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
MELVILLE, NY, November 2, 2022 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, announced today the launch of the new EOS R6 Mark II camera body, Canon’s new hybrid full-frame camera, and the first EOS R series full-frame mirrorless to take the step into the second generation. In addition, Canon is also introducing the new RF135mm F1.8 L IS USM mid-telephoto portrait lens and Speedlite EL-5 flash unit.
Ideal for advanced amateurs and featuring user-friendly functions, the EOS R6 Mark II camera is a high-performance hybrid camera that’s designed to capture decisive moments in both photo and video formats. It will satisfy a wide range of needs including professional production, vlogging, still pictures, filmmaking, and more. The camera is also well-suited for various photography subjects such as portrait, landscape, sports and wildlife. With the EOS R6 Mark II camera, creativity has virtually no borders.
As the market share leader for mirrorless cameras in the United States through Q3 of 2022[i], Canon continues to strengthen its innovative EOS R lineup with the new EOS R6 Mark II camera. The EOS R6 Mark II offers enhanced video and photo functions, such as in-body Image Stabilization, as well as specifications that can satisfy video production needs, such as controlled focusing.
“As a filmmaker who is always on the move, I need a camera I can trust in a multitude of environments as well as keeping up with my fast paced style of shooting and the new Canon EOS R6 Mark II does just that.” said Canon Co-Lab Creator, Sam Newton.
In addition to its compact size and ease of use, the EOS R6 Mark II camera also features:
- 24.2 megapixels, full-frame image sensor
- 4K 59.94p video recording
- External 6K RAW video recording / Internal 4K video recording oversampled from 6K
- High-speed burst shooting
- Canon Log 3 maximizing dynamic range
- Autofocus (AF): highly accurate subject detection with human, animal[ii], vehicle and automatic settings
- Horses, trains, and airplanes are newly detectable through the use of deep learning technology
- Continuous movie recording that exceeds 30 minutes
- Up to 12 frames per second mechanical shutter
- Up to 40 frames per second with electronic shutter
- In-body Image Stabilization as effective as up to 8 stops faster shutter speed[iii]
Alongside the new camera body, Canon has announced a new addition to its growing line of innovative RF lenses – the RF135mm F1.8 L IS USM. This is a fixed focal length mid-telephoto portrait lens that is compatible with any EOS R-series camera. The RF135mm F1.8 L IS USM achieves beautiful and generous bokeh with the large-diameter F1.8 and comes equipped with in-lens Image Stabilization. The coordinated control of this IS coupled with the in-body IS present in the EOS R6 Mark II camera and other EOS R equipped IBIS cameras helps reduce camera shake and empowers photographers to express a feel of motion when shooting in dark areas with slow shutter speeds.
“The image quality and super smooth bokeh out of the new RF135mm F1.8 L IS USM lens is absolutely spectacular and superior to the EF version.” said Canon Explorer of Light, Vanessa Joy.
Additionally, Canon has announced the new Speedlite EL-5 flash unit, designed for superior compatibility with the new EOS R6 Mark II. The Speedlite EL-5 is Canon’s first flash product compatible with the new multi-function shoe present in the EOS R6 Mark II, EOS R3, EOS R7 and EOS R10 cameras.
“The new Canon Speedlite EL-5 flash will give that magical kiss of light that brings a picture to life and illuminates your creative vision.” said Canon Explorer of Light, Bob Davis.
Price & Availability
The Canon EOS R6 Mark II camera body only and kits with either the Canon RF24-105 F4 L IS USM or the RF24-105 F4.0-7.1 IS STM USM lens will be available in late November 2022 for estimated retail prices of $2499.00, $3599.00 and $2799.00 respectively*.
The Canon RF135mm F1.8 L IS USM will be available in late January 2023 for an estimated retail price of $2099.00*.
The Canon Speedlite EL-5 flash unit will be available in late March 2023 for an estimated retail price of $399.99*.
For more information, please visit usa.canon.com.
About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions to the United States and to Latin America and the Caribbean markets. With approximately $30.6 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), as of 2021 has ranked in the top-five overall in U.S. patents granted for 36 consecutive years† and was one of Fortune Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies in 2022. Canon U.S.A. was featured in Newsweek’s Most Loved Workplaces list for 2021, ranking among the top 100 companies for employee happiness and satisfaction at work. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyosei philosophy of social and environmental responsibility. To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company’s RSS news feed by visiting www.usa.canon.com/rss and follow us on Twitter @CanonUSA.
# # #
[i] The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service, U.S., Detachable Lens Cameras, Digital Lens Type: Mirrorless, Jan.- Sept. 2022 combined.
[ii] Effectiveness varies depending on the subject. In some cases, dogs, cats or birds may not be detected, while some animals other than dogs, cats or birds may be detected.
[iii] CIPA standards compliant, using RF24-105 F4 L IS USM as the lens, with a focal length of 105mm.
* Specifications, availability and prices are subject to change without notice. Actual prices are set by individual dealers and may vary.
“AF Detection Range: -6.5 EV to +21 EV”
This is meaningless without knowing the lens ƒ‑stop at which it applies.
Canon usually specifies ƒ/1.2 whereas the reference value used by Photography Life for meaningful comparisons is ƒ/2. See Canon EOS R3 Announcement by Spencer Cox:
“Canon says the EOS R3 is capable of autofocusing in -7.5 EV conditions, compared to -6.5 EV on the R6 and -6 EV on the R5. (Note, though, that these figures are measured with an f/1.2 lens; at the usual f/2 standard used by most manufacturers, the values are -6, -5, and -4.5 respectively.)”
It’s like you say, Pete. It would certainly be nice if manufacturers maintained some sort of standard so that results are comparable across brands.
Nice! I honestly can’t think of a better full-frame camera at this price point from any brand.
provided they have improved the dynamic range. The Mark 1 was not the best camera in this regard.
I don’t think it is such a great camera for the price currently, yet it is a great camera.
The Sony A7 IV is slightly pricier but way better at almost everything. Landscape, Sports, portraits, and so forth.
The Nikon Z6II is cheaper and really comparable, except for autofocus, yet it offers almost a better image quality, as the sensor & processing is superior.
Nikkor glass is also cheaper than GM glass, yet comparable in quality.
Canon needs to deliver on R5 Mark II, otherwise Sony will take a lot more of the market over.
« slightly pricier but way better at almost everything. Landscape, Sports, portraits, and so forth. »
That’s highly debatable, since R6 II has
– a nearly TOTL AF (exclusing R3 and others stacked CMOS sensors),
– among the lowest rolling shutter for non-stacked CMOS sensors, 4 times lower than A7 IV,
– a reasonnable definition (I consider that 32 vs 24MPx is not that significant for most users, except wildlife where cropping is essential)
– improved dynamic, now matching R5 so not that different from A7 IV,
– some cool features such as pre-buffering pictures in burst mode, so that you shoot before pressing the button ; it can help for getting an image regardless any shutting lag
– still TOTL IBIS and TOTL IBIS + lens IS combined, whereas Sony is not the best student (I’ve read that the A7R V is way better than previous gens)
And of course a 12-bit raw 40fps burst, NO other body can match today. Yes it’s only 12-bits, but over 1600 ISO you never have 12 stops of actual dynamic so I guess we don’t care ?
Plus 12 fps mechanical, which cannot be match by the A7 IV (10 fps, which is quite good)— it’s pretty usefull for indoor sport wherein electronic shutter of a non-stacked CMOS cannot deliver good images cause of flickering (I’ve encounter this case many many times).
And the excellent canon ergonomics, flawlessly touchscreen, and RF glass (despite more expensive and less complete than Sony, you have some gems such as the compact 70-200/4).
For action, the R6 II specs sheet suggests that it’s way, way better than A7 IV (and the original R6 was already better in that regard).
For other uses, I think both are really good but still not perfect, and the choice between one or another should be based on the optics lineup (which is way better for Sony, except one or two exclusive RF lenses, such as the above-mentionned 70-200/4, or the 85/1.2, etc).
TL;DR : no, the A7 IV is not better at almost everything, even if it’s a really good camera
My 2 cents
Yes, but seems to me that the lenses are either scarily expensive and great, or affordable but slow/unexceptional.
Nikon has arguably the opposite problem, less capable (excluding the Z9, of course) bodies in terms of AF, complexity of AF and eye-AF but a good (and improving quickly) set of great lenses at relatively affordable prices, plus lenses for professional wildlife photographers.
Here’s hoping Nikon can get a new camera out next year with improved AF and that I can afford ;-)