The Canon EOS R6 Mark II is a high-performing, mid-priced camera body that delivers outstanding full-frame image quality at medium-high resolution. This camera targets content creators, those currently using a DSLR, and those looking for a general-purpose camera that does everything well, including preserving family memories.
The "Mark II" designation indicates that this model is an upgrade from the Canon EOS R6. The R6 is only a couple of months over 2 years old at the R6 II introduction, but it is surprising how much improvement has been realized in those two years. While some of the new and enhanced features, such as the autofocus system, individually may be worth the upgrade for some, the overall betterness of this camera is significant.
While the RF mount specification may seem trivial (all interchangeable lens cameras have a mount), this mount is a big deal, especially to the lens engineers. The RF mount retains the large 54mm inner diameter advantage of the EF mount (for reference, the Nikon Z mount has a similar 55mm diameter, the Nikon F-mount is only 44mm, and the Sony E mount is 46.1mm), maintaining the rigidity, durability, strength, and ultra-wide aperture support a large-diameter mount provides while reducing the flange back distance (distance from the back of the lens's mount to the imaging sensor) from 44mm to 20mm.
The RF mount supports optical designs that are potentially smaller than possible with the EF mount and often include large-diameter rear-positioned elements that can feature a reduced angle of light rays in the image circle periphery. Bending light to a lesser degree can improve image quality, including better-corrected aberrations. The larger rear-element design of RF lenses also lends to a comfortable shape and weight balance. Improved camera-lens communication also increases performance, including instant feedback for enhanced in-lens image stabilization.
The lens is critical to the camera's overall performance, and Canon's RF lenses are impressive — reason alone to buy into the Canon EOS R-series cameras. Canon lens engineers remain excited about the performance the RF mount avails to them, and I was told to expect great features and performance still to come.
The R6 II gets a new Canon-developed CMOS imaging sensor. This is not the same sensor as that in the R3 — it is not backside illuminated (BSI), is not stacked, and does not read out as fast. Still, Canon claims that the R6 II's image processing achieves resolution exceeding that of the 5D IV's 30.4 megapixel images.
|Canon EOS 5D Mark IV||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||5.36µm||6720 x 4480||30.4||.71x||100%||f/8.6|
|Canon EOS R3||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||6.00µm||6000 x 4000||24.1||.76x||100%||f/9.7|
|Canon EOS R5||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||4.39µm||8192 x 5464||45.0||.76x||100%||f/7.1|
|Canon EOS R6 Mark II||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||6.00µm||6000 x 4000||24.2||.76x||100%||f/9.6|
|Canon EOS R6||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||6.56µm||5472 x 3648||20.1||.76x||100%||f/10.6|
|Canon EOS R7||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.20µm||6960 x 4640||32.5||100%||f/5.2|
|Canon EOS R8||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||6.00µm||6000 x 4000||24.2||.70x||100%||DLA|
|Canon EOS R10||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.72µm||6000 x 4000||24.2||100%||f/6.0|
|Canon EOS R50||1.6x||22.3 x 14.9mm||3.72µm||6000 x 4000||24.2||.95x||100%||DLA|
|Canon EOS R||1.0x||36.0 x 24.0mm||5.36µm||6720 x 4480||30.3||.71x||100%||f/8.6|
|Canon EOS RP||1.0x||35.9 x 24.0mm||5.75µm||6240 x 4160||26.2||.70x||100%||f/9.3|
|Sony a7 IV||1.0x||35.9 x 23.9mm||5.1µm||7008 x 4672||33.0||.78x||100%||f/8.2|
The R6 II's 24 MP count is an upgrade from the R6's 20 MP number. While the additional pixels are welcomed, the differences appear larger in text than in real images. The increased number of pixels is not solely a reason for most to upgrade.
Here is the resolution comparison with the 20 megapixel EOS R6. A modest improvement is visible here.
The 24 megapixel resolution remains relatively low for MILC cameras, but not everyone needs ultra-high resolution. Many professional photographers today use 24 MP cameras, such as the EOS R3, or lower resolution to be adequate for their needs, including for full-page and double-page magazine spreads. Positive is that the large photosites on this full-frame imaging sensor produce very low noise at high ISO settings.
The first R-series camera, the EOS R, has a higher resolution imaging sensor. However, as seen in the Canon EOS R6 II vs. Canon EOS R resolution comparison, the R6 II is producing a sharper image. The R produces softer images than many other Canon cameras when the images are processed using the same settings. Why? I've asked that question multiple times and have received no answers. Are the RAW images de-tuned slightly, providing more latitude for the photographer to dial in their desired sharpness? Does the R have a stronger low pass filter? Or, is there some other cause? My question remains unanswered, but the EOS R6 II delivers very sharp results.
Like all of the other Canon EOS cameras, the R6 II imaging sensor has a 3:2 aspect ratio. Optionally (mandatory when using an EF-S lens on the adapter), a 1.6x crop can be selected. Other aspect ratios available are 1:1, 4:3, and 16:9.
The R6 has ISO 100-102400 available in 1/3-stop increments with expansion down to 50 and up to 204800. Despite the camera's available ISO range, the usable settings within that range are what really matter. I immediately dismiss the highest settings as having a too-low SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio).
While the latest full-frame imaging sensors are usually the best available, advances in this regard have been modest in recent years, and Canon did not heavily promote improved high ISO noise level performance for the R6 II. Here are 100% crop examples:
The even colors found in the Calibrite ColorChecker Passport test results, processed with no noise reduction, make noise very apparent relative to most real-life subjects because the detail in a scene will hide the noise.
The Kodak color block test chart results provide a more in-depth look at R6 II noise.
Important to understand is that the site's "Standard" color block noise test results include no noise reduction – a critical factor that may cause the results to appear dissimilar to those seen elsewhere. Since noise reduction can be applied to any image during post-processing, what matters most to me, what differentiates cameras, is how clean the base RAW images are. While noise reduction can improve an image, noise reduction can be (and usually is) destructive to fine detail. My strategy is to apply light noise reduction during RAW image post-processing only when needed. The Canon RAW-captured noise test images were processed in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) with the Standard Picture Style (moderate contrast) and Sharpness = "1" (0-10 scale).
When using the comparison feature of the site's camera noise tool, let your eyes tell you the results. If you can't readily pick out the difference in any color block comparison, it is unlikely that you will be able to recognize the difference in real-world results.
The base ISO setting (ISO 100 with the current EOS models) is always my preferred setting for very clean, low-noise results. Not all situations accommodate ISO 100; noise increases as ISO settings go up, and the R6 II delivers excellent image quality at very significantly higher settings, as expected from a current-technology full-frame imaging sensor.
At ISO 800, noise becomes just perceptible in smooth-colored areas of the frame. By ISO 3200, you will notice some noise, though I find ISO 3200 images very usable. Noise levels at ISO 6400 and ISO 12800 become increasingly annoying, but ... these images are still decent with some noise reduction added, especially when viewed at less than 100% resolution. ISO 25600 image noise reaches ugly status, with significant noise reduction and reduced final output size being keys to this setting's usability. Results from settings over ISO 25600 have low usability.
Comparing same-size imaging sensors, the lower the resolution, the larger the photosites. Larger pixel wells can collect photons at a higher rate than smaller ones (like a larger bucket in the rain), generating a higher SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio), resulting in lower noise levels. Therefore, expect a low-resolution imaging sensor to deliver lower pixel-level noise than an ultra-high-resolution imaging sensor from a similar technology generation.
However, the final output size is what matters in the real world. A higher resolution image reduced to match a lower resolution has the advantage of oversampling, having more data to derive the result from, and generally delivers equal performance at comparable output size.
As mentioned, noise reduction makes a big difference in the results, but subject details are impacted by noise reduction. There is a smoothness vs. detail tradeoff, and the amount of noise reduction ideally applied to an image is not necessarily dependent on the ISO setting alone. You may find that some subjects take noise reduction better than others, and applying stronger noise reduction to only the background is a great post-processing strategy.
All of Canon's EOS cameras provide a wide range of noise reduction, sharpness, and other image quality setting adjustments, enabling you to dial the results into perfection. That these settings can be adjusted in-camera is particularly important for those requiring compressed JPG format images right out of the camera (without using the camera's own RAW image conversion capabilities).
Multi-shot Noise Reduction (MSNR) is one of the additional in-camera options available in many of the latest EOS models, including the R6 II. MSNR merges information from multiple (four) exposures taken in a full-frame rate burst into a reduced noise image. The concept makes a lot of sense. MSNR generally provides a remarkable one or two stops of noise reduction, but ... I still have not found a compelling use for this feature.
The downsides to Multi-Shot Noise Reduction include: MSNR is currently available only with JPG output (I would like to see this feature added to Canon's Digital Photo Pro software for RAW capture processing – perhaps as another HDR preset). Multi-Shot Noise Reduction is not so useful with moving subjects (or with a moving camera). Long exposure NR, Dust Delete Data, Multiple Exposure, and HDR Mode must be set to off to enable MSNR. The R6 II reverts to Standard NR in Auto/Basic zone modes, during video recording, in Bulb mode, and when the camera is powered off. Flash is not supported in MSNR mode. After the four-shot burst is captured, the camera remains "busy" while processing the merged image. So, while this feature is a good idea, its limitations make it less useful in real-world applications. I am far more likely to use a low ISO setting with a longer exposure when shooting stationary subjects from a tripod.
MSNR might be a good option when handholding the camera in very low light levels is the only option.
The R6 II's image sensor's dynamic range appears quite good. The example below shows an overexposed shirt and the minus three stops adjusted image.
Notice that the white fabric details are still present.
The "Exposed * EV" result sets results in the noise tool were intentionally over or underexposed at capture and adjusted to the standard brightness during post-processing. These results are similar to getting the exposure wrong during capture, increasing the brightness of shadow details, or recovering highlight details.
In general, underexposing an image results in increased noise in the adjusted image, and shadow details may be lost. The concern with overexposing an image is that highlight detail can be lost.
The EOS R6 II test results show that underexposing by 3 stops results in very little (if any) noise penalty vs. using the correct 3-stop-higher ISO setting for the capture, even at high ISO settings.
Overexposing an image reduces noise, and that technique is advantageous until the highlights become clipped, with unrecoverable details. In the +1 EV ISO 50 results, we see this extended setting's lower dynamic range being slightly exceeded in some channels. Most other ISO settings have few negative consequences at +1 EV. At +2 EV, highlights are modestly clipped at ISO 100. This performance compares well against the EOS R6, though the R6 II's yellow block appears a bit brighter.
More is always better in terms of dynamic range (exposure latitude), but Canon's imaging sensors have long provided sufficient headroom for most needs. It is interesting to compare the Canon EOS R6 II to the Sony a7 IV using the +3 EV-captured results. The bright yellow Sony block is orange, but the Sony camera shows advantages in other colors.
The R6 II shifts from 14-bit to 12-bit capture in electronic shutter mode (more later). While the noise in 12-bit images appears similar to that of 14-bit images at the exposed brightness, 12-bit image noise levels are increased in brightened images.
Like the R6 and many other recent Canon cameras, the R6 II supports HDR PQ HEIF 10-bit recording. Your first question is likely, "What is HDR PQ?" HDR PQ (Perceptual Quantization) is a new gamma curve based on the characteristics of human eyesight. It supports HDR recording at ITU-R BT.2100 standard (PQ).
Your next question is likely, "What is HEIF?" HEIF stands for "High Efficiency Image File Format," a standard created by the MPEG group. As with JPEG, HEIF is a file format used to store image data after the image development process is complete. While JPEG files use an 8-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 lossy compression scheme, HEIF uses a 10-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 HEVC compression algorithm (also lossy), complying with the ITU-R BT.2100 HDR standard. HEIF provides up to 4x more precision in image data gradation and a wider color range than sRGB and Adobe RGB can store. HEIF files are containers, able to store multiple images (typically compressed with a codec such as HEVC (H.265)) along with image derivations (cropping, rotation), media streams (timed text, audio), depth information, image sequences (like a burst of images, supports animation), image data (EXIF), and more. Huge is that, thanks in part to computing power improvements, HEIF files are compressed to a significantly smaller size than JPEG files, about 50% smaller at similar quality levels. Along with all of the other benefits, Apple migrating to HEIF from JPEG means we can expect this standard to take hold in the industry.
Per Canon, "HEIF files are intended to be viewed on HDR-compliant displays and monitors."
The Activate HEVC codec option is available in the DPP help menu, and once selected, the Canon HEVC Activator is downloaded (camera serial number required). Once that app was installed, DPP understood the .HIF file format and the HDR PQ images look remarkably good (including those captured in RAW format). I was not planning to share the results of this testing, and the scene is of low photogenic quality with unstable lighting, but ... I thought the camera's performance warranted sharing with you. The following are downsized screen captures (at review time, Photoshop cannot open .HIF files). Look closely at the outdoor brightness while the indoor blacks retain detail (that detail is more obvious in the full-size images) as illustrated by the 1D X III.
HTP refers to the Highlight Tone Priority feature included in EOS models for a very long time.
Color balance is part of image quality, Canon EOS cameras have a reputation for producing great color, and the R6 II continues to show the results of good color science.
No lens is perfect, and lens aberration correction can be helpful in that regard. I shoot in RAW format nearly 100% of the time and prefer to make such corrections during post-processing. For those not using RAW format, in-camera lens corrections are important (including for movie recording). Lens corrections available in the EOS R6 II during image capture are peripheral illumination, distortion, chromatic aberration, and diffraction along with a DLO (Digital Lens Optimizer) feature. Note that DLO enabled can slow down processing.
Overall, the R6 II delivers the excellent image quality we've come to expect from Canon EOS cameras.
For the first time in a Canon interchangeable lens camera, IBIS arrived in the EOS R5 and R6, and is again featured in the R6 II. While other camera brands have long included this feature in their camera models, Canon made an impact out of the gate with an up-to-eight stops shake correction rating. Canon noted that the large image circle provided by RF mount aids in image stabilization system capabilities.
For a very long time, a high percentage of Canon lenses have included in-lens optical image stabilization. Canon indicated that the in-lens stabilization is superior in performance compared to in-camera correction. That is especially the case at the telephoto end of the focal length spectrum, but on the wide-angle end, in-camera stabilization can be quite effective. However, in-lens IS cannot account for camera rotation.
What is better than one or the other? Both.
The R6 II in-body image stabilization features coordinated control from the camera and lens. Gyro (angular velocity) and acceleration sensors in the lens and gyro (angular velocity), acceleration, and imaging (movement vector) sensors in the camera communicate via the lens CPU and DIGIC X processor to perfect the optical correction applied. Especially in the normal focal length range, the coordinated control is very effective. This system creates phenomenal performance specs, with most RF lenses introduced to date included in the jaw-dropping 8-stop rating category.
The impact that shake correction has on handheld images is substantial, including for both stills and movies.
Another important image stabilization benefit is the aid to AF precision. The camera's AF system can produce better focus accuracy if it sees a stabilized image.
In-lens and in-body image stabilization are both on or both off. The IS switch on a lens featuring image stabilization controls the IBIS function. When using non-IS lenses, camera settings permit IBIS to be always on, similar to Mode 1 found on all Canon image-stabilized lenses, or only on for the shot, similar to Mode 3 found on some Canon lenses. Adapted EF and EF-S lenses are supported, and IBIS adds huge value to non-stabilized lenses in a kit.
Note that the IBIS adds a rattling sound (with a slight feel) to the camera when powered off (don't worry about this). I recommend turning IS/IBIS off when tripod-mounting the R6 II with most lenses, primarily due to the framing drifting. Mode III IS, when available, avoids this problem. Powering off the camera (or opening the memory card door) parks/resets the IS/IBIS, and the scene framing can change slightly when the camera is powered on. The R6 II tagged along for dinner one evening.
It seemed that showing up for dinner with a tripod would be awkward, but then this blue-hour image was calling. Squatted down with a Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens set to 27mm and mounted to the R6 II, I was able to capture mostly sharp 1-second exposures and a solid number of sharp 2-second exposures (even with ADD kicking in after 1-second of holding the shutter release down).
The 100% crop images were processed in DPP with a sharpness of only 1.
The extreme capabilities of this IBIS system are game-changing, requiring a new mindset for the photographer. The value of adding image stabilization to your current non-stabilized lenses (including EF models) is huge.
The following table shows comparative RAW file sizes for a photo of a standard in-studio setup featuring a moderately-high amount of detail.
|Model / File Size in MB @ ISO:||(MP)||100||200||400||800||1600||3200||6400||12800||25600||51200||102400||204800|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark IV||(30.4)||38.8||39.1||39.6||40.4||41.6||43.5||45.5||48.0||51.4||55.1||59.8|
|Canon EOS R3||(24.1)||29.3||30.3||30.8||31.9||32.7||33.8||35.2.||36.9||38.8||40.9||44.2||44.5|
|Canon EOS R3 CRAW||(24.1)||16.1||16.8||17.2||18.2||18.8||19.7||19.9||19.3||18.9||18.7||19.8||18.2|
|Canon EOS R5||(45.0)||51.6||53.1||53.6||55.6||57.7||60.1||63.0||66.4||70.5||75.1||79.5|
|Canon EOS R5 CRAW||(45.0)||28.1||29.3||29.9||31.5||33.3||35.5||36.2||35.9||36.0||36.9||37.7|
|Canon EOS R6 II||(24.2)||28.7||29.4||30.2||31.1||32.1||33.3||34.5||36.2||38.2||40.3||43.0||43.2|
|Canon EOS R6 II CRAW||(24.2)||16.2||16.7||17.3||18.0||18.8||19.7||19.8||19.3||19.0||18.8||19.4||17.8|
|Canon EOS R6||(20.1)||24.1||24.7||24.9||25.6||26.4||27.3||28.4||29.8||31.4||33.3||35.5||35.9|
|Canon EOS R6 CRAW||(20.1)||13.8||14.2||14.5||14.9||15.6||16.4||16.4||16.0||15.7||15.8||16.1||14.8|
|Canon EOS R7||(32.5)||40.0||40.1||41.3||42.6||44.3||46.0||48.0||50.3||52.6||55.0|
|Canon EOS R10||(24.2)||29.0||29.8||30.8||31.8||33.3||34.9||36.0||37.7||39.7||41.8|
|Canon EOS R||(30.4)||35.8||36.6||37.6||38.7||40.0||41.8||43.3||45.7||48.0||49.6*||**||**|
|Canon EOS RP||(26.2)||30.7||31.3||32.0||32.8||34.0||35.5||37.1||39.0||41.5||43.4||45.8|
|Sony a7 IV||(30.0)||43.1||43.4||44.1||44.9||46.1||47.7||50.0||52.5||55.9||58.6||60.7||64.6|
A Canon ISO 100 non-lossy-compressed RAW image file size can be estimated at 1.2MB per megapixel, a relatively compact size.
The EOS R6 II, like all other recent EOS camera models, has the .CR3 RAW format that enables features including C-RAW, compressed RAW with lossy compression vs. the normally compressed RAW with non-lossy compression. C-RAW provides full RAW file processing support, along with an approximately 40% file size reduction (43.6% in the above ISO 100 example) over Canon's already efficient RAW file format size. The math adds up quickly, significantly impacting both memory card and hard disk storage capacity requirements, increasing the camera's buffer capacity, and decreasing data transfer times. Check out the article: Should I Use Canon's CRAW Image File Format? for more information.
Like the R6, the Canon EOS R6 II writes image files to dual SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slots, both supporting the fast UHS-II standard.
There are memory card formats faster than SD available, but these cards are considerably more expensive. With 24 MP images resulting in modest file sizes and this format supporting 4K movie recording, SD format storage in the R6 II was once again a good decision, especially from an economic perspective. SD memory cards are compact, relatively inexpensive, very popular, and compatible with a large number of cameras and card readers. Buy numerous high-capacity cards, and rotate through them, avoiding re-use until the image files they contain are adequately backed up, including an off-site copy or copies.
With dual card slots available, files can be written to both cards simultaneously (for redundancy, including for separate file formats) or sequentially (for increased capacity). The same memory card format supported by both slots is convenient.
The Canon EOS R6 II can capture up to 12 fps with the mechanical and first curtain electronic shutter. That figure is unchanged from the R6.
However, the full electronic shutter captures up to 40 fps, twice the R6's rate, including full autofocus and autoexposure functionality. This is one of the improvements that may alone be worth the upgrade cost.
Sometimes the difference between an average image and a great one is separated by milliseconds, and this camera has the speed necessary to catch the perfect peak action moment. Daunting is selecting the best images from a shoot involving significant use of the 40 fps capability.
Today, camera maximum frame rate determination is complicated by many variables. Here is the Canon EOS R6 II drive mode and continuous shooting rate table:
|Elec 1st Curtain||12||7||3|
These are up-to rates, with battery power level, battery type, lens model, Dual Pixel RAW shooting, temperature, shutter speeds, etc., potentially affecting the realized rate.
As first seen in the R7 and R10, the R6 II features RAW burst mode (30 fps), and, better still, Pre-Shooting.
Do you ever press the shutter release too late? Are you ever stressed about the potential of missing the bird taking flight shot? Did you ever wish you could capture a lightning strike (without a lightning trigger)? The R6 II has your back in this regard.
With RAW Burst mode and Pre-Shooting enabled, 40 fps image capture is available for up to 0.5 seconds BEFORE the full shutter button press. That means up to 20 pre-shutter release shots are recorded during the shutter release half-press before fully pressing the shutter release.
RAW burst captures are contained in a single image. Thus, expect long memory card write times for a maximum burst.
Canon software is (currently) required to select and process RAW Burst mode and Pre-Shooting images from the single .CR3 file created. Also, note that the camera turns off RAW burst mode when powered off.
RAW and C-RAW files have 14-bit A/D conversion with mechanical and electronic 1st curtain shutter, and 12-bit A/D conversion is provided with the full electronic shutter. Is dropping to 12-bit a problem? While there is a phsychological difference, the image quality difference will seldom be noticed in ideally exposed images. Reduced quality will show primarily in smooth gradients such as the sky when contrast is adjusted, and as illustrated earlier in this review, noise levels increase in brightened images, especially in the shadows. Most of the images in this review were electronic shutter captured, and I haven't noticed the 12-bit difference.
|Model||FPS||Max JPG||Max RAW||Shutter Lag||VF Blackout|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark IV||7.0||Full||17||58ms||86ms|
|Canon EOS R3||12/30||540||150||20-76ms||0ms|
|Canon EOS R5||12/20||350||87/180||50ms||n/a|
|Canon EOS R6 Mark II||12/40||1,000+||110||50-84ms||n/a|
|Canon EOS R6||12/20||1,000+||240||n/a|
|Canon EOS R7||15/30||224/126||51/42||50-99ms||n/a|
|Canon EOS R8||6/40||1000+||85/56|
|Canon EOS R10||15/23||460/70||29/21||50-100ms||n/a|
|Canon EOS R50||12/15||42/28||7|
|Canon EOS R||2.2-8||100||34/47||50ms||n/a|
|Canon EOS RP||4||Full||50/Full||55ms||n/a|
|Sony a7 IV||10||Full||1,000+|
The R6 II number of RAW shots until buffer full number in the chart above is for the mechanical shutter. Figure 70 shots when shooting with the electronic shutter, and figure considerably higher numbers when shooting in the C-RAW format.
With the 1st curtain electronic and mechanical shutter in play, dropping the potential frame rate, this camera shoots continuously for a considerable time. With the electronic shutter selected, one must time the bursts more carefully. Still, the only two buffer-full scenarios I encountered while using a Sabrent 256GB Rocket UHS-II V90 SDXC Memory Card were photographing sprinting and diving. Sprinters can be in the frame for a considerable duration, and I didn't always correctly guess how many times the diver would bounce on the board before diving.
The Canon R6 II and RF 135mm F1.8 L IS USM Lens at f/1.8 were responsible for this image.
Jumping back to the frame rate, I want to emphasize this camera's ability to capture perfectly timed fast action. Want the BMX stunt bike tire framed inside the diffraction spikes of the sun? 40 fps can do that.
Drag your mouse over the labels under the above image for a half-second look at the 40 fps rate. Yes, the BMX rider impressively landed this stunt and all of the many others he performed this morning. These images were Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens-captured.
With the full electronic shutter selected, this camera does not produce shutter sound during image capture (though you might hear the aperture or other sounds). The electronic shutter is perfect for use during quiet events such as weddings, when photographing skittish wildlife, and during audio capture. The full electronic shutter has both advantages and disadvantages.
Let's start with the positives. At the top of the list is that the full electronic shutter enables the fast 40 fps drive mode. With no mechanical shutter used, there are no moving parts, there is no shutter vibration, shutter failure is highly unlikely, and again, the camera operates in silence.
With no sound or other haptic feedback, knowing precisely when the image is being captured can be problematic, and adding a "beep" is counter to the goal of the silent shutter. Canon handles this issue nicely, with a white frame appearing in the viewfinder the instant the image is captured.
Features disabled when the full electronic shutter is selected continue to be reduced, but some restrictions remain. For example, the longest exposure when using the electronic shutter is 0.5 seconds, and flash is not supported.
Additional downsides of an electronic shutter are related to the current technology line-by-line reading of the imaging sensor. Fast side-to-side subject or camera movement can result in an angular-shifted image with vertically straight lines becoming noticeably slanted (with the camera in horizontal orientation). Understand that the second curtain of a mechanical shutter chasing the first curtain can produce the same effect. Still, the difference between mechanical shutter (with electronic first curtain shutter, about 3.5ms) and electronic shutter performance in this regard has historically been quite big.
We saw the R3's fast imaging sensor readout drastically reducing, practically eliminating, this effect, but keeping the R6 II affordable means a slower sensor readout, and Canon did not set expectations high. However, this camera exceeded my expectations. For a worst-case example, look at this college-level tennis player's racket at peak speed (100 mph?) during a serve.
The 40 fps continuous shooting rate routinely delivered ball-on-racket shots, including this one with the racket framed in the blue sky between the buildings. Here is the racket swing going the other direction across the sensor.
The Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens captured these images.
The tennis racket retains a normal shape in both images despite its high speed. The Canon EOS R6 Mark II's tested imaging sensor readout speed is 14.5ms (rolling shutter), considerably faster than the R6's and slightly faster than the R5's about 16.3ms readout time.
|Model (times in ms)||Electronic||1st Curtain Mechanical|
|Canon EOS R5||16.3s||3.5ms|
|Canon EOS R6 Mark II||14.5||3.4|
|Canon EOS R7||29.2||2.4|
|Canon EOS R8||14.5||3.4|
|Canon EOS R10||35.0||2.8|
|Canon EOS R50||35.3||2.4|
|Sony Alpha 7R V||99.3||3.5|
Certain light pulsing (including from others' flashes) can influence electronic shutter-captured results, creating troublesome banding. It has been advised that defocused highlight bokeh circles can become clipped or truncated when using an electronic shutter, though I have not been able to produce this issue in testing.
As mentioned, the R6 II features 12-bit vs. 14-bit capture in electronic shutter mode.
The R6 II's available shutter speeds are: Mechanical: 30-1/8000 sec (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments), Electronic: 30-1/16000 (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments up to 1/8000 plus 1/16000), Bulb (available range varies by shooting mode).
Flash X-Sync is 1/200 sec. with the mechanical shutter and 1/250 sec. using electronic 1st curtain. Flash exposure compensation is +/- 3 stops in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments
The EOS R6 II has a built-in Intervalometer (interval timer) and bulb timer functionality.
Getting great images requires high-precision focusing, and Canon's latest AF systems have changed the photography and videography games. These outstanding performing cameras, featuring incredible subject tracking and eye detection in conjunction with fast frame rates, make getting what used to be a trophy shot into a routine occurrence.
With the latest Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF system, the photographer is often freed to focus on composition and timing, letting the camera handle AF. The capture of most images in this review utilized that concept.
While the R3 remains superior in AF performance, thanks partly to its backside illuminated (BSI) imaging sensor, the R6 II gets the R3's software algorithms — and enhancements upon them, including an improved Deep Learning engine and improved subject stickiness.
Auto Subject Tracking has also been added, watching for:
New with the R6 II is the ability to specify the left or right eye for Eye AF, with Auto remaining an option. It is unusual that I don't want the closer eye to be selected, but apparently, this feature was needed.
In Canon's most recent AF systems (and still available in the R6 II), People, Animals, or Vehicles can be specified. Canon's response to my asking why we had to select one (and remember to change it when necessary) was that the algorithm processing required this parameter for performance reasons. My questioning of the need for this setting was also answered with the R6 II's Auto option. Now, the camera can determine which subject type is in the frame.
New is that horses are specified as a tracked animal along with Dogs, Cats, and Birds (though many other animals are identified and tracked), and Trains (and Aircraft) are now specified along with Cars and Motorcycles in the Vehicles category.
The EOS R6 II's Dual Pixel CMOS AF system features Spot AF (AF can be selected from 4897 available positions for stills, 4067 for Movies), 1-point AF, AF point Expansion 4 points (up, down, left, right), AF point Expansion surrounding (all surrounding points), Flexible Zone AF 1-3, and Whole Area AF (entire focusing area with 1053 maximum focusing zones). Note that, when enabled, subject tracking in Servo AF mode will take over the AF point selection once the subject is established. Turn off tracking to lock AF to the selected point or area.
AF coverage is up to approx. 100% x 100% of the frame, though coverage can vary depending on the lens used. Generally, only very narrow aperture lenses and lens plus extender combinations cause reduced coverage. Those coming from a DSLR will find the ability to maintain continuous focus with a point in the periphery of the image to be game-changing.
With the extreme number of focus points available on this camera, moving between individual focus points becomes challenging, including significant repetitive button pressing or holding. Fortunately, this camera has multiple excellent AF area selection options.
The joystick multi-controller, nearly ubiquitous on pro-grade cameras, is an easy option provided on the R6 II. This controller is Canon's very responsive 8-way type, as it should be. It works well, but it does not avoid the pressing or holding needed for more significant AF area changes.
The tap, touch, and drag AF touchscreen interface is a great R6 II focus point selection option, able to move the AF point throughout the frame rapidly.
While the R6 II has adequate focus area selection options, I don't use manual AF area selection nearly as frequently because the subject detection technology performs so well.
The R6 II and Canon RF 135mm F1.8 L IS USM Lens were responsible for this f/1.8, 1/100, ISO 4000 image (it was very dark in this venue).
The R6 II can AF at EV -6.5 – 21 (at 23°C & ISO100). EV -6.5 is crazy dark. This is not Canon's best-rated low-light focusing camera (the R3 goes to -7.5 EV), but it is nearly the best, and that performance is without aid from the AF assist lamp.
Located on the camera's right side is a bright LED focus assist lamp that extends AF capabilities into complete darkness within its very good range. The focus assist lamp typically clears the hands holding the camera, a notable feature because some camera models have a left-side AF assist lamp that shines directly into the left hand when using a normal shooting position. As a lens hood can partially block this light, hood removal is sometimes optimal depending on the focus point selected and the amount of reflected assist light available for the selected point.
The R6 II focuses very fast, and this advanced AF system is suitable for practically all pursuits. The R6 II results from shooting action, including athletes BMX racing, performing BMX stunts, navigating an obstacle course, rowing, diving, sprinting, playing tennis, surfing, and mountain biking were nearly all in sharp focus (and, usually, I was the problem behind most of the others).
For those choosing between Sony and Canon MILCs, note that the Canon does not defocus the lens before focusing in One Shot AF mode. Especially because of this design difference, Canon's One Shot AF lock time is faster than the current Sony camera models.
Most review-time-current sensor-based AF systems, including that of the R6 II, do not provide cross-sensitive AF point technology. As a result, this camera may struggle to focus on only perfectly horizontally oriented lines of contrast. That said, I don't often encounter this issue with any R-series cameras, and rolling the camera slightly until focused will usually resolve AF lock-on issues.
AF calculations made directly on the imaging sensor (vs. on a separate sensor in a DSLR), AF calibration becomes a greatly reduced issue. EOS R6 II AF accuracy is especially excellent, very reliably precisely focusing shot after shot, even with the Canon RF 135mm F1.8 L IS USM Lens and Canon RF 400mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens mounted and opened wide. With imaging sensor-based AF, this camera can be expected to focus consistently accurately, even with third-party lenses. Using the imaging sensor for AF enables the mirrorless advantage features such as precise eye and subject tracking — a DSLR will rarely focus on an eye behind obstructions, but this camera often will.
Canon's AF Case settings are provided. AF tracking sensitivity, acceleration/deceleration tracking, One-Shot AF release priority, and AF point auto switching can be independently adjusted, enabling autofocus performance to be dialed in to your needs. AF Case A (Auto) is the default, instructing the camera to analyze the scene and optimize the settings in real time. This AF system performs superbly in the Auto setting for most uses, leaving another challenging setup to the camera's judgment.
With RF-mount lenses utilizing electronic focus only, a variable adjustment rate manual focus ring can be implemented. With such lenses, turning the focus ring quickly adjusts focus distances fast, and turning the ring slowly enables precise adjustment. The variable rate manual focusing can be advantageous if properly implemented. Still, I often find the difference in rotation rates to be too similar, and the variable speed becomes a frustration, making rocking the focus ring into precise focus a challenge. An R6 II menu option enables linear manual focus adjustments.
Focus Bracketing was a very useful feature first provided in the Canon EOS RP and then on the R5 (the source of this sample picture). Now found in the R6 II, this feature has more details to be understood, and the Canon Focus Bracketing page delves into this topic.
When the dust settled (literally), there were just under 10k images on my card, and most of them were accurately focused and properly exposed. The few images not fitting that description included sequences where I pressed the shutter release just before the subject entered the frame, the BMX bike stunts for example, and those issues could likely have been corrected via AF setting changes (to instantly focus on a new subject).
The R6 II features uncropped movies up to 6K 60fps ProRes RAW (external recording only, with in-camera FHD proxy, 10-bit), 4K UHD 60 fps (6K oversampling), and FHD 180 fps.
Cropped movies up to 3.7K 60fps ProRes RAW (external recording only, with in-camera FHD proxy, 12-bit), 4K UHD 60 fps, and FHD 60 fps are supported.
Movie types are:
MP4 Video: 4K UHD, Full HD (16:9)9 Audio: Linear PCM / AAC
Movie sizes are:
4K UHD (16:9) 3840 x 2160 (59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 23.98fps) inter frame (IPB) / (IPB Light)
4K UHD Timelapse (16:9) 3840 x 2160 (29.97, 25fps) intra frame (All-I)
Full HD (16:9) 1920 x 1080 (179.82, 150, 119.88, 100, 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 23.98fps) inter frame (IPB) / (IPB Light)
Full HD Timelapse (16:9) 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25fps) intra frame (All-I), Full HD HDR (16:9) 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25fps) intra frame (All-I)
Color Sampling (Internal Recording): 4K/ Full HD - YCbCr4:2:0 8-bit or YCbCr4:2:2 10bit
As seen in the chart, Canon Log 3 is available. The max recording duration is 6 hours (excluding High Frame Rate movies, and power and storage limitations).
New with the R6 II is 3- or 5-second prerecording, capturing action occurring before the movie start button is pressed. This feature is incredibly useful for capturing moments requiring careful timing, such as a bird taking flight, lightning, etc.
Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with subject and eye tracking is available during movie recording.
With movie mode now selectable via a switch, the mode dial makes a full range of exposure modes readily available for movie recording. Helpful is that the camera remembers video settings separately from still settings and presents the logical menu options based on the Photo/Movie switch position.
R6 II heat limitations are minor, with a duration of 40 minutes or more for full width 6K oversampled 4K 60p video. Drop to 30p for no overheating limitation. The 4K 60p cropped duration is 50 minutes or longer, and the Full HD 180p (uncropped) duration is 60 minutes or longer. Take note of the words "or longer," as it seems the stated numbers are low — and still sufficient for most uses.
Zebra display is available, and especially useful for exposure control is the R6 II's False Color display, using colors to indicate brightness as illustrated in the chart below:
|Red||White clipping (overexposure)|
|Yellow||Just below white clipping|
|Pink||1-stop over 18% gray|
|Blue||Just above black clipping|
|Purple||Black clipping (underexposure)|
|No Color||Brightness other than above|
HDR and Timelapse movies are supported, and a movie self-timer function is included.
If you have read any of the site's lens reviews using the current format, you understand that most lenses have focus breathing. The angle of view changes, usually a modest amount, as focus is racked between extents. While the subject framing can usually be adjusted (if necessary) for still photos, the scene change is not welcome when racking focus during filming.
Page 267 in the owner's manual reveals that the EOS R6 Mark II supports focus breathing correction during movie recording. As the current RF lenses do not have a motorized zoom feature, cropping is the available correction mechanism. RF lenses released before the R6 II may require a firmware update to support this feature.
Overall, the R6 II's video quality is excellent. R6 II movies exhibit a relatively low rolling shutter effect, and the 4k output is outstanding.
As usual for EOS cameras, the R6 II has 384 zone (24x16) metering (that works superbly), and the R6 II's metering range specification is EV -3 – 20 (at 73°F/23°C, ISO 100).
EOS R metering modes include Evaluative metering (AF point-linked), Partial metering (approx. 5.9% of the area at the center of the screen), Spot metering (approx. 3.0% of the area at the center of the screen), and Center-weighted average metering. Exposure compensation is +/-3 stops in 1/3- or 1/2-stop increments. Auto exposure bracketing uses those same numbers with 2, 3, 5, or 7 shots available.
Related to metering is Canon's Anti-flicker mode, a feature that has migrated to the EOS R6 II. This mode is a game-changer when photographing under flickering lights, especially when photographing fast action. The R6 II also features HF (High Frequency) anti-flicker shooting for M and Tv modes, a feature first seen in the R3.
The EOS R6 II has the same viewfinder as the R6, a large 0.5" (12.7mm) OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) EVF, with a nice, approximately 3.69 million dot resolution.
The large R6 II EVF features a 100% view, and it is impressively bright with high contrast and great color. Video feed lag, with the 120 fps refresh rate, is a non-issue for most uses. OVF simulation is available.
The EOS R6 II's EVF has a bright, 23mm-high eyepoint design, and the dioptric adjustment of -4 to +2 facilitates viewfinder use without glasses.
An EVF makes a configurably-vast amount of information available for display (up to 41 items) and also makes that information rotatable, ideal for shooting in vertical orientation. A quality EVF makes reviewing images easy, especially when zooming in for sharpness verification, especially in bright daylight, and especially for eyes that otherwise require corrective optics (if you don't need glasses now, expect to need them at some point).
Tracking fast-moving subjects in the R6 II viewfinder was not a problem.
That's pro BMX racer Daleny Vaughn launching over the course as seen by the R6 II and Canon RF 135mm F1.8 L IS USM Lens.
A feature I heavily rely on is an electronic level, and all full-functioned current-design cameras have this feature. The R6 and now R6 II's upgraded level is excellent, featuring a reduced viewfinder presence (less subject obscuring) and ideal tuning. Great is that the EVF image review time can be set independently from the rear display review time.
The EOS R6 II retains the R6's 2.95" (7.50cm) Clear View LCD II, featuring approx. 1,620K dot Vari-angle Touchscreen LCD. The Vari-angle feature of this LCD permits rotation of nearly 180° horizontally and 270° vertically, making hard-to-get shots and unique perspectives (including selfies and vlogging) easy to capture. While this is not Canon's highest-resolution LCD display, the image quality is very good, and with an anti-smudge coating applied, it easily wipes clean. Anti-reflection coating is not applied.
Note that the brightness of the EVF and LCD can be adjusted separately.
Canon's touchscreens make changing camera settings easy, including via the always excellent menu structure and the handy "Q" button (showing the Quick Control screen).
As we look at this camera, understand that the R6 II is highly customizable. Most controls are programmable to other functions. To visually compare the Canon EOS R6 Mark II with many other camera models, use the site's camera product image comparison tool.
The R6 II's primary back of the camera change from the R6 is the new Multi Controller, featuring a more-rounded shape. The new shape better works similarly to the old one for me. Perhaps a slightly rubberized joystick surface would be ideal.
The current Canon EOS standard location for the rating and menu buttons is on the top-left of the camera's back.
Moving to the right, we find a large, non-removable eyecup that extends nicely behind the LCD screen, along with the eye-detection sensor. I appreciate the nose relief this design affords. The diopter control is again on the right side, where it is easy to access with the grip hand.
The top-right three buttons, AF-ON, Exposure lock, and AF point selection, are once again featured and again horizontally aligned, similar to Canon's other 5-series models, clearing space for the dual slot memory card door. The Playback and Delete buttons hold their previous R6 locations at the bottom. These buttons are flush with the back of the camera, requiring an intentional press to activate. For the same reason, they are not easy to find tactilely.
The R6 II again gets a rear control dial surrounding a dedicated Set button, along with a dedicated "Q" button just above. The Magnify, Info, and "Q" buttons return but remain flush with the back of the camera, making them also not easy to find tactilely and requiring an intentional press to activate.
A few changes are seen on the top of the R6 II.
The Power Switch moved from the camera's left side to the right, where it should be, facilitating fast and easy access by the hand holding the camera. Pick up the camera and power it on simultaneously with only one hand needed. Also, very positive is the provision of a switch to change the camera settings between photos and movies, recalling the last-used settings for each.
Highly unfortunate to those of us acclimated to and simultaneously using the EOS R5 and R6 is that the new Photo/Movie Switch has the same position and shape as the old power switch. I frequently switched the R6 II into movie mode before putting it in the bag only to find the stills settings not working properly when going to use the camera again. This mistake can also impact battery life.
Obvious from the top view is that the viewfinder, as mentioned, provides plenty of nose relief from the LCD, and the new Multi-function hot shoe is seen on top (I know, I should have removed the shoe cover). Note that a Canon AD-E1 Multi-Function Shoe Adapter is necessary to adapt legacy Speedlite accessories to the updated Multi-Function Shoe.
Next to the right of the viewfinder is the mode dial. This dedicated dial went missing on the R, came back on the RP, was omitted on the R5, was featured on the R6, and is again featured on the R6 II. Basically, the R-series models without a top LCD have a dedicated mode dial. This dial is prominently-featured for easy right-thumb access, and with a non-locking design, mode changes are a quick swipe of the thumb away, even when the camera is powered off. The mode dial and other top-of-the-camera dials are somewhat flush-mounted, protected from impact damage.
Even with Movie mode removed, the R6 II's mode dial has 13 options, up from 11.
The EOS R6 II, as usual, has a fully automatic point-and-shoot mode. Complete beginners can open the box, charge and install the battery, insert a memory card, and select the green A+ fully-automatic Scene Intelligent Auto mode to have a camera ready to go, taking care of everything for point-and-shoot simplicity. This mode is simple from the user's perspective, but it is far from simple from a technological standpoint as it uses powerful artificial intelligence algorithms to deliver excellent results in various situations.
Included are Canon's standard Fv, P, Av, Tv, M, and Bulb modes, along with three convenient custom modes. Also included on this dial are Hybrid Auto (captures a movie 2-4 seconds before the photo is taken, similar to the older Movie Digest Scene modes that captured video and stills together), SCN (Special Scene Mode), and Creative Filters. SCN contains the creative modes, including Portrait, Group, Landscape, Panoramic Shot (new), Sports, Kids, Panning, Close-up, Food, Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene, HDR Backlight Control, and Silent.
Toward the top of the right side are the shutter release and top dial, features very similar in function and orientation as Canon's other EOS DSLRs and MILCs. Unlike all of the other dial controls, when reviewing an image, the top rear dial does not change a setting on the first click, but it does on the second, likely a programming error.
Between the shutter release and top dial is the M-Fn button. Pressing the M-Fn button enables the last-used function to be changed using a dial. Pressing M-FN repeatedly steps through the settings enabled for this feature, with again, a dial being used to change the setting selected. New with the R6 II is that there are two rows of features available and independently changed using the top dial and rear dial. While a bit more complicated than the single row design, there are more options at ready.
By default, the top Quick Control dial adjusts the ISO setting, without a prior button press required. The touchscreen interface makes ISO easy to change (preset ISO settings are now available), and configuring the lens control ring for ISO functionality is another option.
The red Movie shooting button provides logically-positioned instant access to video recording.
The Lock feature, moving from a button to the Power Switch, prevents settings changes as configured in the Tools menu Multi-function lock option. I don't use the lock feature often, and would rather it not be part of the power switch.
The left side of the EOS R6 II (as viewed from behind) features USB Type-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2 for computer communication, smartphone communication, USB power), HDMI (HDMI Micro out Type D), Headphone socket (3.5mm stereo mini jack), RS-60E3-type remote control terminal (Canon 2.5mm Sub-mini), and External Microphone In (3.5mm Stereo mini jack) ports.
The camera's right side features a spring-loaded slide-and-open memory card door.
As with the R6, the R6 II has a programmable button configured to the depth of field preview function by default.
Notice that the IR port has been removed from the R6 II grip.
A hallmark of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras is small size, and this feature alone is a reason to opt for such a camera.
When looking for an opportunity to save space in camera design, the grip, typically dimensionally protruding more than any other physical feature, is the easy target. However, if one spends much time with a camera in hand, grip ergonomics are critically important, and a too-small grip becomes, quite literally, a pain.
While designing the EOS R, Canon engineers performed extensive hand-size research. The first R's grip design was a good one, including adequate depth for fingertips, especially with the thin dimensions of the R body. The EOS R5, R6, and R6 II have an enhanced grip geometry, featuring a larger shelf above the fingers on the front and a thicker grip base, making the newer models noticeably easier to hold.
Even after holding the R6 II with mid-sized and large lenses for many hours, I felt no discomfort in the grip hand.
|Model||Body Dimensions||CIPA Weight|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark IV||5.9 x 4.6 x 3.0"||(150.7 x 116.4 X 75.9mm)||31.4 oz (890g)|
|Canon EOS R3||5.9 x 5.6 x 3.4"||(150 x 142.6 x 87.2mm)||35.8 oz (1015g)|
|Canon EOS R5||5.5 x 3.8 x 3.5"||(138.0 x 97.5 x 88.0mm)||26.0 oz (738g)|
|Canon EOS R6 Mark II||5.5 x 3.9 x 3.5"||(138.4 x 98.4 x 88.4mm)||23.6 oz (670g)|
|Canon EOS R6||5.5 x 3.8 x 3.5"||(138.0 x 97.5 x 88.4mm)||24.0 oz (680g)|
|Canon EOS R7||5.2 x 3.6 x 3.6"||(132.0 x 90.4 x 91.7mm)||21.6 oz (612g)|
|Canon EOS R10||4.8 x 3.5 x 3.3"||(122.5 x 87.8 x 83.4mm)||15.1 oz (429g)|
|Canon EOS R||5.4 x 3.9 x 3.3"||(135.8 x 98.3 x 84.4mm)||23.4 oz (660g)|
|Canon EOS RP||5.2 x 3.4 x 2.8"||(132.5 x 85.3 x 70mm)||17.3 oz (485g)|
|Sony Alpha 7 IV||5.2 x 3.8 x 3.1"||(131.3 x 96.4 x 79.8mm)||23.0 oz (650g)|
The EOS R6 II remains about the same size and weight as the EOS R6 (and R5 and R).
If dimensions are everything to you, the Sony MILC cameras or one of the EOS M series options might have a stronger appeal. However, if you will be using the camera in hand a lot, the EOS R6 II grip is excellent.
Make the camera smaller, and the weight is typically reduced. While MILC weight reduction usually does not seem as great as the size reduction, the weight of the R-series cameras is noticeably lower than full-frame DSLRs. If you are carrying a camera a lot, lighter camera weight can help keep your energy levels up, and creativity stays elevated with energy levels.
Consistent with Canon EOS designs are the rounded edges of this camera, making it very comfortable to handle and providing a modern, sleek appearance.
All of Canon's EOS models are well-built, but the mid and upper-grade models are especially so. The EOS R6 II has a magnesium alloy chassis, providing a rigid and protective yet lightweight structure for the camera. All dials and buttons have a quality feel with good haptic feedback.
|Model||Shutter Durability Rating|
|Canon EOS-1D X Mark III||500,000|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark IV||150,000|
|Canon EOS R5||500,000|
|Canon EOS R6 Mark II||400,000|
|Canon EOS R6||300,000|
|Canon EOS R7||200,000|
|Canon EOS R||200,000|
|Canon EOS RP||100,000|
The R6 II's electronically controlled focal-plane shutter is rated for approximately 400,000 cycles, an increase of 100,000 over the R6 and a number deep into the professional range.
The EOS R6 II's weather sealing is stated to be the same as the R6:
"The EOS R6 camera is designed for use in a variety of weather conditions. Sealing materials are used in critical areas like the buttons, terminal covers, the battery compartment and the card slot cover. Precise design and construction help to minimize accidental penetration of dust and moisture in the rest of the camera body." [Canon USA]
Canon EOS cameras have a wide range of weather sealing levels, and the above could describe many of them. Discerning the individual model's level of sealing can be more challenging, and Canon indicated that the R6's weather sealing is comparable to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, designed for sustained exposure to mid-to-hard rain.
I recommend using a rain cover (for all cameras) when dust and moisture are expected, but weather sealing can be a save-the-day or trip feature when unplanned wetness happens.
With an MILC camera's shutter always open for the use of the EVF (and no mirror in the optical path), there is concern about direct sunlight causing damage to the imaging sensor. Canon helps to avoid this issue with the R-series cameras by closing the shutter (which also helps keep the sensor clean) and stopping down the lens aperture very tightly when the camera is powered off.
Useful is that the R6 II can directly plug into a phone using an MFI-certified cable.
Wireless LAN (IEEE802.11b/g/n) (2.4 GHz) and Bluetooth 4.2 support is provided. Connect to EOS Utility or a Smartphone or print wirelessly.
The EOS R6 II features a Digital tele-conv menu option, with 2x or 4x settings available (for JPG images only).
New with the R6 II is Moving Subject HDR mode, capturing an HDR image in a single frame, eliminating the ghosting seen with multi-shot HDR mode. That ISO 800 is the base ISO for this function hints at how this feature works.
"The camera [is] available with Stop Motion Animation Firmware pre-installed [or installed for a fee], helping animators precisely confirm focus and movement within every frame when paired with compatible software." [Canon USA]
Like the R5 and R6, the R6 II uses the high-capacity Canon LP-E6NH Li-ion Battery Pack (2130mAh), 14% more powerful than the Canon LP-E6N (1865 mAh) utilized in a large number of previous EOS camera models. An increased capacity battery helps offset a downside of mirrorless cameras relative to DSLRs, the reduced number of shots available from the same battery capacity.
The LP-E6NH battery's form factor is ideal, featuring a significant amount of power in a compact size – several of these batteries fit comfortably in a pocket. In addition, I love the simplicity of sharing the LP-E6-series batteries and chargers across my kit and appreciate that only a single, small, direct-plug charger is required when traveling, even when multiple camera models are along. Especially great is that the entire series of batteries, including the original LP-E6 (1800 mAh), are forward and backward-compatible, including their chargers.
With several chargers in the kit, it is convenient to charge multiple batteries quickly.
The R6 II is backward compatible with LP-E6N and LP-E6 battery packs and supports in-camera LP-E6NH battery charging with the Canon USB Power Adapter PD-E1. In addition, the R6 II can be AC-powered using the Canon AC Adapter AC-E6N plus Canon DC Coupler DR-E6.
The R6 II's battery life rating is significantly improved over the R6. In Power saving mode, the rating jumps to 760 vs. 510, and to 580 vs. 360 in Smooth mode.
Real-world shooting results usually far exceed the CIPA numbers, and getting twice the rated shots per charge is not unusual.
When field-testing the R6 II in primarily high frame rate action scenarios, nearly 10,000 EVF-captured images were on the card before draining two batteries. Overall, I'm pleased with this battery's life in the R6 II.
A menu option provides the remaining battery capacity (6 levels and % remaining) and recharge performance (3 levels).
Optional for the R6 II is the Canon BG-R10 Battery Grip (B&H). The battery grip accepts up to two batteries, doubling the battery life in terms of shots per charge. At least as important for many is the vertical grip and the controls it provides, a substantial ergonomic advantage that makes vertical shooting much more comfortable. The downside to using the battery grip is the additional size and weight. However, the grip is easily removed, and the best option can be chosen for the current situation.
I have a pair of BG-R10 grips in my kit and greatly appreciate the vertical shooting orientation advantages they offer. The grip is on my camera if people or wildlife are on the subject list.
While not a dedicated accessory, the Canon AD-E1 adapter will be needed to adapt conventional shoe-mount flashes and accessories to the R6 II's new Canon Multi-function accessory shoe.
The RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM Lens is a compact, lightweight, and affordable general-purpose zoom lens. If your budget stops here, get it.
The Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens is a higher-performing, professional-grade option. This lens is the ideal general-purpose/standard zoom option for a large percentage of photographers.
Those requiring a wider aperture should consider the Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens. The f/2.8 lens yields some focal length range advantage to the 24-105 and is larger, heavier, and pricier. However, with the f/2.8 aperture, this lens permits 2x as much light to reach the imaging sensor, it can create a stronger background blur, and it can create stronger sunstars.
Again, the Canon RF Lens lineup is impressive, featuring many options for varied needs.
Via one of the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS Rs, ranging from relatively low to rather high-priced, Canon EF, TS-E, and MP-E lenses become compatible and perform as native (with potential added benefits depending on the adapter model selected). EF-S lenses are also supported via the adapter, easing the transition from APS-C to full-frame for some. The EOS R6 II will automatically use its crop mode when EF-S lenses are used, making for a quality experience.
Canon's EF-M lenses are not compatible with the RF mount, even with the adapter, and because of their shorter flange back distance, it is unlikely that we will see a Canon option to support this combination.
The EOS R6 II delivers impressive performance for its mid-level price. It is a solid value.
Keeping a review of the incredibly feature-laden Canon EOS R6 II concise but complete is a difficult balance to find, and this review is not a complete description of every feature available. Canon published an intimidatingly long but well-designed owner's manual (a link to the manual is provided at the beginning of this review) that highlights all of the features found on this camera, explaining their use. Read the manual, use the camera, repeat.
Owning a Canon product gives you access to Canon support, and the support provided by Canon's USA division (minimally) is excellent. When I call for support, I get an intelligent person who sincerely wants to help me with my question or problem. Although I seldom need Canon repair service, it is fast and reliable.
The preproduction Canon EOS R6 II camera used for this review was loaned from Canon USA, and the production camera was online retail-acquired.
Is the R6 II the right camera for you? The answer to this question is going to be yes for a considerable volume of people.
While the replaced EOS R6 Mark I will eventually disappear from retailer inventory, this camera is an obvious comparable.
What are the differences between the Canon EOS R6 Mark II and the R6? Here is a summary of the R6 II advantages:
If the cameras were selling at their identical list prices, the decision would be obvious. Unsurprisingly, the R6 is discounted significantly as I finish this review, and the lower price is the primary advantage the version 1 camera holds. I advise paying the extra amount for the II.
At review time, the Sony Alpha 7 IV has essentially the same price and is a good comparable.
Here are some of the differences between the Canon EOS R6 Mark II and the Sony Alpha 7 IV.
The Canon EOS R6 II and Sony Alpha 7 IV are similarly capable cameras with a few differentiators. Both are good values, and either is a great choice.
As mentioned at the beginning of this review, the Canon EOS R6 Mark II is a high-performing, mid-priced camera body that delivers outstanding full-frame image quality at medium-high resolution. This camera targets content creators, those currently using a DSLR, and those looking for a general-purpose camera that does everything well, including preserving family memories.
The R6 II is a solid upgrade from the only 2-year-older R6, and I'd take the Canon EOS R6 II over every DSLR made.
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