CANON 6D VS. NIKON D600
Now that I’ve finally used both cameras, I’d like to round up all my subjective impressions. Judging strictly on paper, Nikon D600 has far more features and makes 6D look like it’s made by removing features from 5D in order to get the price down. But in real life, things are way different.
Handling: 6D has a deeper grip recession and fits way more natural in hand than Nikon D600. Actually, I felt at home at my first contact with 6D, like I’ve had it for years. Nikon on the other side is impossible to hold with one hand; the grip is to flat and shallow to allow proper grasp. I’ve always felt like it will fall from my hand and my fist got tired and cramped after just 15-20min of using it. Also, Canon be completely controlled with just one hand but for Nikon D600 you’ll need you left hand in order to playback, magnify, delete photos, change ISO, drive mode, light metering or use the main menu.
Quality control: Nikon D600 is notorious for its dust and oil spots sensor spots; Canon 6D has no such problems.
GPS and Wi-Fi: Canon 6D has both. Personally, GPS is a must have for me since I do landscape photography. Nikon users need to buy extra GPS dongle which will protrude at the side of the camera and maybe get lost when not attached…
Built-in flash: Nikon has it, but don’t tell me you just spent $ 2000 on a camera and will use built-in flash? It’s good to have in case of emergency, but I never use flash anyway so it is totally irrelevant feature in my eyes.
AF points: It sounds so good when you say Nikon has 39 of them and Canon only 9. But both cameras have them spread across way to small central area of the frame, so it’s a dead race. Actually, I used only 9 point even on Nikon D600 (you can select smaller number in menu) since all 39 are too close to be of any use. The central point on Canon is way more sensitive in low light which actually makes a Canon 6D – better focusing camera, at least for my needs.
AF lamp: Nikon has it, but you can only use it in limited number of situations. It is irritating and always reminds your subject you are here and taking pictures. Therefore, you can’t use it while somebody else records video simultaneously (weddings), when you want to catch spontaneous portraits (family, street, animals), is useless on larger subject distances (wildlife, paparazzi). I’d rather have one AF point that works in any light (6D) than 39 points which are useless in low light.
Double card slots: Only time I find this useful is when shooting “once in a lifetime” event and you cannot afford to lose photos due to SD card failure. In other words – professional wedding photographers. For the rest of the world – just keep the spare card in the pocket. And when we’re at it, I’ve never had a memory card failure in 11 years since I bought my first digital camera.
Silent shutter: both cameras have this option, but it’s only Canon that made it right. The camera is really more silent whereas Nikon just separates mirror up/down operation in two stages which doesn’t make the camera any more silent.
s/mRAW: Canon has the option to shoot in RAW file format with reduced resolution. Personally, I do a lot of product shots that will never ever be used at more than 1024×768 resolution (web use), but still want the flexibility of RAW format. With Nikon, I would be stuck to big 24MP files all the time, but Canon 6D can speed up the post-process and use less memory.
If you just went through all I’ve written on this camera and still don’t see my opinion on 6D as blatantly obvious, I’ll sum it up to a single sentence: I liked 6D to the point I would buy it without much thought if I was in the market for a new DSLR right now.
It’s not perfect, but it is one of the most responsive and versatile cameras I used for a long time. It has a supreme high ISO capabilities and beautiful colors, it feels like an extension of my hand when used, it is fast and responsive in use and all the features provided are actually useful in real life. Whereas Nikon stuffed its D600 with a bunch of gimmicks (and a lot of dust) you don’t really need, 6D simply works.
I’d recommend 6D to anyone shooting landscapes, any type low light work and who likes to stay unnoticed (because of silent shutter). Sports shooter might want to avoid it; 7D is far better in moving objects focusing and subject tracking but for everyone else this might be the best full-frame solution.
Canon 6D PRO:
- Superb central AF point
- Top high ISO performance
- Build quality
- Quiet shutter
- Battery life
- GPS and Wi-Fi built in
- LCD quality
Canon 6D CONS:
- AF points cramped in the middle of the frame
- No pop-up flash
- No tilt-LCD