Buyers Guides |Canon EOS 5D Mark IV vs EOS 6D

The Buyers guide to...Canon EOS 5D Mark IV vs EOS 6D

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV vs Canon EOS 6D
Buyers Guide

The Canon EOS 6D was introduced in February 2013 and it was hit with photographers looking to step-up from an APS-C format camera to a full-frame DSLR. It’s proved a faithful servant to many, but if your camera is starting to show its age, or if you feel you have outgrown it, you may be considering upgrading to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the key differences between the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and EOS 6D to help you decide whether to make the jump.

Sensor

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: 30.4 full-frame CMOS
  • Canon EOS 6D: 20.6Mp full-frame CMOS

Both cameras have a full-frame sensor that measures 24x36mm, however, the 5D Mark IV’s resolution is almost 10Mp greater, approximately 50% higher than the 6D’s. That means that you can create much larger images and make bigger prints, or you can make more significant crops without losing detail in comparison with the 6D.

Canon 5D Mark IV top
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Viewfinder AF system

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: 61 points, 41 cross-type AF points including 5 dual cross type at f/2.8 and 21 cross-type AF points at f/8
  • Canon EOS 6D: 11 points, f/5.6 cross type at the centre, extra sensitive at f/2.8

With 50 more AF points, the 5D Mark IV is better at detecting a subject than the 6D and it’s better at tracking it around the frame.

Cross-type points are also more sensitive than the regular linear type, which again gives the 5D IV an advantage. So while the 6D is capable of shooting sport, action and wildlife, the 5D Mark IV’s AF system is more assured with the wider spread of points meaning that you’re less likely to need to focus and recompose or crop the shot post-capture to get the composition you want.

Live View AF

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: Dual Pixel AF (phase detection)
  • Canon EOS 6D: Contrast detection or phase detection in Quick Mode

The performance of the autofocus system in Live View mode is significantly better with the Canon 5D Mark IV than with the 6D. That’s because the 5D Mark IV has a Dual Pixel AF sensor design, which means all of the pixels on the sensor have two photo diodes and they can act as phase detection sensors. This type of focusing is faster and more decisive than the contrast-detection focusing available with the 6D in Live View mode.

To be fair, the 6D can use phase-detection focusing in Live View when it’s set to Quick mode, but this interrupts the Live View feed by flipping the mirror down so that the standard AF sensor can com into play. It’s a rather clunky solution that doesn’t really deserve the name ‘Quick mode’.

Canon 5D Mark IV video options
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Video

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: 4K DCI at up to 30fps with 1.27x crop
  • Canon EOS 6D: Full HD at up to 30fps

Canon’s EOS 5D-series is credited with kickstarting the move to video recording with small cameras and the 5D Mark IV is capable of capturing high-quality 4K video. The 6D, however, is capped at Full-HD resolution and its performance is hampered by the contrast detection AF system.

While both cameras have a 3.5mm port for connecting an external microphone, only the 5D IV has a socket for connecting headphones to allow you to monitor the audio.

Continuous shooting

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: 7fps with full AF/AE for up to an unlimited number of Jpegs or 21 raw files
  • Canon EOS 6D: 4.5fps for up to 1250 Jpegs or 17 raw files

Despite its lower resolution, the Canon 6D’s Digic 5+ processor limits its maximum continuous shooting rate to 4.5fps whereas the 5D Mark IV’s Digic 6 and Digic 6+ processing combo enable up to 7fps shooting.

Both cameras allow you to shoot a huge number of Jpegs or a reasonable number of raw files in one go at their maximum rate, but the 5D Mark IV gives you more chance of capturing fleeting moments.

Storage

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: CompactFlash Type I and SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I
  • Canon EOS 6D: SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I

While it may be frustrating that the Canon 5D Mark IV has two different types of card slots, CompactFlash cards are very robust and a little less easy to lose than SD type cards.

Having two slots rather than one gives you extra storage capacity and the ability to back-up your images by recording to both cards simultaneously, either duplicating the files or sending the raw and Jpeg images to different cards.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV vs Canon EOS 6D

Should I sell My Canon EOS 6D?

The Canon EOS 6D is a competent camera but the 5D MarK IV is step up both in terms of technology and level. Whereas as the 6D was aimed at enthusiast and first-time full-frame photographers, the 5D Mark IV is designed for experienced enthusiast and professional photographers. It has a more rounded specification and copes better with a wide range of shooting scenarios.

The standout points for the 5D Mark IV are its autofocus systems, they are significantly better whether you’re using the viewfinder or the screen to compose your images, the faster shooting rate and the more advanced video capability. In short, the Canon 5D Mark IV makes a great upgrade on the Canon 6D.

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No Way
No Way
7 months ago

You are a complete amateur and have no idea what you’re talking about if you’re trying to compare a 5D4 with a 6D

Martin
Martin
6 months ago

Hey Angela,

Found this article helpful. Just wanted to combat the unnecessary negative feedback you got.

Nick Roberts
Nick Roberts
6 months ago

Well I bought the 6D back in 2013 and used it professionally for some time, before augmenting it with a 5D IV. As Ange knows, and No Way appears not to, it’s professionals who pick cameras based in what they actually need, and amateurs who only look at designations.
When the 6D came out, it’s AF performance in very low light, using the central point, was better than the 5D III’s. High ISO performance was great. For my conference shooting, that was critical. The 5D IV is a much more recent camera that improved on both those areas, but the 6D is still no slouch in this day and age in these areas, and I still have mine, even though the R6 is my first choice these days.
For anyone looking for good low light performance on a tight budget, the 6D is still a great option. You want an all-rounder? You have more money? Thr 5D IV is terrific.

Jen B.
Jen B.
4 months ago
Reply to  Nick Roberts

I agree with you Nick! Great comments.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick Roberts

How about the 6D2, which has a much improved AF system over the original mk1? It’s also much cheaper than a 5D4, I don’t use mine for video, only for stills, mostly landscapes.