Canon and Sony are fighting for the full-frame mirrorless camera market, and Canon’s latest salvo is the $2,500 EOS R6 II.
It’s not only a direct competitor to Sony’s similarly priced 33-megapixel A7 IV, but it also allows Canon to address overheating issues with the otherwise superb EOS R6.
The new 24-megapixel sensor promises more resolution and image quality than the previous 20-megapixel R6 sensor. It also has faster shooting speeds, improved 4K video standards, a better viewfinder, and other features.
However, competition in this field is heating up. Panasonic also launched the $2,000 Lumix S5II and $2,200 S5IIX, the company’s first cameras with phase-detect hybrid autofocus.
I first saw the R6 II prototype last year, but I finally have my hands on the final version. Can it compete, and have the overheating issues been resolved? To find out, I tried it in a range of shooting scenarios.
Body and Handling
Canon’s new R6 II camera uses the tried-and-tested form factor of its predecessor, the R6. There are a few welcome changes over the original, including a dedicated photo and video switch. The EVF has also been updated from 2.36 million to 3.67 million dots, matching the A7 IVs.
The R6 II has two UHS-II card slots, but no CFexpress slot like the A7 IV or GH6. It’s not quite as sharp as the 5.76-million dot EVF on the X-H2S, but it’s relatively sharp and fast with a 120 fps refresh rate. Sadly, it uses a fragile micro instead of a full HDMI port for its RAW video output.
The EOS R6 II offers supersampled, full-frame 4K video all the way up to 60 fps. By contrast, the A7 IV and Panasonic’s S5 II both crop 60p video. 10-bit quality is available only in C-Log3 mode, with 8-bit in the regular video modes. Canon’s R6 II is another reliable video camera in terms of video autofocus.
It’s one of the better full-frame cameras in low light, making it useful for things like concerts or plays. One unfortunate omission compared to rivals is the lack of easy-to-edit intra-frame (all-intra or ProRes) formats.
The R6 II is the sportiest full-frame camera in this price category by far. It can fire bursts at 12 fps with the mechanical shutter, or 40 fps with electronic mode. Using electronic mode means you’ll shoot fewer shots, and it also impacts the quality.
An interesting new feature is the Pro Capture mode, which stores several seconds’ worth of photos in the buffer. Canon’s new R6 II camera has better autofocus than its predecessor and can track subjects even at the edge of the frame.
Autofocus is second only to Sony’s for human faces and eyes, but less dependable for animals and other subjects. There is 4,897 focus detect positions for photos and 4,067 for video, with up to 100 percent coverage depending on the lens.
Touch-to-track works well if the subject is well-defined, but isn’t as reliable as face tracking.
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Canon’s R6 II camera has a new 24-megapixel sensor for improved image quality and better low-light sensitivity. Images are sharper, but Canon has also boosted the dynamic range, allowing for better image quality.
It has perhaps a bit less dynamic range than Sony or Nikon full-frame cameras, but it’s still very good. If you want to boost quality but not shoot RAWs, you can also shoot using HEIF (high-efficiency image file) format.
Canon’s EOS R6 II is a formidable hybrid mirrorless camera. Sony’s A7 IV has more resolution but slower shooting speeds. Panasonic’s S5 II has slightly better video specs, but it remains to be seen if autofocus can keep up.
If you’re willing to drop down to an APS-C sensor, the $2,500 X-H2S has a stacked sensor and better video chops.