At first sight, the Canon EOS R6 Mark II doesn’t seem to be much different compared to its predecessor. But looks are deceiving. Perhaps it’s the best mirrorless camera for a reasonable price you can buy at this moment. Canon Netherlands gave me this camera for a review.
I received the Canon EOS R6 Mark II from Canon Netherlands for a review. Although I was expecting just an upgraded model, the camera is indeed a mini EOS R3 as mentioned by many others. Except for a few minor differences, it looks exactly the same as its predecessor and has the same build and form factor. It comes to no surprise that nearly every improvement is found inside. I think it's one of the best Canon mirrorless cameras for a reasonable price at this moment.
The Canon EOS R6 Mark II may have only a small increase in sensor resolution, but the biggest improvement can be found in the autofocus system. It’s fast, accurate, and can recognize humans, animals, and vehicles. I have some of the more interesting specifications listed below.
- 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor
- Human, animals (dogs, cats, birds, horses), and vehicle (racing cars, motor bikes, aircraft, trains) AF tracking
- Left/right eye selection
- Flexible AF zone selection
- 12 fps mechanical shutter and 40 fps electronic shutter
- Raw burst mode (30 fps) with 0.5-second pre-capture
- Built-in image stabilization rated up to 8 stops
- Focus stacking including merging in camera
- Moving subject HDR mode (JPEG only)
- 3.68-million-dot OLED EVF, capable of up to 120 fps refresh rate
- 1.62-million-dot, 3-inch fully articulating rear touchscreen
- Dual UHS-II SD card slots
- Relocated power switch and dedicated movie/stills switch
I haven’t used the EOS R6 Mark II for filming, but it’s worth mentioning nevertheless. I believe the camera is now better equipped for video compared to its predecessor. It can record 4K 60p video oversampled from 6K or 6K ProRes RAW with an external Atomos recorder. There is no 30-minute record limit anymore, although the highest may be limited to 40-50 minutes due to thermal restrictions.
The sensor readout is very fast, making the rolling shutter effect nearly invisible. There is a high frame rate of 180 fps. Other options are a false color display and recording proxies. There is a dedicated switch for video, giving full access to the PASM options.
Looking at the Body and Menu
The camera doesn’t hold much surprises for those who are familiar with the Canon ecosystem. There are the three main dials, which can be customized. The power switch sits on the right shoulder of the camera instead of the left shoulder. The switch that was previously dedicated for turning the camera on or off is now the movie/still switch.
The camera has a multi functional hotshoe, USB-C port, microphone and headphone jacks, and a micro HDMI connector. There are two UHS-II SD slots available. Besides that, the camera has simplified Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection options, and the MFi connectivity, which makes it possible to connect an iPhone for file transfer.
The menu of the EOS R6 Mark II is similar to all other EOS models. It does allow you to activate the simplified screens that can also be found on the lower-end EOS models, like the EOS R7 and EOS R10. For the JPEG photographer, there are the creative settings and shooting modes.
The camera can be customized to your liking, with a lot of options for AF. The quick menu, which can be activated by pushing the M-Fn button, is redesigned to have more options.
An Upgrade for the Autofocus System
The Canon EOS R6 Mark II feels more capable compared to the first edition. This is mostly due to the autofocus system, I think. It is possible to detect the subject even when it’s incredibly small in the frame, and the AF point sticks to it like glue. Much depends on the settings also, which can be optimized for the situation.
There are eight AF areas to choose from, ranging from a single point to the whole frame. The camera offers over 4,000 autofocus points to choose from, or you can let the camera make its own choice. There are three flexible zone AF settings. These can be programmed to cover a frame area to your liking. This way, you can make sure the autofocus will detect the subject in the part of the frame you want.
It was already possible to assign a certain autofocus behavior to the button you use for the autofocus. The EOS R6 Mark II goes a step further and inherits the customization that was introduced with the EOS R3. As an example, you can set the AF-ON button for human eye AF with the AF area over the whole frame and the asterisk button for vehicle AF and flexible zone AF.
These are just a few examples how the EOS R6 Mark II can be set. Also, other buttons can be adjusted to your liking, with separate functions for film and stills.
If you shoot a wider range of subjects in one session, it's also possible to let the camera choose on which subject it will focus. This way, all subjects will be detected, making it more flexible. Also, the left/right eye selection can be set to auto, in which case the camera will prefer the closest eye.
Shooting Up to 40 Frames per Second
Using the mechanical shutter, the Canon EOS R6 Mark II will capture up to 12 frames per second. While this is fast enough for most situations, it is possible to increase the speed up to 40 frames per second. For this, the electronic shutter has to be used. Thanks to the fast sensor readout, the rolling shutter effect is well under control. It's not completely absent, but it doesn't distract that much.
The buffer is large enough to hold 190 JPEG images or 75 raw images if you have set the camera to 40 frames per second. If you switch over to c-raw, the camera can capture approximately 100 files before the buffer runs out. With 12 frames per second, it is possible to reach up to 1,000 c-raw files in one burst, which is probably more than you'll ever need.
The EOS R6 Mark II also has a raw burst setting. When activated, the frames are stored in a single file, and the speed is set to 30 frames per second with a limit of 190 frames per burst. The images have to be extracted from the file in camera. This can be done as a JPEG/HEIF or a raw file.
It also offers pre-shooting, in which case the camera will continuously record frames when the shutter release button is half pressed. If the button is fully pressed, it will save the frames that were recorded 0.5 seconds prior to releasing the shutter.
Saving the images from a fully filled buffer in raw burst will lock the camera until the buffer has cleared. This does not occur when you have set the camera to a normal drive mode of 40 frames per second.
ISO Performance and Dynamic Range
The first edition of the Canon EOS R6 had a good ISO performance and dynamic range, partly due to its relatively small resolution. The EOS R6 Mark II has a slightly higher resolution, and its performance seems a little bit better. Unfortunately, the sensor is not stacked or back-side illuminated, which would have increased its performance even further. I find the EOS R6 Mark II perfectly usable up to ISO 12,800, You could go even higher if you accept a bit of noise.
Although not the best available, the dynamic range of the sensor is definitely good. Lifting the shadows is possible up to five stops before the noise levels become too obvious. You could go even higher and use some noise reduction software.
Shooting in the Real World
Using the Canon EOS R6 Mark II showed how good this camera actually is. Although the autofocus system can be adjusted in every detail to your kind of photography, it turned out to be easy to use. It picked out the subject with ease, even in challenging light situations, such as strong backlight. Also, the dynamic range allowed an exposure for the highlights and lifting the darker parts in post.Shooting action poses is no problem for the EOS R6 Mark II. It's truly a fast camera, capturing every action you can think of. With the electronic shutter, it has a maximum shutter speed of 1/16,000 second, more than enough to freeze most movements. The AF tracking works smoothly, although it did have some trouble with my dog when hair was covering the eyes. I guess all AF systems would have problems with that. Nevertheless, it switched over to head and body AF and tracked the dog in any direction.
I love the newly designed quick menu that can activated with the M-Fn button. It is situated between the shutter release button and the dial. It offers the most-used settings, and you never have to take your eye from the viewfinder. The button is placed in a position that makes it unmistakably easy to find without looking.
When I had to choose between the Canon EOS R5 and the Canon EOS R6 a few years ago, I had no doubt. I preferred the former over the latter. The LCD screen was important for me, and the movie functions of the first EOS R6 were too basic for my taste. But now, the Canon EOS R6 Mark II had addressed most of the small issues I had back then. On top of that, it inherits a lot of autofocus capabilities from the EOS R3. It makes this camera a very capable and versatile device. I love it. If I had to choose again between the EOS R5 and EOS R6 Mark II, I would definitely choose the new EOS R6 Mark II.
There are a few functions that I like a lot, although you might not use it too often. There is the bulb timer of course, time-lapse, pre-shooting, and on top of that, the focus stacking ability. It not only takes the focus stack automatically, with a maximum of 999 shots if you like, but it also makes a composite image from the stack. This may be only a JPEG, but it is possible to get an image straight from the camera without the help from a computer. If you prefer the raw files, the files of the stack are also saved on the memory card.
It's a pity Canon did not decide to add an RS-80N3 connector for the remote, just like on the EOS R5 and EOS R3. Another improvement could be a full-size HDMI port and decent doors instead of the rubber flaps over the connectors. I would also preferred the nice AF/MF switch on the front of the camera, just like the Canon EOS R10 and EOS R7 have. I know the lenses have AF/MF switches, but it would be a nice addition. That said, these are only small things I would like to see changed.
The Canon EOS R6 Mark II may not produce the highest resolution possible, but I think 24 megapixels is a nice number, perfect for almost every kind of photography. I think Canon has done an excellent job with this camera. If you've not stepped into the Canon mirrorless camera world yet, the EOS R6 Mark II is a good reason to do so. I think it's better than any of its peers in this price segment.
What I Like
- Speed up to 40 frames per second
- Pre-shooting up to 0.5 seconds
- In-camera focus stacking
- Dynamic range
- Autofocus system recognizes and tracks a wide range of subjects
- Three programmable flexible zone AF settings
- Extended M-Fn menu
- New position for the power switch
- 4K 60p without crop (oversampled from 6K)
- 180 fps high-speed movie
- False color overlay and C-log3 for filming
What Could Be Improved
- Should have a full-size HDMI connection
- No AF/MF switch on the camera
- Exposure bracketing made more accessible
- Movie/stills switch is perhaps too prominent
- No LCD/OLED top screen
- Remote control connector is not the RS-80N3
What do you think about the Canon EOS R6 Mark II? If you have used one, please share your experience in the comments below. If there are things you think Canon should add, I would love to know also.