This camera comparison guide is for the Canon 6D Mark II vs. Canon 5D Mark II. They’re both competent semi-pro DSLRs that sport full frame sensors. Each model has its unique attractions.
One of these cameras boasts a long list of extra features, but that doesn’t necessarily make it better. Not all photographers want or need the same bells and whistles. It’s why we have so many options.
The Canon 6D Mark II and 5D Mark II also share some common strengths. This review guide breaks down what each model offers, what it lacks, and the things that unite them.
Here’s a quick breakdown on how we dissect each model to deliver the verdict.
|Canon 6D Mark II Full-Frame DSLR||Canon 5D Mark II Digital SLR|
|Best For||Entry-level professionals||Most genres aside from sports & action|
|Max Sensor Resolution||26 megapixel (23% more pixels)||21 megapixel|
|Sensor Pixel Area||33.19µm2||41.08µm2 (23% larger pixel area)|
|Camera Weight||26.98 ounces (3 oz. lighter)||29.98 ounces|
|Built-in Image Stabilization||Digital video stabilization||None|
|Smartphone Remote Control||Yes||None|
|Continuous Shooting||6.5fps (2.5 frames per second faster)||4.0fps|
|Flash Sync Port||None||Yes|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/4000s||1/8000s (faster shutter speed)|
|Battery Life||1200 shots (350 extra frames per charge)||850 shots|
|Number of Focus Points||45 (36 more focus points)||9|
|UHS Memory Card Support||Yes, UHS-1||None|
Here’s what we cover in the review:
Canon 6D Mark II and Canon 5D Mark II Shared Features
This section looks at the features and functions shared by the 6D Mark II and the 5D Mark II. Starting at the top are the external hot shoes that accommodate larger flash units.
Built-in flash has a harsh light, but it still has a place. Even so, it can’t compete with external flash. Even the most basic of these units have tilt & swivel heads that let creative users bounce the light.
The cameras each have an optical viewfinder (OVF). They provide easy control and better framing than electronic viewfinders (EFV). OVFs are noticeably superior for shooting in low light.
Top LCDs can be invaluable for those who do a lot of tripod work or shoot below waist level. These smaller LCDs give a snapshot of current settings and let photographers make changes.
Short-sighted folks find it easier to focus on top LCDs. Low-down macro photography is another benefit. Both cameras have environmental sealing to help protect the bodies in poor weather.
RAW file support is something that most semi-pro and professional camera users demand. The unprocessed RAW format produces much higher quality images than JPEGs. The latter is still an option, though.
Shared Shooting Features and Modes
Portrait photographers welcome the Face Detection Focus aka Face Priority of these cameras. Getting facial features in sharp focus can be finicky and time-consuming. This feature solves those issues.
Both cameras have time-lapse recording which is a cinematography technique. It captures frames at specific intervals then plays them back at normal speed. It’s a great way to record the world in action.
Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) is another shared advantage. It works by taking three shots at various exposure settings to ensure one perfect result. AEB is especially useful in tricky light and for HDR.
AF Micro Adjustment (AFMA) is the last common feature for the Canon 6D Mark II and Canon 5D Mark II. AFMA lets photographers fine-tune the front or back focus if autofocus (AF) is out.
Camera Body Comparison
There’s quite an age difference between these models, but the bodies are not that different. You can see from the front view that the older Canon 5D Mark II is the larger of the two.
The difference is around 8%. The weight of the 5D Mk II body is 11% heavier than the Canon 6D Mark II. The total weight of any DSLR, though, is contingent on the mounted lens.
Both models share the same Canon EF mount. Therefore, their lens carrying weight and choices in 5D or 6D lenses are equal. The table below highlights the dimensions and weight of each camera:
|Canon 6D Mark II||Width: 5.7”||Height: 4.4”||Depth: 3.0”||Weight: 27 oz.|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Width: 6.0”||Height: 4.5”||Depth: 3.0”||Weight: 30 oz.|
Their frontal shapes are similar in appearance. The newer 6D Mark II has a more textured finish for a better grip. It also has a remote-control terminal on the bottom right side.
The shape and contours from the top differ somewhat, but the control layouts are very alike.
It’s at the rear where there’s the most noticeable difference. The 6D Mark II has an articulating LCD screen with a single large hinge to the left of the door. That means more physical controls to its right.
The 5D Mark II doesn’t have an articulating screen, so there’s no hinge. It uses the left side of the LCD for five function buttons. Overall, both cameras share the familiar Canon feel and appeal.
Why Consider the Canon 6D Mark II over the Canon 5D Mark II?
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is the newer of the two models here. Sony launched this semi-professional full-frame DSLR in June 2017. That alone means it has the most updated technology.
There are over 20 reasons to consider the Canon 6D Mark II over the older 5D Mark II. The price tag is one of its most significant attractions. You can expect savings of around $800 (at the time of writing).
It seems there’s a lot more camera for a lot less money. Let’s start with the connectivity options which are WiFi, Bluetooth, and NFC Connection. The built-in WiFi has many benefits.
Canon’s 6D Mark II also has a Smartphone Remote Control feature. It’s an excellent way to fire the shutter remotely and access other camera controls. The 6D Mark II also has built-in Bluetooth.
NFC (Near Field Communication) is a newer technology found on this camera. NFC lets it interact wirelessly with other “nearby” NFC compatible devices. Connectivity distance is only a few centimeters.
A main selling point is the 6D Mark II’s articulating LCD touchscreen with its 13% higher resolution. The Canon 5D Mark II doesn’t have an articulating screen or touchscreen technology.
Rear articulating screens are invaluable for composing and shooting at otherwise impossible angles. Screen rotation also makes the LCD “selfie-friendly,” which is a more recent demand.
More Standout Features for Canon’s 6D Mark II
Both cameras feature impressive full-frame CMOS sensors. The 6D MK II has 23% more pixels than the 5D MK II. Their sensor resolutions are 26 megapixels and 21 megapixels respectively.
The battery life of any camera is another significant buying consideration. Canon’s 6D Mark II wins here too. It boasts 1200 shots per single charge to the 5D Mark II’s 850—a difference of 350 frames.
A fast, continuous shooting mode is a requirement for some photographers. This puppy shoots 6.5fps (frames per second) to the 5D Mark II’s 4.0fps. That’s a significant 2.5fps advantage.
Camera weight is always an issue. The 6D Mark II weighs 26.80 oz. (760g) and the 5D Mark II 29.98 oz. (850g). The 6D Mark 2 is lighter by almost 3 oz.—the weight of an average sized apple.
Canon’s 6D Mark II supports ultra-high-speed (UHS) memory cards (UHS-1). Reading and writing data at ultra-high speeds is no minor detail in modern photography.
Digital video stabilization is another plus point that goes to the 6D Mark II. It also features a 525% higher max ISO at 40.000 vs. 6.400. Low light ISO is better as well at 2862 vs. 1815.
This camera has 45 focus points to the 5D Mark II’s 9—an advantage of 36. And its color depth is slightly better at 24.4 vs. 23.7. These are all plusses that add further to the camera’s overall appeal.
Miscellaneous Plusses for the 6D Mark II
There are a couple of other advantages worth mention. One is the wider AE Bracketing Range (±3 EV vs. ±2 EV), and the other is the autofocus at f/8 aperture.
The wider bracketing range is especially useful for HDR (high dynamic range) photography. HDR is the difference between the darkest and lightest areas in a captured image.
A narrower dynamic range sees bleached out whites and blob-like dark areas sooner than a wider HDR. And the autofocus at f/8 aperture is a feature that allows autofocus to work with teleconverters.
Why Consider the Canon 5D Mark II over the Canon 6D Mark II?
Canon’s 5D Mark II was the DSLR to succeed the EOS 5D. The company first announced it on September 17, 2008, and it continues to be popular among fans.
The differences between these cameras become apparent in this section. There are only three distinct advantages that the Canon 5D Mark II has over the 6D Mark II.
Those who do a lot of flash photography are sure to appreciate the flash sync port on the 5D Mark II. Flash sync ports provide a quick and convenient way to connect off-camera flash units.
Another advantage over the 6D Mk II is the faster shutter speed at 1/8000s vs. 1/4000s. Some see 1/8000s as pure hype, though. They argue that 1/4000s is more than enough to eliminate motion blur.
Others may point out that 1/8000s is twice as fast as 1/4000s and thus lets in half the light. There are photographic benefits to that, but the real-world value of 1/8000s is minimal at best.
The final plus is the 23% larger sensor pixel area of the 5D Mark II. The numbers are 41.08µm2 to the 6D Mark II’s 33.19µm2. It’s not a game changer, but it’s worth pointing out all the same.
Both the Canon 6D Mark II and Canon 5D Mark II have their pros and cons like all Digital-SLRs. However, when it comes to “shared” weaknesses, their only failing is no built-in flash.
Most photographers at the semi-pro and professional level avoid using built-in flash when possible. That doesn’t mean it’s not valuable, though. After all, it’s an discreet tool that’s usually hidden.
It’s a negative because most photographers don’t always have an external flash mounted. So, a popup flash can be invaluable for capturing an unexpected moment in dark or dwindling light.
What the Reviewers Say
Canon’s EOS 6D has a 9-year technological advantage over the EOS 5D MK II. That’s a significant period considering the rate at which technology advances nowadays.
New Digital-SLR owners have a different first impression to seasoned users. Despite the mixed views, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II gets high approval ratings from across the board.
Reviewers mention the solid build, yet lightweight and comfortable ergonomics of the camera. The articulating LCD touchscreen gets a big thumbs-up by almost everyone who leaves feedback.
Some pro-level photographers say the image quality is on a par with most full-frame rivals. They suggest it’s an excellent choice for those entering the world of paid photography.
It’s fair to say the overall positive feedback for the EOS 6D Mark II is a dream come true for Canon. Yes, there are individual gripes. Even so, there are few shared complaints with this popular DSLR.
Not everyone is of the same opinion, but that’s the beauty of independent reviews. They give an accurate snapshot of the bigger picture (pun intended). That’s always helpful for those on the fence.
You will always see conflicts of opinion by different people, but there are reasons for that. Many 6D Mark II users write their comments by comparing it with other models.
Those into videography, like YouTube camera vloggers, complain that there’s no headphone support or 4K video. I say it’s primarily a photographer’s DSLR and not a camcorder.
They would have known that if they’d done a little homework before they bought the 6D Mk II.
Reviewers’ Take on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon’s 5D Mark II has been around longer than its 6D Mark II, and thus has more user feedback. It doesn’t have as many ‘recent’ reviews due to its age. Even so, it remains popular among fans.
Some older comments are irrelevant compared to newer models—others are more pertinent. They include things like the full frame camera sensor and exceptional image quality.
Reviewers also like the relative lightweight of the 5D Mark II, and its weather sealed body. The Comfortable ergonomic design also gets a mention and is still relevant today.
The price was well-received at its launch too, but that doesn’t make it affordable. It just means those who bought this camera consider it excellent value. It’s far less competitive in today’s terms, though.
The 5D Mk II got lots of favorable feedback for its low light performance. Other likes are the menu system, bright LCD, and even its video functionality—for a DSLR.
The main gripe for the 5D Mark II is its failure as a serious action camera. The slowish frame rate and sluggish autofocus (AF) are its major cons. Combined, they render it useless for pro-level action shots.
A few others complain that there’s no built-in flash. No one wants to use direct pop-up flash lighting, but it’s nice to have as a backup, say some reviewers.
A photographer’s needs, wants, and expectations are never the same. There wouldn’t be a demand for so many choices otherwise. So, which is better? Well, that depends on individual styles and your DSLR budget.
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a clear winner in my book based on all its extra features. The 6D Mark II is also a much newer model that uses current technology.
It’s often the small, less obvious details that win over people’s opinions. I wouldn’t spend the extra on the EOS 5D Mk II. Not just for visual preference, a faster shutter speed, and the flash sync port.Back to Top