When the Canon EOS 5D MkIV burst onto the pro camera scene in 2016, it hit so many tick boxes that, well, few other full-frame cameras seemed to be worth a look-in.
Until, that is, looking at the price. The 5D Mark IV is a rather pricey machine - it's £3,349 body-only at the time of writing - so, surely, there's something more affordable out there that doesn't compromise too much?
Well, the brand new EOS 6D Mark II could be the perfect solution, given its sub-£2K body only price. That £1,349 saving could translate into a lens. But what pros and cons do these two full-frame DSLR cameras have against one another?
Canon EOS 6D Mark II vs EOS 5D Mark IV: Design
- Canon EOS 6D Mk2: 144.0 x 110.5 x 74.8mm; 765g
- Canon EOS 5D Mk4: 150.7 x 116.4 x 75.9mm; 800g
- Both: Full-frame sensor with EF/EF-S lens compatibility
- Both: Water and dust resistant build
Objectively, the two cameras are fairly similar. Both are full-frame, both accept Canon's EF lens range, both are water- and dust-resistant too. The 6D II is slightly smaller and lighter than the 5D IV, but not by a giant amount - plus you'll barely notice one adding a lens.
Canon EOS 6D Mark 2 vs EOS 5D Mark 4: Screen
- Canon EOS 6D Mk2: 3-inch, vari-angle touchscreen LCD (1,040k-dot)
- Canon EOS 5D Mk4: 3.2-inch fixed non-touch LCD (1,620k-dot)
The first major difference is with the screen. The 5D IV has the larger and higher-resolution panel, but the 6D II is the first full-frame Canon DSLR to offer a vari-angle touchscreen. That means more complex screen positioning and even touch-basedc control when in Live View mode.
Canon EOS 6D MkII vs EOS 5D MkIV: Viewfinder
- Canon EOS 6D Mk2: Optical pentaprism, 98% field of view, 0.71x magnification
- Canon EOS 5D Mk4: Optical pentaprism, 100% field of view, 0.71x magnification
If you're non-plussed about a vari-angle screen because your eye will be almost permenantly fixed to the viewfinder then, well, the 5D IV is the better of the two. Although it offers the same magnification (and therefore physical size), the 5D IV delivers a what-you-see-is-what-you-get 100 per cent field of view - whereas the 6D II's 98 per cent FoV means the outermost edge of the frame won't be seen in preview, only in capture.
Canon EOS 6D MkII vs EOS 5D MkIV: Sensor / resolution
- Canon EOS 6D Mk2: 26.2-megapixel full-frame sensor, Digic 7 processor
- Canon EOS 5D Mk4: 30-megapixel full-frame sensor, Digic 6 processor
Another point that sits the two cameras a fair degree apart is their capture resolution. The 5D IV upped the ante to 30MP, around four million pixels more than the 6D II's brand new 26.2MP sensor.
An interesting 5D IV feature is called Dual Pixel Raw - which enables minute re-focus abilities in post, if required, and which the 6D II lacks. That's one of those "pro versus enthusiast" points.
Canon EOS 6D Mark II vs EOS 5D Mark IV: Performance
- Canon EOS 6D Mk2: 45 point AF system (all cross-type)
- Canon EOS 5D Mk4: 61 point AF system (41 cross-type)
- Both: Dual Pixel CMOS AF for fast Live View autofocus
- Canon EOS 6D Mk2: 6.5fps burst mode (full resolution)
- Canon EOS 5D Mk4: 7fps burst mode (full resolution)
Despite the 6D II equipping the latest Digic 7 processor, it's not technically faster than the 5D IV. Its 6.5fps burst mode is pipped by the 5D IV's 7fps burst mode - the latter being all the more impressive when considering the higher resolution proposition.
The focus systems are different too: the 61-point system of the 5D IV is considered as more pro than the 45-point system of the 6D II (despite the latter having more cross-type points overall). In the 5D you'll find adjustable shooting cases for focus tracking, allowing for the tailoring of how the camera reacts depending on subject movement, direction, speed and so forth.
If you're more interested in using a DSLR via its screen then, good news, Canon's Dual Pixel AF system - which sees focus points on the imaging sensor itself - means on-screen focus that's approaching as fast as that through the viewfinder. It's not as adept when it comes to tracking subjects, but it's still an adept system whichever camera you choose. There's no touchscreen in the 5D IV, remember, that's for the 6D II only.
Canon EOS 6D Mark 2 vs EOS 5D Mark 4: Video
- Canon EOS 6D Mk2: 1080p max, 3.5mm microphone jack
- Canon EOS 5D Mk4: 4K max, 3.5mm microphone jack, 3.5mm headphones jack
If there's one feature that Canon holds back on in the enthusiast range then it's video: the 6D II can shoot 1080p Full HD video, but not push into the 4K Ultra-HD resolution of its 5D IV bigger brother.
The 5D IV is better setup with ports, too, with both headphones and microphone 3.5mm jacks. The 6D II only offers the microphone jack.
Canon EOS 6D Mark II vs EOS 5D Mark IV: Price
Then, of course, there's the price. The 5D IV is £3,349 body-only, compared to the 6D II's £2,000 body-only. That might be the difference between buying a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, let's say, so might be enough reason to make up your mind.
Why would you consider spending more cash on the 5D IV? Higher resolution, faster frame-rate, a more advanced autofocus system and setup, 100 per cent field-of-view finder, and 4K movie capture are the main points. It lacks that vari-angle touchscreen LCD, however, which is one of the 6D II's best features.
Whether you choose to go "enthusiast" with the 6D II or "pro" with the 5D IV, one thing is clear: both these full-frame DSLR beasties are mighty impressive imaging machines.