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Canon 5d or 6d?


I presently have a 40d and am considering upgrading.  I think I would be better served with a full frame camera.  However, I can't decide whether to purchase a 6d or 5d.  I think the 6d would meet my needs but, don't want to limit myself and thus am considering the 5d.  If they were closer in price, there would be no question   I like the ability to increase the ISO to such a large number..


I am a amateur, so my concern is that the 5d would be like owning a Ferrari in Los Angeles traffic.  I would look good, but I could never use its full capabilities. 


My photographic interests range from landscapes to macros to travel.  Anyone have any suggestions?  Thanks



5DMIII is like a Ferrari FF and the 6D is like Ferrari California. So to most people they are still expensive piece of equipment. Heck, I have taken countless number of wedding and events with my trusted 30D for years. And most people said to me "that is one expensive camera" ha!. Get a 5DMIII and you won't regret. You can learn to use it to its full potential so don't worry, get the best that you can.
Weekend Travelers Blog | Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide

Conversly, you could also learn how to use the "advanced features" of the 5d3 yet still not use them much in the field.  Did it hurt to have the 5d3?  No, but was it worth and extra $1000+ for features you don't use?


Unless you're shooting a lot of fast moving subjects the differences between the two cameras are minimal.  Both are very capable cameras.  Me personally, I didn't think the cost difference was worth it, but I'm very much in the minority on the internet. 


By all means, if you can afford the price of admission, get the 5D Mk III. It is a wonderful camera and will serve you for years to come. Personally, I would buy a good used 5D Mk II before I bought a 6D.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

Me and wife have been through similar decision making recently, so let me sum this up to you to make it easier.

6D ISO capability is same as 5dm3. it's color depth is very close to 5dm3, it's low light focusing is excellent too. that is a major advantage given the price of full frame 6D when compared to professional grade 5dm3.

in fact the only real world differences (apart from external body construction & weight and 6d built-in wifi/gps features) are very simple but can mean a lot to you:

6d has 11 auto-focus points while 5dm3 has 61, so if you are the guy always relying on off-center focus points then consider 5dm3. furthermore 6d has only one precise (cross-type) focus point and that is in center only (the others are vertical or horizontal only, but not cross type - they are less precise) ... that being said either deal with less precise off center focus points or rely on centered focus and recomposing the frame before releasing the shutter.

HDR capability of 6D works only in JPG mode, it's not possible in RAW.

6D runs on SD cards and current fastest you can get is up to 90MB/s write speeds, that is not enough for continuous shooting in pure RAW mode with full speed of 4.5FPS, not for long at least (camera will get busy as SD card write speed will be slower than required). it's not a problem with 5dm3 & fastest CF cards on the market.

so, if continuous shooting or HDR or only 1 cross type focus point
are not a problem then choose 6D as the the rest is nearly same as in 5Dm3 (apart from water proofing seals and body material).

Hope it helps! 🙂



The 5D III has a _vastly_ superior auto-focus system.  It goes far deeper than simply the number of points.


The 5D III essentially has the same auto-focus system as the flagship 1D-X (with one slight nuance of difference in how they link the metering modes to the follow focus modes.)


Canon has a 47 page guide JUST dedicated to describing how to take advantage of the focus system.  You can find it here: 


(This page is just the intro page... click the link in the lower left corner of that page to download the PDF from Canon.  BTW, this is for BOTH The 1D-X and the 5D III although the title just says "1D-X" - the text on their intro page will explain that it also applies to the 5D III.)


I upgraded from a 5D II... with the 5D III it was fairly easy to achieve results like this:


To create that photo, I used a 5D III with an EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM (original) with IS turned on.  The shot was taken at ISO 100 using a slow shutter at 1/40th to imply the motion by creating deliberate blur of the background and wheelspokes, while panning to track the subject so that the subject would be sharp.  This image only required minor adjustments for white balance, highlights & shadows, etc. but all the blur is natural.


To track the subject, I put the camera drive into continuous high-speed mode, switched the focus mode to "AI Servo", then set the AF tracking to "Case 2:  Continue to track subjects, ignoring possible obstacles" (at times there were trees between me and the subject but the camera ignored them.)  This would not have been as easy to do with my 5D II because it doesn't have AF tracking.


Given that this is a "panning" shot the subject sharpness has a lot to do with MY ability to follow the subject smoothly while I'm at a slow shutter speed... you get a number of shots that will be blurry NOT due to lens focus or focus tracking, but due to bad camera panning (me).  I used continuous high-speed mode to blast off about a dozen shots as he rode past and then looked for the handful of shots that were the sharpest.  It was actually an overcast day (you can see there's no shadow of the bike or rider on the ground) which means the image was a bit "cool"... so I just barely nudged the white balance over to "warm" the shot fractionally so that it wouldn't look like an overcast day.


The camera has 6 different AF tracking cases but more importantly... you can actually tune each of them.


When you combine the 61 point AF system with the different AF tracking cases combined with the shutter performance... it's a very attractive system.


Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Tim's photo convinced me the 5 is the way to go.

Great shot, but I would not be so fast to buy 5d based on it alone.

1.). Where's the shot of someone failing to get that shot on a 6d? That is pretty but it is a fairly straightforward panning shot of something moving across frame. Staying the same distance from the camera. If it was a target coming straight at the camera fast it would be harder. Landscapes macro and travel don't need a terribly complex autofocus.
2.). The lens is more important than the camera.
3.). Also any camera will be becoming outdated in 3 or 4 years but a great lens will still be state of the art in 10 + years.
4.). If you are going new, higher resolution, and full frame from older crop you may find your existing lenses actually need upgraded to give good shots on the new body. Higher resolution makes marginal lenses look bad. Also ff cameras frame differently (wider and shorter) so you may want new lenses to deal with that. And of course if you have any EFS lenses that are crop-only, they won't even mount on the ff camera.

If you could get a nice lens with the savings on the 6d you would be better doing that. If you can afford both camera and lens upgrade(s) then never mind.

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?

"... but a great lens will still be state of the art in 10 + years."


This is a valid point. Lenses do out last most camera bodies, usually, but "state of the art" after 10+ years? Hmmmmmmmm.

Kicking money to the curb for the moment, by the same measure, the 5D Mk III will always be ahead of a 6D. Even after 10+ years it will be better equipped to handle whatever new lens development that comes along.

Buy the best and cry once!Smiley Very Happy

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