Q&A: Buying a 6d or a 5d Mark III?


Heya wanted to pick your brain. So I got the funds for a full frame camera. Was wondering your thoughs on the 6D as opposed to the 5D Mk III?


Ah… the which camera to buy question.  🙂  While the 5D3 is a better overall camera than the 6D, the price is more than double… and it may not be the camera for you.  Take note that I have never used the 6D personally… 🙂

6d front
6D front (photo from bhphotovideo.com)
5d3 front
5d3 front (photo from bhphotovideo.com)

First thing to think about is what you usually shoot?  Do you really need the extra that the 5D3 gives you (extra what, I’ll get into in a sec)?  What about your lenses?  I always feel that buying a high quality lens is way better than a high end camera body.  If you are in need of lenses, then that puts more weight behind the 6D and it’s $1900 price tag vs the 5D3 and it’s $3400 price.

The major differences between the cameras are:

– Number of focus points and number of cross type sensitive points The 5D3 has 61 focus points of which 41 are cross.  The 6D has 11 focus points of which 1 is cross.  Why is this important?  To keep it not too technical, the cross type points use vertical AND horizontal planes to detect contrast for focusing.  The non-cross points use mainly vertical and are WAY less accurate for horizontal.  So basically, I only use points that are cross type.  So if my camera only has 1 cross type point, I’m limited to using only 1 focus point when I shoot.  Huge…. HUGE issue for me and how I shoot.

– Dual cards The 5D3 allows me to use a CF card and an SD card.  I have it setup for most shoots where I shoot RAW on the CF card (and switch out when needed) and have lower space taking JPGs on the SD card as a backup.  And yes, I’ve had to use those backups a few times.  The 6D only has 1 card slot.  As a professional, I can’t excuse not delivering the goods due to a technical card failure.  If you are shooting for fun, that might be another story.

– No mic jack on the 6D If you are shooting video, know that there is no mic jack on the 6D.  So if you want to record sound, you’ll have to do it externally.  Granted, if you are doing it professionally, you are probably already setup for external sound, but most of us are not.

6d back
6D back (photo from bhphotovideo.com)
5d3 back
5D3 back (photo from bhphotovideo.com)


The other differences are not as important.  The 5D3 shoots faster in burst (6fps vs the 4.5fps of the 6D).  Not a major factor at these speeds.  If you are bursting all your shots all the time, then learn to shoot better (kidding, kinda, not really 😉 ) .  The only major impact this should have is for sports shooting, and even the 6fps of the 5D3 is very slow for sports.

The 6D has wifi and GPS.  These are just gadgets. While they have practical applications, not major selling points for most amateurs.  Having built in wifi for pros to send to a client’s iPad while on a shoot is a great plus.


Lower megapixels and smaller screen on the 6D… again, not huge factors.  You have more than enough megapix and you’ll get used to the screen.  Other random things that make the 5D3 well suited for me… the RATE button.  Allows me to rate images of shows in between bands, improving my workflow.  The joystick near the thumb is a must for me!

So I know it sounds like the 5D3 is a way better camera… and it is a better camera, but the price is a pretty big difference between the two.  If you are stepping up from a Rebel (which this person is), the 6D might be a great entry level into full frame, and being cheaper, will allow you to buy a better lens!!  Camera bodies usually get decent upgrades every 2-3 years.  So by the time you outgrow your 6D, something else will be on the market to replace it.  And the 6D can stay as your backup camera 🙂

Shooting events, family functions, kids, landscape, urban shooting, portraits… the 6D is highly capable of producing great images! We are always tempted to buy the most expensive, but we really need to think if it’s right for us for the price.

Hope this helps! 🙂

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