Nikon D6 vs. Canon 1D X Mark III

The Nikon D6 was announced on February 12, 2020, a month and six days after the release of its rival the Canon 1D X Mark III. Both cameras are each brand's professional-level camera geared toward sports and wildlife photographers. With the recent release of both, we wanted to compare the two in terms of the specifications, features, appearance and advantages. So, let's start with the specification chart below:

The Nikon D6 vs. Canon 1D X Mark III Specification Chart

Camera Feature 

Nikon D6 Canon 1D X Mark III
Mount Type F Mount  EF Mount
Sensor Resolution 20.8 MP 20.1 MP
Sensor Type  CMOS CMOS
Sensor Size 35.9mm x 23.9mm 36 x 24mm 
Low Pass Filter  Yes Yes 
Viewfinder Magnification .72x .76x
Image Size  5,568 x 3,712 5,472 x 3,648
Image Processor  EXPEED6 DIGIC X
Viewfinder Type Pentaprism Pentaprism
Native ISO Sensitivity 100-102,400 100-102,400
Boosted ISO Sensitivity 50, ISO 204,800-3,280,000 50, ISO 204,800-819,200
Dust Reduction/Sensor Cleaning  Yes Yes
Calibrations  Yes Yes
Built-in Flash No No
Storage  2x CFexpress Type B, XQD 2x CFexpress Type B 
Continuous Shooting Speed 14 FPS (optical viewfinder) 16 FPS (optical viewfinder)
Continuous Shooting Speed  10.5 FPS (Live View) 20 FPS (Live View)
Buffer Size 200 1000
Max Shutter Speed  1/8000 to 900 sec 1/8000 to 30 sec
Continuous Shooting 14.3 seconds 62.5 seconds
Shutter Durability 400,000 cycles 500,000 cycles
Number of AF Points  105 AF points, 105 cross-type 191 AF points, 90 cross-type
AF Detection Range  -4.5 to +20 EV -4 to +21 EV
Smallest AF Detection Aperture f/8 f/8
Video Max Resolution 3,840x2,160 (4K UHD)/ 30 FPS 5,472 x 2,886 (5.5K)/ 59.94 FPS
HDMI Output  4:2:2, 8-bit  4:2:2, 10-bit 
Raw Video Recording No Yes
Video Autofocus Contrast-Detect AF Phase-Detect AF via Dual Pixel CMOS AF
Audio Recording  Built-in stereo microphone, optional external stereo microphone Built-in stereo microphone, optional external stereo microphone
Headphone Jack  Yes  Yes 
LCD Size  3.2" 3.2"
LCD Resolution  2,359,000 dots  2,100,000 dots 
Built-in GPS Yes Yes 
Wi-Fi Yes  Yes 
Bluetooth Yes  Yes
Battery Life  3,580 shots 2,850 shots
Battery Type EN-EL18c LP-E19
Weather-Sealed Body  Yes Yes
USB Version  3.1, Type C 3.1, Type C
Weight  1270 g 1250 g
Dimensions  160 x 163 x 92 mm 158 x 167.6 x 82.6 mm
MSRP Price $6,496.95  $6,499 

In terms of popularity, from what we've noticed, the D6 hasn't had nearly as much anticipation and excitement from customers as the Canon 1D X Mark III has. Plus, as we can see from the chart above, the Canon 1D X Mark III takes the cake when it comes to overall specs. This isn't to say the D6 should be marked as the lesser camera. In regards to reliability, toughness and stability, both cameras are great options. Also, keep in mind, each camera was designed for a specific target audience and most brand loyal customers aren't likely to switch brands.


The Front of the Nikon D6 and Canon 1D X Mark III The Front of the Nikon D6 vs. Canon 1D X Mark III

When comparing the two side by side, it's clear both have different ergonomics and physical characteristics but on the contrary, they maintain similar smooth edges, dimensions and weight. Both cameras feature dust- and moisture-resistant weather sealing and dual CFexpress card slots as well. However, button placement and menu interface are obviously different and ultimately it comes down to brand preference when deciding between the two.

The Back of the Nikon D6 and Canon 1D X Mark III The Back of the Nikon D6 vs. Canon 1D X Mark III

As we can tell from the chart above, Canon excels when it comes to continuous shooting. With the ability to shoot up to 16 FPS with a mechanical shutter and 20 FPS in Live View, it’s a huge advantage to action photographers. We were surprised to see that the Nikon D6 could only do 10.5 FPS in Live View. On top of that, the 1D X Mark III has the ability to shoot 1000 burst shots and can shoot up to 62.5 seconds compared to only 200 shots and 14.3 seconds in the Nikon D6.

In terms of external communication, both cameras are fairly evenly matched, featuring built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies to communicate quickly and easily with compatible smart devices. On-board GPS capability on both the Nikon and the Canon provide location and time data automatically, and each also features USB Type C outputs.

Both cameras also have extraordinary video capabilities, but Canon again trounces Nikon here with 5.5K at nearly 60fps versus 4K at 30fps, not to mention RAW video recording. Both have built-in stereo microphones for audio recording, with optional external stereo microphones.

With similar price points—varying by only a few dollars—deciding between these two professional-grade powerhouses really comes down to brand preference, unless the slightly more advanced Canon 1D X Mark III can convince loyal Nikon users to jump ship.

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