The Canon EOS R6 Mark II is the first camera in the R-line to receive a second generation. And no wonder. The original EOS R6 was a very popular camera that shared many genes with its more expensive EOS R5 and even EOS R3 siblings, while costing substantially less. In terms of the price-performance ratio, the R6 stood pretty high. Will the EOS R6 II be the same way?
It’s been two and a half years since the first generation was introduced, so let’s take a look at what’s changed in the meantime and what we can look forward to with the R6 Mark II.
EOS R6 Mark II Key Specifications
- Sensor: 24.2MP FSI CMOS, full-frame
- IBIS: Yes, rated up to 8 stops (depending on the specific lens in use)
- Shutter Speeds: Mechanical shutter: 1/8000 to 30 Seconds; Electronic shutter: 1/16,000 to 30 Seconds
- ISO: ISO 100-102400, expandable to ISO 204800
- Autofocus System: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system with 1053 automatic AF points (both contrast and phase detection); 100% coverage; Automatic recognition of people, animals and vehicles.
- AF Detection Range (standardized to f/2): -5 EV to +22.5 EV
- Frame Rate: 12 fps using mechanical shutter (40 fps with electronic shutter/12-bit RAW); Raw burst mode with 0.5 seconds of pre-capture buffer
- Card Type: Dual UHS-II SD slot
- Buffer: 12 FPS Mechanical shutter up to 1000 images (JPEG) / 110 images (Raw); 40 FPS Electronic shutter up to 190 images (JPEG) / 75 images (RAW)
- Video: External 6K ProRes RAW video recording / Internal 4K video recording oversampled from 6K
- LCD: 3.0″ vari-angle (tilt-flip) screen 1.62 with million dots
- EVF: 100% coverage, 3.69 with million dots, 120 fps refresh rate, 0.76x magnification
- Battery Life: 760 shot-per-charge battery rating (CIPA)
- Weight: 1.3 lb / 588 g (with battery + card)
- Price: $2,499 body only ($2,599 with Stop Motion Animation Firmware); $2,799.00 with 24-105mm f/4-7.1 Lens; $3,599.00 with 24-105mm f/4 Lens
Although the sensor resolution has increased from about 20 to 24 megapixels since the previous R6, that’s not the main area where Canon has stepped forward in the last two years. Still, let’s stay with the sensor for a moment. Although it may harken to the EOS R3’s sensor, which has similar resolution, this one is neither a BSI nor a stacked sensor. That said, Canon claims that the rolling shutter rolling effect has been reduced so that the 40 FPS electronic shutter mode can be used without worry. Although this speed only allows 12-bit shooting, at least it’s RAW, not JPEG.
Although the new EOS R6 II seems to be better in all respects, one parameter has gotten worse than its predecessor: buffer capacity. The small increase in resolution has taken a toll on buffer capacity. Instead of the original 240 images at 12 FPS, it can now hold only 110 images at the same frame rate. The capacity goes down to a mere 75 frames if you shoot at 40 FPS with the electronic shutter. (75 photos may be a lot, but that translates to less than 2 seconds of continuous shooting before the R6 II slows down at 40 FPS.)
Speaking of 40 FPS shooting, a new “RAW burst mode” feature on the R6 II will certainly come in handy. After taking a burst, the camera will group all of the resulting photos into a single package. From it, you choose the ones that you like and can delete the rest.
The new R6 Mark II has received one important component from the R3: the DIGIC X processor. Its processing power has enabled improvements in autofocus capabilities, and the R6 II can now distinguish between motorbikes, cars, trains, planes, and helicopters. Canon also notes that the camera can track horses and zebras – amusing timing, considering a discussion in the comments of a recent article of mine about Canon’s iffy autofocus on zebras. Has Canon been reading our minds and/or comment section? (More likely, it’s been a complaint among safari travelers, but it’s nice to see them listening anyway.)
Finally, the best new feature might be the pre-release capture. This greatly expands the camera’s use where fast and difficult-to-predict action is present. It is now possible to capture up to 30 fps in 12-bit RAW up to 0.5 second before the shutter was pressed! We talked about this some in our Nikon Z9 review, but it’s an extremely useful feature for some subjects.
A number of improvements also apply to video. Although the original R6 was already capable of 4K/60p video, there was a slight crop (1.07x) from the full width of the sensor. Now in-camera 4K is achieved by oversampling from the full width of the sensor. The Canon R6 II also supports recording to 6K ProRes RAW if you film over HDMI with a compatible Atomos recorder. And then there’s the interesting “stop motion animation” firmware that costs an extra $100 and is probably unnecessary for 99% of you, but very cool for those who want to use it.
Finally, Canon has reportedly worked on the overheating issue that caused a complaints with the previous generation, especially with the EOS R5 when recording 8K video. According to Canon, you can now record continuously for up to 40 minutes at maximum quality without the EOS R6 II overheating. At lower resolutions or frame rates, even longer.
All in all, it looks like Canon has taken a highly capable camera and made it better all-around. Assuming real-world tests live up to the specs, this might be the best sports and wildlife camera on the market under $2500, while also being more capable for video and landscapes than its predecessor. We’re looking forward to testing a copy at Photography Life! Canon says they’ll be available in late November. You can pre-order the EOS R6 II here:
135mm f/1.8 Lens Announced
The EOS R6 Mark II was the headline announcement from Canon today, but they also announced an RF 135mm f/1.8 L IS lens, which is the newest addition to their mirrorless RF lineup.
It’s a high-end lens with image stabilization and Canon’s “L” designation, not to mention the MSRP of $2100. Portrait photographers looking for a longer alternative to Canon’s 85mm f/1.2 lenses are likely the target audience. Here are the lens’s specs:
- Mount Type: Canon RF Mount
- Focal Length: 135mm
- Maximum Aperture: f/1.8
- Minimum Aperture: f/22
- Aperture Blades: 9, rounded
- Filter Size: 82mm
- Lens Elements: 17
- Lens Groups: 12
- Special Elements: 3 Ultra-low dispersion elements
- Fluorine Coated Front Element: Yes
- Image Stabilization: Yes
- Internal Focusing: Yes
- Control Rings: One
- Function Buttons: Yes
- Focus Motor: Nano USM
- Minimum Focus Distance: 0.7 meters (2.3 feet)
- Maximum Magnification: 0.26× (1:3.8)
- Mount Material: Metal
- Weather/Dust Sealing: Yes
- Dimensions (Length × Diameter): 130 × 89 mm / 5.1 × 3.5 inches
- Weight: 935 g / 2.1 lbs
- MSRP: $2100
Those specifications tell of a high-end lens with some of Canon’s top features, including dedicated function buttons, image stabilization, and a fluorine-coated front element. The minimum focusing distance of the lens is pretty good, too – not fully macro, but enough for close-up photos without any issues. The price of $2100 is on the high end, however.
Canon also announced a new flash called the Speedlite EL-5. It’s selling for $400 and ships in March 2023.
Boundless Creativity: Canon Announces the Canon EOS R6 Mark II Hybrid Full-Frame Camera
New RF135mm F1.8 L IS USM Lens and Speedlite EL-5 Flash Unit Also Announced