EOS 6D Mark II

EOS 6D Mark II

Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR Review

By

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Fortunate enough to be the among first American press to demo the new 

Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR

we spent two tiring-but-GLORIUS sixteen-hour days shooting sunrises and sunsets and hot springs and geysers and waterfalls throughout Yellowstone National Park, a place where your just as likely to find vast swaths of untamed wilderness as you are getting stuck in a BISON-JAM while RV-bound tourists snap pictures and/or vertical videos.

It's been five years since Canon introduced its "entry-level" Full Frame camera system, the EOS 6D, aimed at Advanced Amateurs and Enthusiasts who want all the benefits of a 35mm image sensor -- shallow depth of field, no crop factor to deal with, excellent low-light performance, reduced noise, and access to Canon's ever-growing line of incredible EF lenses.

The 6D Mark II boasts a number of improvements over its very capable predecessor -- more megapixels (26.2MP vs 20.2MP), the faster DIGIC 7 image processor (vs DIGIC 5+), an ISO range up to 40,000 (vs 25,600), 45 cross-type AF points (vs 11 points & only 1 cross type), 6.5fps continuous shooting (vs. 4.5), a 7500 Area RGB+IR Metering sensor (vs 63 Area), Full 1080/60p HD Video (vs 1080/30p), a Vari-angle Touch Screen LCD (vs static, non-touch), a built-in stereo mic (vs. mono), and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/NFC capabilities (vs. Wi-Fi only).

At the very least, the Mark II is a dramatically more modern camera than the original 6D, but with that camera available to buy for $1,999 WITH an outstanding 24-105mm kit lens, is the 6D Mark II worth $1,999 for the body-only?

Read on to find out.

EDITOR'S NOTE

While we didn't have any problems, in terms of functionality or while reviewing images, Canon wanted everyone to know this review was conducted using a PRE-PRODUCTION CAMERA BODY and that every sample image contained herein is likewise from a pre-production model. At this time, I can't see there being much of a difference between our results and the final production units, but if we find out about any differences in the future, we'll be sure to get one in for testing AND annotate these pages. 

Cheers and enjoy!

EQUIPMENT USED

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Along with the EOS 6D Mark II, Canon loaned us a variety of lenses, including the EF 11-24mm F4L USM, EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM (pictured), and EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM.

I should also note that our press trip was not only designed to test out the new 6Dii, but also to show us, and by extension YOU, what it's like to go on a Canon Live Learning EOS Destination Workshops where you're not only welcome to bring your own gear, but where you'll also find Canon reps on hand with cases and cases of thier best glass offerings -- basically, every lens you'd ever need, whether or not you can afford it.

Imagine a vacation where you get to hone your photography skills and play with the latest gear in fantastically beautiful settings, and that's what it's like to be on a Canon Live Learning Destination Workshop. Definitely check those out if the notion sparks your imagination.

PROS & CONS

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Pros
  • Affordable Full Frame performance
  • Access to a deep stable of exceptional Canon EF glass
  • Excellent color and contrast reproduction
  • Very Good ISO performance
  • Vari-angle & touchscreen useful for odd angles
  • More amenities than the previous generation 
  • Versatile Auto Focus systems (optical & Live Mode)

Cons
  • Slower & less rugged than flagship mirrorless systems
  • Lacks 4K Video Recording
  • No in-body image stabilization

KEY FEATURES

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  • 26.2MP Full Frame CMOS Image Sensor
  • DIGIC 7 Image Processor
  • ISO 100 - 40,000
  • 6.5FPS Continuous Shooting RAW + JPEG
  • Optical Viewfinder
  • 45 Points All Cross AF
  • HDR Mode
  • 3.0" Vari-angle Touchscreen LCD
  • Full 1080/60p HD Video Recording
  • Time-lapse Movie & HDR Movie
  • Built-in Stereo Mic
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • Dust & water resistant
  • GPS
  • WiFi / Bluetooth / NFC
  • Weight: 685g body-only (765g + card + battery)
  • Dimensions: 144 x 110.5 x 74.8 mm (5.67 x 4.35 x 2.94 in.)

PRICING & WHAT'S IN THE BOX

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The Canon EOS 6D Mark II will be available in late July (2017) for $1,999.00 in a body-only kit that includes
  • EOS 6D Mark II body
  • LP-E6N Battery Pack
  • Battery Charger
  • 6Dii Camera Strap
  • Manuals & Warranty Cards & Canon Software

For $2,599.00, you can step up to a kit that includes everything above PLUS a

OR, there's a $3,099.00 kit that includes everything in the body-only kit PLUS a 

If this is your first time with a Full Frame 35mm DSLR and you're looking for a very versatile/quality lens, I highly recommend checking out that 25-105mm F4 IS USM II option. We reviewed the lens HERE and it's one of the finest kit lenses ever made.

BUILD QUALITY & DESIGN

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It's a cliché to point out that all DSLRs look the same, but outside of dial and button-layout, which we'll cover in the next section, it's pretty much true. The EOS 6D Mark II embraces its SLR heritage like pretty much every other Canon DSLR on the market today, which means it has a nice heft and grip and is surfaced with generally high quality plastics, metals, and rubber. This particular model is ALSO dust and moisture resistant (assuming you also select a similarly resistant lens to go long with it) and worked flawlessly in a light rain shower as well as the dust and sand around a thermal hot springs. It was also quite warm in the direct, mid-day sunlight and the 6D Mark II showed no signs of slowing down (it also worked well in the near-freezing temps of pre-dawn). That said, I wouldn't put the 6Dii up against the various 5D or 1D camera systems in terms of overall durability -- the 6Dii feels more consume-level than pro, if that make sense. 

(Also, I definitely wouldn't stand underneath a waterfall with this camera body like I did with the similarly priced OM-D E-M1 Mark II.)

Even though it's not the most rugged or weather-capable camera at this price range, the 6D Mark II appeared very well constructed, like all of Canon's DSLRs. This one's good for light weather and dusty conditions, but I would be also be a little careful in truly harsh environments.

ERGONOMICS

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What an odd time for cameras. Mirrorless systems are faster, lighter, and more compact than ever BUT DSLRs are wonderful for the way they perfectly fit in the hand. The 6Dii generally excels in the ergonomics department. It's comfortable to hold for extended periods, and only slightly heavier/bigger than the previous generation (thanks to the Vari-angle LCD), but I'm personally less a fan of the button and dial layout. 

There's nothing inherently wrong, mind you, but I'm personally more of a fan of having two or three dials on the front and rear of the camera body (ala Olympus and Sony systems). Also, the various mode buttons up top lack a tactile feeling that would aid navigating without having to look away from the viewfinder. That said, the Q button and touchscreen make the overall experience, and learning curve for beginners, a quick one.

If you're at all familiar with Canon DSLRs, you'll be right at home with the EOS 6D Mark II. 

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If not, let's take a quick tour starting with the front of the camera. Out here you'll find the AF illuminator, a lens release button, and a port for a wireless flash. Like most enthusiast-level and above cameras, there is no built-in flash.

Under the camera, there is a door for the battery compartment and tripod mount.

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On the left side of the 6Dii, you'll find the built-in stereo mic, an external microphone input, a USB 2.0 port, and mini HDMI port.

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On the body's right side, you'll find the single memory card slot, which is capable of accepting SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards with up to UHS-I speeds. This slot is also Eye-Fi card compatible. MMC cannot be used.

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Up top, from left to right, you'll find the On/Off switch and mode selection dial to the left of the hot shoe. Shooting Modes include A+ (Full Auto), P (Program Auto), TV (Shutter Priority), Av (Aperture Priority), M (Full Manual), B (Bulb), C1 & C2 (Custom), SCN (Scene Modes), and CA (Creative Auto). To the right of the hot shoe, you'll find the shutter button, quick control dial, AF button, Drive button, ISO button, Metering Button, and  a White Balance button above a one-color LCD panel displaying all your shooting information.

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Last, but not least, we have the rear of the camera where you'll find that 3.0" Vari-angle touchscreen LCD, along with buttons for Menu, Info, Playback, Trash, and the Q Button along with the Main Dial with its Set Button. This Main Dial is used for a variety of functions, including navigating through your files and the Menu system itself, and adjusting shutter speed in Full Manual. Most of these buttons can be customized to your liking.

MENU & DISPLAYS


The EOS 6D Mark II offers up two display options for composing images and one for recording videos. Up top, we have an Eye-Level optical viewfinder with dioptic adjustment so you can set your glasses to the side. There is also a sensor to turn off the LCD screen when the camera is at face-level. Overall, the optical viewfinder is clear and accurate (regarding framing) and displays all the modes and settings and AF-points you need to see.

Option two for still images, and option-only for videos, is the 3.0-inch, 1.04M dot Vari-Angle Touch LCD. Quite bright and also accurate for composition and color rendering, the Vari-Angle is great for getting odd-angled shots or even the occasional group shot or selfie. The touchscreen is also terrific for navigating the menu as well as setting and adjusting focal points when Live View is active. My only complaint with the monitor is out-of-the-box brightness, which seemed a tad hotter than how the images looked on computer screens. In that sense, the camera's metering system is more accurate than the display, but with some testing and calibration, this is easy to fix.

The Menu System itself is identical to every other Canon DSLR, and many other camera systems. There are main menus and submenus arranged into tabs, diving deep into every possible setting and shooting mode. There's not much to say here, other than it works well enough, but can be a little dense at first. When you get your 6Dii, read the manual, learn how to setup shortcuts using the My Menu features, which allow you add your own tabs and customize various buttons on the camera body. Overall, like most DSLR Menu systems, the one on the 6D Mark II is good, but not great.

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Now that you know all about the EOS 6D Mark II's features and specifications, it's time to check out its performance characteristics and see SAMPLE IMAGES. Please click over to the


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