Canon ups the full-frame camera stakes with the EOS R6 Mark II

On paper at least, the new R6 looks like it's great as a first full-frame camera or a secondary camera for a pro.

by Justin Choo

The Canon EOS R6 Mark II (R6 Mk2) is a refinement of Canon’s popular R6.

The updates steer it towards the realm of the capable hybrid camera that will appeal to both enthusiasts who want a fairly-priced full-frame camera that can do it all or professionals who need a spare, weatherproof body that can easily integrate into their current workflow–especially in the case of video production–by operating with compatible file formats and settings.

On the surface, the R6 doesn’t look like a major upgrade over its predecessor, but the tweaks seem to plug the gaps that the original R6 had. The new R6 receives a new 24.2MP sensor that Canon says resolves images better than the one found in the 30.4-megapixel EOS 5D Mark IV, while the native ISO speed has been bumped up to 102,400. 

Canon EOS R6 Mark II with the new 135mm lens.

As a stills camera, the EOS R6 Mark II has the horsepower to deliver up to 40 fps RAW files with AF/AE tracking (12 fps with mechanical shutter), making it the fastest EOS system camera in terms of continuous shooting speed, and the first past 30 fps with AF/AE. The camera is also able to save files as HDR PQ HEIF; intermediate 10-bit files for better dynamic range at a reasonable file size. 

“Moving subject priority” HDR mode has been added, which helps to overcome the difficulty of creating HDR merges of moving subjects by achieving the same effect with just one shot. 

Improved tracking

Excerpt from a RAW burst shot. (resized) | Image: Canon

The new R6 is also smarter when it comes to tracking subjects being captured. Horses, trains, and aeroplanes are now detectable by the deep learning-based algorithm, and eye detection can distinguish between the right or left eye, and you can prioritise either. The new “Auto subject detection” mode also makes it possible to automatically detect more than one type of subject within the same frame. 

Canon also says that thanks to deep learning technology, the camera can now recognise changes in posture, orientation, or ambient brightness, be it for people, animals and vehicles, and maintains consistent tracking. This works for both stills and videos.

Action shot taken with the RF135mm. (resized) | Image: Canon

Meanwhile, the AI Focus AF mode automatically detects subject motion and switches between One-Shot AF and Servo AF modes, which helps when shooting subjects that may move unpredictably.

And if you need to quickly zoom in on your subject and you have no time to change lenses, the Digital Teleconverter takes a leaf out of the smartphone playbook by handily increasing the focal length by 2x or 4x on the fly for those ‘hey, a shot is better than no shot’ moments.

Video Prowess

But what seals the deal for the R6 Mk2 in this respect are features like 6K 60p RAW video external recording with an Atomos Ninja V+ (ProRes RAW 6K 59.94p 10-bit or ProRes RAW 3.7K 59.94p 12-bit) and Canon Log 3 support. Furthermore, Cinema EOS camera users will find some things intuitively familiar, such as the alternative Quick Controls and the false colour function to make it easier to adjust exposure even in tricky conditions. 

The R6 Mk2 also records Full HD data simultaneously to one of the two ubiquitous SD card slots for ease of editing. Alternatively, the R6 Mk2 can deliver 4K 60p videos (oversampled from 6K), as well as the continuous recording of 4K 30p subject to battery life and storage capacity. For those who need slow-motion effects, you’ll be glad to know that the R6 Mk2 can record at 180 frames per second.

The R6 features a new 24.2MP sensor for added detail. | Image: Canon

The camera also features Focus breathing correction–a first in the EOS camera range–which reduces unwanted viewing angle changes during focus transitions. Other firsts (on a full-frame camera) include Pre-recording, which captures footage up to 5 seconds before the record button is pressed, and Hybrid Auto Mode, which records video 2-4 seconds before shutter release (when shooting photos) and automatically compiles them into a digest movie.

To compound its versatility, the R6 Mk2 can also be used as a livestream or remote meeting camera. It supports UVC (USB Video Class) and UAC (USB Audio Class) protocols for Full HD 30p video and audio to be delivered to a Windows/Mac OS computer in real time without a need for extra software.

Quality of life updates

The R6 Mk2 now supports both 5GHz and 2.4GHz wireless connections and expanded features with the Camera Connect app functions such as automatic data transfer and shutter release, which are now also possible via a wired USB connection. Data transfer to FTP servers is also supported via wired and wireless methods. 

Battery life has also been improved and it can now shoot up to 760 shots on a single charge, compared to up 510 shots previously.

New Prime and Speedlite

RF135mm f/1.8L IS USM | Image: Canon

The RF135mm f/1.8L IS USM is Canon’s first professional 135mm prime lens for the RF mount.  Weighing only 935 g, it still manages to fit in an optical image stabiliser that can manage up to 5.5 stops. With a compatible camera and Coordinated Control IS, you can achieve up to eight stops.

It also supports focus breathing correction and has two new customisable lens function buttons on the lens body so you can easily control AF and/or exposure settings quickly. 

Speedlite EL-5 | Image: Canon

The Speedlite EL-5 is compatible with the new 15-pin Multi-Function Shoe on some of the recent EOS R cameras and allows additional functionalities such as wireless control via a smartphone on top of regular wireless control as a transmitter and receiver. The flash currently works with the REOS R6 Mark II, and the EOS R3, EOS R7 and EOS R10 via a firmware update. 

The EL-5 can microflash as low as 1/1024 and features a recycling time of approximately 0.1 to 1.2 seconds and can emit continuous flashes approximately 95 times or more at full output (GN 608). 

Pricing and Availability 

The EOS R6 Mark II will be available from Canon authorised dealers at the following recommended retail price, from 18 November 2022. 

The EOS R6 Mark II body is priced at $3,899 while the EOS R6 Mark II Kit (with RF24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM) is priced at $4,388. 

The pre-order promotion, which runs from 2 – 16 November 2022 gives you an additional 24-month warranty package (on top of the standard 1-year warranty) worth up to $360 and two sensor cleaning services (worth $40) for registered EOS R6 Mark II cameras within 36 months from date of purchase.

Pricing and availability of the RF135mm f/1.8L IS USM and Speedlite EL-5 will be advised at a later date. 

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