Canon 6D vs 7D: A Detailed Analysis

Canon 6D vs 7D: A Detailed Analysis

The Canon 6D and 7D Mark II may seem like similar cameras on paper but they are actually very different beasts. These cameras both have 20.2 MP sensors, 3” LCD screens, and similar price points but that is where the similarities end. Each of these cameras excel in certain areas and the decision between them largely comes down to intended use.

Canon introduced the 6D in 2012 as a less expensive option for people wanting a full frame DSLR. The 6D may be Canon’s least expensive full frame body but don’t be fooled into thinking this is an entry-level camera. The 6D is a very capable machine. While it lacks some of the premium features of cameras like the 5D Mark III and recently released 5D Mark IV it is a very good choice for professionals and enthusiasts alike.

The 7D Mark II was released in September 2014, as a follow up to the popular 7D. This APS-C camera was designed with sports and wildlife photographers in mind. If you plan to shoot quickly moving objects, this is the camera for you. The 7D Mark II’s robust autofocus system and high burst rate mean that you’ll have far fewer missed shots of objects that are on the move.

Canon 6D vs 7D Mark II

Canon 6D Canon 7D Mark II
Camera Canon 6D Canon 7D Mark II
Date Announced September 17, 2012 September 15, 2014
Price in 2016 $1,500 (body only) $1,600 (body only)
Format Full Frame APS-C
Resolution 20.2 MP 20.2 MP
Max Resolution 5472 x 3648 5472 x 3648
Shutter Speeds 1/4000 to 30 seconds 1/8000 to 30 seconds
Storage 1 SD card 1 SD card and 1 CF card
LCD 3″ rear screen 3″ rear screen
ISO Range 100-25600 100-16000
Extended ISO Range 100-102800 100-51200
Battery 1x LP-E6 Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack 1x LP-E6N Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack
Shots Per Charge 1,090 670
Burst Rate 4.5 FPS 10 FPS
Flash Sync Speed 1/180 second 1/250 second
Autofocus Points 11, 1 cross-type 65, all cross-type
AF Modes Continuous-servo AF (C)
Manual Focus (M)
Single-servo AF (S)
Automatic (A)
Continuous-servo AF (C)
Manual Focus (M)
Single-servo AF (S)
Multiple Exposures Yes Yes
HDR Yes Yes
GPS Yes Yes
Built-In WiFi for both image transfer and remote control Yes No
Build Magnesium Alloy Magnesium Alloy
Size 5.7 x 4.4 x 2.8″ 5.9 x 4.4 x 3.1″
Weight 1.7 lbs 2.0 lbs
Video Resolution 1080p at 30 FPS 1080p at 60 FPS
7 Day Rental $78 $78

Sensor: 6D Wins with Full Frame Sensor

The 6D’s biggest advantage over the 7D Mark II is its full frame sensor. Full frame cameras are much better at collecting light than their smaller APS-C counterparts. What this means in the real world is that the 6D will perform better and capture clearer images in low light and allow for shallower depths of field. Some photographers may appreciate that the APS-C sensor on the 7D Mark II will give lenses a longer effective focal length but in general, the 6D wins for sensor size.

Shutter Speed: 7D Mark II Wins With Ability to Shoot at 1/8000th of a Second

Maximum shutter speed is probably not a deal breaker for most people but it is a place where the 7D Mark II edges out its competitor. While the 6D can shoot at a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000th of a second, the 7D Mark II can shoot twice as fast. In reality you’ll probably never need such a quick shutter but it’s nice to know that if you do, the 7D Mark II can deliver.

Storage: 7D Mark II Wins with Dual Card Slots

This is a big one for photographers who shoot weddings, sports, and other events that can’t be reenacted in the event of card failure. The 6D only has the ability to write to one SD card but the 7D Mark II can simultaneously write to one SD card and one CF card. This means that, in the event of an issue with one card, photos will not be lost.

Low Light Performance: 6D Wins with ISO capabilities up to 102,800

The 6D, with its large sensor and higher maximum ISOs, performs better in low light than the 7D Mark II. The 6D has the ability to shoot at ISOs up to 102,800 while the 7D Mark II tops out at 51,200. The 6D will allow you to take clearer, less noisy photos in low light.

Burst Rate: 7D Mark II Wins with Burst Rate of 10 FPS

Burst rate is the number of frames a camera can take per second and it’s one area in which the 7D Mark II blows the 6D out of the water. While the 6D is able to take 4.5 frames per second (FPS), the 7D Mark II can shoot at a whopping 10 FPS. This is a big deal for photographers who take pictures of quickly moving subjects.

Autofocus: 7D Mark II Wins with 65 Cross-Type Points

The other major area where the 7D Mark II wins is with its autofocus (AF) system. The 6D has an 11-point autofocus system, with only one of those points being cross-type. The 7D Mark II has 65 AF points—all of which are cross-type. Cross-type AF points are better able to detect changes in contrast that allow for focus. What this means in the real world is that the 7D Mark II is better able to find and lock focus on subjects, which is especially useful when the object is moving.

WiFi: 6D Wins with Built-In WiFi

The 6D’s built-in WiFi allows you to control your camera with your phone and instantly transfer photos for sharing to social media. While some photographers will never use the 6D’s built in WiFi, many photographers find this feature useful for instantly sharing photos or to allow them to take pictures of themselves. Want to take some epic selfies? The 6D’s WiFi capabilities will let you do it.

Summary

The Canon 6 and 7D Mark II are two very good but very different cameras and the decision between them should come down to expected use. The 6D is a full frame DSLR that is a very good all-around option for photographers interested in portraiture, landscape photography, and weddings. The 6D competes directly with Canon’s legendary 5D Mark III (and the newly released 5D Mark IV) and with the exception of a few features (like dual card slots), it holds its own very well. Photographers who are looking for a high quality full frame DSLR at a good price will love the Canon 6D.

The 7D Mark II is one of the best options on the market for photographers interested in taking photos of quickly moving objects. This camera’s fast burst rates and extremely robust autofocus system makes it an ideal choice for photographers wanting to capture things like birds in flight or athletes in motion. This camera also features a few of the extras that are to be expected in a professional level camera (like dual card slots), which the 6D lacks. The 7D Mark II competes with Nikon’s D7200 which has more megapixels but a slower burst rate.

Deciding between the Canon 6D and 7D Mark II largely comes down to intended use. For a great all around full frame DSLR, go with the 6D. If your photographic interests are mostly in sports or wildlife, check out the 7D Mark II. If you’re looking for a few more camera comparisons, check out our evaluation of the Canon 6D vs 5D Mark III, the Canon 7D vs 70D, or the Canon 6D vs 5D Mark II.

Remember that if you are having a hard time deciding between the two bodies you always have the option to take one for a test drive before you purchase. Renting a camera gives you an easy way to “try before you buy”! Once you find the right body for you, make sure the rest of your gear is good to go and reference our guide for the best Canon wide angle lens. It never hurts to be well informed before making a decision!

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Vivian Liu specializes in family and pet photography. She also spent 2 years as a photographer for Rebuilding Together Peninsula, which rehabilitates homes and community facilities for low-income homeowners and neighborhoods. Her passion is making photography accessible to everyone with straightforward recommendations and approachable tutorials.

3 Comments

  1. Why would you want CF card capability? Why not dual sd cards?

    Reply
  2. I don’t have a ful frame because the lenses cost so much more…otherwise give me the big one

    Reply

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