The EOS R6 Mark II shocked me. Traditionally, Canon’s “6” sequence has been a stepping stone digicam that, at the least to me, lacked an id of its personal. That adjustments with the R6 II, which now punches approach above its weight.
I didn’t have numerous expectations going into my time with the R6 II, principally as a result of Canon didn’t actually inform me something about it up till the moments earlier than placing it in my palms. The unique R6 was good, and a major improve over the unique EOS R, nevertheless it didn’t flip heads fairly just like the R5 did.
Perhaps others will disagree, however my impression of the R6 was that it served as a stable entry right into a hybrid mirrorless market however was not a standout in any main approach. Its autofocus was usually unreliable, the buffer struggled with longer bursts, and its sensor wasn’t any totally different than the one which was within the 1DX Mark III (which implies it had its limits with regards to dynamic vary).
It had its robust factors, but additionally its weaknesses. General, it was common. You didn’t search out the R6, you bought it out of compromise.
I can say with confidence that the R6 II shouldn’t be common. It doesn’t really feel like a compromise. Canon has efficiently given the R6 sequence an id. Regardless that the corporate claims it’s a “Swiss Military knife” of a digicam, I disagree. No, it is a centered digicam. It’s a sports activities, motion, and occasions capturing monster because of a dramatically improved autofocus system, an improved buffer, in addition to the flexibility to shoot as much as 40 frames per second.
I used to be initially skeptical in regards to the autofocus, however the longer I shot with it, the extra assured I turned simply trusting the digicam to get the shot. So assured, I’m prepared to say this: the R6 II is a mini R3.
Notice: The R6 II that PetaPixel had entry to was not operating ultimate firmware. Please bear in mind that the photographs have been created with this pre-production digicam, and because of this, it is a hands-on first impression, not a assessment.
Canon Moved Stuff Round, Once more
Canon appears to repeatedly second guess itself with regards to the bodily buttons on its cameras. We first had that terrible contact bar on the EOS R, then the completely horrible interface for swapping between pictures and movies on the R5, and now we have now a wholly totally different system for that on the R6 II that strikes the ability button from the left aspect of the physique to the suitable, changing it with a devoted photograph/video swap.
There may be nothing “flawed” with this new setup, I simply want Canon’s designers would make up their minds. I’ve developed some severe muscle reminiscence for the left aspect of my Canon because of years of utilizing the R5, so I can not inform you what number of occasions I switched that photograph/video toggle from nonetheless to video when what I actually needed to do was flip the darn factor off. I don’t know why we removed the swap across the document button on the again of the digicam like we had again within the DSLR days; there was nothing flawed with that.
I do wish to add that on multiple event, I by chance switched the set off from nonetheless to video and because of this, missed just a few pictures as I attempted to determine why the digicam wasn’t firing. I recognize that Canon tried to make toggling between photograph and video simpler than it’s on the R5, however this may need been a swing too far within the different course.
Other than needing to unlearn what I had discovered, the precise dealing with and format of the digicam is completely acceptable. Every part is straightforward to succeed in, and Canon’s easy menu system (in an age when menus maintain getting extra difficult) makes working the digicam comparatively simple. If you happen to’ve used a Canon digicam any time within the final decade, you’ll simply get the dangle of the R6.
Whereas Canon continues to iterate on a number of the buttons on the highest of the digicam, the again stays largely unchanged from years of confirmed success. Canon remains to be utilizing the tried-and-true vari-angle touchscreen, which I’ve no complaints about. The play, trash, data, enlarge, and Fast menu buttons are additionally all the place you count on them to be, as is the multi-function joystick.
Manner Extra Highly effective Than it Has Any Proper to Be
The scale and look of the R6 II is misleading. It doesn’t seem any totally different than different cameras within the Canon mirrorless line (apart from the extra-tall R3 in fact), however that humble type hides a surprisingly highly effective inside. Canon outfitted the R6 II with a brand new sensor and a greater processor together with a extra clever autofocus system. Any considered one of these adjustments would have made for a superior digicam than the unique R6, however collectively? Now we have now one thing particular.
Autofocus You Can Belief
Canon made the autofocus so much smarter. Not solely can it acknowledge people, however it might probably now see eyes from a lot farther away than I’m used to and provides you the flexibility to swap between left or proper eye rapidly relying in your composition. It can also now acknowledge animals (like canines, cats, birds, and horses) in addition to an assortment of autos (like vehicles, bikes, airplanes, and trains).
In my time with the digicam, maybe probably the most stunning facet of the expertise was simply how dependable this improved autofocus is. It was not giving me a 100% hit price and there have been lighting conditions the place it appeared to have extra difficulties than in others, however on the entire I used to be in a position to actually simply let the autofocus do its factor and know that I used to be going to get an amazing shot.
For instance, close to the tip of my final day with the R6 II, we have been out by the seaside photographing a pair of mountain bikers. I had an thought for a shot that might require me to get very near the bottom, however I wasn’t about to get down on my chest within the filth. As a substitute, I simply held the R6 II low, simply above the bottom, and when the biker appeared in what I believed was my shot, I simply hit the shutter.
Each single shot, captured at 40 frames per second, featured the biker’s face, tack-sharp in focus.
Is that this an uncommon request of a digicam nowadays? I don’t suppose so, no, however I do suppose it’s uncommon for a mid-tier full-frame digicam and much more so for a mid-tier Canon mirrorless digicam. Canon is stepping up and operating neck-and-neck with longstanding leaders on this house.
On this hands-on, I’m not going to match the efficiency of the R6 II to one thing like a Sony Alpha 7 IV or the smarter, improved synthetic intelligence-powered autofocus of the Alpha 7R V — we’ll save that for a future story. What I’ll say is that in a vacuum, I can see a variety of photographers completely pleased with what the R6 can do. Wedding ceremony and occasion photographers will instantly be capable of make use of the sooner frames and smarter focusing system nevertheless it’s sports activities shooters which may be probably the most impressed with this little digicam. I dare say, it’s ok to behave as a backup to the R3.
Throughout one session, I hooked up the Canon RF 600mm f/4 with a 1.4x teleconverter to the R6 and photographed surfers from a cliff edge. Over the following half-hour or so, I used to be in a position to absolutely give attention to composition whereas relying solely on the autofocus of the digicam because it fired off 40 frames per second.
Throughout that point, I wasn’t interested by the digicam in any respect, which maybe is the perfect instance of its success. It felt pretty much as good as capturing with any of the high-end sports activities cameras that I’ve used in recent times.
I’ll say there have been seemingly random occasions when the digicam completely misplaced give attention to an unobstructed topic. A few of my colleagues additionally seen that the autofocus would generally be unwilling to reacquire a topic after it briefly left a body, as a substitute it might attempt to seize the background. This was most prevalent when a person was holding the autofocus button down and shifting the digicam round. If the button was tapped it appeared to snap the digicam again into correct operate, although this was not all the time the case.
The occasions when this concern introduced itself have been inconsistent, and because of this, I’m prepared to chalk that as much as pre-production firmware for now.
How is 40 FPS Doable?
The R6 II is ready to shoot as much as 12 frames per second (FPS) with a mechanical shutter in addition to as much as 40 FPS with an digital shutter (with a buffer measurement of simply shy of 80 frames). It is ready to hit this quantity regardless of the very fact it isn’t a stacked sensor. Whereas the R6 II does use a brand-new 24.2-megapixel Canon-developed sensor, Canon wouldn’t say the way it was in a position to attain these sensor readout speeds with out them changing into unusable attributable to rolling shutter.
I’ll be trustworthy, the sorts of pictures I used to be capturing didn’t give rolling shutter a giant likelihood to indicate up (and a number of the others utilizing the digicam beside me did say it existed, though it’s barely much less of an issue in comparison with the unique R6), however I did shoot a variety of sports activities. For some of these circumstances, the very fact I used to be in a position to get the sorts of pictures I used to be with this sensor is truthfully actually stunning — in a great way.
I used to be at first very skeptical of capturing with an digital shutter on a non-stacked sensor, and didn’t even flip it on till I used to be on the final capturing scenario of the primary day. However as soon as I began utilizing it, I by no means switched again, so good was the expertise. Canon has managed to get knowledge off that sensor quick sufficient to be completely usable a majority of the time in sports activities, and I feel it’ll simply be capable of deal with occasions and weddings, too. If not, 12 FPS mechanical remains to be fairly nice.
It’s at this level I wish to point out that I’m a bit disenchanted the R6 II options two UHS-II SD card slots and never at the least one CFexpress slot. I’ve to suppose that with the velocity of CFexpress, the buffer might clear sooner and we might get extra than simply shy of two seconds firing at full velocity.
Because it stands, I needed to hearth the R6 II in bursts or plan my sub-80 pictures at 40 FPS rigorously, lest I fill the buffer earlier than the proper second introduced itself.
I do know SD playing cards are nonetheless the most typical reminiscence card format and that most likely isn’t going to alter quickly, however the R6 II does really feel barely held again by the older, slower SD.
Extra Methods Up Its Sleeve
Canon added two notable new options to the R6 II that some photographers may discover helpful: HDR for shifting topics, and a RAW burst mode with pre-recording.
HDR for shifting topics sounds precisely like what it’s. Usually, HDR requires a digicam to seize at the least three exposures in fast succession after which the digicam combines these to create one ultimate picture with expanded dynamic vary. However because it’s taking three photos, clearly any motion goes to trigger issues, as illustrated under:
However Canon discovered a strategy to allow this characteristic for shifting topics. Canon declined to clarify how this works, nevertheless it certainly does:
The characteristic works with autofocus, so you may seize some distinctive HDR photos that have been beforehand not attainable. That stated, I don’t see so much right here to get enthusiastic about (each examples above are unedited JPEGs straight out of digicam, because it doesn’t produce a RAW file). The photograph doesn’t look any higher to me than a well-processed RAW and it limits you to a single seize — you may’t take a burst of those.
The second new characteristic price noting is RAW burst mode with pre-recording. This characteristic is continually recording a few seconds because the autofocus is held down and if you hit the shutter button, it data all the things it noticed from that time again for these few seconds. It’s not an entirely distinctive idea in cameras, however it’s new right here.
I personally didn’t love utilizing this characteristic, although I do know some photographers who did. Taking pictures on this approach requires that you simply suppose backward reasonably than ahead, and for sports activities I a lot reasonably anticipate one thing than take into consideration the ultimate body I wish to catch. It simply feels unintuitive to me personally. The opposite draw back of this method is that Canon doesn’t document all these recordsdata for you want regular, it as a substitute packages them inside a bunch of recordsdata and it’s a must to go into the digicam menu, discover the body you need, after which particularly decide it out to be exported as a RAW that may be edited later. If you happen to don’t do that, the recordsdata don’t present if you import them into a pc.
That’s too many steps. I reasonably simply shoot usually.
Low Gentle and Dynamic Vary
When capturing in brilliant, ultimate lighting situations, I used to be fairly pleased with the dynamic vary of the brand new R6 II sensor. I discovered it was fairly simple to convey up shadows and tone down highlights in the entire pictures I edited for this hands-on, which have been processed in Adobe Photoshop.
Traditionally, Canon recordsdata have been much more beneficiant within the shadows than within the highlights, however I discovered each have been fairly beneficiant right here (although shadows are nonetheless simpler to drag).
The R6 Mark II doesn’t have a stacked sensor, and it additionally shouldn’t be bottom illuminated (BSI). Because of that latter reality, low mild efficiency leaves a bit extra to be desired, as noise is fairly seen at ISO 6400 and will get fairly robust past that. I do want the recordsdata have been a bit cleaner at ISO 6400, given what I’ve come to count on from different cameras.
The quantity of seen noise doesn’t soar that a lot from ISO 6400 to ISO 12800 although, for what that’s price.
We focus our consideration on the stills capturing functionality of cameras right here at PetaPixel, however many who’re desirous about selecting up an R6 Mark II most likely are doing so due to the video seize choices it brings to the desk. As we word in our announcement protection, the R6 II brings full-width 4K at as much as 60 frames per second that’s oversampled from 6K and might document at as much as 4:2:2 10-bit in Canon Log 3. With a appropriate exterior recorder, that high quality can soar to 6K RAW.
If you happen to’re desirous about what the R6 II can do so far as video is worried, I extremely suggest you take a look at video-focused opinions like these from Jordan Drake at DPReview, Manny Ortiz, or Dan Watson. All three spent much more time particularly trying on the digicam from a filmmaking perspective and can give you some glorious opinions on the topic.
The R6 II Lastly Offers the 6 Collection an Id
If there was one feeling that I left my time with the Canon EOS R6 II with, it was the sense that this digicam lastly has an id, an actual cause to personal it. Earlier than, the Canon 6 sequence of cameras simply felt like a compromise that you simply made on value. You needed the 5 sequence both as a important digicam or a second one as a backup, however couldn’t rationalize that price so that you picked up a 6 sequence as a substitute.
That’s all Canon’s 6 sequence was: a compromise. However the R6 Mark II adjustments that.
Canon gave this digicam some severe autofocus smarts that it borrowed from the R3 and doubled its most framerate in comparison with its predecessor, making it a robust performer for sports activities, motion, and wildlife pictures. Wedding ceremony photographers will most likely desire the R6 Mark II over the R5 now due to it, and the smaller 24-megapixel pictures means sooner enhancing and decrease storage prices as nicely.
The Canon R6 Mark II lastly makes the 6 sequence of cameras really feel prefer it has a function. It now not seems like a compromise digicam, however one which has a devoted place in a photographer’s bag.
Picture credit: Images by Jaron Schneider. Notice: All photos have been captured with a pre-production model of the digicam.