In examining the Canon 6D and the Canon 70D we aren’t really looking at which camera is better, but which camera might be better for you. The reason for this is that there’s really no way to compare the Canon 6D and the Canon 70D in their entirety. Ultimately, the fact that the Canon 6D is a full frame camera means these two bodies are completely different from one another.
However, that isn’t to say that this comparison might not make the decision between the Canon 6D and the Canon 70D easier. Although we might not be making a final judgment on which camera has the advantage, we will certainly be looking at the singular impressive features, and failings, of both of these Canon camera bodies.
When it hit the market back in 2012, the Canon 6D attracted a lot of attention in the world of Canon enthusiasts and professional photographers alike. It really was Canon’s first dip into the world of full frame cameras with a budget photographer in mind. Yes, the camera was still a hefty USD$1,900 in most instances, for the body only, but compared to the Canon full frame models available at the time, it was a reasonable saving.
Many Canon fans likened the Canon 6D to the Canon 60D. Although the Canon 60D is a cropped frame camera, both feature very comparable layouts, and are very similarly sized. That brings us to the other notable feature of the Canon 6D, especially compared to other full frame cameras, as it is both very small and remarkably light considering its potential.
What the Canon 6D offers photographers is enough to impress anyone, with a 20-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor, DIGIC 5+ image processor, an ISO range of 100-25600 standard with 50-102800 expanded, 4.5 fps continuous shooting capabilities, a silent shutter mode, 1080p30 video recording, a 3-inch 1.04m-dot LCD screen and built in GPS and Wi-Fi capabilities.
As a member of the newer line of mid-range DSLRs from Canon, the Canon 70D has seen some big advances from the manufacturer compared to previous models. Like the Canon 6D, the Canon 70D is something like its predecessor the 60D, but much better. In fact, it is so much better, in terms of an advanced level of upgraded features and technology, that Canon 60D owners wanting a change would be smart to consider it. Following on a long line of quality camera technology, Canon has succeeded in taking all that worked from their camera line, and improving all that didn’t, in this impressive Canon 70D.
For photographers at all levels, the Canon 70D provides a 20-megapixel ‘Dual Pixel’ sensor, an ISO range of 100 – 12800 standard and up to 25600 expanded, a DIGIC 5+ processor, 19-point AF system, with all points being cross-type, 1080p30 video recording with a built-in stereo microphone and external microphone port, an articulated 1.04m-dot LCD touchscreen and built in wi-fi capabilities.
Sensor & Megapixel:
The Canon 6D and the Canon 70D both feature 20 megapixels of image resolution, but that does not mean they are in any way the same. The Canon 6D features the more professional full frame camera sensor while the Canon 70D features the more enthusiast cropped frame sensor. Both sensors do their job perfectly, and although it is a common thought that full frame sensors are better, this is a misconception.
In truth, the sensor that best suits you will depend on your personal needs as a photographer and your own wants. For those sure that they’re ready, and wanting, a full frame camera, in which case the Canon 6D is an ideal starter body. But for those who aren’t sure what the benefits of a full frame camera are, and especially for those who don’t care, the Canon 70D will likely be absolutely perfect.
Both the Canon 6D and the Canon 70D have 3-inch screens with 1.04m-dot resolution, but from there the similarities definitely end. While the Canon 6D operates just perfectly as a screen as is, the Canon 70D goes one step further. As well as impressive image resolution, on a reasonably sized screen, it also offers both articulated and touchscreen capacities.
This means that the Canon 70D’s screen can tilt and turn, allowing for shots at very high or low angles, and it is touch compatible, making it much simpler to access internal menus with ease. The touchscreen is very popular, and known, for its ‘touch to focus’ capabilities in Live View, which really streamline the shooting process, especially when it comes to video. For those photographers planning on shooting video the touchscreen, as well as some other features we’ll discuss later, really make the Canon 70D the perfect videographers camera body.
The Canon 6D’s full frame sensor means that the two cameras were never going to perform on the same level when it came to ISO capabilities. So, unsurprisingly, the Canon 6D far outstrips the performance of the Canon 70D. While the Canon 70D offers a reasonable ISO range of 100 – 12,800 ISO, boosted to 25,600 ISO, the Canon 6D provides a range of 100 – 25,600 ISO, boosted to an amazing 102,400 ISO.
Along with this impressive ISO performance, the Canon 6D also allows photographers much better low noise performance at higher levels of ISO. In comparison to the Canon 70D, which shows noise around the 926 ISO mark, the Canon 6D can reach up to 2,340 ISO before significant noise begins to show, and that’s right at the pixel level. This makes the Canon 6D a great camera for portraiture and low light photography of any kind.
We don’t talk about flash very often, mostly because the pop-up flash systems included on most entry and mid-range DSLRs don’t really warrant a mention. However, it is worth mentioning in this case because although the Canon 70D offers an average flash set-up, the Canon 6D does not have any kind of built-in flash. This should be remembered as it means any flash photography will require extra equipment.
At this point, it is easy to see how the Canon 6D is outpacing the Canon 70D, but that thought process stops right here. When it comes to speed, the Canon 70D doesn’t just outpace the Canon 6D, it leaves it behind. The Canon 70D offers photographers looking for something fast the ability to shoot continuously at speeds 60% faster than the Canon 6D. So, while the Canon 6D offers a slow 4.5fps, the Canon 70D can crank it up to 7fpd, which is very impressive. It also offers lower shutter lag, 75ms compared to 290ms, which is nothing to scoff at.
These faster shooting speeds really make the Canon 70D shine in its area of expertise, which is fast-moving photography of any kind.
The Canon 70D also way outperforms the Canon 6D when it comes to the autofocus system. Perhaps it is because the Canon 6D is intended as a lower priced full frame camera for landscape or travel photographers, but Canon really hasn’t done much with the camera’s autofocus abilities. It offers just 11 focus points, with only the centre being cross-type. Reviewers have also noted that the focus points are quite crowded together, meaning that the Canon 6D doesn’t have good focus coverage.
The Canon 70D on the other hand is a wonder when it comes to its autofocus system. It offers 19 focus points, all of them cross-type, with a very good spread of points that make it ideal for accurate, and fast, focusing. This, as with the speed, makes the Canon 70D a great camera for any fast moving subject, like sports or nature photography.
In terms of making the choice between the Canon 6D and the Canon 70D in the long-term, photographers should note that while the Canon 70D offers compatibility with both the EF and EF-S range of Canon’s lenses, the Canon 6D offers only EF lens compatibility. There are a reasonably number of EF lenses, noted for their high quality of construction and performance, but they tend to be more expensive.
Both the Canon 6D and the Canon 70D are on the same page when it comes to additional technology. They both offer on board wifi, which many photographers couldn’t live without. If you aren’t familiar with it, the built-in wifi allows photographers to move images with ease, share online simply and also trigger remotely in just a few simple steps.
The Canon 70D comes in a kit with a choice of either the Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM or the Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM. The choice in lenses is easily made for the photographer sure on their specific needs, as well as the usual budget considerations. The 18-55mm is certainly a standard lens for most photographers, and makes both an ideal beginners lens and a useful everyday lens.
This particular 18-55mm is one of Canon’s popular kit lenses and is solidly built, with good image quality. The lens has useful Image Stabilization (IS) technology as well as Canon’s STM stepping motor, allowing for almost silent focusing.
If you aren’t sure what lens you might need, the Canon 18-135mm certainly covers all the basics a photographer starting out might need. It is as popular as the 18-55mm, and perhaps more so, as the 18-135mm has the versatility of the zoom missing on the other lens. It offers all the same bells and whistles as the 18-55mm, but that extra focal length can really come in handy, and makes for a perfect all rounder lens.
The Canon 6D on the other hand, comes bundled with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens. This lens, one of Canon’s notable L series, is known by its reputation is a quality constructed lens that performs at the highest level. As we would expect from a lens in Canon’s pro line, the EF 24-105mm gives enough focal length for variety, but provides the stability that Canon users look for in an everyday lens. It features amazing image capture, very easy and smooth handling and a weather sealant that makes it ideal for photographers in different situations.
A Final Comparison of the Canon 6D and Canon 70D
On features alone, there’s no way that the Canon 70D can compare, or even compete, with the Canon 6D. The Canon 6D is a cheaper full frame camera, but it is very much targeted at the more professional photographer, while the Canon 70D still works towards the enthusiast market above all others.
Still, that isn’t to say that the Canon 6D will be the camera that you need. The decision that you make between these two camera bodies will ultimately depend on your specific needs as a photographer. We would certainly recommend the Canon 6D if you’re set on having a full frame camera, and you’re happy to pay for the privilege. The Canon 6D is really perfect for photographers looking to have a high quality lens for landscape photography, interiors and serious portraiture. It performs particularly well in low-light situations thanks to that impressive ISO range, so make sure you consider the benefits of this overall.
The Canon 70D is still a great camera, even when compared to something as professional as the Canon 6D. As we’ve shown in our comparison, the strong points of the Canon 70D are in its speed and flexibility for shooting fast moving subjects on the go. The wealth of focus points, the spread of cross-type points, and that faster shooting speed really do make such a difference in this case. We would heartily recommend the Canon 70D for photographers wanting to shoot lots of fast moving subjects, such as wildlife or sports.
Both the Canon 6D and the Canon 70D are impressive cameras that sit very well in their respective locations in the Canon line-up. They’re likely to be a great fit for you, as long as you take the time to consider all the benefits and possible failings of each body in relation to your needs.