Canon 6D VS 5D Mark III: Which One Should You Buy?

Canon 6D VS 5D Mark IIIAs any serious photographer will know, a full-frame camera is the standard for good photography. The level of quality a full-frame DSLR sensor provides is far above that of an APS-C or smaller sensor. Canon have a great range of full-frame DSLRs that range from the enthusiast-level to professional-level. Two such cameras are the Canon 6D and the 5D Mark III. Both are excellent cameras, but which one should you buy? We’ll take a look at the Canon 6D vs 5D Mark III to find out the similarities, differences, and everything you need to know to make the right choice.

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Canon 6D VS 5D Mark III: Technical Details


We’ll start by looking at some of the key features that you should look for in a camera, and compare those of the Canon 6D vs 5D Mark III. We’ll examine how each one is kitted out, and which is better suited to your needs.

Price

  • Canon 6D (Body Only): $1400
  • Canon 5D Mark III (Body Only): $2300

There’s no escaping the fact that, for most of us, the price will be the determining factor in a purchase. As you can see, at the time of writing there’s quite a difference between these two cameras. The 5D Mark III is nearly $1000 more than the 6D. Although this does reflect the gap in quality to a degree, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider the 6D.

Build Quality

Both of these cameras have the signature Canon DSLR look. They’re fairly bulky, but they do fit in the hand well and are certainly ergonomic. The 5D Mark III is definitely built the best though. If you hold the two side-by-side, you’ll notice the difference in quality; the Mark III feels sturdier and better-built. It feels like a professional camera. The 6D is sturdy enough though, and will definitely be able to take a few knocks if you travel with it.

Size and Weight

  • Canon 6D: 755g/1.6lbs.
  • Canon 5D Mark III: 950g/2.1 lbs.

The 6D is Canon’s lightest full-frame DSLR camera, weighing in at 755g. The 5D Mark III, thanks to its sturdy build, is 950g. That’s quite a difference and may be a factor if you’re planning on doing a lot of travelling with you camera. If you have to carry it around all day, the extra 200g will eventually weigh you down. Don’t forget, the weight excludes lenses (although it does include battery and memory card).

Resolution

  • Canon 6D: 20.2-megapixels.
  • Canon 5D Mark III: 3-megapixels.

Although more megapixels aren’t necessarily the mark of higher-quality images, they are relevant if you plan on printing out large-scale photographs or do a lot of cropping. The 5D Mark III has the edge here, with a 22.3-megapixel sensor, compared to 20.2-megapixels on the 6D. This makes the images from the 5D Mark III slightly higher-resolution, meaning you’ll be able to producer larger images and crop more.

Storage

  • Canon 6D: One card slot.
  • Canon 5D Mark III: One SD and one CF slot.

One of the features that really show that the Mark III is a pro-level camera is the inclusion of two memory card slots. Most mid-range cameras have only one memory card slot and the camera writes saved photos to this. The 5D Mark III has two slots, one for an SD card and one for a Compact Flash card. This means that when you’re shooting, the camera is backing up a second memory card as you go. This is particularly useful for professional photographers who have extra protection against one of the cards failing or becoming corrupted after the shoot.

Autofocus

  • Canon 6D: 11-point AF array with one cross-type AF sensor.
  • Canon 5D Mark III: 61-point AF array with up to 41 cross-type AF sensors.

Another key difference between these cameras is the autofocus. The Canon 5D Mark III once again shows its professional pedigree. A 61-point autofocus array with up to 41-cross-type autofocus sensors makes this one of Canon’s most advanced autofocus systems. Although the 6D has an 11-point array, it only has one cross-type sensor. The cross-type sensors are by far the most accurate way of autofocusing, adjusting to a miniscule level. The fact that the 5D Mark III has so many is what makes it so powerful when it comes to autofocusing. It’s particularly useful when shooting with a shallow depth of field, in a portrait for example, as is gives a higher degree of accuracy across the frame.Wi-Fi and GPS

  • Canon 6D: Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS.
  • Canon 5D Mark III: Wi-Fi and GPS bought separately.

One surprising advantage that the 6D has is its built-in Wi-Fi and GPS. These are features that many modern cameras have, but the slightly older 5D Mark III requires additional hardware to have this functionality. GPS is particularly useful for geotagging. The Canon 6D geotags photos as you take them, so that the data is stored in the meta information on each image. This is helpful for sorting through images in post-production and uploading onto social media.

Built-in Wi-Fi is another convenience feature, allowing users to control their camera through their smartphone, as well as uploading images directly from the 6D to your computer or social platform. The 5D Mark III can only do this by purchasing an extra module that sits in the portrait grip.

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Canon 6D VS 5D Mark III: Which One Should You Buy?


It’s clear that the Canon 5D Mark III is the better camera from an objective point of view. The level of technology in it far exceeds the less expensive 6D. The 5D Mark III excels in all areas, making it the ideal choice for a professional photographer who is looking for a camera to match their expertise. The real selling points are the autofocus sensor, dual memory card slots and resolution. All this isn’t to say that the 6D is a bad camera, it’s far from it. It’s lighter than the 5D Mark III and has better built-in connectivity. It’s also far cheaper; the amount you save by buying a 6D could purchase you one or two professional-level lenses. So, which should you buy?

Buy the 6D if…

You’re an enthusiastic amateur photographer looking to upgrade to a full-frame DSLR. The 6D is a solid choice for anyone with some experience they’re keen to build on. Its sensor has a high enough resolution to produce stunning images, and excellent built-in Wi-Fi and GPS. If you’re travelling and want something lighter than the 5D Mark III, the Canon 6D is a good choice.

Buy the 5D Mark III if…

You’re a professional photographer looking for a camera that won’t let you down when you’re doing your job. The benefits are numerous, and the quality of the camera speaks for itself. If budget isn’t a factor, then the 5D Mark III is an excellent camera for every occasion. Although it’s heavy, it has so many features that make it worth the weight and the price.

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