Return for five years
Canon EOS 6D Mark II detailed review
Full-frame cameras were once used as a reserved product for serious professionals because of the significantly higher price tag associated with them. However, as photography is becoming a more widespread hobby, passion and potential career choice, cameras are becoming cheaper. The advent of Sony’s mirrorless full-frame camera is leading to competition, especially for legacy brands like Canon, which has eased the need for a “budget-friendly” full-frame DSLR. The Canon 6D was a surprise from Canon a few years ago, which significantly reduced the point of entry into the world of full-frame DSLRs. A few years ago I did a 6D review and now after a break of a few years back to Digit, I finished the Cano 6D MarkII review. I had lots of beef with the original 6D, so here’s how things have changed over the years.
Build and Ergonomics
Canon’s compatibility with product design is quite amazing. With 5 years between the two cameras, changes in body design are minimal. Weight loss of 5 grams (body weight only) which further helps that the new 24-105mm L IS USM II lens is significantly lighter than its predecessor. In terms of overall dimensions, they remain largely unchanged. From its predecessor, the Canon 6D MarkII seems to have a somewhat deep grip, but it may be more anecdotal than anything else, since I’ve been holding the original 6D in my hand for over a year now. However, the grip and feel of holding a DSLR is incomparable and as such, the 6D MarkII camera feels very well balanced.
What has changed during this time is that the upper body made of polycarbonate in the original 6D has now been upgraded to a full magnesium alloy build. Sadly, a traditional jug-stick is still missing (such as those found in 5D, 1D and even cheaper 7D series cameras), but this time around, the rear jug dial is versatile and can be configured to move. Around AF points. Personally, I prefer the joystick over the jug-dial because with the latter, there are some shaky places for errors though not the case with the win-stick.
Overall, the ergonomics of the 6D MarkII fall within the rules of a DSLR. This means that the camera is easy to hold and hold. The buttons are well-placed enough to be easily accessible without taking your eyes off the viewfinder. As convenient as carrying a mirrorless camera, the DSLR still provides the perfect grip for easy and comfortable operation.
The original Canon 6D was the first DSLR to offer built-in GPS and Wi-Fi. Now, these features are more or less standard, so what can Canon do next? Lots, it would appear. The new Canon 6D brings many new features with the MarkII, the most notable of which is the in-camera HDR video. Unlike the complex approach to HDR video that requires 10-bit video capture, professional color profiles, and complex editing processes, Canon adopts a very consumer-first approach. Since the 6D MarkII is capable of shooting 1080p video at 60fps. In HDR mode, the camera shoots two frames almost simultaneously to create a 1080p video file at 30fps. One frame is captured at the selected shutter speed and aperture while the second frame is slightly less exposed. The two frames come together to form a frame, resulting in HDR video. The HDR video photography method is quite intelligent but comes with its own limitations, such as the fact that it is not usable in low light. Second, you will have no control over the final appearance of the file. If you want to watch HDR video, it would be nice to go with the Panasonic GH5s which can shoot 10-bit video in-camera.
In addition to HDR video, you’ll also get a built-in time-lapse video feature where the camera will do all the work for you. Select the type of output file you want, and the camera will shoot and sew the frames together to output time-lapse video. Again, a very consumer-centric feature, which is great because this camera is for those who want to enhance their game.
Another really nice addition to the 6D MarkII’s feature set is the fully articulated 3 ”touchscreen. Canon has really created a very functional touchscreen, which mimics a very smartphone-like experience. You can use it as a touch-shutter or even place that STM motor in your lens and drag your finger around the screen to follow the focus motor. It works amazingly and is going to be extremely useful for videographers.
My biggest beef with the Canon 6D was its ancient autofocusing system. With just 11 AF points with 1 cross-type, 6D has left much to be desired in terms of focus. The 6D MarkII brings 45 AF points to the game, all cross-type. Enhancing the focusing points on Canon’s Dual Pixel AF which provides significantly improved focusing performance compared to regular AF systems. For this review, the Canon 6D MarkII has been paired with a stock kit lens (Canon 24-70 f / 4 L USMII), a Sigma 24-70 f / 2.8 IS and a Sigma 50mm f / 1.4 to see some of the performance. From the camera and what bit lens was applicable. What is immediately clear is that the camera is far ahead of its predecessor. Focus was able to lock things even in low light (in low light families) with only a little prey whereas in good light, the performance was as reliable as you want from a professional camera. In fact, the AF system is the biggest upgrade to the 6D MarKII, which alone makes the camera worthy of your consideration.
The Canon 6D MarkII has a 26.2 megapixel sensor, which is slightly larger than the 24-megapixel silicon found in the 5D Mark 4. There’s been a lot of talk about how the sensor’s dynamic range is on par with its predecessors, but no improvement, for a second and check out how much DR we’re actually talking about here. For starters, you’ll find two complete stops in the post-production latitude price. The highlight roll-off is not as smooth as the 5D Mark4, but there is nothing wrong with it in the dynamic range.
Canon 6D MarkII RAW images are flat, as should all RAW files Editing allows up to 2.3 stops of the cost of restoration and grading, which you can expect from a full-frame sensor with this type of resolution. If the Canon had used a 24-megapixel sensor instead of the 6, the DR might have been a bit better, but there’s nothing to complain about. Performance during the day where the camera is bright (no pun intended). Autofocus (especially with Canon lenses) locks in intended objects 9 times (or better) out of 10 times with fast and accurate, incredible consistency.
In low light, the sensor can be pushed all the way to ISO 8000 without worrying about chroma noise (red-blue dots). The appearance of luma sounds (salt-pepper dots) is obvious, but a slight noise reduction can do nothing. Where you will notice a decrease in performance, however, will be AF. In low light, AF accuracy with stock Canon lenses dropped to 6/10 but was more reliable. Sigma was also fairly accurate in locking the focus 24-70, but it did suffer somewhat and was as fast as Canon’s opponents.
With a reliable AF module and a heavy 26-megapixel sensor, you can shoot the fastest (enables AF tracking) with this camera at about 6 frames per second. If you’re shooting in the studio or even a dynamic subject (given you have the right shutter speed) this is more than enough but not a sports camera. AF is not fast enough to track a dog running at full speed, let alone sports and it has no frame-rate. For everything else, the Canon 6D MarkII works.
You can see the full gallery of photos from 6D MarkII here.
If you want to get an idea of ISO performance, here is a test shot of different ISOs.
Below is the crop of the center part of the scene above. If you would like to see the full-view high-resolution JPG, you can visit our Flickr gallery here.
The last row
The Canon 6D is a significant upgrade from MarkII’s predecessor that took 5 years to create. However, in five years, the competition has also expanded its portfolio. While Nikon and Canon have always clung to each other’s necks, Sony is slowly emerging in the mirrorless segment, giving the legacy players stiff competition. For the price of Canon 6D MarkII, you can choose between Nikon D750, The Sony A7 mk2 and even the new Sony A7 mk3. The price of the four cameras is more or less the same and they come with their own strengths and weaknesses. The strength of the Canon 6D MarkII is its built-in 4K time-lapse feature, HDR video mode and you’ll find a camera that produces very versatile images. The thing that bothers about the 6D MarkII is the weight, when you make it stand out against the many smaller Sony offers. However, as an entry point full-frame DSLR, the Canon 6D retains the power of the MarkII and continues to be a tough competitor for your money.