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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

Price
MSRP$1999 (body only), $2599 (with 24-105mm 3.5-5.6 IS STM lens), $3099 (with 24-105 F4L II lens)
Body type
Body typeMid-size SLR
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution6240 x 4160
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels26 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors27 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (35.9 x 24 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorDIGIC 7
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 100-40000 (expands to 50-102400)
Boosted ISO (minimum)50
Boosted ISO (maximum)102400
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, normal
File formatJPEG (Exif v2.3)Raw (14-bit Canon CR2)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampNo
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points45
Lens mountCanon EF
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size3″
Screen dots1,040,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage98%
Viewfinder magnification0.71×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modesProgramShutter priorityAperture priorityManual
Scene modesPortraitGroup photoLandscapeSportsKidsPanningClose-upFoodCandlelightNight portraitHandheld night sceneHDR backlight control
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe)
Flash X sync speed1/180 sec
Drive modesSingleHigh-speed continuousLow-speed continuousSilent singleSilent continuousSelf-timer (10 sec/remote control)Self-timer (2 sec/remote control)Self-timer (continuous shooting)
Continuous drive6.5 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 secs)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpotPartial
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)
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Modes1920 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
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I compatible)
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (Mini-HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portNo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n + NFC + Bluetooth
Remote controlYes (wired, wireless or smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLP-E6N lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)1200
Weight (inc. batteries)765 g (1.69 lb / 26.98 oz)
Dimensions144 x 111 x 75 mm (5.67 x 4.37 x 2.95″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPSBuilt-in

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.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Features
Image Quality
ISO Performance
Viewfinder
Performance
Video mode
Connectivity
Value
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Paul Landscape Photographer and YouTuber. He is taking photos all over the world but the main focus is the cold, rough, northern part of Europe. His style is somewhere in between dramatic and colorful fantasy and Scandinavian minimalism. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel for epic landscape photography videos from around the world.

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