Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600 - Key Differences

September 17, 2012 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital SLR Cameras, Photokina 2012 | 34 Comments | |
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Within the past few days, both Nikon and Canon have announced new “full-frame” - or “FX format” in Nikon speak - digital SLR cameras (namely, the Nikon D600 and the Canon EOS 6D) that are more affordable than any other comparable and currently manufactured model in the two manufacturers’ line-ups. In order to help you get a clearer picture of how they compare to each other specifications-wise, we’ve compiled a handy little table summarising the key differences between the two models, based on information available to us at the time of writing.

Do note that the table highlights the key differences only - keep in mind that the two cameras have a lot more similarities, ranging from the ~24x36mm size of their sensors to their top shutter speed of 1/4000th second.

NB: The image showing the two cameras side by side is not to scale.

Related posts:
Nikon D600 Review - our full, in-depth review of the D600, complete with JPEG and raw samples
Nikon D600 Hands-On Preview - our first impressions based on actual, hands-on experience
Nikon D600 Hands-On Photos - gallery with twenty-eight hands-on images
Canon EOS 6D Hands-On Photos - gallery with fifty-two hands-on images

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34 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 siotg

From the spec I like the Nikon d600 more than Canon 6d. But, and there is a big "But" here that is the 6d has native iso of 25,600 vs the d600 only has native iso of 6,400. I always think that the most important thing about a camera is the image quality and this has a lot to do with iso and dynamic range of the sensor. If canon senser is really 2 stop better iso performance than the nikon than this could be a decision maker for a lot of folks including me. I can't wait to see a side by side comparision between these two cameras.

5:25 pm - Monday, September 17, 2012

#2 DWan

Nikon's built-in flash should deserve a green highlight while the higher resolution on Canon's LCD monitor may also call for an advantage recognition.

5:35 pm - Monday, September 17, 2012

#3 Builder

@DWan: The LCDs represent a difference of 13%. By this measure, the D600's sensor is a far more impressive 20% increase!

6:44 pm - Monday, September 17, 2012

#4 DWan

You are right, Builder. I missed that Significant point.

6:50 pm - Monday, September 17, 2012

#5 Thuan

Don't forget the difference in color redition and white balance performance.

7:44 pm - Monday, September 17, 2012

#6 John Rich

Canon shows as having ONE cross type AF point, taking auto focus backwards by quite a way,all nine AF points of the 650D are of the cross-type variety

8:09 pm - Monday, September 17, 2012

#7 Das dude

I'll admit it. The D600 is better in almost every way. But really, this isn't about which one is better, because most of us have money invested into a system, and switching makes no sense at all.

8:46 pm - Monday, September 17, 2012

#8 John Rork

Actually switching does make sense if you are not vested in full frame lenses already. If you are vested in crop sensor coverage lenses, you have the same freedom as beginning from scratch.

10:33 pm - Monday, September 17, 2012

#9 Sean

It seems Canon tried so hard not to outclass the MK3 that it failed to outclass the competition. I am currently in the market for a budget full frame body and have a few Nikon lenses. However, after seeing these two offerings, I doubt that either is $600-$700 better than a gently used Mark ii. I sure wouldn't pay that much more for the 6D with an AF system that's not vastly improved. I also never imagined that my long awaited jump to full frame would be crammed into a DX body :)

1:43 am - Tuesday, September 18, 2012

#10 jake

funny , most people just talk about how crappy the AF of the Canon or its lack of silly toy-like pop-up crap.
but there are many people that never use the extremely annoying pop-up flash.
having pop-up flash means , it is a weak body.
my D700 broke because of that and my D7000 also broke because of that crap.
that said , I am selling both Nikon and Canon glass and get the Sony A99v, those 2 cheap (I dont use the term affordable here)FX cameras are extremely boring and I think they are too conservative , Sony, on the other hand , is very ambtious about it and I think it will change the way we shoot everyday life and street snaps with the extremely good twistable LCD and EVF.

Nikon should have used the same EVF as in the A99v to make the D600 LV AF as fast as the Sony.
OVF is a thing of the past.

2:58 am - Tuesday, September 18, 2012

#11 Sean

People talk about the crappy AF, because it is crappy when compared to the competition in it's intended segment.
I managed to run 80,000 cycles through a full plastic D90 and never broke the pop-up flash or anything else for that matter.

6:00 am - Tuesday, September 18, 2012

#12 William

I'll keep my d700 I paid $2000 for when it was on sale. These two newbies have very crowded sensors and are unable to produce silky smooth noise free natural portraits at low light levels with high iso's as the 700 does..
The d700 like the d90 are gems to be kept.
I thinkNikon hit the mark at 12mp and newer higher resolutions crowd the same sensors and make noise.
My d7000 is a total disappointment and I heard nothing but grumblings from the 2 d800 owners I met in the field. I am keeping my D90 as a backup and selling off the D7000.
Sorry Nikon and Canon. I am not falling for the hype.

7:49 am - Tuesday, September 18, 2012

#13 Peter

canon has to sell that for 1699 euro to make it a deal worth to consider..and im a canon guy!

12:48 pm - Tuesday, September 18, 2012

#14 no

The 6D could be a great camera if it wasn't designed to avoid eating sales from the 5DmkIII. As such, it is much too crippled to compete with the D600. The D600 has no such concern since the D800 is such a different camera not to mention has a world class leading 36MP sensor with the best image quality to date. As such, Nikon was able to very aggressively push the specs of the D600 while canon had to hold back. Nothing illustrates the monumental mistake that canon did when they made the 5DmkIII a mid resolution body.

1:49 pm - Tuesday, September 18, 2012

#15 ssrdd

D600 wins.

3:07 pm - Tuesday, September 18, 2012

#16 Dave

Canon blew it on this one, but they can recover, sell it for 1500 and it'll fly off the shelves. As an aside, both Canon and Nikon have no intention, ever, of creating an affordable full frame camera. My hope is that Sony will do so, otherwise Canon and Nikon will continue their monopoly, it's hardly a coincidence that the D600 and 6d are the same price.

2:41 pm - Wednesday, September 19, 2012

#17 Andy

I would rather have 1/200th second sync speed than 1/180th... actually, I'd rather get back to the 1/500th on my D70!

4:53 pm - Wednesday, September 19, 2012

#18 gordon

The 6D has a lot of nice new features such as WiFi and GPS, but the 4.5 fps is a show stopper for me. Will keep my 7D with 8 fps. Even my good old 60D beats that. I need high fps for sports and wildlife.

12:44 am - Thursday, September 20, 2012

#19 khairul

DWan, I dun think 1.044M dot is 6D advantage as I see no much different to 912K dot over normal human eyes view :)
For me one of the most advantage of 6D is the higher ISO range up to ISO25600, thats way much better to nikon 600D which is ISO6400 only, much like ISO on D300 back in 2008 :-)

1:27 am - Thursday, September 20, 2012

#20 khairul

*typo : "600D" should be "D600" ;)

1:30 am - Thursday, September 20, 2012

#21 Nude Moose

6D with its 11 AF-points reminds me of the good old 5D (which is actually my current main body).
Not much has changed in that department on half a decade... :P

10:19 am - Thursday, September 20, 2012

#22 Greenblue

Disappointed by the 6D's focusing system and plastic body.
I have used Canon for 20 years but if I need a new camera now I would seriously consider the D600 because other than the 6D's quite shutter mode and high ISO, the D600 is better in almost all other areas.

2:08 am - Friday, September 21, 2012

#23 EOS-Uwe

Sorry, I use Canon cameras since 1974. Unfortunately, I must confess that the D6 in any way to fulfill my expectations. After I was able to test both at the Photokina camera, and I could only use a Nikon SD chip ... I'm more than disappointed about the "oh great so" technology highlights ....
Who needs GPS or WiFi. I control my Kamerea not remotely. Someone who makes such recordings, goes into another price range or is willing to buy an extra added. Where the flash transmitter? Sports images with only one cross-type sensor? Let's see what the "real" test to produce. I am currently at 80% on the Nikon trip ... Now after almost 40 years of Canon! Wrong policy!
In the example images, the sensor can not convince me either. Here is Nikon advance by several years. What makes Canon with the development department? One should not follow the madness of crowds pixels. There were sensors that were available at that time to advance worlds, now have the sensors from Canon rather a disadvantage. Only the Manke the glasses that you have saved up, but the change has to be just considering the quality.
A depressed Canon users ... yet

9:39 pm - Tuesday, September 25, 2012

#24 Roger

I think this Nikon D600 is the best DSLR after the Nikon D800. THE BEST IN THE WORLD. The Canon 6D is not really good, has a stupid outdatet decadent autofocus. Canon is out. Nikon is a game changer! I will buy a Nikon D800.

10:07 pm - Thursday, September 27, 2012

#25 TboneJz

My $$ still goes to the glass. Started out with Canon "L" glass, no reason to change. (I'm sure Nikon glass is good also, but not worth changing to)

3:21 am - Saturday, September 29, 2012

#26 Curios

It really comes down to what you shoot. If you're doing landscapes or still life, the 6D with wider ISO range and lower EV focussing could be a deal maker . If video is important the audio output is a deal maker for Nikon. One is not inherently "better" - just "better for... ". For myself - a Canon crop user - I will likely switch. I can finally use my old Nikon FE Lenses that are built like tanks and razor sharp. The backward compatibity is a huge bonus.

4:59 pm - Saturday, September 29, 2012

#27 bj

pop up flash should be in green for the Nikon...and the mRAW setting is widely debunked and shouldn't be listed (Nikon doesn't even want to offer it). otherwise, get the camera that you have lenses for. no huge differences here.

6:28 pm - Friday, October 5, 2012

#28 Bram

have you ever tried the camera on hand? if not then theres no point in saying this or that is better based on a spec sheet.

spec sheet is for marketing purpose from both company, what matters is real life shooting situation

ex: 7D shoots 8 frame / sec

with RAW it slows down a bit, with low light situation it slows down even more, with card buffering it stops at all

all im saying is that spec sheet dont tell you a thing about the real performance of the camera, it is there just so you know more or less what you're getting

9:36 am - Tuesday, November 6, 2012

#29 Jim Dollar

The D600 neatly takes itself out of the race with it's fatal flaw of oil spots from the shutter splattering the sensor--A problem with recent Nikon cameras, it seems.

1:53 am - Monday, November 19, 2012

#30 Michael McKee

All the numbers are just numbers. I have a D600 and love it. Yes, there were a few sensor spots early on. Those seem to have disappeared after a couple K shots. So I had to clean the sensor. Eh.

If the 6D takes photos anywhere near as nice as the D600, Canon will have a good camera that should sell well. We don't know how well the 6D focuses. One cross type focusing spot only means that the camera may not handle 2X extensions well. I seriously doubt that most 6D owners intend to shoot sports.

1:46 am - Friday, November 30, 2012

#31 Ruth

Well, I don't care for those big bodied steroid full frame Canon and Nikon thingies and I skip both of them. I use to have a Nikon D700 with some very nice glass. Sold all of that heavy fluff stuff and bought the Olympus EM-5. Never looked back. Fantastic camera. A full camera and lens set doesn't break my back and it fits in a small comfortable shoulder bag or backpack. As a bonus there's the excellent five axis stabilization. The image quality is outstanding and I never long for a bigger sensor.

7:20 pm - Saturday, December 1, 2012

#32 Scorehound

Just because the Nikon has more green spaces doesn't mean it's better. It depends on what you need a FF camera for. The Nikon has certain advantages over the 6D in terms of focus points and some body features, but how is having a pop up flash an advantage for the D600? It is an accessory and shouldn't be used as a deciding factor. Canon's low light and High ISO performance is better, giving the 6D the edge in versatility in low light situations. Couple the high ISO with a fast lens (24-70 f/2.8 for example) and you reduce your "need" for a pop up flash.

I like the body of the Nikon, the focus points are a plus and the dual card slot is convenient. But for those looking for image quality the 6D takes an edge simply because its High ISO performance and wickedly LOW noise at high ISOs gives it the edge.

8:54 pm - Saturday, December 29, 2012

#33 Pierre

Hi guys,

I have a D-90 wich I love. I will probably get the D600 when the price tag decreases in a few months.
For me, the most important thing is the sharpness in a RAW image. I use my flash on my D90 for filling the shadow and for me it is very important. I also have a SB700 flash for group photography and it permits me to use any speed of my D90 when I want , I use high speed when doing portraits, to make the background darker. It does a fantastic job.

For the new SLR buyers here is a tip: TRY MANY CAMERAS AND MAKE YOUR SELECTION, and don't forget, what makes a very sharp picture is a combinaison of the 3 things :

- Quality of the Optics (Glass)
- Quality of the Sensor
- Quality of the Processor

Unless you print posters, don't worry to much for these high ISO specs.

and RAW gives you a lot of latitude for your own processing , with RAW you have your own developing lab and the basic Phototoshop (Elements 11) is about 100 USD. and it does great job and the new interface is very user friendly.

Thanks you and excuse my few ortograph errors, english is not my native language.

CIAO and have fun,


4:04 pm - Wednesday, January 30, 2013

#34 johan

The major difference is you can't use Nikon lenses on the Canon and the other way around ! I find all this Canon vs Nikon bullshit. I have 5 Canon dslr's but they might as well have been Nikons.

7:50 am - Friday, April 25, 2014