Canon 6D Mark II: The Worst Camera of 2017

Canon 6D Mark II: The Worst Camera of 2017

It's the time of the year in which rankings appear all around the Internet spotlighting the best performers of the past 12 months. But what about the worst? As the French writer Beaumarchais once said, “Without Freedom to blame, there is no flatterer's praise.” Here is my take at the worst 2017 camera, the Canon 6D Mark II.

Back to the Future

It must have been one of the easiest camera designs in Canon’s history. Take a Canon 80D body, add the Canon 6D sensor with a small resolution boost and degraded dynamic range, shake it up, and stick a Mark II label on the frame. Congratulations, you just got a $2,000 Canon 6D Mark II. Actually, this new groundbreaking body is now available for $1,700, which is still way too much money for a 10-year-old camera. Indeed, expect to work with the same dynamic range from the 2008 Canon 5D Mark II. We must salute the performance here, not only did Canon cripple this camera, but they also ran backwards and defied the common high-tech logic that a new product should be at least equal (if not better) than the previous version. Unfortunately, the 6D Mark II has a worse dynamic range than the Mark I.

The Canon 6D Mark II has worst dynamic range than the previous 6D and only matches the 2008 Canon 5D Mark II. Credit: DxOMark

Sure, the new 6D has six more megapixels, a better autofocus system with the Dual Pixel technology, and a swivel screen. While the moderate resolution bump is nice, it does not place this camera in any special categories such as a low light monster or a high definition beast. The autofocus improved, but it was extremely bad on the original 6D. The autofocus points are also very concentrated in the center. I must admit that the Dual Pixel is probably one of the best autofocus systems on the market, but it’s primarily designed for video use and again, Canon decided to take a step backwards on the video department with the new 6D Mark II. The video All-I mode has been removed, leaving us with lower video bitrate compared to the original 6D.

Mission Impossible

To be fair, the 6D Mark II is not a bad camera. As with any Canon product, the 6D Mark II can deliver solid images with the usual pleasing Canon colors and skin tones. The user interface is straightforward and everything works as it should. The main problem of the 6D Mark II is not the camera by itself but its poor price-to-features ratio. Unfortunately for Canon, the competition has been extremely active over the past few years. Sony is getting better and solved some of its original flaws. Micro Four Thirds cameras are very appealing if you don’t need low light performance while Nikon signed a remarkable year with the new D850. Canon users have very little incentive to pick the 6D Mark II while new customers can simply find much better cameras for less money:

  • Current Canon owners have no reason to switch to the new 6D. Why spend $1,700 when you can find the great 6D on sale for $1,000? Sure, the Mark II swivel screen is nice but I prefer to spend half of that money and get better dynamic range from the original 6D. For the price of the 6D Mark II, you could also purchase a discounted 5D Mark III.
  • New photographers who are not tied by a lens collection have no reason to pick the 6D Mark II. On the Nikon side, the “old” D750 body is vastly superior than the new 6D; much better dynamic range (2.6 EV), dual card slots, better autofocus system, and 100 percent viewfinder coverage. This camera costs $300 less than the 6D Mark II. A no brainer. On top of that, Nikon may release the “D760” in 2018 and this camera will undoubtedly bury the Canon 6D Mark II. Sony offers various full-frame a7 products starting at $1,300 for the a7 II with 5-axis in-body image stabilization. The original a7 is even available now for $800. New photographers used to cell phone convenience have plenty of options available on the Micro Four Thirds market with Panasonic and Olympus: the beautiful retro Pen-F ($1,000), OM-D E-M10 III ($550), or Panasonic GX8 and G85 ($1,000). Finally, let’s not forget the Fujifilm APS-C cameras which offer incredible image quality. Based on your budget, you could select the X-T20 ($1,100) or the X-T2 ($1,500).

The 2014 Nikon D750 has much more to offer than the Canon 6D Mark II. It's also cheaper.

Hence, it is mission impossible to recommend the new 6D. Current Canon photographers will simply skip it entirely or purchase the much cheaper original 6D with superior dynamic range. Newcomers can find better alternatives for less money depending or their needs (video, low light, dynamic range, compactness).

The Thin Red Line

Canon is still the world’s leader in digital photography. But the Japanese company is walking on a thin red line. Not the red line of the L glass ring, but the L of laziness. Once again, Canon customers can witness the official “see impossible” slogan in action. See the impossible of recycling an outdated sensor technology. We are back to the worst habit of the company when they served us the same sensor over and over again from the Rebel T2i to the T5i. See the impossible when a new camera turns out to have worst image quality than the model it’s supposed to replace. See the impossible when this new camera costs $1,700 while the competition offers better and cheaper alternatives. The folks at Canon think they can get away with releasing outdated cameras at a premium price because of brand recognition. Or perhaps Canon thinks that their customers are being held hostage by their EF lens collection. Switching brands is not easy when you have invested thousands of dollars over the years to build a nice assortment of lenses. In other words, they treat their customers like idiots which is a little bit embarrassing.

A Sony a7S II mounted with a Canon EF lens via a Metabones adapter. The shorter flange focal distance allows to use DSLR lenses on mirrorless camera. A good option to switch brand despite the poor auto-focus compatibility.

How long is this going to last? How will the 6D Mark II look like when the new Nikon D760 is released next year or so? Canon still owns the market but nothing is eternal. All around me, I see more and more people switching brands to Sony, Nikon, Fuji, or Micro Four Thirds for video. 2018 will be crucial with the potential release of a new series of cameras like the 7D Mark III , the 5DS Mark II, and a possible EF full-frame mirrorless body. For now, the 6D Mark II is definitely the worst camera of 2017. A bad joke, and as a Canon photographer myself, I’m not laughing.

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63 Comments

Kenneth O. Soto's picture

Unfortunately, glass and other equipment do hold a lot of people "hostage", however, if that wasn't the case then people would be switching faster than they do now. Canon used to be a leader in photography, but they're letting Nikon, Sony, and others take their spot, they're simply not innovating like they used to anymore and I think it has to do with fact that Canon has (but probably not much longer) the biggest market share and they do not see a reason to come out with features that compete with others.

I switched a long time ago and it was a really sad moment, but I knew I had to leave brand loyalty aside if I wanted to be objective about the fact that Canon wasn't innovating and that I had switch. Every now and then I wish I could go back to Canon as I "grew up" with Canon cameras, but until they get their s#!t together I won't be going back.

Rex Jones's picture

Unfortunately (because of the reality it implies), I am inclined to agree with you. I am one of those held more-or-less hostage due to how much I have invested in glass. I started shooting with an old Canon AE-1, and have upgraded through the years to better, and better Canon cameras, both film and digital.

However, each time I watch Nikon and Sony make significant advancement every, or every other, year it makes me question Canon all that more. Especially considering how far apart many of their advancements are spaced. Where Canon takes 4-6 years to upgrade any particular body, Sony and Nikon are making some incredible advancements at least bi-yearly if not every single year.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Not everyone has the funds to just sell and move on. When you have over $10,000 in lenses and thousands more in camera gear and flashes and you know they will fetch maybe half their initial cost, it is hard to swallow. Then one needs to invest thousands more to buy new ones. Not something most can do.

Every year we face need for new investment like new computer, new screens, better printing setup etc. Those cost thousands and are generally more important than changing camera system that actually work.

I myself a Nikon user and at times I wish I was a Sony user :-)

Motti Bembaron's picture

Your right of course. I used it as figure of speech. The point is, it is a huge investment changing systems and so far no system is so advanced and superior to warrant changing at such cost..in my opinion.

Of course, if you own Canon lenses you can use them with Sony cameras and as I understand, without a problem, . That makes things so much more affordable.

Christoffer Lund's picture

While the good lenses and accessories still hold a great value, the problem is that (for example) Sony's stuff is so new they are priced pretty high (not too bad, but not a bit high IMO). And the used marked is not as big (especially not in smaller countries).

I switched from Canon to Sony and I have to spend a lot to get the same sort of glass (if I want). Sometimes you have to compromise. On the plus side it's usually *newer*.

Chris Rogers's picture

the price you receive for selling your equipment, seems to me, to be very dependent on where you live. Where some one might say you should get at least half of what you spent for your well used equipment where i live i'd be lucky to see 30%. items will sit on used sales websites for eons. it's not just with photography equipment. it could be anything.

David Moore's picture

Well let's see... if I sold my 70-200 2.8 (nonIS) and my 24-70mk II, I could combine those to pay for the SOny 24-70 and... some cheap prime maybe?

Rex Jones's picture

Well, you are right about the lenses maintaining their value when taken care of. I do take care of my lenses but no used lens, in the marketplaces that I have looked into (Amazon, Ebay, B&H, Craigslist, Local Options, Etc.), garners enough to cover the gap in money. In my own personal case, a lot of that has to do with how long I've had the lenses themselves. It may not directly have anything to do with the care of the gear, but the lenses do lose value over time.

Here's a good example. I bought the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens, back in 2014 for $2,499. I've taken great care of it, it works fantastically, and it would definitely hold up to scrutiny. The problem is that Canon no longer sells that lens for that price anymore. That particular lens is now available brand new on Amazon for $1,937.29. The lens hasn't lost any value due to me, but it has because of the market itself and even then, I still couldn't sell it for as much as what the new ones are going for. Best case scenario, I would sell it for a loss of $600, but likely more.

If you were take similar ratios of value depreciation over time, and extend that to more lenses, then the amounts of money lost upon selling them adds up. I only have a few lenses, but selling them all for that rate of a loss would still be too much for me to completely sell and move on.

Why are people dumb, the 6d gets your foot in the FF door. Nikons competitor was the d600, a low end FF, nobody cried that it didn’t compete with 5d, that was a job for the 700 series. That’s like complaining that 3000 series is no match for a 7000

Kenneth O. Soto's picture

Did you even read the article? And by the way, what are you even talking about? Clearly, you didn't even read the whole article. The writer of this article is a Canon shooter who's sharing his disappointment with Canon.

If you saw the 5D MKII as a comparison, it was simply to show you that a camera release this year should not have the dynamic range of a 2008 camera. No matter how you look at it, Canon crippled the 6D and testing proves it. By the way, I also rented the 5D MKIV when it came out and was totally unimpressed, the Nikon D850 though...

I did read the article, he compared the 6d series to the d700 series when they’re not in the same class. I could care less what you shoot, chase gear all you want, I was just pointing out that it’s ridiculous to compare the entry level FF to a proper FF.

The D750 is a nice ass camera, as is the 850, 5d3/4 are nice as well. I’m also aware that my 6dmk1 is a step from any of those options; however, it was the best affordable entry to FF I could find, and yes the 6dmk2 does look appealing to me, with the exception of its autofocus layout.

.2 DR means jack in the grand scheme of things, and if that’s what you’re worried about then shoot something else. A high MP count? 20 something is plenty for pretty much whatever you need, want more get d800 series or a 5ds or be a man and shoot medium format. Want stupid high iso, spend your 2k on a 12MP a7s II. Point is there is a camera for everyone’s needs.

Meanwhile, back in Nikon’s reality, the D850 (as much of a game changer as I hope it to be) is just fucking Hail Mary.

You are missing the point, there is no fair comparison on the market when the average buyer (not tied to a system) is only looking at the price and in that, they are now similar (@ USD ~$100). A lot of people would be willing to spend a bit more for the D750, which like you said, is a grade higher model compared to 6D II and therefore is better in many ways. It all goes back to writer's point that the 6DII is not a competitive model, spec is too low and priced too high.

Anonymous's picture

Not sure what you mean when you say that "they're not in the same class". The 6DmkII was priced higher than the D750 by $200 upon release. Given the fact that the two cameras are in the same general price bracket, it makes perfect sense to compare them. Frankly, it's embarassing for a brand new camera released in 2017 to be outperformed by a camera released 3 years earlier and priced $200 less as is the case for the 6DmkII and the D750. Even with the current discount, the 6DmkII is STILL closer in price to the D750 than the D610. It's not Nikon's fault that Canon has decided to price the newest version of their "entry level FF" at the same price as the competition's "proper FF".

As for the D850, I'm not sure you can consider it a "Hail Mary" given how long it takes to develop a camera from start to finish. The term "Hail Mary" generally applies to relatively impulsive decisions that you're pinning all of your hopes on since you have no other choice. While Nikon were probably pinning a lot of their hopes on the D850, it is pretty clear that the camera was very well thought through, which is why it has garnered so many accolades. You don't come up with a camera like that off the cuff.

Matt Williams's picture

Okay. Let’s compare the 6DII to the D600/610 if that’s what you prefer to do. Where would you like to start? With the extra 2.5EV of dynamic range in favor of the D600/610?

Hell, the D3400 has TWO STOPS more DR than the Canon.

DR isn’t everything, but we’re talking about the most basic entry level APS-C Nikon vs a vastly more expensive FF Canon.

The entire point of the article is that Canon went BACKWARD in many ways.

If all you chase is pure DR then yeah, .2 missing DR. But then you’re overlooking a usable live view (cough Nikon) especially with the dual pixel, the better ISO rating, the upgraded autofocus, the upgraded FPS, a fully articulating screen. Those all look FORWARD in many ways, but again -.2 DR so end of the world.

My buddy and I have done numerous comparison between his D750 and my 6Dmki. Both using our Tamron 70-200g2’s and we couldn’t tell which camera shot which photo. Both have excellent iso performance, both recovered shadows well. In the end I spent 1000 he spent 1400(both used at a camera shop) image quality was a wash, but he gained a tilty screen and a couple FPS. Boy was I jelly of that tilty screen, until he tried to autofocus on anything with it, so I bought a little fuji (fun little camera btw).

Long story short, don’t get wrapped up on 1 minor detail, -.2 dr, look at the camera as a whole.

Paulo Macedo's picture

Sir, you are the dumb one and you clearly don't have a clue of what you're talking about.
6D and 6D Mark II are in comparison worse than the Nikon D600, from Dynamic Range to AF. Why does my 2000€ 6D has almost the same AF as my 500€ T1i?
Canon is playing us dumb and as we speak I am selling all my Canon gear to flee to Fuji.
Might sound crazy, switch FF to APS-C, but the IQ of those Fuji cameras, 4K video, cheaper lenses and extreme detail will make me switch. X-T20 might even be the choice.
So to know, selling the Canon 6D, EF 135 L, 50 1.4 and 28 1.8 plust a bunch of gizmos, including speedlites and triggers.
Canon is getting lazy PERIOD.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

If I had to buy cameras based on DxO or whatever scores, I'd never be a photographer or a filmmaker.

Anonymous's picture

Well, you should never base your decision solely off a DxO score, but I do think that they do provide some valuable performance data for people that are in the market for new gear. Also, there's definitely a legitimate discussion to be had about why a camera released in 2017 is under-performing compared to cameras released years earlier that are also selling for less money.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Most of the camera comparisons today are like comparing a Bugatti, Ferrari, and Porsche by over-nit-picking details like "well, Ferrari can drive at 150mph at only 4000rpm, while Porsche is at 4800rpm, while Bugatti is 5100rpm". While in reality nobody drives at 150mph even on a German highway (where you have no speed limit). The same for cameras. They compare camera performance that nobody uses in real life.

When I was in Germany and drove 100-120 mph, I was one of the slowest... :)

I’ve switched to Nikon couple if years ago (from 6D, btw). I didn’t have baggage of lenses so it was relatively non-painful. And the reasons were:

1) Banding noise (read - low DR)
2) Absence of spot metering on focus point anywhere except 1D tank.

Dan Rowe's picture

I've had the privilege of meeting some outstanding individuals in the support staff of Canon. I feel truly sorry that they have to deal with exactly what this article points out. Until last year, I had only ever shot Canon. When the 1dxII came out, I realized then that Canon wasn't producing cameras to make my job easier as technology advanced. They were making cameras to milk their customers of their money...That was it. The ease of which I do my job now with these new Sony cameras still amazes me. If you are of the mindset that dslr's are still superior, you are missing out. I can't think of a single thing a dslr does better than my a7riii...not one. As a side note, my year was mostly with the a7rii and although I didn't think it was going to be a durable camera, this is the first year EVER, I've not had to send a single lens or body in for repair. It's impossible for me to imagine a situation where I would be giving money to Canon for any piece of camera or lens equipment in the future.

Anonymous's picture

Not a consideration for everyone, but for me:

Ergonomics
I just can't hold a Sony for a significant amount of time without my hand hurting and I certainly wouldn't want to balance something like a 200 f/2 with a body like that.

Weathersealing
The A7RIII seems to be better in this regard, but from what I've read, it's still not up to the standard set by its DSLR counterparts.

Battery Life
Sony's made tons of progress here, but I suspect that this will always be a weakness of mirrorless compared to DSLR's simply because a DSLR doesn't have to power an EVF. I might rent an A7RIII just to see how the battery lasts for my use.

Memory Cards
I wish Sony used XQD cards rather than SD for their high end bodies, but given how cheap and ubiquitous SD cards are, I guess I can see why they chose to go that route.

Native Lens Selection
Still not there in terms of variety or cost (they're really expensive and there's not much of a used market going yet). I imagine that by the time I get around to my next body purchase, this will probably be much better.

----------------

Otherwise, mirrorless options are looking more and more promising with each new release. Honestly, even if they just changed the ergonomics and improved the weather sealing, I would probably jump ship, but those are two things I can't really compromise on since one is an issue of personal health and one is an issue of device health. :/

Out of curiosity, since you've switched to mirrorless, have you found yourself having to perform more sensor cleanings?

David T's picture

Don't they have battery grips or other third party grips to improve ergonomics?

If you claim to be able to see superior DR performance from the 6D and it's successor, in a real world picture, I'll consider you a liar from this day forward.

Chad Andreo's picture

Its very easy to see if you shoot video, especially at an ISO number well above native.

Anonymous's picture

The fact that you can't visually tell a difference between the two given that one camera is 5 years newer and hundreds of dollars more expensive is a problem in itself...

Liam Doran's picture

Yeah kind of have to agree with you on this one. I have owned tons of Canon cameras and am ready for a change. My current workhorse is the 1DX but it has serious sensor dust/splatter issues. And my friends shooting the 1DXMKII say its got the same issue. I am seriously considering having all my Sigma glass switched to Nikon mount(yes you can do that) but it seems a bit extreme. We'll see....

Liam Doran's picture

Yes but its not just the camera but all the other stuff. Flashes, pocket wizards, lens, release cables etc...

Such a dramatic title, such an exaggeration, so many emotions flow into these dialogs. Apparently per news in Canonwatch, we have now several photographers and 'vloggers' choosing the 6DmkII as the optimal tool for the job. Apparently the 6DII is one of the most popular cameras in Japan 2017. Me? I got one of these "worse cameras", happy with the results. Great progress in AF through the dual-pixel. Cool touch screen AF functionality. Am I happy with only one SD card slot and lack of 4K? Hell no, but through the web-negativity this camera goes now in bundles for $1300 approx, and that is a great price/value level to get a full-frame with -3EV focusing ability. If you chase the "5 stop exposure compensation", get a Nikon, indeed. However, if you believe that you "know photo" and can expose as you should, such an extreme correction will not happen all too often, if ever that is. I do not see the reason for the hysteria. Maybe a more balanced review would be advisable, like Jared Polin, Casey Neistat and meanwhile many others calling for moderation. No "fake news" please.

Anonymous's picture

Nobody is saying that you can't take good photos or video with it. People are saying that it's a crap value for the price. You can shoot great photos with any camera if you know what you're doing. That doesn't mean that you should be paying more than the camera's feature set and capabilities are worth.

As for many people opting to use it, it's not surprising given how large Canon's user base is (and for vlogging specifically, DPAF seems to be where it's at these days, but that's not what most of the people on this site are doing so it makes sense that less emphasis is placed on that here). Just about anything they release is likely to have a good number of buyers and plenty of accompanying brand apologists, which is precisely why they feel perfectly safe releasing stuff like this even though it's not at all competitive, Hell, if they released this at something around the $1500 range, it would have probably been fine. The problem is they decided to price it at over $2000 at release. That was just a silly move on their part.

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