Comparing Canon 5D Mark IV vs 6D Mark II

Contents

Whether you’re an entry-level or professional photographer, your gear is just as important as your skill. If you’re exploring different Canon models for your rig, look no further than the Canon EOS 6D Mark II and the 5D Mark IV.

Though they have some similarities and are both mid-size, full-frame digital SLRs, even Canon itself emphasizes how different they are. Specifically, the 6D Mark II is designed for enthusiast photographers and advanced amateurs, while the 5D Mark IV caters more to professionals.

Aside from their purposes, these two DSLR models also differ in price, features, and specifications. Read on for a full comparison guide to the Canon EOS 6D Mark II vs 5D Mark IV.

Canon 6D Mark II vs 5D Mark IV: Comparison Chart

For an initial look at these popular Canon machines, check out our chart below:

Specification
EOS 6D Mark ll
EOS 5D Mark IV
Weight
765 g
890 g
Dimensions (LWH)
144 x 111 x 75 mm
151 x 116 x 76 mm
Sensor
26.2MP full-frame CMOS, ISO 100-40,000 (exp. ISO 50-102,400)
30.4MP full-frame CMOS, ISO 100-32,000 (exp. ISO 50-102,400)
Processor
DIGIC 7
DIGIC 6+
Lens mount
Canon EF mount
Canon EF mount
LCD screen
3.2-inch fixed screen, 1.62 million dots
3.0-inch fully articulated flip-out screen, 1.04 million dots
Viewfinder
Pentaprism, 0.71x magnification, 98% coverage
Pentaprism, 0.71x magnification, 100% coverage
Video
Full HD (1920 x 1080p)
4K DCI (4096 x 2180p)
Burst shooting
6.5fps
7fps
Autofocus
45-point array, Dual Pixel CMOS AF
61-point array, Dual Pixel CMOS AF

Weight, Size, & Build

The weight difference between the two models isn’t huge but will be noticeable depending on how long and often you’ll be carrying the camera. The 6D Mark II is the more portable option at 765 g, compared to the 5D Mark IV’s 890 g. These numbers already include the card and battery.

With slightly longer dimensions, the 5D Mark IV’s body (measuring 151 x 116 x 76 mm) certainly feels bigger and heavier than the 6D Mark II (144 x 111 x 75 mm). The difference is partly because the former has two card slots (CompactFlash and SDHC/SDXC), while the latter only has one SDHC/SDXC slot. A slightly bigger handgrip for the 5D Mark IV also allows for more comfortable handling.

Thanks to Canon’s weather-sealed magnesium alloy build, the 5D Mark IV boasts a more durable body than the 6D Mark II body’s mixture of polycarbonate resin, glass fiber, and aluminum alloy.

Comparing the 5D Mark IV to a newer camera already shows its durability – it will hold up and serve you well for a long time. If portability is more of what you’re after, the 6D Mark II is the obvious choice.

Sensor

When comparing the 6D Mark II’s 26.2MP sensor to the 5D Mark IV’s 30.4MP, the 5D model has a slight edge. The 6D Mark II has an ISO range of 100-40,000 compared to the older model’s 100-32,000. 

However, there are very few instances where such extreme ISO settings from 30,000 onwards are necessary. While there is enough of a difference between the two sensors and ISO ranges, both cameras give you similar results and good image quality.

For reference, the 30.4MP sensor shoots with a resolution of 6720 x 4480p, while the 26.2MP captures images at 6240 x 4160p.

Video Specifications

While the 6D Mark II can shoot Full HD (1920 x 1080p) at 60fps, the 5D Mark IV can go all the way up to 4K DCI resolution (4096 x 2180p) at 30fps. On top of this significant resolution advantage, the 5D Mark IV also allows slow-motion shooting at 720p and 120fps, while the more recent model has no similar feature.

Both models have a 3.5mm microphone input and HDMI socket. However, another advantage of the 5D Mark IV is a headphone port, which the 6D Mark II doesn’t have. When comparing video specs, the 5D Mark IV has three features that the newer camera outright lacks.

Note that these cameras – and most DSLRs – are not fully optimized for video shooting. If you’re primarily in the market for video equipment, look for dedicated video recorders.

Continuous Shooting

There’s not much of a difference between the 5D Mark IV’s 7fps and the 6D Mark II’s 6.5fps. However, what sets them apart is that the 5D model can take as many JPEG files as you want and up to 30 Raw files, provided your card can handle it. Meanwhile, the 6D model’s limit is 21 Raw files and only 150 JPEGs.

Autofocus

Both machines have the same autofocus system, meaning they produce very similar results when focusing. The Dual Pixel CMOS AF allows you to quickly select focus points in live view and video. The system that the two cameras share can be used to create smooth focus pulls and rack focus shots.

The difference shows up when you’re autofocusing through the viewfinder. The 5D Mark IV offers a 61-point AF array, whereas the 6D Mark II sports a 45-point AF array. This allows the 5D Mark IV to easily autofocus through a wider frame coverage, meaning a more accurate focus on off-center subjects.

LCD And Viewfinder

LCD-wise, both cameras are strong contenders. Though the 5D Mark IV’s display is slightly larger with a 3.2-inch screen (compared to the 6D’s 3-inch screen), the display is fixed, unlike the 6D Mark II’s Vari-angle design. While the 5D Mark IV’s display is larger and has a higher resolution, the 6D’s Vari-angle screen is much easier to operate at odd angles.

You also get a touchscreen display on both cameras, making several things (especially autofocusing) much more convenient.

The difference between the two cameras’ viewfinders is negligible. Both models share virtually the same viewfinder: pentaprism with 0.71x magnification. However, the 5D Mark IV’s finder has 100% coverage, meaning the image will turn out exactly how you see it in the viewfinder. On the other hand, the 6D Mark II offers only 98% of coverage for its finder, meaning you might miss a few elements at the very edges of the frame.

With all that said, the 5D Mark IV is generally better suited for shooters who use the viewfinder more often. Meanwhile, the 6D Mark II is better for live view and video shooters.

Lens Availability

Many photographers tend to stick with either a standard zoom lens or a set of prime lenses. However, it’s good to know there are at least 256 full-frame lenses readily available and compatible for both the 6D Mark II and 5D Mark IV, thanks to their standard Canon EF mount. 

Below is a breakdown of the 256 total lenses available for these cameras:

Type of lens
Number of available Canon EF lenses
Standard prime
19
Standard zoom
22
Wide-angle prime
48
Wide-angle zoom
20
Prime telephoto
44
Zoom telephoto
51
Perspective control prime
16
Macro prime
24
Fisheye prime
3
SuperZoom
9
Take note that neither camera’s body has built-in image stabilization, so, you might want to consider getting lenses to compensate. As of writing, there are 77 Canon EF mount-compatible lenses with image stabilization.

Miscellaneous Features

The 5D Mark IV boasts a 1/8000 maximum shutter speed, while the 6D Mark II only goes up to 1/4000. Though there are few cases in which you’ll need an extremely fast shutter, the maximum shutter speeds can make a great difference in the right conditions.

Battery Life

With around 1,200 shots per charge, the 6D Mark II tops the 5D’s 900 total shots and has a longer battery life. The numbers are assuming a full charge on the camera. While both cameras have the LP-E6N battery, the 6D still has the newer Canon DIGIC 7 processor, which helps the camera manage power more efficiently.

Wireless Connection

While both cameras have built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connections, only the EOS 6D Mark II features Bluetooth technology. This lets shooters transfer their files to a connected device immediately after shooting.

Pricing

The price difference between the two models is at least $1000. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has the heftier price tag at around $2700. On the other hand, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II retails for $1400. 

There are only a few features exclusive to the 6D Mark II. Most, if not all, of the important things the 6D Mark II can do, the 5D Mark IV does better. If you’re an enthusiast, hobbyist, or someone with a tighter budget, the 6D Mark II can still be an excellent choice. For the more adept photographers looking for a future-proof camera, the 5D Mark IV could be worth the extra thousand.

EOS 5D Mark IV Key Features

  • Durable: Weather-sealed magnesium alloy allows the camera to hold up in even extreme conditions.
  • Ergonomic: A one-size-fits-most handgrip allows for firmer and more comfortable handling.
  • Dual card slots: Your photo or video can be written in CompactFlash and SDHC/SDXC.
  • 4K DCI video resolution: 4K (4096 x 2180p) shooting at 30fps is a dealbreaker for most videographers.
  • Headphone jack: This is useful for reviewing and monitoring audio on the spot.
  • Slow-motion shooting: 720p slow-motion videos at 120fps create similar results to footage slowed down in post-production.
  • Infinite burst JPEGs: Action photographers might need to burst shoot for longer than usually possible.
  • 61-point AF array: This can be used to fine-tune your focus points in landscapes.
  • Fast shutter: The camera can freeze action effectively with a 1/8000 shutter speed.
  • Wide dynamic range: The 5D Mark IV picks up more light and dark details with 1.7 EV of extra DR compared to the 6D Mark II.
  • Discounted more often: You’ll easily find good deals for this model because it has been on the market for some time already.

EOS 6D Mark II Key Features

  • Portable: At 765 g and with 144 x 111 x 75 mm dimensions, the camera is relatively easy to carry.
  • Vari-angle LCD: LCD screens that pop out can be viewed from multiple angles. It’s especially useful for vlogging or awkward angles.
  • Long battery life: You can get 1,200 shots from a full charge. It can last you up to a week of shooting if managed properly.
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF: Live view and video focusing shouldn’t be a problem with Canon’s AF technology.
  • “Always-on” Bluetooth: This type of wireless connection allows you to transfer files immediately onto your smart device.
  • Budget-friendly: You can pick up this fairly decent camera for only $1400.
  • Latest processor: The Canon DIGIC 7 processor engine produces better JPEGs.

 

Photography Types For 6D Mark II vs 5D Mark IV

Portrait Photography

For portraiture, both cameras fare decently well. They have virtually the same optical viewfinder, with only a 2% difference in coverage – 100% for the 5D Mark IV and 98% for the 6D Mark II. However, keep in mind that you’ll likely use wide apertures to blur distractions when shooting in portrait. Similarly, the full-frame sensors of both provide shallow depths of field.

There is one caveat for both cameras when it comes to portrait shooting – there is no built-in image stabilization. This means that, if you’re going to use either the 6D Mark II or 5D Mark IV for portrait photography, you might need either a lens with image stabilization or a tripod.

Street Photography

The 6D Mark II has a slight edge when it comes to street photography because it has a fully articulated LCD that the 5D Mark IV doesn’t have. This will allow 6D Mark II users to operate their cameras at odd angles. Live view for both cameras also means you don’t have to put your body in weird positions just to frame your shots.

Both cameras have great face-detection focusing so you won’t have to worry about focusing while putting your shots together. This feature gives improved low light performance thanks to both cameras’ large sensors, allowing more light to enter. However, the lack of built-in image stabilization might be an issue, especially for long-exposure photographers.

Sports Photography

The 6D Mark II sports 6.5fps of continuous shooting while its counterpart has 7fps of burst shooting. The 5D Mark IV also has a faster maximum shutter speed at 1/8000, compared to the 6D Mark II’s 1/4000. Faster burst fps means you can take more shots per second, while a faster shutter speed means you can freeze motion better.

Both models have very similar weather-sealing technology and are good for environments where dust, dirt, and water are common. Handling both cameras should also feel very comfortable thanks to large-enough hand grips and intuitive control placement.

Daily Photography

A big downside that both cameras share is that their bodies are somewhat large, weighing 765 g and 890 g. That said, the weather-sealing and good handling still make them good candidates for portable shooting. In terms of overall portability, the 6D Mark II is fairly lighter and slightly smaller.

Landscape Photography

The 6D and 5D models aren’t the best landscape cameras, but their full-frame and high-resolution sensors should do the job well enough. The weather-sealing and live view LCD screen should also allow you to easily take decent landscape shots.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II vs Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: Final Verdict

While the 6D Mark II isn’t groundbreaking, it works well as an all-around camera. While it’s not necessarily designed for beginners, it’s a good choice if you need an upgrade from your beginner-friendly camera. It’s easy to learn the ins and outs of operating this model and master the machine.

The 6D Mark II performs well for enthusiasts, hobbyists, and advanced amateurs, thanks to a wide range of features and options. The Dual Pixel CMOS AF system is accurate and responsive, though not so well-suited for moving subjects. The ISO range makes it a decent pick for low-light scenes.

Meanwhile, aimed at advanced amateurs, adepts, and professionals, the 5D Mark IV has many controls and features that allow users to produce images and videos with top-notch quality. It has plenty of advantages over the 6D Mark II, such as 4K video resolution and dual card slots, to name a few.

While it’s priced higher than the 6D Mark II, the 5D Mark IV makes for a reliable and durable choice that will be worth the investment. Because the 5D Mark IV seems to age well, it could be the right choice for anyone who intends to put plenty of time into photography and video recording.

Conclusion

While the 5D Mark IV has the specifications that create marginally higher-quality images and videos, the 6D Mark II features more modern controls and options that contribute to ease of use. Which of the two cameras to get really depends on how much time and effort you invest into photography or filmmaking.

After examining the specifications and features, you’ll notice the 5D Mark IV is somehow better than its counterpart in many things. However, the 6D Mark II can be excellent when paired with the right accessories and lens.

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