Canon 6D vs Nikon D600

19th Sep 2012 | 15:57

Canon 6D vs Nikon D600

Two "entry-level" full frame cameras go head to head

We love a good comparison piece here on TechRadar, and it seems only natural that many consumers and journalists alike will pitch the Canon EOS 6D and Nikon D600 against each other, announced at and just before Photokina 2012, respectively.

After all, both are more affordable versions of their full-frame offerings, and are being viewed by many as the way to get the mass consumer market into using full-frame cameras.

However, there are a fair few differences between the two cameras, so it's worth taking a look if you're considering jumping into the full-frame arena yourself. Here's how the main specs weigh up:

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600: sensor

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600

Both the Canon EOS 6D and the Nikon D600 are offering full-frame sensors in their respective models, but Nikon has the higher resolution device in the shape of its 24.3 million pixel device. Canon has opted for a 20.2 megapixel sensor.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to a higher pixel count. More pixels can increase the chance of image noise, but a higher count is helpful if you want to crop into an image and retain high quality.

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600

Nikon has already proved that a high resolution sensor can prove very popular with the Nikon D800 this year, which features a whopping 36 million pixels. Meanwhile, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III played it a lot safer, with a 22.3 million pixel offering.

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600: autofocus

Although the Canon EOS 5D Mark III offers an impressive 61 point autofocus system, the Canon EOS 6D doesn't fare anywhere near as well, with just an 11 point system. This is fewer than the 19 points found on the APS-C sensored Canon EOS 7D, and just two more than the Canon EOS 60D.

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600

Nikon, on the other hand, has included substantially more AF points, with 39 on the Nikon D600.

However, there's something else that needs to be considered with these cameras. Canon claims that the EOS 6D is able to focus all the down to -3EV, while the Nikon D600 can only manage -1EV. This could make a big difference to low light and night time shooting.

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600: processor and sensitivity

Both the Canon EOS 6D and Nikon D600 are equipped with their company's latest generation processors. The Canon packs a Digic 5+ image processor, while the Nikon houses an Expeed 3 device.

Canon, however, has the edge when it comes to sensitivity settings, offering native speeds of ISO 100-25,600, expandable to ISO 50-102,400. Meanwhile, the D600's native settings are ISO 100-6400, expandable to 50-25,600.

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600

Again, this gives the Canon better potential for low light photography, and it will be interesting to see how the two cameras compare in our labs test when we get the Canon EOS 6D available for full review.

We have already received a Nikon D600 in for testing, and so far have been impressed by its lab performance.

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600: memory

Many people are used to higher end cameras using dual card slots to store images and videos. This gives greater flexibility for different scenarios, giving you options such as saving raw files to one card and JPEGs to the other.

However, Canon has decided to stick with just the one SD card slot on the EOS 6D. There's still no sign of Canon adopting the new XQD card format launched at the very beginning of 2012.

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600

The Nikon D600 has two card slots, although both accept SD cards. This is a pretty sensible move from Nikon which is expecting this camera to appeal to users of cameras lower down in its range which also use SD cards. We wonder if these cards can cope with the heat generated by lots of video recording though.

Nikon is reserving XQD for its flagship Nikon D4 model only.

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600: video

Increasingly, DSLRs are being used by professional videographers and enthusiastic amateurs. As is pretty much standard by now, both the cameras support Full HD video recording. However, only the Nikon D600 offers clean HDMI output for its video files, something that's likely to be extremely appealing to the professional.

Both cameras feature a variety of frame rates and can record up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds of continuous footage.

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600: Wi-Fi

One of the most heralded features of the Canon EOS 6D is the fact that it is the first Canon DSLR to feature integrated Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS technology.

Considering that camera companies have in the past claimed that it is very difficult to integrate such connectivity into the heavy and tough bodies of DSLRs, it's quite interesting to see it appear here.

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600

Integrated Wi-Fi has a number of benefits, including direct uploading to social networking sites, emailing and storage of images straight to the cloud. Perhaps more interesting is the ability to control the camera wirelessly via a dedicated Remote app for both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

Although the Nikon D600 doesn't have inbuilt Wi-Fi, it is compatible with a WU-1b adaptor, which adds the connectivity. It will set you back an extra £64.99/$59.95, though.

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600: screen and viewfinder

Both the Nikon D600 and Canon EOS 6D have a 3.2-inch LCD screen on the back of the camera, but the Canon just about pips it in terms of resolution, with its 1,040,000 dot device. That's not to say the Nikon D600 is poor, though, with its 921,000 screen.

Meanwhile, the Nikon D600's viewfinder is likely to be appreciated by many because it's able to offer 100% coverage, compared with the Canon EOS 6D's 97%.

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600: price and availability

Here's the most contentious issue. As it stands the Nikon D600 has a more expensive list price than the Canon EOS 6D, coming in at £1,955.99/$2,096.95. Meanwhile, the Canon EOS 6D's RRP is £1,799.99/$2,099 body only. It's very likely, however, that the Nikon price will come down significantly once it has been around for a while.

The Nikon D600 is already available to buy, while those looking for a Canon EOS 6D will have to wait until December to get their hands on one.

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600: verdict

Pitching the Canon EOS 6D and Nikon D600 against each other is something many consumers are bound to do, but actually, when you examine the cameras a little more thoroughly, they are in fact fairly different propositions.

Aside from the fact that both cameras are full-frame, there are benefits to both systems. However, on paper at least, the Nikon D600 seems to offer the better package, even if it does cost a little more money for the moment.

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600

Nikon has a more advanced camera on its hands, with the greater number of AF points, clean HDMI output and 100% viewfinder coverage. The Nikon D600 is likely to appeal both to newcomers to full-frame cameras and those looking for a second camera in a Nikon D800 or D4 setup.

On the other hand, the Canon EOS 6D is arguably more beginner friendly, especially with the inbuilt Wi-Fi functionality. The 11 autofocus points may seem a little low compared with the many points offered by other cameras, but it is perhaps a little less intimidating to a new user.

Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600

It goes without saying that those with a stack of full-frame compatible lenses will no doubt be drawn towards whichever brand they have already invested in. However, those fresher to the market face a more difficult decision that will likely be based on whichever features are more personally appealing.

You can read our Hands on: Canon EOS 6D review and Hands on: Nikon D600 review, and stay tuned for our full reviews in due course.

Canon Canon EOS Canon cameras Nikon Nikon cameras Photokina
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