Best lenses for your Canon EOS 6D

By Kevin Carter - Tuesday July 09 2013

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Best primes and zoom for the Canon EOS 6D | Canon EOS 6D vs 5D Mark III, Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600 | Moderate telephoto and standard models | Wide-angle telephoto and super-zoom models

1 - Canon EOS 6D versus 5D Mark III: sharpness and IQ are very close

Lens Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Sharpness(P-Mpix)
Canon EOS 6D
Sharpness(P-Mpix)
Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Canon 20 18
Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM A Canon 19 18
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM 15 14
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM 18 17

Looking at some of the best performing lens models, we can see that the Sharpness (P-Mpix) scores for the two cameras show a similar efficiency and that the 10-percent or so extra pixel count may the reason for the slight advantage.

However, now if we look at the overall DxOMark benchmarking scores (which assess the overall IQ by  taken into account sensor’s noise, color behavior and dynamic) the differences are less noticeable.


Lens Canon EOS 5D Mark III
DxOMark Score
Canon EOS 6D
DxOMark Score
Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Canon 35 34
Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM A Canon 34 33
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM 20 19
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM 28 26

2 - Canon EOS 6D versus Nikon D600: IQ of D600 is slightly higher

If we compare the Canon EOS 6D with it’s nearest rival, the 24Mpix Nikon D600 some interesting facts emerge. On one of the best performing lenses that we can test on both cameras, the Canon EOS 6D pairing can match the Nikon equivalent in sharpness and in DxOMark score.

Looking at another set of benchmarks, this time using the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM A on both cameras, the Nikon model has the edge thanks to a better sharpness homogeneity.

Let's now examine the two models with lenses from their maker’s own factories.

Both lenses are highly regarded, but despite the Nikon lens being the newer of the two and the 4-Mpix advantage of the D600, it’s the Canon pair that are the more capable in outright sharpness, at least when averaged out.

Both lenses differ quite a bit in image quality over the focal range, so it’s not exactly clear-cut, however, the Canon is disappointing for its transmission.

Overall though, the despite the obvious differences in pixel count there are a few occasions when the modest 20Mpix CMOS of the Canon EOS 6D is capable of matching the 24Mpix sensor in the Nikon D600 in both acutance and sharpness. Nonetheless, while there’s less advantage in sharpness than the difference in pixel count suggests, the Nikon D600 sensor is a better performer in other ways (such as Dynamic Range and Noise – please see here for our sensor comparison).