It took a while for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II to arrive. In fact, it was some five years after the primary Canon EOS 6D was announced – and at the time it was the most affordable full-frame DSLR available. While it lacked some of the more desirable features found on Canon’s pricier models further up the range, it offered users a pretty affordable way into full-frame photography.
In the five years between the launch of the original 6D and its successor in 2017, a lot had changed, with not only Nikon offering some very tempting competition in the shape of the D610 and D750, but Sony’s Alpha A7 and A7 II offering another affordable route into full-frame photography. Of program, faster and more capable full-frame cameras have arrived since then too, but does the EOS 6D Mark II still hold its own?
Check Out: Best Lenses for Canon EOS 6D Mark II
Canon EOS 6D Mark II: Price
Canon EOS 6D Mark II: Features
As you’d expect after a five-calendar year gap, the EOS 6D Mark II has a wealth of improvements over the EOS 6D. Perhaps the headline change is the new sensor, with the EOS 6D Mark II sporting a 26.2MP CMOS sensor that not merely gives a sizeable boost in resolution over the 20.2MP chip in the EOS 6D, but also a lot more pixels than the EOS 5D Mark III’s 22.3MP sensor.
The new sensor brings with it a native sensitivity range of ISO100-40,000 which can be expanded to an equivalent of ISO50-102,400, coordinating the expanded sensitivity ranges of both the EOS 6D and EOS 5D Mark III. While these cameras may all share the same ISO ceiling, the EOS 6D Mark II offers Canon’s DIGIC 7 processing engine, which is capable of processing information some 14 times faster compared to the previous DIGIC 6 (the EOS 6D featured the DIGIC 5 engine), and should see it handling image noise better at higher sensitivities. While the latest DIGIC 8 has found its way into the likes of the EOS R and EOS RP, it had been the very first time the DIGIC 7 engine has been used in a full-frame EOS DSLR; until then it was only featured in some of Canon’s recent APS-C DSLR bodies and PowerShot compact cameras.
Canon EOS 6D Mark II: Build and handling
Like the original EOS 6D, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II is crafted from a mixture of aluminum alloy and polycarbonate with glass fiber, and while it doesn’t have quite the same ‘pro’ feel as the likes of the EOS 5D Mark III or Mark IV, it nonetheless feels very well put together. It’s also nice to see the camera featuring dust and dampness seals – having used the 6D Mark II in a few very wet conditions in Norway, with the camera getting drenched on more than one occasion, we can confirm that this camera will more than hold its own when the elements are against you.
Proportions-smart, the camera is ever so slightly more compact than the EOS 6D – those looking to upgrade from the older model may be a little disappointed to hear that the BG-E13 battery grip created for the 6D isn’t compatible with the EOS 6D Mark II, with a new BG-E21 battery hold accompanying the new camera. The grip on the body of the 6D Mark II is excellently sculpted, and ensures the camera fits extremely comfortably in the hand, while the weight of 765g with battery and card in place is just 10g heavier compared to the original 6D (though it’s actually not much lighter than the 800g EOS 5D Mark IV). It also felt very well balanced in the hand when teamed with the EF 24-105mm f/4L Is certainly II USM we shot with.
As for the layout of buttons and controls, if you’re coming from the EOS 6D you should feel ideal at home with the EOS 6D Mark II, while the control layout on the two cameras is just about identical. There’s a large LCD display on the top plate with plenty of info on tap, while there are settings for the AF, drive, ISO and metering between your LCD and the front command dial. The only new addition is a small button next to the control dial that affords access to the camera’s focusing modes to complement the 6D Mark II’s more sophisticated AF system.
Canon EOS 6D Mark II: Performance
It’s no surprise to see that Canon offers upped the burst rate of the EOS 6D Mark II to 6.5fps, from the 6D’s 4.5fps. Not only that but the burst depth has also been improved, with the brand new camera with the capacity of shooting 21 raw files in succession compared to its predecessor’s 17. Interestingly for those who like to shoot JPEGs, however, the 150-frame burst depth offered by the EOS 6D Mark II is actually quite a drop from the 1,250-shot limit about the EOS 6D, although a 150-frame burst depth is hardly limiting. It’s also interesting to see that Canon hasn’t included UHS-II support for the EOS 6D Mark II’s single card slot, which might have improved that quantity, although any benefit would depend on how quickly the camera can cope with the information to begin with.
Either way, this isn’t a camera aimed particularly at sports photographers, and 6.5fps is a very credible burst price for a full-frame camera at this price point, potentially suiting it to situations where the original EOS 6D might have fallen short. The 6D Mark II uses the same 7560-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor as the Rebel T7i / 800D, with 63-zone Evaluative, Partial, Centre-weighted and Spot metering options.
As we’ve found with other Canon DSLRs that use this system, the evaluative system will a sound job most of the time, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the weighting is applied to the active AF point, which can mean you need to use exposure payment in high-contrast circumstances; we experienced a couple of occasions where in fact the same shot threw up two different exposures simply because we shifted the AF stage slightly.
Canon EOS 6D Mark II: Specifications
|MSRP||$1999 (body only), $2599 (with 24-105mm 3.5-5.6 IS STM lens), $3099 (with 24-105 F4L II lens)|
|Body type||Mid-size SLR|
|Body material||Magnesium alloy|
|Max resolution||6240 x 4160|
|Image ratio w:h||1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9|
|Effective pixels||26 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||27 megapixels|
|Sensor size||Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm)|
|Color space||sRGB, Adobe RGB|
|Color filter array||Primary color filter|
|ISO||Auto, 100-40000 (expands to 50-102400)|
|Boosted ISO (minimum)||50|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||102400|
|White balance presets||6|
|Custom white balance||Yes|
|JPEG quality levels||Fine, normal|
|File format||JPEG (Exif v2.3)Raw (14-bit Canon CR2)|
|Optics & Focus|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View|
|Autofocus assist lamp||No|
|Number of focus points||45|
|Lens mount||Canon EF|
|Focal length multiplier||1×|
|Screen / viewfinder|
|Articulated LCD||Fully articulated|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Viewfinder type||Optical (pentaprism)|
|Minimum shutter speed||30 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/4000 sec|
|Exposure modes||ProgramShutter priorityAperture priorityManual|
|Scene modes||PortraitGroup photoLandscapeSportsKidsPanningClose-upFoodCandlelightNight portraitHandheld night sceneHDR backlight control|
|External flash||Yes (via hot shoe)|
|Flash X sync speed||1/180 sec|
|Drive modes||SingleHigh-speed continuousLow-speed continuousSilent singleSilent continuousSelf-timer (10 sec/remote control)Self-timer (2 sec/remote control)Self-timer (continuous shooting)|
|Continuous drive||6.5 fps|
|Self-timer||Yes (2 or 10 secs)|
|Exposure compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)|
|Modes||1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 60 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 30 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 12 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p / 30 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1280 x 720 @ 60p / 26 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1280 x 720 @ 30p / 4 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC|
|Storage types||SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I compatible)|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|Wireless notes||802.11b/g/n + NFC + Bluetooth|
|Remote control||Yes (wired, wireless or smartphone)|
|Battery description||LP-E6N lithium-ion battery & charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1200|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||765 g (1.69 lb / 26.98 oz)|
|Dimensions||144 x 111 x 75 mm (5.67 x 4.37 x 2.95″)|
Canon EOS 6D Mark II: Conclusion
Canon has definitely made some major changes in the EOS 6D Mark II over the outgoing EOS 6D, including a range of new features including a new sensor, a faster processor, a much more stable AF system and a higher burst rate. It’s a camera that’s much more well-rounded and better defined than the EOS 6D, but it’s not without problems.
The low dynamic range is disappointing, and while the improvement in AF output is certainly welcome, the center weights the coverage too heavily. The omission of a 100 percent viewfinder is also a pity, and others would be saddened by the fact that the model misses out on 4K video.
With the vari-angle touchscreen a good advantage, these problems take the shine off what is actually a really nice full-frame DSLR that is a joy to shoot with. Canon fans would definitely be happy to make the switch into full-frame imaging, but some may be best served elsewhere.