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March 12, 2013

Pick Your Poison: Canon 6D vs. 60D vs. 7D vs. 5D Mark II Camera Comparison

There are many more options for DSLRs and smaller cameras than there ever have been, but there are still a lot of reasons you might want to use Canon's cameras. For one thing, they still take incredible still photos, but on the video side, even while there might be some cameras that resolve more detail or have less aliasing/moire, some of the older releases from Canon still give a great built-in look that doesn't require much work in post (subjective, of course). JJ Kim from Orange Wedding Films recently took a look at the newer full-frame Canon 6D, along with the APS-C 7D and 60D, and the full-frame 5D Mark II. In the video below, JJ compares their features/specs, as well as image quality and low-light/moire performance.

Some more info about the video -- you can skip using the guide below:

00:00 - 06:22 Intro

06:23 - 7:06 30 minute recording time

7:06 - 10:40 Menu items

10:41 - 17:23 Working with an external HDMI monitor

17:24 - 20:04 Moire Test 1 + 2

20:04 - 20:28 - sample clips

20:28 - 23:29 - Low Light with ISO Comparison

23:30 - End - my personal likes and dislikes

All the comparison video was shot on Zeiss 50mm 1.4. EVF segment and sample shot (and wedding clips) were shot on Sigma 24-70 2.8. My dog footage was shot on 6D with Zeiss 35mm 2.0.

No color grading was done in any clips in this video. imported as DSLR footage to Premiere Pro CS5.5, exported to H.264 1080 24P, 7Mbps.

I still like full-frame a lot, even if shooting with an APS-C sensor is much easier on focus, and while shooting with a DSLR can sometimes be a major pain, I think the 30 minute record time combined with the higher resolution HDMI output during recording is a huge benefit to the 6D (since you're stuck with about 20 minutes per clip on the 7D -- not to mention that camera is prone to overheating).

I haven't had the chance to shoot with it yet, but if I was just getting started and looking at a full-frame DSLR, unless you've got another $1,000 or so to spend, the 6D looks like a great option. While the Nikon D800 will resolve more detail and has clean HDMI, and the Mark III won't have any noticeable aliasing/moire (and is getting clean HDMI), the 6D is right up there with the best low-light performers Canon has ever made -- at least a stop better than the Mark III thanks to the lower pixel count.

If you're lighting, it's not an issue, but for people who need a camera that is small and flexible, I think the 6D will be solid. My personal taste if I'm not doing noise reduction is not to go above 1600 ISO with the 60D/7D, and not go above 2500 ISO with the Mark II. From what I've seen of the 6D, I think I would be perfectly fine shooting at 5000-6400 ISO with that camera, which is just phenomenal. With the VAF-6D filter from Mosaic Engineering (which should lessen the effects of moire/aliasing), you should be able to come much closer to the performance of the 5D Mark III for less money.

We've heard rumblings of a 60D replacement and a 7D Mark II, so it will be interesting to see what improvements Canon decides to put in those new APS-C cameras.

Link: Orange Wedding Films -- Website

[via Canon Watch]

Your Comment

49 Comments

The stills image quality is the reason I'm still shooting on Canon. I know it's not the best video but to the average client, it looks great. I've been getting into photography as a hobby lately so having one device to do both stills and video is a great option. From what I've seen, Nikon video is also great quality but the controls are not as simple to use.

However I've been tempted lately by the Sony Alpha series SLT cameras. Great quality for still and video with more options, smaller footprint….long live the ultra-budget camera shooters I suppose.

March 12, 2013

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Eric

6D is very fine hybrid camera. But moire, and aliasing for that matter, can be quite bad not only when you point the camera at brick walls and shingle roofs ;) Mosaic filter helps a lot with that as long as you don't plan on using wider lenses fully, or almost fully, opened.

March 12, 2013

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Robert B.

I avoid problems with my 5D mark ii by not pointing the camera at brick walls and shingle roofs...LOL..

March 12, 2013

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Throw a layer of grain over the footage and the moire kinda gets diluted and less noticeable.

March 13, 2013

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john jeffreys

Although i'm not usually a DSLR shooter, I like the 35mm like DOF off of a 7D as a C camera for work shot on Epic or Alexa. I also use it rather than a 60D due to build quality.

March 12, 2013

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Also, the 7D outputs an HD signal for monitoring WHILE recording, thank god for that.

March 12, 2013

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john jeffreys

So you can get a nice, crisp view of that barely 720P image.

March 12, 2013

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Hummer

Its something like 800-810 resolved lines of detail, so a little more than 720p. Either way, yeah it sucks but for 900 dollars used you can't go wrong just to have a 7D in your bag

March 12, 2013

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john jeffreys

Like I said, its my backup to the Epic and Alexa.

March 12, 2013

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Actually the MkIII gets around 800 lines of real resolution, other canon dslr barely get to 600.

March 12, 2013

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Raphael Wood

For HDMI monitoring (as I tested on the video), 6D works the best with view/info display.

March 12, 2013

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I wonder if, in the future, we'll still have divisions between "video" and "stills" cameras. I don't think it's unreasonable to want one tool that could do both high-quality stills and video equally, at an accessible price.

March 12, 2013

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NDK

Red Epic.... Used to shoot blockbuster Hollywood features one day and magazine covers the next.

March 12, 2013

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a little bulkier than your average DSLR - and there's a slight price difference to consider.

March 12, 2013

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alex

So is the quality and application.

March 12, 2013

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Epic is great for shooting films but very cumbersome and basically not usable for photos. No photographer will ever change to the Epic. Except maybe for some promotional stuff. Like shooting on an iPhone. No one will ever do it except for promotion.

March 14, 2013

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mikko löppönen

1D-C but the price is the big detractor, I would like something like the 1D-C but in a non 1 series body that only does full crisp 1080p. $2k price would be nice.

March 13, 2013

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Sid

its coming apparently, there are rumors of a "C50". If it shoots 2k and has the C series super35 sensor and priced at 2-3k then it will sell like wildfire

http://www.canonrumors.com/2013/02/canon-cinema-eos-c50-cr1/

March 13, 2013

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john jeffreys

Has the 6D been tested against the D800 or D5200 for resolution?

March 12, 2013

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vinceGortho

It doesn't need to be really. The 6D is no better than the Mark III, and the D5200 looks like it's about the same as the Mark III.

March 12, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

D5200 is about 30% less resolving than the 5dmarkIII. This is based on samples freely available on EOSHD. On every shot the 5dmarkIII was clearly more resolving, especially when watching the original 1080p samples.

March 14, 2013

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mikko löppönen

Not sure how you can put a number on it like that. The difference is not as drastic as the difference between the D800 and the Mark III, so that's why I say the Mark III and the D5200 are about the same, similar in my mind to the way that the Mark II resolved a bit more than the 7D/60D etc.

March 14, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

A 7D with a PL mount is the only serious DSLR option without spending 12k on a 1DC >_> Canon is really out of touch with the market they accidentally created

March 12, 2013

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john jeffreys

There's no reason you couldn't use Canon's CNE primes on the 6D - that's basically the same option - obviously less depth of field.

March 12, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

I've been looking at those lenses actually, but in general it's nice to have a PL mount if you are a vintage cine lens addict like me; and you wanna have the option of using the same lenses as the A camera on higher end shoots, like s4's or ultra primes etc etc

March 12, 2013

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john jeffreys

I agree. Matching glass is quite important to me. I'm quite the fan of using the angenieux 45-120 on the 7D. Great thing about that lenses is that it has both a Canon and PL mount.

March 12, 2013

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Can I just say that I've had a Canon 7D for over 2 years, shot with it hundreds of times, mostly on weddings where shoots last over 12 hours and it's on almost non stop and I've never had the camera overheat. Not even warn me about overheating. For me, the thing performs like a champ, always.

March 12, 2013

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Andrew Davidson

Hey, Andrew,
What is your avg temp of the weather you are located? During the winter season in Chicago (where I am), it never overheats, but during summer, when I shoot full day Indian wedding outdoor, 7D heats almost every 45 minutes or so (while 60D lasts longer without overheating).

March 12, 2013

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I'd imagine it's similar if not the same as your climate. I shoot mostly in Toledo, OH, and most shoots are during the summer (granted, about half indoors half out).

March 13, 2013

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Andrew Davidson

I have shot in a freezing cold church for a good long 14 hour day with a Lumix GH1, Lumix GH2 and a 60D.

THe GH1 & GH2 didn't even get warm, as far as I could tell. The 60D was going crazy, switching itself off relentlessly. Very tiresome. Good reason to go Lumix, especially if like me you have an old cheap 5D Mk1 for stills :)

July 10, 2013

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Lucas Adamson

The 7d can go weeks without overheating. It only basically overheated on me once, and that was a long studio shoot. And also on a couple of hot summer days. But it's not extremely common.

For example the Sony nex-5n overheats in about 10 minutes, and it doesn't care about the ambient temps.

March 14, 2013

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mikko löppönen

Just bought a 6D... mainly because of the lowlight performance. The moire can be an issue, and I guess it relies entirely what you are shooting if it actually proves to be an issue for you. Like if you shoot a lot of architectural work, maybe... just maybe it isn't the camera for you. Maybe.

Coming from a T2i and being purely a hobbyist shooter, this is a huge step up. I have dabbled in professional work in the past, and I think this would be a more than capable camera to continue that with.

But again, everything is in the eye of the beholder.

March 12, 2013

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Tom

With the recent AMAZING demos of the power of the RED Dragon sensor (20+ DR, Native 2000 ISO etc)..all with a 24 megapizel Super35 sensor...I can't understand the excuse of DSLR companies having less tha stellar resolution of HD than the RED is capable of when you downscale 6K to 4K then 4K to 1080p..I mean..should'nt 1080p benefit for the oversampled pixels of photo cameras (16-24 at the moment)..and these problems of moire and resolution shouldnt even come up. With modern sensors from Sony (24 mpix apsc/24mpix FF) and the others..shouldnt we be having extra detailed, hi res, high DR, and very clean, 1080ps with them but were not..from any brand. So I'm guessing what camera manufacturers should be investing in is loading up much much more powerful computers inside their dslrs that can take up the live processing of 24 megapixels to 1080p. Sensors and all other stuff are already amazing, ( as evidenced by the stills they can produce)..its just up to their internal processors and codec. Here's an idea, create a module shaped like a battery grip which you can insert with any dslr FF or apsc, interface thru USB and take over the camera's computer during video caprture. In it..you place a computer capable of properly downsampling to 1080 whatever the megapixels of the camera its attached to, at different framerates, with its own heatsink....then save it as prores. So now everyone can just buy any dslr they may want at their affordability level..then that module and voila..everyone gets to record high quality 1080p out of their cameras. upgrade the bodies as things improve and get cheaper..but the codec + computer stays as is or can improve and upgrade too. The ultimate module for consumers who film with dslrs. Kickstarter go!

March 13, 2013

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quobetah

So does this mean it's 2010 already?

In a world where you could also buy the 5D3, D800, BMC, D5200, or even NEX-5N, all of which will give you a much better image, why would any of these old-gen Canons matter? (unless you already have one and don't want to upgrade)

March 13, 2013

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...or the GH2, GH3...

March 13, 2013

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Swested

I don't particularly like those, but yes: anything but an old-gen Canon!

March 14, 2013

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because NOT EVERYONE CAN BUY ALL NEW CAMERAS ALL THE TIME. there are many filmmakers out there looking and searching for various of price range / features for their camera, and that is why I compared cameras in "similar" price range. and just like I said in the video, cameras don't make "BETTER" images. They are more to it.

March 14, 2013

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They are all Canon's
it is like testing the BEST car using only Ford.

March 13, 2013

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Tulio

2_ Why would ANYONE export as h264 7Mbps?
I always do H264 @ 25Mbps or PhotoJpeg.

March 13, 2013

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Tulio

I'm guessing because it was exported for Vimeo and until very recently the maximum bit rate was 5mbps.

March 13, 2013

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Mike Hendzel

Because I had to export for Vimeo. Even if I export it to 25mbps, Vimeo will re-compress on their own anyway.

March 14, 2013

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"Pick your poison".... and only Canon is offered? Heh!

March 13, 2013

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I just purchased the 5d3 ($2800). I definitely had to consider the 6d as well. Since I do LOTS of promos/doc work which is heavy in interviews having an in camera headphone, live meters and live adjustments of gain was crucial. Not an easy pill to swallow actually - that Canon got me for more money so that I can have such basics. yes there is Magic Lantern, but having it ready and available without etra steps, loading cards, reloading Magic Lantern etc is important for me when doing paid work and TIME is critical (as it always is).

Don't get me wrong, I use ML, love it! But i needed the cam to have it without any nonsense. Plus the lowlight of the 5d3 is insane. Had no idea the 6d was that good, that could have swayed me.

March 13, 2013

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Ugg... Annoying when someone calls it the E-Oss.

March 14, 2013

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Gary B

The link to the author "Orange Wedding Films — Website " of this video is incorrect.

I don't have any relationship whit him, but since other sites take 3rd party videos/tests for their own benefit I think all credits should be given to the authors VERY clearly and in first place. Not just one (broken) link.

I'm not against doing it, but I think it's fair to give them "more" credits for their own job.

Cheers

March 14, 2013

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TOM

The link has been fixed, thanks for pointing that out.

March 14, 2013

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

TOM, thank you very much for pointing that out. I noticed the broken link, too, but didn't want to bother Joe with it.... and thank you, JOE for correcting it. I know it could be hassle to do those minor tweaks.
Thanks again, guys.

March 15, 2013

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Anyone know what the delay is after you press record with the 5D2 and the lilliput monitor? I've heard its up to 4 seconds, making it almost useless for many shots.

March 14, 2013

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The obsessing over technical perfection has reached comical proportions.

March 15, 2013

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