The Canon EOS 6D Mark II did not debut until much later than expected. It was around five years after the first announcement of the Canon EOS 6D, which, at the time, was the most reasonably priced full-frame DSLR that was on the market.
Even though it lacked some of the more desirable features that could be found on Canon’s more expensive models higher up the range, it provided customers with a very inexpensive entry point into the world of full-frame photography.
A lot had changed in the five years that passed between the launch of the original 6D in 2011 and the launch of its successor in 2017; not only did Nikon offer some very tempting competition in the form of the D610 and D750, but Sony’s Alpha A7 and A7 II also offered an additional affordable route into full-frame photography. Although full-frame cameras have been released since then that are both speedier and more sophisticated, the question is whether or not the EOS 6D Mark II is still competitive.
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Features
After a gap of five years, Canon has released the EOS 6D Mark II, which features many enhancements over its predecessor, the EOS 6D.
The new EOS 6D Mark II sensor is a 26.2MP CMOS sensor, which not only provides a sizeable increase in resolution compared to the 20.2MP chip in the EOS 6D but also provides a lot more pixels than the EOS 5D Mark III’s 22.3MP sensor. The headline change may be the new sensor featured in the EOS 6D Mark II.
The new sensor has a native sensitivity range that can be enlarged to an equivalent of ISO50-102,400, matching the expanded sensitivity ranges of both the EOS 6D and the EOS 5D Mark III. This range is 100–40,000 and can be expanded to an equivalent of ISO50–102,400.
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Build Quality.
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is constructed from the same aluminum alloy and polycarbonate with glass fiber used to make the original EOS 6D. Even though it does not have quite the same ‘pro’ feel as the EOS 5D Mark III or Mark IV, it nonetheless feels quite well put together.
It is also pleasing to see that the camera has dust and moisture seals; having used the 6D Mark II in some very wet conditions in Norway, during which time the camera got drenched on more than one occasion, we can attest to the fact that this camera is more than capable of holding its own when the elements are working against you.
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Autofocus
Even when it was introduced, the 11-point AF system that came standard on the original EOS 6D appeared antiquated. It was criticized because only the center point used a cross-type sensor. It should thus come as no surprise that the autofocus coverage of the EOS 6D Mark II has been significantly expanded.
Instead of using the 61-point autofocus system from the EOS 5D Mark IV, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II looks to its APS-C stablemates for inspiration and utilizes a 45-point autofocus system that is remarkably similar to the one found in the most current Canon EOS 80D and EOS Rebel T7i / 800D cameras.
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Performance
The fact that Canon has increased the burst rate of the EOS 6D Mark II to 6.5fps, up from the 6D’s 4.5fps, does not surprise anyone. Not only that, but the burst depth has also been enhanced, with the new camera recording a series of 21 raw files in contrast to its predecessor’s ability only to take a succession of 17.
Although a burst depth of 150 frames is hardly restricting, it is interesting to note that the maximum number of shots that can be captured in a single burst with the EOS 6D Mark II is just 150, which is a significant reduction from the maximum of 1,250 images that could be charged with the EOS 6D.
It is also interesting to note that Canon has not included support for UHS-II for the single card slot on the EOS 6D Mark II. This could have increased in that number; however, the extent of any benefit would be contingent on how quickly the camera can process the information, to begin with.
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Image Quality
It is unusual for cameras at this level to have sensors with more than 24 megapixels. Thus, the fact that the EOS 6D Mark II has a sensor with 26.2 megapixels gives it an advantage over its nearest competitor, the Nikon D750. In practice, however, this makes a slight difference to the additional detail that the EOS 6D Mark II can resolve. It is equivalent to the D750, which enables you to print photographs as big as A3+ and even enormous prints if necessary.
Regarding ISO performance, the EOS 6D Mark II delivers a decent, ordinary showing. JPEG files provide the impression of being exceptionally clean over the whole ISO range, but when you look at the raw files that correlate to those JPEGs, it becomes clear how much noise reduction was performed to the JPEGs.
Raw files provide an excellent comparison to the photographs taken with the EOS 5D Mark III, but, considering the five-year gap in technological advancement, we would have anticipated some improvements to have been made. Results at ISO800 hold up well, with minimal signs of noise, while results at ISO4000 are pretty good, too; there are certainly signs of luminance noise at this sensitivity, but surprisingly little chroma noise in the results. Results at ISO6400 hold up well, with minimal signs of noise in the results (color speckling).
Beyond that, while both luminance and chroma noise becomes more noticeable, it is still feasible to achieve a passable image with a reasonable level of information at ISO12,800 and with some post-processing; we would generally avoid going much higher than that unless it is absolutely essential.
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Specs
|Body type||Mid-size SLR|
|Body material||Magnesium alloy|
|Max resolution||6240 x 4160|
|Image ratio w:h||1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9|
|Effective pixels||26 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||27 megapixels|
|Sensor size||Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm)|
|Color space||sRGB, Adobe RGB|
|Color filter array||Primary color filter|
|ISO||Auto, 100-40000 (expands to 50-102400)|
|Boosted ISO (minimum)||50|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||102400|
|White balance presets||6|
|Custom white balance||Yes|
|JPEG quality levels||Fine, normal|
|File format||JPEG (Exif v2.3)Raw (14-bit Canon CR2)|
|Optics & Focus|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View|
|Autofocus assist lamp||No|
|Number of focus points||45|
|Lens mount||Canon EF|
|Focal length multiplier||1×|
|Screen / viewfinder|
|Articulated LCD||Fully articulated|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Viewfinder type||Optical (pentaprism)|
|Minimum shutter speed||30 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/4000 sec|
|Exposure modes||ProgramShutter priorityAperture priorityManual|
|Scene modes||PortraitGroup photoLandscapeSportsKidsPanningClose-upFoodCandlelightNight portraitHandheld night sceneHDR backlight control|
|External flash||Yes (via hot shoe)|
|Flash X sync speed||1/180 sec|
|Drive modes||SingleHigh-speed continuousLow-speed continuousSilent singleSilent continuousSelf-timer (10 sec/remote control)Self-timer (2 sec/remote control)Self-timer (continuous shooting)|
|Continuous drive||6.5 fps|
|Self-timer||Yes (2 or 10 secs)|
|Exposure compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)|
|Modes||1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 60 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 30 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 12 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p / 30 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1280 x 720 @ 60p / 26 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1280 x 720 @ 30p / 4 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC|
|Storage types||SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I compatible)|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|Wireless notes||802.11b/g/n + NFC + Bluetooth|
|Remote control||Yes (wired, wireless or smartphone)|
|Battery description||LP-E6N lithium-ion battery & charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1200|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||765 g (1.69 lb / 26.98 oz)|
|Dimensions||144 x 111 x 75 mm (5.67 x 4.37 x 2.95″)|
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Verdict
Although Canon has created the EOS 6D Mark II as a complete camera with superior specifications to the EOS 6D, this does not mean that it has no problems. The presence of these minor issues brings down an otherwise excellent full-frame DSLR camera that is a joy to use for photography. Users of Canon cameras interested in transitioning to full-frame photography will be pleased, but users of other brands may find better options elsewhere.