Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs 6D: 14 key differences explained


Which full-frame DSLR from Canon is the best choice for your needs? In their latest guest post, the team at Photoventure weigh the pros and cons of each in their Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs 6D comparison.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs 6D: which full-frame DSLR should you choose?

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 6D are both full-frame Canon DSLRs which use the same lenses and offer near-identical resolution.

But under the skin are some important differences which make it very important that you choose the right one.

So here’s a run-down on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs 6D and everything you need to know to decide which one is right for you.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs 6D: 01 Sensor

The sensors in both cameras are full-frame CMOS types, but where the EOS 6D has a 20.2-megapixel sensor, the EOS 5D Mark III has 22.3 million pixels.

This is the highest-resolution sensor Canon makes, although the difference is just 2 million pixels, which you’re hardly likely to notice in everyday shooting.

SEE MORE: Canon lenses – 40 tips for using, choosing and buying Canon-fit glass

Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs 6D: 02 Lenses

Both cameras use Canon’s full-frame EF lenses. Both are available in body only form, but you can find them bundled with Canon’s general-purpose 24-105mm f/4 L-series kit lens too.

The point to bear in mind about the EOS 6D is that although it’s an inexpensive route into full-frame photography, it’s like other Canon full-frame cameras – you can’t fit the EF-S lenses used by the smaller-format APS-C Canon models.

If you are upgrading from one of these, you may need to set aside a good deal of extra cash for new lenses, whichever camera you choose.

Having said that, the price difference between the EOS 5D Mark III and the EOS 6D is enough to get you a couple of extra lenses!

SEE MORE: Canon Project1709 – 10 things you need to know before getting started

Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs 6D: 03 Autofocus

The EOS 5D Mark III uses Canon’s latest autofocus system, which has 61 AF points, of which 41 are the more efficient cross-type. It’s a highly-sophisticated (and complex) AF system which can be adapted to any kind of photography.

In stark contrast, the EOS 6D uses a simple 11-point system with just one central cross-type sensor. It’s adequate for everyday photography but much cruder.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs 6D: 04 Exposure

The EOS 5D Mark III is designed for experts and offers the big four exposure modes: Program AE, Shutter priority, Aperture priority and Manual. There are three user-definable Custom modes but no scene modes.

The EOS 6D is designed more for amateurs and enthusiasts, adding scene modes to help novices get better landscapes or portraits, for example, and smooth the learning curve for those upgrading from a compact or amateur EOS model.

The 63-zone dual-layer metering sensor is the same in both cameras, and both offer Evaluative (multi-segment), Partial, Spot and Centre weighted modes.

There are small differences, though. The EOS 5D Mark III uses tighter metering areas than the 6D in both Partial (6.2% vs 8%) and Spot modes (1.5% vs 3.5%). It’s designed for experts who need accuracy, whereas the 6D makes a greater allowance for user error when choosing the areas to take meter readings from.


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  • The Canon 6D has a 3-inch rear LCD screen not 3.2-inch..