Canon EOS 6D vs. Nikon D4

Comparison

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EOS 6D image
vs
D4 image
Canon EOS 6D Nikon D4
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Megapixels
20.20
16.20
Max. image resolution
5472 x 3648
4928 x 3280

Sensor

Sensor type
CMOS
CMOS
Sensor size
35.8 x 23.9 mm
36 x 23.9 mm
Sensor resolution
5505 x 3670
4945 x 3275
Diagonal
43.04 mm
43.21 mm
Sensor size comparison
Sensor size is generally a good indicator of the quality of the camera. Sensors can vary greatly in size. As a general rule, the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality.

Bigger sensors are more effective because they have more surface area to capture light. An important factor when comparing digital cameras is also camera generation. Generally, newer sensors will outperform the older.

Learn more about sensor sizes »

Actual sensor size

Note: Actual size is set to screen → change »
vs
1 : 1.01
(ratio)
Canon EOS 6D Nikon D4
Surface area:
855.62 mm² vs 860.40 mm²
Difference: 4.78 mm² (0.6%)
D4 sensor is slightly bigger than 6D sensor (only 0.6% difference).
Pixel pitch
6.5 µm
7.28 µm
Pixel pitch tells you the distance from the center of one pixel (photosite) to the center of the next. It tells you how close the pixels are to each other.

The bigger the pixel pitch, the further apart they are and the bigger each pixel is. Bigger pixels tend to have better signal to noise ratio and greater dynamic range.
Difference: 0.78 µm (12%)
Pixel pitch of D4 is approx. 12% higher than pixel pitch of 6D.
Pixel area
42.25 µm²
53 µm²
Pixel or photosite area affects how much light per pixel can be gathered. The larger it is the more light can be collected by a single pixel.

Larger pixels have the potential to collect more photons, resulting in greater dynamic range, while smaller pixels provide higher resolutions (more detail) for a given sensor size.
Relative pixel sizes:
vs
Pixel area difference: 10.75 µm² (25%)
A pixel on Nikon D4 sensor is approx. 25% bigger than a pixel on Canon 6D.
Pixel density
2.36 MP/cm²
1.89 MP/cm²
Pixel density tells you how many million pixels fit or would fit in one square cm of the sensor.

Higher pixel density means smaller pixels and lower pixel density means larger pixels.
Difference: 0.47 µm (25%)
Canon 6D has approx. 25% higher pixel density than Nikon D4.
To learn about the accuracy of these numbers, click here.



Specs

Canon 6D
Nikon D4
Crop factor
1.01
1
Total megapixels
20.60
16.60
Effective megapixels
20.20
16.20
Optical zoom
Digital zoom
No
ISO sensitivity
Auto, 100 - 25600 in 1/3 stops, plus 50, 51200, 102400 as option
100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800 (204800 with boost)
RAW
Manual focus
Normal focus range
Macro focus range
Focal length (35mm equiv.)
Aperture priority
Yes
Yes
Max. aperture
Max. aperture (35mm equiv.)
n/a
n/a
Metering
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Centre weighted, Multi-segment, Spot
Exposure compensation
±5 EV (in 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
±5 EV (in 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
Shutter priority
Yes
Yes
Min. shutter speed
30 sec
30 sec
Max. shutter speed
1/4000 sec
1/8000 sec
Built-in flash
External flash
Viewfinder
Optical (pentaprism)
Optical (pentaprism)
White balance presets
6
12
Screen size
3"
3.2"
Screen resolution
1,040,000 dots
921,000 dots
Video capture
Max. video resolution
1920x1080 (30p/25p/24p)
Storage types
SD/SDHC/SDXC
Compact Flash (Type I, XQD) x2
USB
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI
Wireless
GPS
Battery
Lithium-Ion LP-E6 rechargeable battery
Lithium-Ion EN-EL18 rechargeable battery
Weight
770 g
1340 g
Dimensions
144.5 x 110.5 x 71.2 mm
160 x 157 x 91 mm
Year
2012
2012




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vs

Diagonal

Diagonal is calculated by the use of Pythagorean theorem:
Diagonal =  w² + h²
where w = sensor width and h = sensor height

Canon 6D diagonal

w = 35.80 mm
h = 23.90 mm
Diagonal =  35.80² + 23.90²   = 43.04 mm

Nikon D4 diagonal

w = 36.00 mm
h = 23.90 mm
Diagonal =  36.00² + 23.90²   = 43.21 mm


Surface area

Surface area is calculated by multiplying the width and the height of a sensor.

6D sensor area

Width = 35.80 mm
Height = 23.90 mm

Surface area = 35.80 × 23.90 = 855.62 mm²

D4 sensor area

Width = 36.00 mm
Height = 23.90 mm

Surface area = 36.00 × 23.90 = 860.40 mm²


Pixel pitch

Pixel pitch is the distance from the center of one pixel to the center of the next measured in micrometers (µm). It can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel pitch =   sensor width in mm  × 1000
sensor resolution width in pixels

6D pixel pitch

Sensor width = 35.80 mm
Sensor resolution width = 5505 pixels
Pixel pitch =   35.80  × 1000  = 6.5 µm
5505

D4 pixel pitch

Sensor width = 36.00 mm
Sensor resolution width = 4945 pixels
Pixel pitch =   36.00  × 1000  = 7.28 µm
4945


Pixel area

The area of one pixel can be calculated by simply squaring the pixel pitch:
Pixel area = pixel pitch²

You could also divide sensor surface area with effective megapixels:
Pixel area =   sensor surface area in mm²
effective megapixels

6D pixel area

Pixel pitch = 6.5 µm

Pixel area = 6.5² = 42.25 µm²

D4 pixel area

Pixel pitch = 7.28 µm

Pixel area = 7.28² = 53 µm²


Pixel density

Pixel density can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel density =  ( sensor resolution width in pixels )² / 1000000
sensor width in cm

One could also use this formula:
Pixel density =   effective megapixels × 1000000  / 10000
sensor surface area in mm²

6D pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 5505 pixels
Sensor width = 3.58 cm

Pixel density = (5505 / 3.58)² / 1000000 = 2.36 MP/cm²

D4 pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 4945 pixels
Sensor width = 3.6 cm

Pixel density = (4945 / 3.6)² / 1000000 = 1.89 MP/cm²


Sensor resolution

Sensor resolution is calculated from sensor size and effective megapixels. It's slightly higher than maximum (not interpolated) image resolution which is usually stated on camera specifications. Sensor resolution is used in pixel pitch, pixel area, and pixel density formula. For sake of simplicity, we're going to calculate it in 3 stages.

1. First we need to find the ratio between horizontal and vertical length by dividing the former with the latter (aspect ratio). It's usually 1.33 (4:3) or 1.5 (3:2), but not always.

2. With the ratio (r) known we can calculate the X from the formula below, where X is a vertical number of pixels:
(X × r) × X = effective megapixels × 1000000    →   
X =  effective megapixels × 1000000
r
3. To get sensor resolution we then multiply X with the corresponding ratio:

Resolution horizontal: X × r
Resolution vertical: X

6D sensor resolution

Sensor width = 35.80 mm
Sensor height = 23.90 mm
Effective megapixels = 20.20
r = 35.80/23.90 = 1.5
X =  20.20 × 1000000  = 3670
1.5
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 3670 × 1.5 = 5505
Resolution vertical: X = 3670

Sensor resolution = 5505 x 3670

D4 sensor resolution

Sensor width = 36.00 mm
Sensor height = 23.90 mm
Effective megapixels = 16.20
r = 36.00/23.90 = 1.51
X =  16.20 × 1000000  = 3275
1.51
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 3275 × 1.51 = 4945
Resolution vertical: X = 3275

Sensor resolution = 4945 x 3275


Crop factor

Crop factor or focal length multiplier is calculated by dividing the diagonal of 35 mm film (43.27 mm) with the diagonal of the sensor.
Crop factor =   43.27 mm
sensor diagonal in mm


6D crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 43.04 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 1.01
43.04

D4 crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 43.21 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 1
43.21

35 mm equivalent aperture

Equivalent aperture (in 135 film terms) is calculated by multiplying lens aperture with crop factor (a.k.a. focal length multiplier).

6D equivalent aperture

Aperture is a lens characteristic, so it's calculated only for fixed lens cameras. If you want to know the equivalent aperture for Canon 6D, take the aperture of the lens you're using and multiply it with crop factor.

Crop factor for Canon 6D is 1.01

D4 equivalent aperture

Aperture is a lens characteristic, so it's calculated only for fixed lens cameras. If you want to know the equivalent aperture for Nikon D4, take the aperture of the lens you're using and multiply it with crop factor.

Since crop factor for Nikon D4 is 1, the equivalent aperture is aperture.

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