Canon’s EOS R6 Mark II is a hybrid full-frame mirrorless camera that boasts much-needed improvements over its predecessor. Canon has been striving to produce mirrorless cameras that can compete with Sony’s widely respected A7 series, but the journey has been rocky. The Canon EOS R6, released in July 2020, had impressive features for its price but fell short in its goal of being a true competitor to the likes of Sony’s similarly-priced A7S III due to issues such as overheating, Wi-Fi connectivity problems and limited recording capabilities.
The question is, has Canon learned from these mistakes with the EOS R6 Mark II? Let’s take a closer look.
What’s new with the Canon EOS R6 Mark II?
The R6 Mark II features a 24.2-megapixel CMOS image sensor, which is four megapixels more than its predecessor, the original R6. This sensor, coupled with Canon’s newest Digic X image processor, delivers speedy image processing, precise color reproduction and relatively low noise.
The R6 Mark II can now shoot up to 40 frames per second with an electronic shutter, while the R6 caps out at 20 frames per second.
Moving on to video capabilities, the R6 Mark II can shoot 4K 30p and 60p video with no sensor crop. This time, there is less rolling shutter, no recording limit, and no overheating like we experienced in the original R6. Additionally, the R6 Mark II has a pre-shooting buffer option that allows users to capture and buffer images a few seconds before pressing the shutter. This ensures that you will not miss a shot even if you are a bit late to the shutter button.
The battery life has been improved as well. With its LP-E6NH Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery, the R6 II can shoot up to 580 shots, up from its predecessor’s 360 shots.
In addition to these features, the R6 Mark II includes lens breathing correction, a faster electronic shutter (1/16000s vs. the original’s 1/8000s), a dedicated video/still switch and a multi-function hot shoe that supports added accessories.
At 1.3 pounds, the Canon R6 Mark II has a relatively lightweight build. Buttons are conveniently placed where needed, including its on/off switch, which was moved to the right side behind the shutter release. The adjustable touch-sensitive LCD also makes it easy to navigate menus and settings. These are standard features at this price point.
One notable upgrade to the body is the hot shoe, which Canon calls a “multi-function shoe,” allowing for direct digital connections that offer more functionality with different accessories, such as audio devices.
The R6 Mark II boasts faster Wi-Fi and additional USB options, including webcam mode. With built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the camera can wirelessly transfer images and videos to a smartphone, tablet or computer. Additionally, the R6 Mark II supports MFi connectivity, making quick transfers to the iPhone possible. The Canon Camera Connect app can remotely control the camera and preview shots via a smartphone or tablet.
Ports and connectors remain the same as the original R6, including:
- USB-C for media transfer and battery charging
- Micro-HDMI output for connecting to external monitors or recording devices
- 3.5 mm headphone and microphone jacks for monitoring and recording external audio
- 2.5 mm remote control port for wired shutter control
Unfortunately, unlike the similarly-priced Sony a7IV, the R6 Mark II doesn’t have a full-sized HDMI port. This isn’t ideal, but it’s not a dealbreaker.
Video to stills to video
Another addition that we liked is the ability to switch between video and stills modes. These two modes have independent settings, making it easy for those capturing video and photos in the same event to switch modes without also having to change settings every time. This is a big plus for one-person camera operators.
Customizable button functions
You can customize many of the camera’s button functions, which makes it easier to work quickly and efficiently without having to navigate the camera’s default layout or menus. Those familiar with Canon bodies may not need to customize much, but those coming from other bodies will appreciate the customization.
Speaking of menus, they’re customizable. You can create menu pages with the settings and options you use most frequently.
Camera body build
The camera’s body is weather-sealed, providing protection from dust, moisture, and other elements. This makes it an excellent choice for photographers and videographers who need to shoot in challenging conditions, whether they’re working in the rain, snow, or other harsh environments.
Lastly, the camera uses dual UHS-II SD card slots. This was an interesting choice, considering the high-speed shutter speeds offered by the R6 II. At 40 fps, you may have to wait for the buffer to clear, which may be something to consider depending on your photography needs.
With each release, Canon continues to refine its Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system. The R6 Mark II continues this trend with autofocus that is quick, accurate and sharp in various shooting conditions. It excels at determining the focus distance of a shot, ensuring sharp focus, which is especially helpful when shooting moving subjects.
There are eight AF areas with over 4,000 focus points to choose from with this camera. The three flexible zone AF settings also allow you to choose where in the frame you want the autofocus to detect the subject.
New features for the autofocus system
Face Detection and Eye AF: The camera’s autofocus system includes face detection, allowing you to focus on human faces in the frame and capture sharp, in-focus images of people, especially when shooting group shots. It also features Eye AF technology, which prioritizes the focus on a subject’s eyes. This is particularly useful for portrait photography, where you want to ensure the eyes are sharp and in focus. The Eye AF system works well in auto settings and even better when adjusting parameters such as tracking sensitivity.
Animal Eye AF: The camera also includes Animal Eye AF technology, which enables you to focus on the eyes of pets and wildlife. With this technology, the R6 Mark II can recognize and track animals’ eyes, making it easier to capture sharp and in-focus images of your furry subjects.
Vehicle tracking: The R6 Mark II now supports tracking for vehicles, including cars, trains and aircraft.
Customizable AF settings: The camera includes several customizable AF settings, allowing you to fine-tune the AF system to suit your needs. You can adjust the tracking sensitivity, AF area selection and more to simplify getting the focus you need in a variety of shooting situations.
Putting the Canon R6 Mark II to the test
But how does the R6 Mark II perform in the field? The Canon R6 Mark II can shoot 4K UHD video at 60 frames per second, a noteworthy ability. It also provides internal 10-bit 4:2:2 recording without the 1.07x crop seen in competing cameras and the previous R6, which means you can expect a lot of useful color information. This makes color grading and effects like chroma keying easier, putting the camera at an advantage over competitors like the Sony a7 IV. Additionally, the sensor readout is fast with no rolling shutter issues.
The R6 Mark II can also capture ProRes RAW at 6K using the entire sensor width or 3.7K RAW using a Super35 crop. It can also record FHD proxy files in-camera at the same time. However, a compatible Atomos recorder is required to take advantage of the 6K features. The firmware update to support this is scheduled for mid-2023, so it is not yet available.
For videographers, these features are exciting, and the camera’s capabilities offer flexibility and excellent results in a range of shooting situations.
The Canon EOS R6 Mark II has a wide ISO range of 100 to 102400, expandable up to 204800. This range enables the camera to perform well in a variety of lighting conditions, from bright sunlight to low-light situations. While you may not need to use the camera’s maximum ISO, it’s available if necessary.
In the menus, there are options for noise reduction in long exposure shots and high ISO situations. We tried out the high-ISO noise reduction feature and cranked the ISO up to 64000. We noticed minimal observable noise, although the edges became less sharp the closer we got to 64000. Nonetheless, it still performed better than Photoshop’s or Lightroom’s denoising tools.
Canon claimed that the R6 Mark II was the “fastest advanced full-frame mirrorless camera” during its unveiling. This is because it can shoot continuously at up to 40 fps using an electronic shutter. While the mechanical shutter isn’t as fast, it’s still decent for most situations at 12 fps. The buffer fills relatively quickly due to the high-resolution sensor, but waiting a few seconds between bursts shouldn’t be a big issue.
Dual Pixel RAW
The camera comes with the Dual Pixel RAW feature, which allows users to capture and process images that contain two sets of image data. This makes it possible to adjust the focus and other image parameters after taking the shot, making it easier to get the desired results. It’s great to see that the R6 Mark II includes this incredibly useful feature.
The camera supports RAW shooting, enabling capturing and processing images with maximum flexibility and control. RAW images provide more detail and information than JPEG images, making it easier to adjust exposure, color, and other image parameters.
Additionally, you can shoot up to 30 fps for up to 191 frames in the RAW burst mode.
Canon is well known for its ability to produce good color, particularly in terms of human skin. The Canon EOS R6 Mark II is no exception. It is flexible enough for any lighting setup with its ability to fine-tune white balance. In addition, the camera supports log recording with C-Log 3. Unfortunately, it does not support C-Log 2, which has a flatter profile and special advantages in terms of dynamic range. Nevertheless, color grading is still easy with C-Log 3.
The camera also has notable features such as false color, which enables the user to gauge exposure better and identify clipping. It is not possible to use this feature concurrently with zebra lines, but it is not a major issue if you can remember what each color represents.
The R6 Mark II also allows you to automatically pre-record video for three or five seconds before pressing the button, ensuring that you never miss the moment, even if you’re a bit late. You will never again have to explain to your newlywed clients why you missed the big kiss at the wedding.
If you’ve used the original EOS R6, you’re likely familiar with the overheating issues, specifically when shooting 4K for extended periods. We’re happy to report that there were no issues with the R6 II, even when putting the camera under significant stress that would surely cause overheating in the original model. Canon seems to have taken notes to address the issue this time, adding a 10-level indicator that provides a heat scale so you can see how close the camera is to overheating. It was reassuring to know the camera wouldn’t shut off suddenly during filming.
During our testing, we did observe potential overheating issues, however. Oversampling in 4K UHD at 40 fps for up to 40 minutes using the full sensor width and up to 50 minutes APS-C mode could cause the camera to overheat.
With almost no recording limit or overheating in most modes, the camera is useful for recording extended interviews and live performances without constant monitoring. We could record a live band performance that lasted roughly 70 minutes at UHD 30p without needing to restart the recording and without experiencing overheating issues.
But what about 4K?
We also tested the 4K 60 fps performance. We shot several one- to two-minute clips over two hours without turning the camera off. There were no overheating issues, and the battery still had enough life to record more. We also left the camera running at 4K 24 fps for an hour at room temperature without any issues.
Regarding high frame rate performance, Canon has improved on the original R6’s 1080p 120 fps mode. The R6 Mark II captures 180 frames per second in 1080p for 60 minutes or longer before overheating and battery life becomes an issue. Unfortunately, autofocus is not as good in this mode, but tweaking the settings may help. It still autofocuses at an acceptable speed, just slower than in other modes.
During our testing, we found the camera’s AF tracking for both video and photos to be quick and accurate. The auto settings worked well in various situations, and the customizable settings made it easy to lock onto our subjects. We were especially impressed with the eye detection feature, which allows you to choose which eye to focus on.
The camera features in-body image stabilization, providing up to eight stops of shake correction. This feature makes it easier to shoot in low-light conditions and when using longer lenses, allowing for sharp and stable images without requiring a gimbal in many situations.
Additionally, many of Canon’s RF lenses also have optical stabilization. When using a lens with stabilizing abilities in combination with in-body stabilization, the two systems work together to deliver maximum shake reduction.
For this reviewer, a run-and-gun videographer with experience using a range of cameras, this feature was particularly valuable. Even when walking normally in the wind, there were minimal issues with shakiness when using in-body stabilization. Results were even better when using the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4 IS USM lens. While it does not replace gimbals or other stabilizers, the stabilization features offer great flexibility for those needing to capture footage on the fly, including vloggers and sports videographers.
Is there a new sheriff in town?
As mentioned earlier, Sony has dominated the hybrid mirrorless camera market for some time now. However, the Canon R6 II has proved that a power shift is still possible in this category.
Recording and overheating
One of the Canon EOS R6 Mark II’s best features is its 10-bit 4:2:2 4K/60p recording capabilities with virtually no recording limit or overheating issues. Moreover, with a compatible Atomos external recorder, you can record 6K RAW externally. Sony does not support external recording, and it has struggled with rolling shutter issues. By contrast, the R6 Mark II has essentially eliminated rolling shutter.
The R6 Mark II is also better than Sony models, such as the Sony A7 IV, when it comes to overheating. The R6 II will last for the entire duration of the battery’s life in 4K 24 fps, while A7 IV users report overheating in this mode.
Frame rate options
If fps is essential to you, the R6 Mark II has an advantage in this category. The A7 IV only shoots 10 fps in both mechanical and electronic shutter, compared to the R6 Mark II’s 12 fps mechanical and 40 fps electronic. However, you will have to wait for the buffer to clear when using the full 40 fps electronic shutter. For video, Canon has a maximum of 180 fps compared to Sony’s 120 fps.
Noise and dynamic range
In terms of noise and dynamic range, Canon still has some work to do. Although both cameras perform well in low-light conditions, Sony’s overall image is slightly sharper with less noise. In shots with high dynamic range, Sony’s image will have more detail with less noise every time. This is partly due to Canon’s decision not to include C-Log 2 in the R6 Mark II, which has less dynamic range than C-Log 3. Sony has a 33 MP full-frame sensor, giving photographers more flexibility to crop photos in post-production.
Finally, when it comes to support for third-party lenses, Sony has the edge over Canon. Sony has supported third-party lenses for some time, allowing users to expand their lens collection at a budget-friendly price. While Canon lenses offer excellent quality and can provide a better user experience when paired with a Canon body (such as combined in-lens and in-body stabilization), it can be expensive to switch to Canon when factoring in lens prices in addition to the cost of the body. You can purchase third-party adapters to use other lenses on camera bodies, but the results may vary depending on the adapter and lens. It’s worth noting that Canon has been cracking down on these products.
- Sports and action photography: The R6 Mark II has a fast continuous shooting speed and high-speed mechanical shutter, making it ideal for capturing fast-paced action, sports, and wildlife. The in-body image stabilization and fast autofocus system make capturing sharp, stable images easier even when shooting handheld.
- Wildlife photography: The camera’s high-resolution sensor, fast continuous shooting speed, and fast autofocus system make it a great choice for capturing wildlife images. Additionally, the camera’s in-body image stabilization and weather sealing make it easier to shoot in challenging conditions, such as rain or snow.
- Portrait photography: The R6 Mark II’s high-resolution sensor and fast autofocus system make it a great choice for capturing portraits. The Dual Pixel Raw feature also makes it possible to adjust the focus and other image parameters after taking the shot.
- Video production and content creation: The camera’s 4K video capabilities, fast autofocus system, and dual-pixel autofocus make it a great choice for video production. Its weather sealing and in-body image stabilization also make it easier to shoot in challenging conditions, such as rain or snow.
Should you get the Canon EOS R6 Mark II?
The Canon EOS R6 Mark II is an impressive mirrorless camera with several likable features, including its cropless UHD 4K/60p 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording, Dual Pixel RAW and AF tracking options for people, animals and vehicles. It also boasts a 40 fps electronic shutter, virtually no rolling shutter and false color. You will appreciate the dedicated still/video switch with independent settings, pre-recording for up to five seconds and a multi-function hot shoe that provides functionality for more devices. While the camera has some drawbacks, such as no C-Log 2 and no CFexpress slots, it remains an excellent choice for enthusiasts and professionals alike.
- Cropless UHD 4K 60 fps 10-bit 4:2:2 internally
- 180 fps video in High-Frame Rate mode
- AF Tracking options
- Multi-function hot shoe
- No C-Log 2
- No CFexpress slots
- Features micro-HDMI port instead of full-sized HDMI port
|Lens mount||Canon RF|
Actual: 25.6 Megapixel
Effective: 24.2 Megapixel (6,000 x 4,000)
|Image sensor||35.9 x 23.9 mm (Full-Frame) CMOS|
|Image stabilization||Sensor-shift, Five-axis|
|Built-in ND filter||None|
|Capture type||Stills and video|
|Shutter type||Electronic shutter, mechanical focal plane shutter|
|Shutter speed||Mechanical shutter|
1/8,000 to 30 Seconds
1/16,000 to 30 Seconds
|Bulb/Time Mode||Bulb Mode|
|ISO sensitivity||100 to 102,400 in Manual, Auto Mode (Extended: 50 to 204,800)|
|Metering method||Center-weighted average, Evaluative, Partial, Spot|
|Exposure modes||Aperture priority, Manual, Program, Shutter priority|
|Exposure compensation||-3 to +3 EV (1/3, 1/2 EV steps)|
|Metering range||-3 to 20 EV|
|White balance||Presets: Auto, Cloudy, Color temperature, Custom, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent (White), Shade, Tungsten|
|Continuous shooting||Mechanical shutter|
Up to 12 fps at 24 MP for up to 1,000 frames (JPEG) / 110 Frames (RAW)
Up to 40 fps at 24 MP for up to 190 frames (JPEG) / 75 Frames (RAW)
|Aspect ratio||1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9|
|Image file format||C-RAW, HEIF, JPEG|
|Internal recording modes||H.264/H.265/MPEG-4 4:2:2 10-bit|
UHD 4K (3,840 x 2,160) at 23.98/25/29.97/50/59.94 fps [60 to 340 Mb/s]
1,920 x 1,080 at 23.98/25/29.97/50/59.94/100/150 fps [12 to 270 Mb/s]
|External recording modes||RAW via HDMI|
6,144 x 4,032 up to 59.94 fps
|Gamma curve||Canon Log 3, HDR-PQ|
|Built-in microphone type||Stereo|
|Audio recording||LPCM Audio|
|Media/memory card slot||Dual slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II)|
|Video I/O||1 x Micro-HDMI Output|
|Audio I/O||1 x 1/8-inch/3.5 mm TRS stereo microphone input on camera body|
1 x 1/8-inch/3.5 mm TRS stereo headphone output on camera body
|Power I/O||1 x USB-C input|
|Other I/O||1 x USB-C (USB 3.2 / 3.1 Gen 2) data/tether input/output (shared with power input)|
1 x 2.5 mm sub-mini control
|Wireless||2.4 / 5 GHz Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) control|
|Mobile app compatible||No|
|Monitor size||3.0 inches|
|Display resolution||1,620,000 dots|
|Display type||Articulating touchscreen LCD|
|Viewfinder type||Built-in electronic (OLED)|
|Viewfinder size||0.5 inches|
|Viewfinder resolution||3,690,000 dots|
|Viewfinder eye point||23 mm|
|Viewfinder magnification||Approx. 0.76x|
|Viewfinder diopter adjustment||-4 to +2|
|Focus type||Auto and manual focus|
|Focus mode||Continuous-Servo AF, manual focus, Single-Servo AF|
|Autofocus points||Photo, Video|
Contrast detection, phase detection: 1,053
|Autofocus sensitivity||-6.5 to +21 EV|
|Battery type||1 x LP-E6NH rechargeable lithium-ion, 7.2 VDC, 2130 mAh (approx. 760 shots)|
|Tripod mounting thread||1 x 1/4-inch-20 female (bottom)|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||5.4 x 3.9 x 3.5 inches / 138.4 x 98.4 x 88.4 mm|
|Weight||1.3 lb / 588 g (with battery, recording media)|