Can Your Canon 6D Use EF-S Lenses?

Can Your Canon 6D Use EF-S Lenses?

There are lots of wonderful lenses in the Canon ecosystem. And there are two Different camera lens mounts. Why oh why is this stuff so complicated? Let me explain all this to you right here.

Can your Canon 6D use EF-S lenses? No. The Canon 6D has the full frame EF camera mount. The EF-S lens mount is a different mount and is used on the smaller, cropped sensor APS-S cameras such as the Canon 80D and 90D. There is no adaptor to mount an EF-S lens on an EF camera body.

So there you have it. Canon EF and Canon EF-S lens mounts are physically different. I look at these as different camera systems, not interchangeable and having slightly different attributes and also appealing to different markets. In this post I am going to explain to you all about these two different camera lens mounts, and why Canon have these two ranges of cameras. Read on and you will know a lot more about the Canon cameras, and what all these terms mean.

Why should you read on?

Well why not? There is lots of good stuff in this post trust me.

These terms can be baffling, and I am going to explain them to you in plain English without the irrelevant detail that you can find elsewhere.

Why do Canon have two different lens mounts?

Canon is one of the biggest manufacturers of cameras. They make cameras that appeal to many different markets.

Full frame cameras are aimed at the more professional end of the market, while APS-C cameras are aimed more at the consumer end of the market.

Now I know that this is a broad generalisation, but the principle apples.

Full frame and APS-C explained – lets keep it simple.

From now on I will refer to full frame and cropped frame cameras. I do not find the term APS-C helpful.

And lets not forget you can get great photos with cropped sensor cameras, and you can also you take rubbish photos with a full-frame camera!

What is a full frame camera?

A full frame camera has a sensor which is generally 24*36mm. This is called full frame. This is the fundamental starting point for all of this.

This is the size of 35mm camera film from back in the day would you believe!

The Canon 6D is a full frame camera.

What is a cropped frame camera?

A cropped frame camera has a smaller sensor. Camera sensors are expensive so a smaller sensor normally means a cheaper and potentially smaller camera.

What is Canon APS-C?

APS-C comes from an old term “Advanced Photo System (Type C). This system is an old, long discontinued film camera format.

Yes – both sensor sizes originate back in the film days.

I find APS-C confusing and irrelevant, which is why I refer to full frame and cropped frame cameras.

So how big are the sensors?

All these dimensions are from the Canon UK website.

  • Canon 6D – full frame camera – sensor size is 36*24mm
  • Canon 90D – cropped frame camera – sensor size 22.3mm*14.8mm
  • Canon 80D – cropped frame camera – sensor size 22.3mm*14.9mm

As you will see the 90D and 80D sensor sizes are similar but not the same. And there are no doubt other Canon APS-C camera sensor sizes.

The important bit

The important bit is that a full frame sensor is larger than a cropped frame sensor. This makes sense doesn’t it?


  • A canon full frame camera uses the EF lens mount
  • A canon cropped frame camera uses the EF-S lens mount.

Are the two lens mounts the same size?


  • The Canon EF-S lens mount is 44mm in diameter
  • The Canon EF lens mount has a diameter of 54mm

That is one reason why you cannot use an EF-S lens on a Canon 6D – it physically does not fit.

And then there are the optics

If you think about the purpose of a camera lens it’s job is to focus what you are taking a photo of onto the camera sensor.

Now the full frame and cropped frame cameras have different physical dimensions, so you would not expect that one lens would work optically with different sensor sizes.

And I will say no more about this – if I go into this any more I am getting into that irrelevant detail that I always try to avoid. I probably won’t understand it anyway!

Crop factors explained

I need to explain this. EF-S and EF mount lenses have another significant difference – another reason why an EF-S lens will not work on a Canon 6D.

Crop factor is a complicated thing that I will explain simply.

If you put a 50mm lens on a full frame camera then you get the actual 50mm field of view. A 50mm lens is known as a standard lens as this is the closest to how we see the world.

A 50mm lens on a cropped frame body would actually give you 80mm. You would not get the same field of view.

This is called the crop factor. A Canon APS-C camera has a crop factor of 1.6. So for any focal length you multiply what it says by 1.6.

Why is this so complicated?

I know. It really is complicated which is why I have gone into this level of detail and no further.

A word on the two camera systems.

I view full frame and cropped frame cameras as two separate camera systems.

Professional photographers favour the full frame camera system as the larger sensor records more data and gives a generally higher quality image.

Full frame cameras and lenses are more expensive and indeed larger and heavier than cropped frame cameras.

Cropped frame cameras tend to be used more by amateur, hobbyist photographers.

Do professional photographers use cropped sensor cameras?

Yes. I am sure that many pros use both. And you can get professional quality photos with a cropped sensor camera for sure.

For my architectural and construction photography work I use the Canon 6D and L series lenses. These are high quality pro lenses that provide excellent image quality.

I started off years ago using cropped sensor Canon cameras but moved to full frame when I went pro.

I will say it again – you can still get great quality images with a cropped frame camera, and create rubbish with a full frame camera!!

OK – I am done.

There is lots more that I could say, but I am going to stop myself.

Let me summarise

You cannot put a Canon EF-S lens on a Canon 6D. Nor on any other Canon full frame camera. You cannot put a Canon EF lens on a Canon EF-S lens mount, and you cannot put a Canon EF-S lens on a Canon EF mount.

So the two are separate systems.

We got there in the end.

What to know more about the Canon 6D?

Just go to my blog and put Canon 6D in the search box and lots of stuff pops up. And I would like to point you in the direction of the post Is The Canon 6D Still Worth Buying In 2020?

Thanks for reading this post – I hope you found it informative and answered your question.

Rick McEvoy

Rick McEvoy

I am Rick McEvoy, an architectural and construction photographer living and working in the South of England. I create high quality architectural photography and construction photography imagery of the built environment for architects and commercial clients. I do not photograph weddings, families, small people or pets - anything that is alive, moves or might not do as I ask!! I am also the creator of the Photography Explained Podcast, available on all major podcast providers. I have a blog on my website where I write about my work and photography stuff. Rick McEvoy ABIPP, MCIOB

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