If you’re considering investing in Canon’s EOS R mirrorless system, you may be comparing the versatile EOS R6 II to the more costly and powerful EOS R5. Many people choose the original EOS R6 due to its affordable pricing, low-light performance, burst shooting, and video functions. The R6 II removes the last remaining obstacle, which was the 20MP resolution of the first model.
Although the increased resolution of the Mark II may not have much of an impact on the detail rendition, it is a significant psychological benefit that elevates the Canon to the same level as competitors like the Sony A7 III and the Panasonic Lumix S5 (though not quite the A7 IV), Nikon Z6 II, and Panasonic Lumix S5 (and now the S5 II).
EOS R6 II by Canon: Design
Cameras made by Canon have excellent handling. The EOS R6 II features cozy curved shapes and soft, gripping surfaces, whereas other manufacturers appear to favor hard-edged rectilinear designs. It does seem overbalanced by larger lenses—we tested it with the RF 24-105mm f/4—and your little finger is still left dangling at the bottom of the grip—but it’s more comfortable than its competitors.
Although the dial functions vary by mode and in certain situations, two dials perform the same purpose, the three-dial control arrangement does require some getting used to, but this is to be expected when using a complex camera.
The addition of separate ISO and WB buttons would have been good, and why isn’t continuous shooting available on the stills/video lever on the top plate’s far left? It’s something this camera excels at, so having to search through the UI to find it is a little bothersome.
When you want to pick the focus point, you might also wish there was a convenient method to turn off the subject recognition system, but you can do that by using the C1, C2, and C3 settings on the main mode dial.
It does seem as though Canon has abandoned the concept of a camera with visible dials and buttons in favor of one that you can configure and control yourself.
Although it may be a little jerky when you move the camera, the EVF gives amazing clarity, sharpness, and contrast. The vari-angle back screen is likewise good, but Canon might have made it 3.2 inches instead of 3 inches.
You won’t appreciate the R6 II’s large Off-Lock-On lever further back on the top plate if you prefer cameras with power levers right where your forefinger is, directly around the shutter release. There must be an ergonomic explanation for why holding a camera with one hand while turning it on and off with the other is necessary. Postcards with the answers.
The top plate doesn’t have a status display, but the comprehensive menu is still quite straightforward to use and understand. Although the video record button on the top plate appears to be placed randomly, it is actually extremely simple to locate with your index finger.
THE FEATURES AND PERFORMANCE OF THE CANON EOS R6 II
The main reason Canon’s newest AI focusing technology is so outstanding is that you can turn off its subject identification and just let it work. Mostly always, it determines what your topic is and concentrates on it without any assistance from you. It works particularly well on people and animals, but it also works exceptionally well on automobiles.
If you select Zone AF or single point AF, the camera will still display what it has detected in the EVF or on the back screen, but it will respect your choice of area or point AF. This prevents you from arguing with the camera about what to focus on.
The eye AF and tracking are excellent, making them perfect for one-person vlogging teams that want to film themselves. In our tests, it followed us tenaciously as we moved about talking to the camera, failing only when our motions were irregular and quick to change frames. Essentially, it doesn’t put a foot wrong as long as you’re not attempting to trip it up on purpose.
It was also quite useful for finding squirrels in our neighborhood park. When a squirrel was shown head-on, it struggled to distinguish the eyes, but when the squirrel was viewed sideways, it was dead on.
The 8-stop (claimed) IBIS lacks credibility. It is cited at 105mm with the RF 24-105mm lens, which is exactly how we tested it. At about 4-stops compensation, we had a respectable hit rate, but after that, the results were rather bad.
Long lenses and video weren’t our favorites, either. It is fantastic for static recording, but in the hands of all but the most experienced operators, it performs too many ‘jump-resets’ for dependable footage while the camera is moving. The RF 800mm f/11 super-telephoto lens had the same effects when we tested it; if you can’t control the movement of this lens tightly, the stabilizer merely hops from one’stable’ position to another, making precise framing exceedingly challenging.
EOS R6 II from Canon: Image and video quality
The JPEGs we obtained with the R6 II are quite lovely. The image’s lighting and colors appear to be accurately judged by the auto WB, and the evaluative exposure metering appears to understand precisely how you want the scene to be portrayed. We shot in both JPEG and raw, but the JPEG rendering and exposure technique turned out to be so efficient that the raw files were essentially unnecessary.
The resolution was in line with what we would anticipate from a 24MP full-frame camera with an anti-aliasing filter, neither better nor worse. The EOS R6 II’s resolution is adequate but unremarkable. Unlike its predecessor, it does not have a megapixel deficit when compared to the majority of competitors.
The high-ISO performance in low light is excellent. To remove any potential camera shake, we put up a test scene with the same subject and shot it at various ISOs while using the self-timer and a tripod. Up until ISO 6400, when it was feasible to start seeing some loss of clarity and image smoothing, the results were very excellent. But, it wasn’t until ISO 12,800 that we thought there was any major quality loss.
JPG comparisons were used to complete this. Comparing raw files presents a risk since various raw converters treat noise in different ways.
Also, the video quality was excellent. To check what the R6 II could achieve right out of the box, we shot 4K 30p and 4K 60p in-camera in regular mode (no log flattening). As with stills photography, the detail was clear, the color representation was vibrant and natural, and the exposure provided appropriate dynamic range for the majority of requirements and lighting circumstances. The AF held up admirably as well, shifting smoothly when the subject distance changed.
When it came to managing long lens lengths or smooth camera motions (or as smooth as we could make them), the IBIS was less effective. It also failed to adequately smooth down walking video.
If you’re shooting handheld without a tripod or gimbal, the IBIS might save you, but in all honesty, you need those supports to get the best results from this or any camera.
Is the Canon EOS R6 II a good investment?
If… don’t purchase it.
Your current location is the Canon RF system.
The EOS R6 II would be an excellent upgrade from an EOS RP or EOS R, or it could be used as a second camera with an EOS R5 or R3. As the original EOS R6 is already almost as good as this one, it is more difficult to suggest the R6 II as an upgrade.
You don’t worry much about the cost.
The EOS R6 II is a wonderful camera to hold and operate, and it produces stunning still images and videos as well. While we were unable to match Canon’s 8-stop IBIS claim, the focusing is superb and the stabilization system is still among the best available for full-frame cameras.
You take both static photos and moving pictures.
For both, the EOS R6 II is equally competent. Even better, using the lever on the top plate, you can instantly convert from still images to video, making the changeover quite straightforward. The color and tone rendition, as well as the AI focusing, are equally pleasing in both settings.