With Canon having recently announced its take on budget DSLRs, the Canon 6D, the most obvious rival just happens to be the brand new Nikon D600. We’ve already seen how the latter stacks up, at least on-paper, with such great cameras as D700 and D800, but neither of those cameras were direct rivals. Priced at the same relatively low price for a full-frame sensor camera, $2099 body only, Canon 6D is as direct a rival as it can get. Lets see how it measures up against its Nikon counterpart spec-wise. Please keep in mind that this Nikon D600 vs Canon 6D comparison is purely based on specifications. A detailed comparison with image samples and ISO comparisons will be provided in the upcoming Canon 6D Review.
UPDATE: there has been a misleading set of specifications spread throughout the internet, indicating that the top shutter speed of Canon 6D is 1/8000th of a second. It’s incorrect – according to official Canon specifications, the top shutter speed of their newly announced “budget” full-frame camera is 1/4000th of a second.
Please note that this comparison is purely based on official specifications of both cameras. A more thorough and objective analysis with sensor comparisons will be provided in the upcoming Canon 6D Review.
Nikon D600 vs Canon 6D Specification Comparison
|Camera Feature||Nikon D600||Canon 6D|
|Sensor Resolution||24.3 Million||20.2 Million|
|Sensor Pixel Size||5.96µ||6.55µ|
|Dust Reduction / Sensor Cleaning||Yes||Yes|
|Image Size||6,016 x 4,016||5,472 x 3,648|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 3||DIGIC 5+|
|Built-in Flash||Yes, with flash commander mode||No|
|Storage Media||2x SD||1x SD|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||5.5 FPS||4.5 FPS|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/4000 to 30 sec||1/4000 to 30 sec|
|Shutter Durability||150,000 cycles||100,000 cycles|
|Exposure Metering Sensor||2,016-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering II||63-zone dual-layer iFCL metering sensor|
|Base ISO||ISO 100||ISO 100|
|Native ISO Sensitivity||ISO 100-6,400||ISO 100-25,600|
|Boosted ISO Sensitivity||ISO 50, ISO 12,800-25,600||ISO 50, ISO 51,200-102,400|
|Autofocus System||Multi-CAM 4800FX||11-point AF with 1 cross-type sensor (center, sensitive down to -3EV)|
|AF Detection||Up to f/8 (center 7 AF points only)||Up to f/5.6|
|Video Output||MOV, Compressed and Uncompressed||AVI, H.264/MPEG-4 in MOV Format|
|Video Maximum Resolution||1920×1080 (1080p) @ 24p, 25p, 30p||1920×1080 (1080p) @ 29.97p, 25p, 23.976p|
|Audio Recording||Built-in microphone|
External stereo microphone (optional)
External stereo microphone (optional)
|LCD Size||3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD||3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD|
|LCD Resolution||921,000 dots||1,040,000 dots|
|Wi-Fi Functionality||Eye-Fi Compatible, WU-1B, UT-1||Built-in Wi-Fi|
|Battery||EN-EL15 Lithium-ion Battery||LP-E6 Lithium-ion Battery|
|Battery Life||900 shots (CIPA)||980 shots|
|Weather Sealed Body||Yes||Yes|
|Weight (Body Only)||26.8 oz. (760g)||24 oz. (680g)|
|Dimensions||141 x 113 x 82mm||145 x 111 x 71mm|
|MSRP Price||$2,099 (as introduced)||$2,099 (as introduced)|
If you remember Nasim comparing the D600 vs D800, the cheaper full-frame choice seemed inferior in several aspects such as AF system and resolution, but given the price tag, it seemed like a fair trade-off. D600 would compliment its bigger brother very well.
We see a very different situation though when comparing identically priced rivals, the Canon 6D and the Nikon D600. Nikon seems to shine as the better of the two, and by quite a margin. First of all, it offers a more sophisticated 39-point AF system with 9 cross-type sensors, while Canon has given its new camera a somewhat outdated 11-point AF with just one cross-type sensor. While Canon interestingly says it is the most sensitive system of all current EOS cameras and is able to focus down to -3EV, which is very dark, we are yet to see if it’s true. Lets try to stay positive and not assume it will be as inferior to Nikon’s 39-point AF as it seems at first glance.
Canon also loses when comparing resolution. While there’s not much real-world, print-noticeable difference between 20 and 24 megapixels, with the launch of 6D, Canon has made clear that there will not be a high-resolution rival to the D800, at least at a similar price point. Due to smaller pixel pitch, high ISO and low-light performance should be a little better than that of Nikon D600, but the difference, again, might not be significant. Nikon uses very good sensors that can perform great at the highest sensitivities, as proven by D800, so things might turn out either way – we will make sure to compare them side-by-side thoroughly.
Canon 6D also doesn’t seem to be as fast as Nikon D600 at 4.5 frames per second max (versus 5.5 frames per second D600 offers). More than that, shutter durability has been rated at 100K clicks versus 150K – that’s as low as the old Canon 500D offers, which also cost about three times less at introduction three years ago. Add an inferior viewfinder with 97% coverage and a single SD card slot, lack of pop-up flash (important for some, while some will prefer better sealing), inferior video specifications (which used to be Canon’s playground – now Nikon offers uncompressed video via HDMI), and you’ve got a camera that should have either been launched a year ago (at least), or priced lower. The only real advantages (and, to be fair, modern, should-be-standard features) 6D offers are built-in GPS and Wi-Fi functionality. It’s almost as if Canon either wasn’t trying, or wasn’t expecting Nikon to launch the D600. If the latter is the case, they missed, as many have said before me, the worst kept secret in the history of DSLRs.
Don’t get me wrong. The Canon 6D is likely going to sell quite well. It is also likely that the price will drop much faster than that of D600 (as previously seen with 5D Mark II and Nikon D700). It’s not a bad camera, it’s just worse than Nikon D600 at almost every important aspect you can find. At least on paper.
We hope to get our hands on the Canon 6D as soon as we can (looks like it won’t be shipping for a while) and hopefully prove ourselves wrong!
A SIDE NOTE: our team wanted to love this camera. After all, along with the D600, it marks the beginning of affordable full-frame cameras, and prices should only go down further on. As we are turning our attention not only towards Nikon, but also Fujifilm, Sony, and Canon, we wanted users of the latter to feel welcome and appreciated, and least of all did we intend to bash the newest Canon product, which also happens to be an otherwise amazing, affordable full-frame camera. The only problem is that the 6D, is not as good as its direct rival, the D600, based on specs alone. It’s as simple as that. Don’t take our opinion offensively – we are sure it will sell very well and deliver great images to many photographers. But for those price/performance conscious, Nikon D600, ultimately, seems to offer more, at least until we get a chance to properly review both.