Customer Review

1,201 of 1,260 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 6D vs 5D Mark III and Nikon D600, October 28, 2012
This review is from: Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only) (Electronics)
Just received a 6D as a backup to my 5D Mark III. I am not going to bore you with the specifications that you can Google to find. I know most of you are reading this because you are getting into an entry level full frame camera or go straight to pro. Among your choices are Canon 6D, 5D Mark III and Nikon D800/D600. Since I do not have a D800 around I won't be able to cover it here but you can find lots of other reviews. This review will be done with a side by side comparison of the actual photos.

ISO noise comparison
After spending the night taking several comparison photos at ISO 3200 F4 1/125, 6400 F4 1/500, 12800 F4 1/250 and 25600 F4 1/1000, here is my conclusion. Photoshop enlarged at 350% shows the 6D has about one stop advantage over the 5D Mark III and 1-1/2 stop over the Nikon D600. That did not come as a surprise since the 6D has the lowest resolution among the 3 DSLR.

Update 12/7/2012: When these photos were reviewed in raw, I discovered the 6D filter setting is different, making it looked like it had lower noise. The 6D is in fact only about half stop better in ISO performance than 5D when compared in raw and one stop better than the Nikon D600.

Auto Focus
5D Mark III is the fastest, then D600 then 6D. They are all very close and hard to tell even in low light condition. All 3 shows remarkable focus speed. 6D occasionally will hunt for split seconds. D600 and 5D both have no hesitation locking in especially the 5D. To compare how fast each focuses, I listened to the motor sound of the lens.

Update 11/26/2013: The center focus cross type sensor on the 6D is more accurate and faster than the 5D and the D600. I use this point focus mode almost exclusively in sports photography.

Auto White Balance
5D Mark III and 6D both have excellent auto white balance under different lighting condition. Nikon D600 however has a greenish or yellowish tone, turning a red rose into orange under fluorescent light. Kelvin level can be corrected of course under Lightroom but it is very difficult to tune it in the camera.

View Finder
5D Mark III has similar view finder as the 6D and both are brighter than the D600. This makes it a lot easier to focus especially in poor light. This is a big deal for my aging eyes and the brighter view finder is truly helpful on the Canon. I believe this is due to larger mirrors used in the Canons. The 6D does not have the 100% view but since I am not a pro, it really does not bother me.

The 6D is the lightest of the 3 cameras but the 6D does not feel cheap in the hands. There is lots of advantage of being light especially I am going to use it on an Octocopter for aerial videos and photos.

Edge sharpness
6D clearly leads here. May be Canon has improved the image processing firmware. 5D is not too far from the 6D but beats the D600.

There is not much of a difference in the mega pixel of these cameras, at least not enough to tell the difference even on a 24 inch monitor.

Updates 2/24/2013
I have compared all 3 cameras extensively in video mode. Most of my videos were aerial filmed from a Turbo Ace hexacopter and octocopter in light wind. So this will be a good test how they performance. First, I found there is no difference on the rolling shutter between the 3 cameras. All DSLR still suffer this problem and this is where some of the cinema cameras such as the Red Scarlet/Epic shine. As for the moire and aliasing the Mark III is the clear winner. I barely notice any moire and aliasing on the roof tops and power lines. If you are going to do video on a more professional level, you should stick with the Mark III unless you invest on a Red or something quite affordable like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema. I was told by a friend that the Pocket Cinema after color grading, can top the 5D video due to its 13 dynamic range. As for the dynamic range, the D600 excels among the 3 cameras but by a narrow margin. The D600 has about 11.5 stops and the Mark III/6D are at 11 stops. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema and Red scarlet/Black Magic have 13-14 stops. Red shoots in 4K/2K which makes it more ideal than any DSLR for video. My only problem shooting video with the Red is flight time as it weights about 10 pounds with all gears. If my Octocopter struggles to keep it in the air, imaging what it is going to do to your arms. I can't wait to see the new Turbo Ace CineWing 6 Hexacopter which will carries the 6D with 15 minutes flight time. It is exciting how these multi rotor copters advanced, allowing me to view the world from a different perspective. I will keep you updated on the aerial photo/cinematography technology with some breath taking aerial photos/video.

Updates 11/24/2013: The 6D gave me about 2 minutes flight time on the Turbo Ace CineWing 6 Hexacopter. That is a total of 14 minutes in the air to get the shots I need. I could shoot photos with a remote trigger from a mile away. Technology has advanced exponentially from last year. The Hexacopter practically flew itself and the aerial photos were jaw dropping.

Updates 12/12/2012:
To see the latest video review, go to Youtube and search for "Canon 6D vs Nikon D600 vs 5D Mark III Hands-On"
Go to[...]
To be honest I am quite impressed by the 6D and so far it's a keeper.
I have kept a record of the 12 photos with 4 different ISO settings for each of the 3 cameras which I will include in my comprehensive upcoming Youtube review.

Updates 12/4/2012: Moire is still best on the Mark III. No DSLR so far comes even close and that includes the 6D. The D600 suffers the same moire syndrome as the other DSLRs. That is disappointing as I was going to shoot lots of video with my Hexacopter Octocopter since it is so light and easy to handle in the air. Now I have to avoid the roof tops.

Between the Canons and Nikons, I've got say I am quite fond of the Nikon D600. It has better dynamic range and I missed the built-in flash on both Canons. The D600 truly shines here as it is inconvenient to lug around a full size flash with my Canons. Canon's perspective is the build-in flash is not for a pro level camera but they are so wrong. I use the D600 flash mostly for fill-ins or trigger.

My humble view of the dual SD card slots is that it is over hipped. I only use SD in my Mark III and when I absolutely have to have backup in critical shoots I would rather have 2 cameras. The dual cards are confusing unless you are totally organized. It is hard to remember which card and which photos were already loaded to the computer and I have to remember to delete the photos in each card. There is also a bug in the Mark III firmware. If you set the SD as primary and remove it later, shoot some photos with the CF, the camera will no longer recognize your SD as primary when you reinsert it. You will have to manually set it each time otherwise you will be searching for photos in the wrong card. When using dual cards, if your habit is to leave everything in the card for days and not download them to the computer frequently, you will not remember which photos are in which card and which ones are duplicate backups. Also remember, the dual slot does not work under video mode. Many of you here may be more organized and more diligent downloading your photos and will prefer this feature so that is just my personal preference.

Updates 11/21/2013: The dual slot is actually comes in very handy but in a very different way. I am using my CF slot to store 2 backup SD inside a small plastic bag to prevent them shorting the circuit. It saved me serveral times when I forgot to put the SD card back or ran out of memory.

Infrared sensor. On the 6D and Mark III, the infrared sensor is on the grip and it works quite well taking photos of yourself or using a remote trigger directly in front of the camera. The sensor on the D600 on the other hand is located behind the camera. It is almost impossible to sense remote in front of the camera but it is very convenient if you are behind. The D600 is a great camera for shooting candid photos of animals/people or if you are using a remote shutter trigger behind the camera. IMHO, the camera design should have 2 sensors, one in the back and one in the front. You have to do a lot of remote shutter shots to appreciate this.

Dynamic range. The D600 is better in dynamic range than the Mark III and 6D. This is another area the D600 shines. The 6D is sharper but the D600 has more detail in bright and dark area. I believe the 6D sharpness has something to do with the way the images are processed.

Grip size. The two Canons fit larger hands than the Nikon D600. I have a medium size hand and the Canon grip fits just right, the D600 grip is too small for the average hands. With a caliper I measured where you clamp the grip between your fingers and your palm and the Mark III is 33.2mm, 6D 31.5mm and D600 28.3mm.

The review is based on photos and videos taken with the same manual settings and similar lenses. I tried hard to cover the important points but there are always going to be things that should be added. Please let me know before you vote "NO" and I will be happy to help anyway I can.

My gear
Red Epic-M
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 6D
Nikon D600
Nikon D90
Canon T4i
Nikon D40
Sony Nex 5N
Sony Nex 5R
Sony Nex 7
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 29 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 4, 2012 7:11:06 AM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2012 8:23:55 PM PST
Tom North says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2012 1:47:44 AM PST
J. He says:
The Canon 6D still suffers from aliasing and moire, most likely due to a weaker LPF(low pass filter). The 1DX is the flagship and as such provided the best image in canons DSLR line in terms of resolution and latitude.....well about 10% better in respect.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2012 2:24:33 AM PST
E. K. Wlin says:
I don't have a 1Dx but it is pretty obvoious looking a the noise level from 6400 and above.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2012 2:26:53 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 7, 2012 1:59:22 AM PST
E. K. Wlin says:
I don't have a 4/3 system but I heard the hacked GH2 and the new GH3 handles moire really well and they may be second best in this area after the Mark III and I heard the photos are sharper. I got to get a GH3 and compare.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2012 2:29:05 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 5, 2012 2:29:51 AM PST
E. K. Wlin says:
I am finding that to be true, what a bummer. Aliasing and Moire are driving me crazy and I believe they are one of the biggest drawbacks of DSLR.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2012 5:07:38 AM PST
Tom North says:
Thanks, maybe I should give the GH3 a try before doing anything else. To your aliasing notes the wonderful thing about film was the delicious micro randomness of the silver grains. Maybe engineers are working on a random distribution of sensor pixels; probably a nightmare to connect / wire though. Given the oil and dust (scrapped off mirror particles ?) of the D600 would you give up on Nikon for a year or two?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2012 2:04:02 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 7, 2012 2:09:47 AM PST
E. K. Wlin says:
The problem with oil is that it may come back after the warranty period. Even within warranty, it is still a real pain to get it serviced. A new generation of 4K video DSLR and TV are coming. The 1DC is already here and the price will drop sharply. I am not sure I will keep the D600. It does have the built-in flash I can use for fill-in which I love very much. Too bad, we can't get Canon to put that in. Just the other day I did not bring my flash and I wish I had something to fill in with. That reason alone, can be the reason for people to get the D600.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2012 10:18:24 PM PST
DSS says:
I have a D600 and had the dust problem. I got it serviced under warranty. After the service I cleaned the sensor twice and haven't seen any dust or oil returning. My shots are clean and I'm 4000 shutter actuations post repair. I've had zero focus issues (it's spot-on even in very dim situations) and I don't have green tint to my photos. Majority of people don't have these problems. Some of us got unlucky with the dust issue, but it does resolve itself. P.S. I'm sure you meant to say "D600", not "D500". There's no such camera.

Posted on Dec 10, 2012 7:43:51 PM PST
Caleb S. says:
You write: "...the infra red sensor is in front but hidden between the handle and the lens..."

Not quite. On both the 6D and 5DmkIII the self timer indicator is located between the handle and the lens, but the infrared sensor (for remote control) is located on the grip. It's the dark dot on the textured part of the grip just below the shutter button. From Canon's product information ( it appears that all EOS bodies in the current lineup save the EOS Rebel T3 and EOS Rebel M place the infrared sensor on the grip.
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