As expected, the image quality of the Canon EOS R6 is fantastic, especially when the camera is coupled with Canon’s new RF mount lenses. The resulting images look sharp, colorful, and with very high levels of contrast, even when using slower zoom lenses. If you have used a Canon DSLR or mirrorless camera in the past, you can expect to see the same level of performance that you are used to. There are no issues there.
As for ISO performance, Canon has always done a good job of keeping noise levels low when shooting at high ISOs. The EOS R6 is not an exception. With its relatively lower resolution sensor, large pixel size, and wide native ISO sensitivity range of 100-102400, the camera does an amazing job when shooting at low ISOs – I found it to be practically indistinguishable when compared to the Z6 II and Sony A7 III. We do see some minor differences at ISO 1600 and above, but those differences are too small to notice for most photographers out there. Let’s take a look.
Canon EOS R6 vs Nikon Z6 II ISO Performance Comparison
The Canon EOS R6 has a 20 MP sensor vs 24 MP on the Z6 II. In order to make the images below comparable, I extracted images at the same resolution, so the crops from the Z6 II are slightly more downsampled in comparison. Let’s take a look at how the ISO performance of the Canon EOS R6 is when compared to the Z6 II at different ISOs:
Both produce very clean images at ISO 1600, and I cannot see any differences.
I cannot see any differences at ISO 3200 either.
Once again, both cameras have a pretty even match at ISO 6400.
ISO 12800 is obviously quite noisy on both, but it is hard to spot much difference here, even in the shadows.
The situation continues at ISO 25600 – I cannot favor one over the other.
Both cameras produce basically unusable images at ISO 51200, with very little to no difference between the two.
As we push ISO to crazy 102400, we can see that the EOS R6 actually holds up a little better in terms of preserving colors – the Z6 II gets quite a bit of green tint in the shadows.
And once again we see quite a bit of discoloration on the Z6 II at ISO 204,800, making it look worse overall.
Canon EOS R6 vs Nikon Z6 II Dynamic Range Comparison
One of the biggest criticisms of Canon cameras in the past has been their relatively poor dynamic range, especially when compared to Sony and Nikon cameras. Has Canon made any improvements in this area? Let’s take a look and see how it does when compared to the Nikon Z6 II. Here are both cameras overexposed by four stops, then recovered:
As you can see, both cameras did really well and were able to preserve most of the colors. How about if we were to underexpose severely, then recover by over 5 stops? Let’s take a look at the below images:
Once again, both cameras performed admirably and I cannot say that I favor one significantly over the other. The Canon EOS R6 does show a bit more chroma noise in some areas, but you would have to look very closely to see it.
It looks like Canon has done a remarkable job bringing the sensor performance of the R6 to very competitive levels. As you can see from the above comparisons, the Canon EOS R6 can match both high ISO and dynamic range performance of the Z6 II, which has one of the best 24 MP BSI CMOS sensors on the market today.
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