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.

Oliver Kmia's picture

Oliver Kmia is specialized in time-lapse, hyperlapse, and aerial videography. He also works with several drone manufacturers as a marketing and technical consultant. He is the lead brand ambassador of Hello Kitty camera, his favorite piece of equipment. Most people think Oliver is an idiot and they are probably right.

Log in or register to post comments
Previous comments

If you compare the 6d2 to the 6d and 5d2, the 6d2 is unquestionably superior. It's a heck of a stretch to say otherwise... DR is -0.2, but color depth is phenomenal, ISO is way better, it had modern features lacking on both the others, and has way more advanced signal processing.

I have a question on the article. How come the author Mr Oliver Kmia, who is "specialized in time-lapse, hyperlapse, etc" is not mentioning the Built-In Time-Lapse shooting option of 6DM2? I found this a great tool as I'm also shooting Time-Lapse :)

I just want a Fuji.

All true. Not sure it's as hopeless as it seems for the 6DM2. There seems to be a wave of popular vloggers moving to it as their vlogging camera. Is that Canon driven? Maybe. I don't know so I don't want to assume. But it's some nice marketing for them and the 6D2.

I JUST started buying pro lenses and had to make a decision. I stayed on the Canon train.. not because I'm a particular fanboy. The D850 and the A7/A9 are super attractive. But I stuck with the company that released the most unpopular camera of the year.

Here's my thought.. a bad product release is inevitable. Most people still use Windows and that history has a lifetime of 'fail' stories. But the newer versions are quite good. I have to think there are people at Canon who are more than a little embarrased when the topic of the 6D2 comes up. If I were them, it wouldn't happen again. If I were in charge at Canon, that had BETTER not happen again. (Just before it's release, I wondered if the D850 was slightly delayed because someone wanted to dot their i's and cross their t's to be sure it didn't take the same beating as the 6D2.) I suspect.. and deeply hope.. that the next Canon will be impressive enough to make people forget the 6D2.. and, ideally, the Nikons and Sonys and Fujis and....

Of course, Canon seems to be walking a line of providing new product without gutting sales in their other lines. Fortunately (or not) other companies aren't trying to preserve sales for Canon's movie cam lines and they can put out impressive products without having to worry about that artificial ceiling. It's hard to tell where their eggs are going to end up.

But, if you think you saw people jump off the Canon bandwagon after the 6D2, wait until you see what happens if they do that again. One sad product can be expected. The 6D2 is the WindowsME of DSLRs. Two bad cameras.. and people will not just be questioning the product. They'll start to have serious concerns about Canon's commitment to digital still photography (whether that's the case or not).

So I'm wishfully hoping that the next Canon DSLR will be impressive. I'm banking on it. Of course, I bought into Betamax and HD-DVD. We'll see.

If Canon isn't willing to gut other products, they are not going to last. Because other manufacturers have already gutted their products for them and will continue to do even moren. Especially on video and DR, they are way behind the curve. Canon deliberately handicapes their cameras but the fact is that most other manufacturers offer those features.
If you look at Canon's action, they don't seem to think they have a problem. They are not getting into gear.

Sony used to have a lens problem but has solved that more or less. The Canon line-up is still better of course.

so after looking at the DXO scores included above I see a steady progression from a score of 79 & 82 to 85...also the DR difference between the 6d and 6dmk2 is , that actually significantly worse or really just the same in practical terms? I also do notice that the sport low light score has increased from 2340 to 2864 wich seems like quite a good increase especially paired with a 6mp increase in resolution....also looking at the DP Review studio samples I can recall something like a three stop push-abilty which seemed more than enough imo...but others may need more of course. I do recall that there was a vast improvement in image quality going from a 5dmk2 to the 6D especially high iso noise or lack therof...but hey I have not even touched this camera and I suspect neither has the author or most of the posters here...photographers who actually have one seems to be quite for me the two axis spirit levels will make my architecture work a lot easier and faster!

Thank you, Fstoppers, for having the guts to put this article out there at all. The big camera companies need more shaming like this, if they're going to change before it's too late and they become the next Kodak.

I'll never understand why some fanboys/girls so vehemently lash out at any nay-sayers in defense of "their" brand, often times over a piece of gear they don't even own. Do you people not realize that all you're doing is making excuses for crappy, sub-par performance?

I'm very, very "pro" Nikon and "anti" Canon, but I don't hesitate one bit to rip into Nikon when I think they've done something really dumb. And they do really dumb stuff all the time.

Stop making excuses for a failure to compete. Start demanding more. Otherwise, this is how giants are felled.

The same old story again and again. It seems like manufacturers never learn from the past. Market leaders think they don't have to compete and can cripple their gear because they think that they can do that because they are number one and people will still buy their gear no matter what.
And then one day, they wake up and realise they are no longer the leader of the winner but are a "have been".
But to be honest, there are still enough photographers who rather die than change gears and find it extremely hard to adapt to other products. It is very hard to admit to some people that they have to change camps as if such a thing really exists. Switch to the best product you can afford seems a rather better starting point.

Buy what is best for you but keep an eye on the developments in the market. Otherwise one day you must realise that your steam engine isn't exactly cutting it anymore.

I'm a Canon user and a pro, has invested more than 20 000 Euros in Canon equipment since I started photography 10 years ago, and I must admit I am very disappointed with the low dynamic especially when I want to recover detail in the shadows and the worst : the degradation of the picture in post production just when you push a little bit the exposure. I have a 5DS and the process is very limited. I want to go for a D850 and I had the proof that the NEF file has far more potentiality than the last CR2.
And I'm not talking about the low pass filter you have to pay to cancel the effect...

I just began to sell my less used lenses and if Canon does not bring a 5DS2 with no low pass filter to pay to cancel, no dynamic more tha 14 EV in DXO (the D 850 is actually 14,5 if I remember, like a medium format!!) and for less than 3500USD , the I'll complete the switch with no regret.

And I'm not happy : I loved the commands of the Canon Body, etc... But when you sell pictures you want the best sensor first. If the lens are very good it's still ok. Now the Sigma are as good as Canon and cheaper so help the switch.

So hear me Canon : I am ready to stay, to buy new gear (like the 85 IS L1.4 and more in the future), but if you do not come with this 5DS(r off course)2 for a decent price with a 14 EV dynamic at least, then adios!

Hmmm, isn't this the same website that post articles about "It's not about the gear?" Not for against Canon, as I shoot both Nikon and Canon, but just saying. So the gear does matter?

I upgraded from the Rebel T6i to the 6D Mark II when it was released. Extremely satisfied by the real-life results. See the attached before/after comparison shot at ISO 3200 (or more edited photos on my IG:

As a predominantly night shooter, I push the 6D Mark II to 3200 ISO regularly and still get clean enough images to use at 6400 ISO. The only DR issue I have experienced is at the lowest ISO range (100) where the 6D Mark II underperforms in comparison to its Canon counterparts and other competitors.

Could it have better feature parity at a lower cost? Absolutely. However, for my style of photography, I 100% preferred the fully articulating live view screen, high ISO capabilities, and ergonomics of a DSLR body over switching to another system (not heavily invested in Canon ecosystem yet with <2 years as a photographer).

TLDR: gear nerds will use DR and feature parity to disregard it (or call it the worst camera of the year), but in real world situations it is plenty good enough and offers value that its competitors don't. Just use the camera that fits your needs and enough with the sensational titles.

Oliver, did the account below happen to you?

My name is beto, I'm from Brazil, I'm a wedding photographer and I have two Canon 6D, the first version, which everyone knows was a success mainly because of its power to make high ISO photos with low noise or graining, in addition to other factors.

But over time, this benefit has been degrading to the point where photos exhibit high noise with low ISO. I began to realize the loss of this factor in the photos and a strange, coarse noise with ISOS below 3200, which was previously unimaginable in this camera.

This happened in the two cameras that I have, that today are in the house of 180 thousand and 250 thousand clicks.

I joined a group of whatsapp friends photographers and I commented on what I was perceiving and if the same had happened with one of them.

Immediately, three photographers accused the same problem in their Canon 6D. One went on to say that the noise was different from the usual, coarse, coarse and with very low ISO.

Oliver, do you know anyone who has complained about this or what happened to you?

* I'm sorry for my poor english, I used an online translator.

"the “old” D750 body is vastly superior than the new 6D; much better dynamic range (2.6 EV), dual card slots, better autofocus system"
It is "vastly superior IF and only IF you value those. If tilting screen, touchscreen, the best AF in live view in the industry, Bluetooth and Wifi and NFC, better controls (all key buttons under your right-hand fingers) are important, than 6D Mark II is "vastly" superior.
"better autofocus system"? Don't agree. 6D Mark II's AF points are all cross, the distribution in the viewfinder is only like 1mm narrower, can focus with 27 points with f8 lenses (and 9 are still cross). You need to explain where D750 is better, where it isn't.
I have used 6D II for 3 weeks but had to send it back (had to spend the money on health issues) and I know what it can do and what it cannot. It is a very modern DSLR with fast operation, excellent controls, beautiful touchscreen, and AF in video that actually works.
And Dual Pixel AF is not only for video. You can use it even when you are holding the camera. The DP AF works fantastically and extremely accurately.
No 4K? Bad for some, no problem at all for most. I have never taken 4K with my phones and none of my friends or relatives take 4K video. Storing and sharing 4K is still a problem for regular people. An IPhone 6S uses 375 MB/minute for 4K video, how do you plan to share it? How many have a 4K TV and how many watch shared videos on TV? Yes, 4K video is good to have but not a necessity.
Dynamic range? 1Ds Mark III had 12 EV dynamic range and it was used by professionals for years and years. 6D Mark II has 11.9 EV. Worse than many, but absolutely enough for most. Lifting shadows by 2 stops looks fine, and that's most I need. Do you need more EV? Than D750 is better. Do you not? Then 6D Mark II is excellent.
And ISO40000 is actually usable with some care, ISO12800 is really clean out of camera.
Calling "worst camera" is quite funny. I don't think you have thought throughly or used 6D Mark II long enough before writing this article. DR is not everything, pushing shadows by 4-5 EV is not everything in photography. There are many, many other aspects.
If DR is everything, than D7200 is only half EV behind D750 and is half price of D750. D3300 has better ISO mark than D500 in DxO Mark site, than D3300 is a better value?
Don't be DxOMark-headed.

"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" - What a pompous pile of utter BS! Wow! Only the most severe of gear-head elitist would conjure up such a slimey statement. So M43 is just for beginners or people who like to take photos using their phone? Get down off of your high horse you morons.

How to lose all credibility as a camera reviewer in one article! Anyone that thinks the 6D ii is the worst camera of 2017 has not been paying much attention to what else is out there.

Predictably the Canon-haters piled into the comments section with their predictable whinges.

Those clever people at Canon must wonder just what they have to do to please. The answer is ... nothing. The silent majority is quite satisfied with Canon equipment, but does not feel any urge to shout about it over the internet.

Fortunately, despite all the carping and criticism, Canon keeps on producing a wide range of wonderful picture-taking machines, continues to keep the majority of photographers (professional and amateur alike) happy, and manages to remain the world's leading camera maker.

Is the 6dm2 worth the extra money compared to the 6d?.
Im into all kinds of photography but find that I need better iso range. For stuff like ball gsmes as the sun is setting, indoor vollyball and astrophotography. My T6i has Terrible noise above iso 800 and the camera simply wont go high enough so i end up with crappy blur in photos or noise so bad i throw away the photos
This is why im looking at the 6d. It seems to be the king of ISO as far as noise ratios.
Is the 6dm2 worth the extra money?

I know this is an old dead article but I could not help but mention the complete omission of the 540 point gain the 6D Mark II has on that DXO chart. Better low light performance is suddenly not worth mentioning at all? That is one of the first things I look at personally. Shooting handheld nature in natural light it is essential.