Canon EOS 6D Mark II Review

The exciting Canon EOS 6D Mark II has been announced and the expectations shared on this page will be updated as soon as my 6D II arrives.

Does (highly anticipated) impressive full frame DSLR image quality in a light, compact, nicely-featured body with a modest price tag sound good to you? The Canon EOS 6D Mark II might be your camera.

Positioned below the 5D series in their EOS lineup, Canon envisions the 6D series as a step-up from an APS-C model or as an entry-level DSLR for those who know the light-capturing value of a full frame sensor's significantly larger surface area. In many ways, the EOS 6D series is to Canon's full frame sensor camera lineup what the Rebel series is to their APS-C sensor lineup. As the original Digital Rebel brought affordability to the DSLR market, the original 6D brought affordability to full frame cameras. While the 6D series is not positioned as having the most-advanced and powerful full frame models available, these cameras are very feature-filled, benefiting significantly from recently-introduced technology, yet they are small and light with a highly attractive price and especially high image quality for that price.

That the original Canon EOS 6D remains one of the most popular cameras on this site even at nearly 5 years of age (as of the 6D Mark II's introduction) attests to its value in the eyes of photographers. While keeping the spirit of the original 6D, the Mark II comes with very significant upgrades including a current-technology-roll-up and it should have no problem taking the popularity handoff. While the 6D Mark II may be light on brand new camera features, it benefits heavily from existing ones and you are going to recognize many features from the excellent general-purpose EOS 80D inherited by this camera.

Summary of Canon EOS 6D Mark II Features

  • New 26.2 MP CMOS imaging sensor featuring Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • 45-point AF system (all cross-type)
  • ISO 40000 expandable, to 50 (L), 512600 (H1) and 102400 (H2)
  • DIGIC 7
  • Intelligent viewfinder featuring 98% view
  • First full frame model to feature Vari-Angle Touchscreen LCD (1.04 million dots)
  • 6.5 fps
  • Flicker Mode adjusts shutter release timing to avoid flickering light issues
  • Full HD 1080p 60p movies with 5 axis electronic image stabilization
  • WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth & GPS
  • Continuous shooting after 10 sec. self-timer (2 to 10 shots)
  • Intervelometer with 4K Timelapse Movie Mode featuring 3840px UHD resolution
  • Deeper grip design for better control
  • Dust- & Water-resistant
  • Only 685g

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Front

Sensor and Image Quality

I always look forward to reviewing a camera introduced with a brand new imaging sensor as we can expect the latest technology to be included in a new design. And, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II sports just that – a brand new imaging sensor.

Following is a table showing the sensor and some additional specifications for some of Canon's current and recent EOS camera models.

ModelFOVCFSensorPixel SizePixels/MegapixelsViewfinderDLA*
Canon EOS M51.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 100%f/6.0
Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 .82x95%f/5.9
Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 .82x95%f/5.9
Canon EOS 77D1.6x22.5 x 15.0mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 .82x95%f/5.9
Canon EOS 80D1.6x22.5 x 15.0mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 .95x100%f/5.9
Canon EOS 7D Mark II1.6x22.4 x 15.0mm4.1µm5472 x 364820.2 1.0x100%f/6.6
Canon EOS 6D Mark II1.0x35.9 x 24.0mm5.7µm6240 x 416026.2 .71x98% 
Canon EOS 6D1.0x35.8 x 23.9mm6.54µm5472 x 364820.2 .71x97%f/10.5
Canon EOS 5Ds / 5Ds R1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm4.14µm8688 x 579250.6 .71x100%f/6.7
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm5.36µm6720 x 448030.4 .71x100%f/8.6
Canon EOS 5D Mark III1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.25µm5760 x 384022.3 .71x100%f/10.1
Canon EOS 5D Mark II1.0x35.8 x 23.9mm6.4µm5616 x 374421.1 .71x98%f/10.2
View the full Canon EOS 6D Mark II specifications to compare additional cameras.

The pixel density of a 26.2 MP resolution full frame sensor is modest for this time, but there are advantages that come with a lower pixel density. The 6D II's relatively large pixels infused with Canon's latest technology hold promise of very impressive high ISO performance. While I am certain that I will not want to use ISO 102400 for any purpose, I am anxious to see how this camera performs at ISO settings beyond what I'm comfortable using in any current EOS model. The D II should be an excellent camera choice for use in low light.

Sensor Size Comparison

With roughly 2.5x as much surface area (864mm2 vs. 338mm2), a full frame sensor is able to capture substantially more light than an APS-C model. That difference is noticed in image quality, especially when light levels go down.

ISO settings available are 100-40000 in 1/3 stop increments with ISO 50 (L), 51200 (H1) and 102400 (H2) available.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II No Lens

Media

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II writes image files to an SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I) memory card.

Frame Rate, Buffer Depth, Shutter Sound

A headlining upgrade for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II is the 6.5 fps drive speed. Up from 4.5 fps in the original 6D, the additional 2 frames per second are going to be quite noticeable.

While serious sports and action photographers will prefer the higher frame rates coming from the 7D Mark II and the 1D X Mark II, the 6D Mark II will get the job done in many scenarios.

ModelFPSMax JPGMax RAWShutter LagVF Blackout
Canon EOS M57/926n/a  
Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D5.0Full6  
Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D6.0190/Full21/2770ms 
Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D3.011106120ms170ms
Canon EOS 77D6.0190/Full21/2770ms 
Canon EOS 80D7.077/11020/2560msn/a
Canon EOS 7D Mark II10.01303155ms100ms
Canon EOS 6D Mark II6.520018/2160ms 
Canon EOS 6D4.573/125014/17<60ms 
Canon EOS 5Ds / 5Ds R5.031/Full12/1459ms125ms
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV7.0Full1758ms86ms
Canon EOS 5D Mark III6.065/16k13/1859ms125ms
Canon EOS 5D Mark II3.978/31013/1473ms145ms
View the full Canon EOS 6D Mark II specifications to compare additional cameras.

This should be a relatively quiet-operating DSLR, especially with Silent single and Silent continuous modes available.

An interesting new drive mode received by the 6D Mark II is "Continuous shooting after 10 sec. self-timer". Configure the 6D II to take 2 to 10 shots in this mode, release the shutter and the camera will proceed to take that selected number of images after waiting 10 seconds. This is a nice option for placing yourself in a scene.

I would like to see mirror lockup with self-timer featured in this camera, but the 5Ds and 5Ds R remain the only current EOS models supporting this useful feature.

The 6D II's max shutter speed remains lower-end 1/4000. While this speed is fast enough for most uses, those using extreme-wide apertures (such as f/1.4) under direct sunlight may find themselves wanting the 1/8000 option. A neutral density filter is often the answer for this situation.

Autofocus

As most of us rely on autofocus for the majority of our focusing needs, the accuracy of a camera's AF system performance is paramount. And, one of the primary complaints regarding the original 6D was its somewhat antiquated AF system. While I found the center AF point (the only cross-type point available) to be very good (including in low light), the 10 peripheral AF points were not as assuring.

Canon introduced a completely new AF system with the 80D and that system has been migrating to other EOS models, including the Rebel T7i and 77D, and now that list includes the 6D Mark II. This AF system covers the same area within the frame as the 6D I's AF system, but it features 45 AF points that are all horizontal and vertical cross-type focusing (sensitive to lines of contrast in both directions) with lenses having an f/5.6 or wider max aperture. The center AF point acts as a dual cross-type sensitive point when an f/2.8 or wider lens is used, becoming sensitive to horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines of contrast for higher focusing precision.

While this description provides the AF support for most lenses, reality is a bit more complicated with some lenses receiving reduced support. Canon has grouped all lenses into categories. Most current lenses fall under category A (full capabilities) or B (center AF point not dual cross-type), but some older lenses, for example, fall into category "D", supporting horizontal line detection (not cross-type) in the side AF point banks. The owner's manual (a link will be provided at beginning of this review) will contain the full details, but categories A through H are included, with decreasing AF capabilities being supported.

While groups G and H have the least AF system support, things are better than they seem. Most of the lenses included in these groups are actually lens plus extender combinations with maximum apertures of f/8. That the 6D Mark II features AF with f/8 maximum aperture lens combinations is really big news; it is the first camera in this category to do so.

Especially valuable to wildlife photographers, an extender can be mounted behind a lens, creating an f/8 max aperture, and AF is retained. Depending on the combination, the vertically centered 27 AF points (category G) or the center AF point-only (category H) is activated. Again, see the owner's manual for the specific combinations supported.

When shooting a still subject, it is easy to focus using only a small number of focus points. Even just one focus point is adequate in many situations when DOF (Depth of Field) is deep enough to compensate for slight discrepancies. Simply focus on the subject by half-pressing the shutter release, recompose and fully press the shutter release.

However, the story is different when the subject is in motion and AI Servo subject tracking requires a focus point continuously placed on the subject. In this case, there is a great compositional advantage to having more focus points available (both for automatic tracking and for manual selection).

The story is also different when using a focal length and aperture combination with a very shallow depth of field. In this case, the change in camera angle required for the recomposition can tilt the plane of sharp focus to in front of or behind the subject. Thus, more focus points available can reduce (or eliminate) the angle change change required for recomposition. The more advanced focus point technology also also means the peripheral points can be relied upon more heavily.

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II's AF Area options are Single-point AF (select one AF point), Zone AF (select one of 9 AF area focusing zones comprised of 9 AF points – one of three on left, 3 in center or 3 on right side), Large Zone AF (select one of 3 large AF area focusing zones – 15 AF points on left, center or right) and Auto AF point selection (all 45 AF points active – closest subject receives priority).

While the original 6D did not have the most-impressive AF system available, it did have one very impressive AF feature and that was the ability to focus in light levels as low as best-available -3 EV (really dark,) with its center AF point. That advantage is carried forward with the 6D II's AF system receiving the same spec (center AF point with an f/2.8 or wider lens). The camera models I've tested with this AF system focus in light levels so low that I had difficulty seeing anything. AF lock times can increase significantly in low light, but this low light AF performance improvement will definitely catch the attention of photographers wanting to shoot in dark venues, especially wedding photographers.

Autofocus MicroAdjustment (AFMA) was included in the original EOS 6D and it again featured in the II.

As I've said before, one of the most-challenging camera features to test is autofocus performance. With an infinite number of possible focus circumstances and numerous camera AF options available, it is not possible to perform an exhaustive set of tests. Still, solid perception of a camera's AF system capabilities can be discerned.

One Shot AF with a still subject is both the easiest AF mode to test and the easiest for the camera to execute. The photographer can carefully control where the focus point is placed and a tripod can be utilized to insure movement does not influence the results. The cameras I've tested using this same AF system have performed extremely well in this mode, including under a wide variety of situations. They very quickly and reliably focus on the intended subject.

AI Servo (continuous) AF mode is, on the other hand, very challenging to test and tracking a moving subject is very challenging to the AF system. The point of perfect focus must be predicted for a fast-moving subject to be synchronized with the precise moment the shutter opens. Shooting a challenging scenario that is familiar to me is the best method I've found to at least get a baseline comparison and the performance I've seen from this system has varied a bit, from very good on the 80D to good on the 77D.

In addition to the extremely fast conventional AF system, this camera features Canon's very impressive Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. This technology was groundbreaking with the introduction of the EOS 70D, permiting sensor-based phase detection AF. Each pixel on an imaging sensor in a DPAF implementation is dual purposed with phase detection AF being the secondary one. Since the imaging sensor pixels are able to perform both imaging and fast phase-detection focus measurement simultaneously, continuous AI Servo-like AF is available in Movie mode, "Movie Servo AF".

Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology is rapidly making its way throughout the EOS lineup and this particular iteration of Dual Pixel CMOS AF is the same as the 80D. It features improved tracking sensitivity over prior implementations, allowing for better AF results in challenging, low-light conditions. This DPAF implementation will perform very similar to the conventional AF system in terms of speed – very fast.

Live View and Movie focusing modes making use of the Dual Pixel CMOS AF include what has become the Canon standard: Face Detection with Tracking, Smooth zone, and Live 1-point AF. All work very well and the face detection technology has been especially impressive. The ability to adjust AF speed and tracking sensitivity is provided in this implementation. I'm awaiting verification, but this camera also likely supports AI Servo tracking AF and burst mode during Live View in Multi and Single AF selection.

As with the 80D, 77D and Rebel T7i, the 6D Mark II's capacitive touchscreen allows for Touch Focus during both Live View still photography and before/during video recording. Just tap your finger on the LCD where you want the camera to focus and it happens – smoothly. Touch Focus is very simple and effective.

Sensor-based AF includes benefits over conventional phase-detection AF. The AF coverage area encompasses a full 80% of the frame (measured horizontally and vertically) with no limit on a "number" of focus points to select from or include in auto AF. No AF Microadjustment calibration is needed because the actual imaging sensor is being used for AF (vs. the focusing screen). And, AF can function with camera and lens combinations having an f/11 or wider aperture (vs. f/8 with the 6D II's conventional AF) – again, using 80% of the frame.

Video

The EOS 6D II becomes the third full frame Canon DSLR to receive a Dual Pixel CMOS sensor. As such, you can expect high grade video capture to be significantly easier compared to this camera's predecessor.

The 6D II records video in .MP4 or .MOV format using the MPEG-4 AVC / H.264 codec, with audio being recorded in Linear PCM (.MOV) or AAC (.MP4) via dual front microphones (producing stereo sound) or the 3.5mm stereo input jack. Sound recording levels can be set to Auto, Manual (64 levels) or Disabled entirely. Wind Filter and Attenuator options can be set in the sound recording menu.

Available frame rates and compression include:

MOV:
1920 x 1080 (Full HD): 30 fps (29.97 fps) / 25 fps / 24 fps (23.98 fps)
ALL-I compression only

MP4:
1920 x 1080 (Full HD): 60 fps (59.94 fps) / 50 fps / 30 fps (29.97 fps) / 25 fps / 24 fps (23.98 fps)
1280 x 720 (HD): 60 fps (59.94 fps) / 50 fps / 30 fps (29.97 fps) / 25 fps
User selectable IPB (Standard) or IPB (Light) compression

Many of Canon's latest DSLRs have featured HDR Movie capture and Time-lapse Movies, and the 6D II follows this trend. However, the 6D II is the first Canon DSLR able to capture 4K, UHD-1 time-lapses (.MOV, Motion JPEG, 29.97 fps) in addition to the FHD (.MOV, ALL-I, 29.97 fps) time-lapses featured in several other Canon DSLRs. Time-lapse movies can be created in nearly any mode and the feature is enabled via the camera's menu system as are the time-lapse variables, shooting interval and number of shots. The shooting interval time can be set anywhere from 1-second to 99 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds while number of shots can likely be set from 2 to 3600 (if similar to the 80D).

During Time-lapse Movie capture, the camera's battery-saving Auto Off feature is disabled as is any lens Image Stabilization (if applicable).

In HDR Movie Mode, the camera will attempt to reduce highlight clipping with the result of increasing dynamic range when filming in high-contrast environments.

Video recording can be started and stopped using the highly recommended Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote Control accessory with the Remote Control Shooting menu option enabled. Unfortunately, as of this publication, the EOS Applications (iOS & Android) do not support remote video capture.

Overall, the 6D II's video-specific features combined with its full frame sensor should make it an attractive option for those interested in producing high quality films.

Exposure/Metering System

Borrowed from the 80D is the 7,560-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor, enabling skin tone and color detection that works in conjunction with AF for enhance tracking sensitivity.

Available metering modes are Evaluative (entire scene is analyzed within 63 zones), Partial (6.5% of viewfinder area at center), Spot (3.2% of viewfinder area at center) and Center-weighted (entire scene is analyzed within 63 zones with center of viewfinder having more influence) with a metering range of EV 1 - 20.

Exposure (and auto white balance) systems are highly advanced and each EOS model seems to be bring improvement. This system wors very well in the 80D, making it easy to capture ideal brightness and color balance right out of the camera. With a next-generation DIGIC processor, I expect no less from the 6D Mark II.

An awesome reletively new Canon EOS technology that has now arrived in the 6-series is light flicker avoidance. If you have ever photographed under flickering lights, such as the sodium vapor lamps especially common at sporting venues, you know what a problem that type of lighting can cause. One image is bright and the next is significantly underexposed with a completely different color cast. The bigger problem occurs when using fast/short action-stopping shutter speeds under these lights.

I'll share an example of this technology using the 80D. In the top half of the following example are 8 consecutive frames captured in a 7 fps burst with a 1/1000 second shutter speed. The subject is a white wall and the lights are fluorescent tubes (I had to go all the way to my basement to find these two sets of four 4' fluorescent tube lights). All images were identically custom white balanced from the center of an optimally-timed image. What you see is the frame capture frequency synching with the light flicker's frequency to cause a different result in every frame.

The killer problem for post processing is that the entire frame is not evenly affected. Correcting this issue in even a handful of images is a post processing nightmare. The cause of this problem is that, at fast/short shutter speeds, the flicker happens while the shutter curtain is not fully open.

Because the shutter opens and closes only in the up and down directions (with camera horizontally oriented), the area affected runs through the frame in the long direction regardless of the camera's orientation during capture. When the flicker-effected area is fully contained within the frame, the amount of area affected is narrower at faster shutter speeds and wider with longer shutter speeds.

At significantly longer shutter speeds, the effect from the flickering lights is better averaged in the exposures. In a previous test, a 1/25 second image appears very even in brightness and color. As the shutter speed increases, the band of flicker becomes narrower and more pronounced.

In this light flicker test, I shot at 1/500 and 1/1000 (as shown). The 1/500 second test showed approximately 2/3 of the frame severely affected at most, with a handful of images with about 50% of the images appearing evenly lit. The 1/1000 second test showed an even narrower band of the flicker's effect running through the image (a smaller slit of fast-moving shutter opening being used). Not many venues permit shutter speeds faster than 1/1000 sec., but the flicker stripe will become even thinner at faster speeds. The 1/500 and 1/1000 settings are more real world settings.

Anti-Flicker Mode Example

The bottom set of results show off the Canon's game-changing Anti-flicker mode. The only difference in the capture of the second set of images was that Anti-flicker mode was enabled. These were a random selection of 8 consecutive frames, but the results from all Anti-flicker mode enabled frames were similar. I'm not going to say that these results are perfectly-evenly lit, but ... they are dramatically better than the normal captures and you will not see the less-than-perfectly-even lighting in most real world photos without a solid, light-colored background running through the frame.

When enabled (the default is disabled), Anti-flicker mode adjusts the shutter release timing very slightly so that the dim cycle of the lighting is avoided. In single shot mode, the shutter release lag time is matched to the light flicker cycle's maximum output. In continuous shooting mode, the shutter lag and the frame rate are both altered for peak light output capture.

When light flicker is detected outside of the Basic modes and Anti-flicker mode is not enabled, a flashing flicker warning optionally shows in the viewfinder (enabled by default). The flicker warning shows solid when a flicker is detected and the camera’s setting is enabled.

Since the viewfinder's metering system is required for flicker detection, this feature is not available in Live View mode (as the mirror being locked up). Similarly, the mirror lockup feature is disabled when Anti-flicker mode is enabled.

While the Anti-flicker mode should not be expected to work perfectly in all environments, I have found it to work exceptionally well in those I've tested iin, including my basement and at an indoor soccer venue. I've seen the flashing "Flicker!" warning and enabling the Anti-Flicker mode has resulted in optimal image capture. The post processing work required for the referenced soccer game images was exponentially lighter than any of my pre-Anti-flicker mode shoots at this venue.

Canon's Anti-flicker mode is going to save the day for some events. This feature alone is going to be worth the price of the camera for some photographers.

Live View metering modes are Evaluative (315-zone), Partial (6% of viewfinder area at center), Spot (2.6% of viewfinder area at center) and Center-weighted. The Live View meter range is EV 0-20.

Viewfinder

Another nice upgrade received by the 6D Mark II is the Intelligent pentaprism viewfinder featuring a transparent LCD overlay, similar to that found in the 80D.

Simply having a viewfinder is one of the big benefits gained by stepping up to a DSLR camera. Benefits of a viewfinder include the stability provided by the third point of contact (two hands and a forehead) and the clear, easy to see composition being captured (even in the brightest sunlight). The benefits of an optical viewfinder include a crisp, clear ultra-high resolution image with no refresh or lag.

The 98% view spec is an upgrade over 97%, but this spec is probably not going to drive an upgrade from the previous model. While a 98% view is better than the 95% offered in many lessor DSLRs, there is still a small amount of room for unintended subjects in the frame border.

The 6D II’s "Intelligent Viewfinder" features an LCD screen that can be optionally configured to show grid lines, light flicker detection and an electronic level.

With it's always-on (when metering is live), easy-to-see, dedicated, superimposed viewfinder level indicator, the EOS 6D Mark II will make avoiding crooked horizons (I am afflicted by HLDS) easy. While this is a only a "single" axis electronic level, indicating "roll" is most critical for most photographers and the 6D II has this axis covered. While the electronic level feature seems minor and insignificant, the small improvement can make a big difference in the quality of your images if pixel-level-destructive image rotation is no longer required during post processing. Having properly-leveled images right out of the camera can also save many hours of work after a big shoot.

Electronic viewfinder level indication lines show 0°, 1° or 2+° in either direction and is active only while the meter is live (half shutter release press activates). The single-axis electronic level is also available on the rear LCD including in Live View (press info until this option displays), but not when face+tracking is selected in the menu (the default).

As usual, a diopter adjustment is provided to focus the viewfinder to your eye.

Tour of the Canon EOS 6D Mark II

Canon has designed and produced a very large number of DSLR cameras and the maturity of EOS designs show. Those who have never used an EOS camera before will appreciate this maturity. Part of this maturity means that many camera models share strong design similarities, because what is good for one camera is often good for at least most. Various camera models sharing similar design means that it is easy to switch between models and those familiar with the recent EOS **D (such as the 80D), 5-, 6- and 7-Series cameras will readily familiarize themselves with the 6D Mark II.

Back of the Camera

The back of the 6D Mark II shows only a small number of changes from the original 6D. But, one of those changes is big.

Camera Back View Comparison

6D II | 6D | 7D II | 5D IV | 5D III | 80D | 77D | T7i | SL2 | M5

To compare the 6D Mark II with many more Canon EOS camera models, use the site's camera body comparison tool.

The big change is of course the vari-angle touch screen LCD with the 6D II being the first full frame EOS model to gain this feature. This is a 3.0" (77mm) LCD with approximately 1,040,000 dots and features a solid-state structure design for clarity, durability and an approximately 170° viewing angle. An anti-smudge has been applied to this LCD, but an anti-reflection coating has been omitted.

This LCD is found in many of Canon's current EOS models (including in the 80D, 77D, Rebel T7i, Rebel T6i and Rebel T5i) and ... it is a very strong camera feature. Having the LCD able to articulate into a wide range of angles is a big asset, making the camera easily usable in a wide variety of positions, ranging from on the ground shooting straight up to selfie orientation. Extended and forward-facing, this LCD makes self-recording easy. I've often wanted the vari-angle feature in a full frame EOS camera and ... now we have it.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II LCD Open

As touch control becomes more common in DSLRs, this feature also becomes more familiar and therefore, more useful. What am I using the LCD's touch capability for? Touching to select the focus point location in Live View or video recording is one of my favorite uses. Pinch-to-zoom when reviewing images – and drag to pan around a zoomed image. Jump from one menu tab or option to a distant menu tab or option by touching that tab or option. Quickly change camera settings such as ISO with no need to click many times to go from a low ISO to a high ISO value – just touch the value. Practically all setting changes can be made using touch.

Showing great maturity and making use of the LCD are Canon's very easy to use and logically laid out menu systems. Aiding in ease of use is that an optional Feature Guide can be enabled to show information about camera settings as they are being changed.

The Menu and Info button once again take up their Canon-standard positions on the top-left, a location easily found by the left thumb. The Live View/Video selection lever surrounding the Start/Stop button is in also-current-standard position (to the right of the viewfinder) as are the AF-ON (for back-button AF capability), Exposure lock and AF point selection buttons are located at the top right.

The additional real estate consumed by the vari-angle LCD forces some buttons to be moved just slightly in position, but they retain the same functions. Starting at the top right of the LCD, we first find the "Q" button, providing "Quick" access to a context-sensitive menu. The ubiquitous playback button is next-down.

Remaining missing in the 6D-series is the joystick controller. Filling the void somewhat is this camera's multi-controller, featuring a rotating outer dial encircling an 8-way directional switch with a "Set" button in the center. While this control positions a lot of functionality at the right thumb, to date it has not been my favorite among Canon's DSLR cameras. I like them better than the Rebel cross keys controls, but think that they could be reworked modestly to improve my accuracy in use.

The also-ubiquitous erase button is next down. The other camera back change from the 6D I, the lock switch, went from a slide to a lever style, consistent with the 80D design.

The SD card slot cover is located to the far right.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Back

Top of the Camera

The top of the 6D Mark II appears nearly identical to that of the 6D (and a large number of other Canon EOS bodies).

Camera Top View Comparison

6D II | 5D IV | 5D III | 7D II | 80D | SL2 | 77D | T7i | M5

The camera body top view comparison tool allows comparison of many additional Canon EOS models.

The one change worth mentioning is the AF Area Selection button added just to the left of the shutter release.

A key to controlling the camera is the mode dial and the 6D II modes present are the same as found on the 6D I.

Don't want to put any thought into your camera setup? The 6D II has you covered with the "A+" mode, referencing "Auto" combined with DIGIC 7 processor-powered artificial intelligence. While it could be referred to as the "Mindless" mode, that doesn't seem to give it the credit it deserves. There are times when even a seasoned photographer needs to pick up the camera and have it take a picture fast, without hesitating to check settings. This mode does that.

SCN (Special Scene) mode is once again featured, allowing the photographer to give the camera a stronger hint to what is being photographed. Turn the mode dial to SCN, press "Q" and choose between Portrait, Group Photo, Landscape, Sports, Kids, Panning, Close-up, Food, Candlelight, Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene and HDR Backlight Control. The camera will automatically choose the settings it thinks are ideal for your situation. How often will some of these be used? I'm guessing that the Candlelight option will not be called upon regularly by most. As I mentioned in the 80D review, pulling a camera out during a romantic candlelight dinner *may* sour the mood. But, there is no harm in having all of the modes available and they likely add nothing to the cost of the camera.

Those with some basic photography knowledge can use the CA (Creative Auto) mode to make camera settings adjustments using easily-understandable words instead of numbers. The full set of creative mode options (P, Av, Tv, M and B) are provided for the photographer to take as much control over their exposure settings as desired.

Especially nice is that a pair of "C" (Custom) modes are available for instant recall of camera settings. I use the custom modes very frequently and one just isn't enough (see: Configuring Custom Shooting Modes).

While the 6D Mark II (like the 80D) provides one more button in front of the top LCD than the 7D Mark II and 5-Series bodies, these buttons all have a single-function vs. the dual-function variety found in the other models, resulting in modestly less control overall.

Side of the Camera

With less real estate available on them, the sides of the camera are seldom exciting, but useful features are found here nonetheless.

Camera Side View Comparison

6D II | 6D | 7D II | 5D III | 70D | 77D | T7i | SL2 | M5

The ports on the left side of the camera, from top down, are microphone input (3.5mm stereo mini jack), USB (2.0) and HDMI. An N3-style remote control port is found just in front of the left side.

As mentioned previously, the SD card slot is found on the right side of the camera.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Side

Size of the Camera

One of the hallmarks of the 6D was small size and light weight, and the 6D II continues these traits. In the 6D Mark II, Canon packs a full frame sensor into a camera that is only very slightly larger/heavier than an APS-C-sensor 80D.

ModelBody DimensionsCIPA Weight
Canon EOS M54.6 x 3.5 x 2.4"(115.6 x 89.2 x 60.6mm)15.1 oz (427g)
Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D4.8 x 3.6 x 2.7"(122.4 x 92.6 x 69.8mm)16.0 oz (453g)
Canon EOS 77D5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0"(131.0 × 99.9 × 76.2mm)19.0 oz (540g)
Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0"(131.0 × 99.9 × 76.2mm)18.8 oz (532g)
Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D5.1 x 4.0 x 3.1"(129.0 x 101.3 x 77.6mm)17.1 oz (485g)
Canon EOS 80D5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1"(139.0 x 105.2 x 78.5mm)25.8 oz (730g)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II5.9 x 4.4 x 3.1"(148.6 x 112.4 x 78.2mm)32.1 oz (910g)
Canon EOS 6D Mark II5.7 x 4.4 x 2.9"(144.0 x 110.5 x 74.8mm)27.0 oz (765g)
Canon EOS 6D5.7 x 4.4 x 2.8"(144.5 x 110.5 x 71.2mm)26.6 oz (755g)
Canon EOS 5Ds / 5Ds R6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0"(152 x 116.4 x 76.4mm)32.8 oz (930g)
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV5.9 x 4.6 x 3.0"(150.7 x 116.4 X 75.9mm)31.4 oz (890g)
Canon EOS 5D Mark III6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0"(152 x 116.4 x 76.4mm)33.5 oz (950g)
Canon EOS 5D Mark II6.0 x 4.5 x 3.0"(152 x 113.5 x 75mm)31.9 oz (904g)
View the full Canon EOS 6D Mark II specifications to compare additional cameras.

The vari-angle LCD pushes the 6D II's dimensions slightly deeper than its predecessor, but ... I think most of us can overlook the .1" (3.6mm) difference for that gain.

Additional Features

The EOS 6D Mark II has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC capability, providing easy transfer of images and movies to compatible mobile devices using Canon's free Camera Connect app (iOS | Android). With lots of potential awaiting development, this app provides some remote control of the camera's settings and shutter when shooting still images. Wireless remote printing to a compatible printer is also supported via WiFi.

The camera’s built-in NFC (Near Field Communication) allows quick and simple pairing to a compatible Android device, or devices that support NFC like the Canon Connect Station CS100 photo and video storage and sharing device.

In addition to its wireless capabilities, the 6D II features a built-in GPS. Images can (optionally) be tagged with the camera's GPS coordinates at the time of capture. Even if you are not interested in having your image capture coordinates stored, you may find the ability of the GPS to precisely maintain the camera's time to be helpful.

New for this model line is a built-in intervalometer (interval timer). The intervalometer is used for the 6D II's 4K Timelapse Movie Mode, a brand new feature able to create 3840px UHD resolution movies.

The 6D II has a self-cleaning sensor unit. Most of Canon's such designs are excellent.

Flash

Notice the seams around the hot shoe? Those seams appear to house a pop-up flash. While this feature would have been another first for a Canon full frame EOS model, as just hinted, that is not the case. This camera has not built-in flash, but it supports the very full-featured Canon Speedlite flash system.

The 6D II is fully compatible with Canon's incredible RF remote flash system including the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Flash, Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT Flash and Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter.

Battery

The 6D II utilizes the LP-E6N lithium ion battery pack, the same battery shipping with many other mid-to-upper level EOS camera models including the 80D.

The LP-E6N battery form factor is great (you can easily fit several of these small batteries in most pockets) and they still provide a significant shot rating. The 6D II's solid rating of approx. 1200 (at 73°F/23°C) is only modestly higher than the 6D Mark I's 1090 spec.

Battery life is always highly variable based on factors such as drive mode, flash use, live view/video use and temperature. Shoot in the high frame rate drive mode and you can expect to far exceed the factory rating. Shoot with 100% flash output while using live view in below-freezing temperatures and the spec shot rating will be unobtainable.

The 6D II provides a 6-level battery indicator on the top LCD and a specific percent remaining value in the Battery Information menu.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II with BG-E21 Battery Grip

Need twice as much battery capacity? Optional for the 6D II is the Canon BG-E21 Battery Grip. The battery grip accepts two LP-E6N batteries and doubles the shot-per-charge capacity of this camera. Better yet is the vertical grip that the BG-E21 provides, making vertically-oriented shooting easier and far more comfortable. The downside to using the BG-E21 is the additional size and weight. The grip is easily removable, giving you the choice of options best for you at the time.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II with BG-E21 Battery Grip – Angle

Accessories

When you buy a Canon DSLR, you are buying into an incredible, un-matched family of lenses, flashes and other accessories. The camera body (or multiple bodies) is the base your system is built on and a lens is the next essential piece of kit. The 6D Mark II is compatible with Canon EF, TS-E and MP-E lenses (EF-S and EF-M models are not compatible).

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is available in a body-only kit (no lens), in a kit with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens or in a kit with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens. Both lenses are good options for general purpose use with the latter being the better quality lens and the former likely being a better choice if using Movie Servo AF is a significant part of your plans (STM AF provides a smoother focusing experience).

A high quality lens avoids the weak link problem and makes a big difference in the image quality realized by any camera. Review the Canon general purpose lens recommendations page to find the most up-to-date list of best lens options. Then add, minimally, a telephoto zoom lens and a wide angle zoom lens to your kit.

Utilizing this camera's new Bluetooth capability is the Canon BR-E1 Bluetooth Remote. Want to be part of your own family picture? Or just don't want to deal with a remote release cord when using a tripod? This is an accessory you may want. In addition to being able to provide non-line-of-sight remote release functionality, this little device is also able to independently control AF and focal length zooming on compatible cameras and lenses (limited at this time).

The Canon EOS 6D II is also compatible with the small, inexpensive Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote.

Browse the reviews section of the site to find many more compatible accessories including flash systems, tripods & heads, cases and much more.

Price and Value

While the small size and light weight are highly desired traits of this camera and the image quality, especially in low light, promises to be stellar, it is the addition of the relatively low price to those features that drove the original 6D's popularity and it is certain that the 6D II, with its many substantial upgrades, will enjoy at least as much success for the same reasons.

Wrap Up

Keeping a review of the incredibly-feature-laden 6D Mark II concise but complete will be a difficult balance to find and this review will not be a complete description of every 6D Mark II feature available. Canon will publish an intimidatingly-huge owner's manual (a link to the manual will be provided with this review) that highlights all of the features found on this camera and explains their use. The manual will tell you all about a huge array of features including Auto Lighting Optimizer, Distortion Correction, Chromatic Aberration Correction, Peripheral Illumination Correction, remote control via a USB-connected computer, flash setup and control, High ISO Noise Reduction, Long Exposure Noise Reduction, Highlight Tone Priority ... and many, many other topics. Read the manual, go use your camera, repeat.

Owning a Canon product gives you access to Canon support and the support I have been provided by Canon's USA division is excellent (sorry, I have no experience with the other Canon divisions). When I call for support, I get an intelligent person who sincerely wants to help me with whatever my question or problem is (let's just say I challenge them sometimes). Canon repair service, though I seldom need it, is very fast and reliable.

The 6D Mark II to be used for this review was ordered online/retail.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Top

Summary

Canon positions the EOS 6D Mark II as a step-up from an APS-C model or as an entry-level DSLR for those who know the light-capturing value of a full frame sensor's significantly larger surface area. Though very slightly heavier than the Canon EOS 6D it is replacing, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II is otherwise the smallest and lightest full frame imaging sensor format Canon camera (as of review time). The image quality benefits of Canon's full frame CMOS sensors are big, while the footprint of the 6D II remains small – as does the relative impact on your wallet. While we await the arrival of the Canon EOS 6D Mark II to prove out expectations, expectations are that the 6D Mark II will deliver quite impressive image quality and I expect this camera to rapidly hit the best-sellers list.

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My Recommended Canon EOS 6D Mark II Retailers

Where you buy your gear matters. You expect to get what you ordered and you want to pay a low price for it. The retailers I recommend below are the ones I trust for my own purchases. Get your Canon EOS 6D Mark II now from:

B&H Photo
Adorama
Amazon.com
Beach Camera or BuyDig.com
the Canon Store (new)
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Rent the Canon EOS 6D Mark II
Do you need/want the Canon EOS 6D Mark II for only a short period of time? Or, would you feel more comfortable buying after having a hands-on trial period? Consider renting. Renting is fast and easy. The rental companies I recommend below are excellent to work with. Schedule your rental now:
LensRentals.com
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