My Review of the Canon EOS R6 Mark II: Is It Better Than the First Version?

My Review of the Canon EOS R6 Mark II: Is It Better Than the First Version?

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. 

Some Specifications

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.

I think the Canon EOS R6 Mark II will become one of the most popular mirrorless cameras.

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.

An overview of the buttons and dials on the Canon EOS R6 Mark II.

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 card slots and connections on the Canon EOS R6 Mark II.

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 picture styles are for the ones who shoot in JPEG. 

Although the creative shooting modes are available, I don't believe the camera is intended for the kind of photographer who uses these settings.

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.

The camera is highly customizable, including the autofocus system.

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.

The autofocus can track all sorts of subjects, and it does it very well.

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.

The flexible zone AF allows you to make your own AF area. There are three programmable zone AF settings.

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.

The AF system can be set to your own preferences. It inherits a lot of possibilities from the Canon EOS R3.

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.

The AF can be set to human, animal (dogs, cats, horses, birds), or vehicle (race cars, motorbikes, airplanes, and trains). Or you can let the camera choose for itself.

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.

With 40 frames per second, almost no action is too fast. There is little rolling shutter effect, as can be seen in this series of photos shot with the electronic shutter.

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.

The raw burst option allows pre-shooting. This will record 0.5 seconds of images before you start shooting.

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.

A series of high-ISO images (shot in JPEG). These are crops from the full-size image.

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.

Lifting shadows can be done up to five stops before noise becomes too prominent. These are shot in c-raw, underexposed, and corrected in Lightroom Classic.

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.

The eye AF has no problem with challenging conditions. Tracking the subject is easy with the AF set to the preferred eye (left or right).

 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.

Conclusion

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.

The hair of my dog makes it difficult to keep track of the eyes. But the AF switches over to head or body without any issue.

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.

With animal AF activated, it had no issue finding the right spot to focus on. But if it becomes problematic for some reason, customizing a button to one focus point without subject recognition makes it easy to switch between AF behavior.

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. 

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26 Comments
David Chmelik's picture

It is so refreshing to see a normal review and not only a link to someones video. And the quality of those test-shots is far better, than that we often see in other reviews.

Tom Reichner's picture

David, I wholeheartedly agree. I have no use at all for linked videos and do not want to support that type of business model.

Richard Kralicek's picture

Nice review, makes me wanna sell my R6 for the R6ii. Won't do that now, but ... who knows.

As I'm into flowers/bokeh photography, a bit city travel/landscape I don't need that fantastic AF, there are just those 2 features I probably would like to have: 8 stops IS (I'm using manual lenses most of the time), a small increase in resolution.
Had the EOS R before, and sometimes I'm missing a bit extra croppability, but having IS has been the reason for me to change. As money doesn't grow on trees I'll stick to the R6, and maybe there comes the day when they have a decent price reduction (I'm dreaming) ...

Nando Harmsen's picture

You could look into the APS-C cameras, of course. The R7 is a wonderfull camera also, and you will benefit from the crop when it comes down to depth of field in macro photography.
That said, I would stick with the R6 also.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Your reviews are always top notch.

Nando Harmsen's picture

Thanks :)

Twum Hene's picture

Mooie review, Nando. Net eentje gekocht en wow, wat zijn er veel opties. Had in het verleden een 5D2, maar dit is andere koek.

Nando Harmsen's picture

The upgrade from the 5D2 is huge indeed. It's a completely different world, so to speak.

Lawrence Huber's picture

Thank you for a written review, I despise video reviews generally.

Tom Reichner's picture

.

A most excellent review, Nando! Thanks for that!

If only the resolution were greater ..... heavy sigh. With my 5D4, I use and benefit greatly from every bit of the 30MP resolution. To go backwards would be really frustrating, especially when I am now often wishing for a bit more resolution.

That's so great that there's an OBVIOUS video / stills switch. I can't tell you how many times I have accidentally switched my 5D Mark 4 to video and have no idea how to get it back to stills. Have missed dozens of great opportunities because of that. I have basically zero memory recall for technical things, so if I figure out how to switch from video back to stills, and then it happens the next day, I have no recollection of what I did to fix it the day before and am literally just stuck, unable to shoot until another photographer comes along who can do it for me.

I see that the current new price for this body is $2,500 US dollars. That is encouraging, because it means that the price for used bodies will likely fall to the $1,500 mark within two or three years, and then I will be able to afford one. It would be frustrating to be limited to 24MP after seeing how much high MP really matters, but I could live with that for some types of shooting, as long as the automatic animal eye detect works as great as you say it does.

.

Nando Harmsen's picture

If you switch over to the R6mk2, just put some gaffer tape over the movie/stills switch. THat way you won't accidentally switch over
;)

Tom Reichner's picture

but that big switch right on the top is so easy to see, so I wouldn't need the gaffer tape, because I could just see what to do to switch back so easily .... love that big switch!

Nando Harmsen's picture

A good question, Lee. I don't know how it performs with LED lights. Since I never use ES, I also don't have any issues with striping. But I know about wedding photographer that insist on the ES having issues. It's something I will look into next time I review a camera.
My guess, I believe the issue with banding will also exists with this camera. But I don't know for sure.

Ruud van der Nat's picture

Great review makes me want to upgrade from my EOS R. The only thing on the “wish list” I don’t share is the AF on/off switch. I use back button focus so the only use would be to activate the focus guide for manual focussing, but I can use the AF switch on the lens for that. Or am I missing something ? Another thing I wonder about , do doors instead of flaps over the terminals make their operation more difficult with an L bracket?

Nando Harmsen's picture

An AF switch on the camera is just nice to have. Most lenses have a AF switch also (except some the RF-S lenses) but it can be found much more easy without looking if the switch is on the camera.
About the doors over the ports, you have a good point. It will be an issue with L-brackets. Never thought of that.
If I'm using the ports on my EOS R5, I alsways slide the L-bracket outwards, which gives a better access to the connectors. Since I use RRS brackets, this is possible without removing the L-bracket. Doors would be possible in that case.

Pulkit Wadhwa's picture

Great review! currently using a canon m50 bought in aug 2019, transitioned from street to product photography. My work is usually for social media so the camera works great for that. But have been kind of a hybrid shooter for a while now. The video capabilities on this one seems quite amazing. R6 markii with 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens will be great for my line of work. Saving up to buy this in near future!

Nando Harmsen's picture

The M50 is a great camera indeed, especially the mark II. I think the video capabilities for social media is perfect. With the R6mk2 you can go 4K on YouTube ;)

Pulkit Wadhwa's picture

It's really a great camera. I don't know maybe just updating for the sake of it, you think r6 mark ii will have better image quality than m50 for social media?

Nando Harmsen's picture

For social media, no I don't think so.Just like I said, unless you post 4K clips onto YouTube and that sort of media.

Pulkit Wadhwa's picture

Was also asking about image quality of photos.

Nando Harmsen's picture

Ah well, The quality of the images is not better overall. You'll see the difference when it comes down to high ISO performance and dynamic range. The M50 won't perform as well as the EOS R6mk2. But not for normal well exposed image.

Will Lovitt's picture

Thank you!!! How would you characterize shutter lag/slideshow effect in viewfinder?

Nando Harmsen's picture

I'm not sure what you mean with slideshow effect. With a refresh rate of maximum 120fps the viewfinder feels natural. It doesn't drop in refresh rate or resolution when AF is active, or when shooting.

Mike Clare's picture

Thanks for a thorough review with great photos. I picked up an R6 mk 2 before Christmas (sold an R, and the R6 moved down from being the ‘main’ camera to the ‘B’ camera). I’ve still got much testing to do, but one thing that surprised me was the slow startup time (about 3 seconds) - with the help of other owners I discovered that the delay seems to be having Bluetooth on. With BT turned off or Airplane mode on the camera startup is pretty much instant. This will hopefully be sorted with an update.
I’m enjoying the refreshed Wi-Fi connection process plus the extra 5G radio seems to speed up image transfer - a function I use frequently when working with clients, or just by myself.
The Wi-Fi improvements and the dropping of the 30 min video limit were 2 major factors in the purchase. When it comes to wireless I’ve gone from Canon’s 6D then 80D, R, R6 & now R6 mk 2, and found improvements with each generation.
As I also shoot video, I’ve found it interesting that you can use a smartphone or tablet as a monitor, with just a USB-c cable and the Camera Connect app. This can also be done wirelessly, but more testing needs to be done before I would feel confident in using it on a client project.

Nando Harmsen's picture

Thanks for the additions. I didn't have enough time to dive into those possibilities, unfortunately.
The startup time surprises me. It's something to look at next time I get a camera for reviewing. But I noticed how my EOS R5 had a three seconds startup time when I used the Angelbird CF Express cards. The card needed a firmware upgrade and after that the startup was instant. I used Sandisk UHSII SD cards for the EOS R6mk2 and didn't have any issues. But I thought it is worth mentioning in this regard.