Canon R6 II Review & Tests | An almost perfect camera
Canon has really launched an amazing camera with the Canon R6 Mark II, it is one of their most popular models and very popular among photographers. Not just for photographers, by the way, it is also very suitable for video.
So I’ve had the R6 II in my hands and I want to share my experience with you. If you are still in doubt, I need to read this Canon R6 II review carefully.
In this article, I will tell you exactly what my experience was with the Canon R6 Mark II, I don’t want to spoil too much, it has many good points, but I have also been critical!
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links. You can support me without any additional fees. I used some of the products mentioned, not all.
Exactly, when I got my hands on the R6 II I was quite surprised. Until then I had had a Canon EOS RP for a few years, which is a completely different kind of camera. A few things immediately stood out: the camera feels good in the hand and the grip is not too small.
With my previous camera, the RP, I had the problem that the grip was too small. My hands are quite large and it just didn’t feel right. With the R6 Mark II, on the other hand, this problem was immediately solved.
Incredible image quality
Image quality is perhaps one of the most important aspects of a camera, I know that very well. The R6 II was released in 2022 and almost every camera nowadays has good quality.
The dynamic range is very good, you can shoot with bright sunlight and still easily get details out of everything. I didn’t experience much noise, I mainly shot at ISO 100. You can set the ISO even lower, namely ISO50, but then you unfortunately lose some dynamic range.
I mainly shot with the mechanical shutter, that’s because, with the electronic shutter, you lose dynamic range. With the electronic shutter, the camera creates 12-bit RAWs and with the mechanical shutter, the camera creates 14-bit RAWs.
So you have to pay close attention to this, the disadvantage is that mechanical parts don’t last for a hundred years, so if you take thousands of photos per day, the choice becomes challenging. For landscape photography, I would recommend using the mechanical shutter.
The image quality is also largely determined by the lens, you have a standard RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 kit lens that is not of the best quality. You will then notice that the autofocus is not the fastest and that the photos are a bit softer with more chromatic aberration.
All in all, I am very satisfied with the image quality of the Canon R6 Mark II.
For the hybrid photographer
As I said in the introduction, not only photographers are happy with the R6 II, but videographers are too. Compared to the original R6, this aspect has been greatly improved. You can now film for much longer without overheating and without time limits.
Well, the latter is not entirely true, because although there is no limit via software, the hardware is perhaps a limiting factor. I was able to film for about 40 minutes straight without the camera stopping. The time after which you can film again has also been shortened, so the R6 Mark II cools down faster.
You have video functions up to 4K60p, which are all oversampled. This means that you have the entire sensor readout without a crop, which is downsampled to 4K. I saw a clear difference between oversampled and not oversampled, you see much more detail.
The button to switch between video and photo has also been changed to the left, making it easy to switch between video and photo mode. Previously this had to be done via the mode selector, not that I found it annoying, but it is a small refinement.
Fast subject recognition
So in terms of image quality and video features the R6 Mark II is very good, what about autofocus? There is a very simple answer to that: simply incredible. The R6 II is clearly at the level of the R7 and R3 in terms of speed and reliability.
You can follow multiple types of subjects, in the menu you can select cars, people, or animals. Now you also have an ‘auto’ function, where the camera itself checks which subject is in front of the camera. The original R6 does not have this, so you had to go to the settings every time.
When you have selected one of those three functions, the camera can only recognize that subject. For example, if I selected ‘animals’, the R6 II could not recognize people. It can be quite annoying if you have to photograph a car event for example.
Is the autofocus reliable?
Yes, the autofocus of the R6 Mark II is very reliable. When you are focused on a subject, the camera does not let go. This is really useful during sporting events, the R6 II can recognize and focus on athletes’ eyes non-stop.
When there are several people in the picture, the camera has some difficulty choosing, it regularly switches to a different face or eye. You also have a joystick for this, with which you can choose which face or eye the R6 II focuses on.
Up to 40 photos a second
That title sounds promising, and I was stunned when I first saw this. So you can shoot up to 40 photos per second, provided you use the electronic shutter. You have to imagine it, a film in the cinema is often filmed at 24fps, so the R6 II shoots almost double that.
Now, you shouldn’t expect that you can shoot a movie with the R6 II burst, although a 2-second film should be possible. The buffer is not surprisingly large. I was able to shoot about 70 photos until the buffer was full, which is about 2 seconds.
What about rolling shutter?
A fair question, because rolling shutter is a serious problem with mirrorless cameras. With the original R6 the rolling shutter was very present, I just checked, and the R6 had a 30-ms rolling shutter.
Canon has made great strides with the R6 Mark II because the rolling shutter is now only 18-ms. That is an improvement of almost 50%, even though it is not a stacked sensor.
That does not mean that the rolling shutter is not present, you will notice it if you use the electronic shutter during wildlife photography or sports photography.
When I used the mechanical shutter I didn’t have any problems with the rolling shutter at all, so if you do one of these two types of photography I recommend you use the mechanical shutter.
A professional feeling
The Canon R6 Mark II feels very professional, the grip is a good size and I haven’t had the urge to order a battery grip. That was certainly the case with my previous camera, the RP.
The camera is made of good quality and you notice that when you hold it for the first time. It’s not a light camera, which could be a deal-breaker for some people. It weighs 680 grams to be precise.
Personally, I prefer this higher weight, I shoot a lot with a 24-70mm lens, which is quite heavy. When I use heavier lenses it feels balanced, something I also missed with my previous ‘beginner’ cameras.
And the buttons?
The ergonomics of the R6 Mark II are almost perfect, I’m used to Canon so it was fairly easy for me to get used to. I do have to get used to the on/off button, which is now in a different place.
I tend to turn the photo/video button all the time because the on/off button was in that place on my previous cameras.
The joystick and AF-ON button are located exactly where my thumb is on the back, the joystick is easy to operate and also feels good.
The AF-ON button is also in the right place, I only use back-button focus, so this was important to me.
I’ve never had to look at the buttons to find them, I find it important that I can quickly find all the buttons so I can quickly adjust the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. The R6 Mark II is very refined in this area.
Perfect for dark conditions
In the dark, you often have to use a higher ISO to get good exposure. The R6 II does not suffer from noise as easily. I was able to shoot up to ISO 3200 fairly easily and still get usable photos.
Well, the lighting does have a lot of influence on the result. If you take a photo that is slightly brighter, read: slightly overexposed, then you can easily remove the noise and you will have excellent photos.
If you take an underexposed photo in the dark, things become a lot more difficult. I was able to restore quite a few dark photos, but the noise you see is very disturbing. Most photos remain usable, especially with today’s AI noise reduction.
My tip is always to shoot an overexposed photo rather than an underexposed photo when you use higher ISOs. You will always add more noise if you have to crank up the brightness while editing.
Canon R6 Mark II For wildlife photography
The Canon R6 II is extremely popular among nature photographers, I understand why. The speed is unprecedented and cannot be compared with other cameras in this segment. Well, there are not only good points to mention, I like to look at a camera critically and will also mention the disadvantages for you.
Why the R6 II is good for wildlife photography
- The autofocus is very fast and accurate. You can select ‘animals’ in the menu and the camera will even recognize the eyes of most animals. When you are focused on a subject, the autofocus is stuck on the subject like glue.
- The weight is not too light and the grip is comfortable in my hand. With larger L lenses the camera is well balanced, although you will notice some imbalance with a 3KG lens.
- The burst mode with the mechanical shutter is 12fps, which in my experience is more than enough. I always shoot at this speed and have never had a problem with it.
Why the R6 II is not good for wildlife photography
- Well, I do have something to say about the R6 II, firstly you have a lower dynamic range when you use the electronic shutter. This is due to the 12-bit RAWs instead of the 14-bit RAWs.
- You can see the rolling shutter really well when you photograph action, especially with wings that move quickly you see strange artifacts. You can also see the background being distorted when birds are in flight.
- The pre-burst mode is useful, but I had to wait 5 seconds before I could take pictures again. In the meantime, you can’t go to the settings or anything like that.
Canon R6 II For wedding photography
You can also use the R6 II for wedding photography, the image quality is optimal and the noise performance is also good. You have to pay close attention to the settings, I will list the pros and cons for you.
Why the R6 II is good for wedding photography
- The autofocus is also very good and reliable for this. Make sure you select ‘people’ in the autofocus menu, otherwise, you will have a difficult time. The camera recognizes faces and eyes flawlessly, I have never had any concerns about the autofocus.
- Canon’s R6 II is not too heavy, so you can easily buy two bodies and carry them at the same time without much strain on your shoulders. A good harness is also useful, it makes a world of difference.
- You can shoot with the mechanical shutter, so you won’t hear any sound when taking photos. There is a disadvantage to the electronic shutter, but for wedding photography, it would be my choice.
- The camera starts up very quickly and you can take photos quickly. I didn’t have that with the R5, it took much longer. When you turn on the camera you almost immediately see the autofocus point, which makes stressful situations a lot easier.
Why the R6 II is not good for wedding photography
- The camera creates 12-bit RAWs with the electronic shutter. This was often not a problem for me, only in very dark conditions I noticed more noise in the shadows.
- You have a pre-burst mode that can be very useful for certain moments. After using this mode I had to wait 5 seconds before I could take pictures again, so you can miss an important moment.
Canon R6 Mark II For sports photography
Sports photography is in many ways a lot like wildlife photography, you have to capture a lot of fast action and cameras sometimes have challenges with that.
Well, I never had that problem with the Canon R6 Mark II.
Why the R6 II is good for sports photography
- The speed is very impressive, both the autofocus and the burst mode are more than sufficient for sports photography. The R6 II immediately recognizes the athletes and focuses on them. Even with a helmet on, the eye is razor sharp, which surprised me the most.
- When it comes to ergonomics, the R6 II is perfect. The buttons are exactly where I want them to be. You can easily adjust the ISO and the joystick is also located near my thumb. The R6 II is also perfect for sports photographers in this area.
- The battery is enough for an entire match, I could easily take 3000 photos on one battery. That is with the high burst, so I wasn’t shooting for 5 hours straight. However, I recommend that you take an extra battery with you.
Why the R6 II is not good for sports photography
- The rolling shutter is present when photographing sports and the 40 fps burst mode is very fast, but with fast-moving balls, you see an oval instead of a circle. This problem would be solved with a stacked sensor, but you need a Canon R3 for that.
- Canon’s pre-burst is useful for sporting events, but I had to wait 5 seconds for the file to be written to the card. During that time you cannot take photos or adjust settings.
Canon R6 II For landscape photography
I also enjoy landscape photography, although I do it less often than wildlife photography. The R6 II is an excellent choice for this, the resolution is not too low and the dynamic range is good.
Why the R6 II is good for landscape photography
- As I said, the 24 MP sensor is not too low resolution, so I was still able to see details in the landscapes. I actually think it is an advantage because the dynamic range is very good.
- Built-in stabilization helps enormously if you want to use a slightly longer shutter speed. Of course, it also depends on your hands, but I was able to take shutter speeds of up to 1 second from my hand, while the photo was still sharp. Handy at a waterfall!
Why the R6 II is not good for landscape photography
- Make sure you photograph with the mechanical shutter, so you have the highest dynamic range through the 14-bit RAWs. The electronic shutter creates 12-bit RAWs where you see the noise more quickly.
The best lenses for the Canon R6 Mark II
I have quite a lot of experience with Canon lenses, I have been shooting with Canon all my life and have had very good experiences with these lenses. I have not used all of the lenses I recommend myself, but they are undoubtedly suitable for all types of photography.
Lenses for sports and wildlife photography
For wildlife and sports photography you need large telephoto lenses, I often use a 100-400mm lens and this is actually not long enough. I recommend the following lenses for the R6 II for action photography:
- Budget: As a budget option I recommend the Canon RF 100-400mm, this is the cheapest lens in the line, but the quality is still acceptable. You will have to do some cropping afterward to get the birds completely into view.
- Upgrade: If you have a little more budget, I recommend the Canon RF 100-500mm L, this is a lens that is a lot more expensive but is of better quality. You also have a bit more zoom than the budget option.
- Best quality: Canon RF 600mm F4. So this is the best quality lens, if you still have $13,000 under a mattress, then it is a nice lens for photographing birds and athletes.
Lenses for wedding photography
For wedding photography, you need very different lenses than for wildlife photography. If I were you I wouldn’t save on lenses. Yes, they are expensive, but it is an investment and will pay for itself over time. I recommend the following lenses for wedding photography:
- Wide zoom: My first choice will be the Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8, this is a lens with which you can take very varied photos. From wide overview photos to portraits, you need this lens for weddings.
- Telezoom: In addition to the previous lens, I recommend the Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8, this is a nice extension of the 24-70mm and you can also take a lot of photos with it. You always want to have a combination of these lenses with you, so you are prepared for all types of photos.
- Prime lens: Finally, the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 is the prime lens that goes in my bag. This lens is perfect for everything from portraits to details. The F1.2 produces beautiful bokeh and the quality is very good.
Lenses for landscape photography
Finally, I would like to recommend some lenses for landscape photography, often these are wide-angle lenses. You don’t necessarily need an F2.8 lens for this, the F4 lenses are often good enough. That smaller aperture also makes the lens lighter, which is an advantage for landscapes.
- Budget: As a budget lens I recommend the Canon RF 15-30mm, this is not an L lens, so the quality will not be the best. The aperture is not very large, but I see that as an advantage because the lens is very light.
- Upgrade: Canon RF 14-35mm F4, this is an L lens. The quality is therefore a lot better than the budget lens that I recommend above. You can also get a little more into the picture thanks to the wider angle.
- Prime: If you are looking for a prime lens, I recommend the Canon RF 16mm F2.8. This is a very small and compact lens that has excellent quality. It is the cheapest on this list and it lets in a lot of light, with the F2.8 aperture.
Canon R6 Mark II Accessories
There are of course a lot more things you can buy for the R6 Mark II, from tripods to cages and batteries. I recommend ordering the following products with your R6 II:
- Extra battery: This one goes without saying, I always want to be able to rely on my camera, so an extra battery is desirable. There have been times when I only had one battery with me and it had not been charged properly. I must say, this is a very annoying situation.
- Memory cards: If I were you I wouldn’t skimp on memory cards, fast and reliable cards are important, especially if you photograph weddings. Look at the V90 cards that are the fastest, preferably from a reliable brand such as Sandisk.
- Cage: If you also want to shoot some video, a Smallrig cage is very useful for the R6 Mark II. This way you can mount all kinds of equipment such as a monitor, microphone, and an extra grip.
What's in the box?
Of course, you don’t just get a camera body in the box, there are also accessories that are included.
- Canon EOS R6 Mark II body
- Canon LP-E6 charger
- Canon LP-E6NH battery
Youtube review of the Canon R6 II
Professional photographer Manny Ortiz takes out the brand new Canon EOS R6 II and shows real-life examples of the R6 II in action. This way you can decide even better whether you want to get this camera. I’ll give you a warning,
Beware: After watching the video you will want it!
Outstanding features of the
Canon EOS R6 Mark II
- High-quality sensor: 24 MP Full-frame CMOS-sensor
- Fast-focusing: Dual Pixel AF II
- Deep learning: Detect cars, eyes, animals, and much more
- Hybrid shooting: Shoot in 4K60p resolution
- Extreme flexibility: Shoot 6K RAW externally
- Lightning-fast burst: up to 40 fps with the electronic shutter
- Build-in stabilization up to 8 stops
- Double storage slots
Now you have read everything, you know exactly what the strengths and weaknesses of the Canon R6 Mark II are. The image quality is good, with a wide dynamic range and the ISO performance is also impressive. The R6 II also feels good in the hand and the ergonomics are optimal for a flawless workflow.
There are some downsides, such as the lower buffer and rolling shutter. Pay close attention to the way you shoot, with the 40fps burst I recommend that you do not hold the shutter button down all the time, but rather release it a few times.
I’m curious if you will buy the Canon R6 Mark II, if so, don’t forget to share the article with fellow photographers.
Who is Sebastiaan?
Hi! I am Sebastiaan, the writer of this blog. With years of experience as a professional photographer, I want to share my expertise with you. From recommending cameras and lenses to giving tips that make a world of difference, that’s what I enjoy doing most.
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