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Complete Review Of The Canon EOS 6D Mark II

Michael Rivera
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Can this DSLR perform better than modern cameras today at half the price? Learn more about its specs, pros, and cons in our Canon EOS 6D Mark II review. Released back in 2017, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR camera is a consistent favorite among amateur and professional photographers. With its strong battery life, a vari-angle LCD, and an improved processor from its predecessor, the Mark II is a reliable workhorse of a Canon shooter for both the enthusiastic casual and the prolific professional. Read our comprehensive review below to find out why photographers still seek out the Canon EOS 6D Mark II today.

Camera Overview

With its impressive autofocus system that utilizes dual pixel technology, this iteration of the Canon EOS is a mainstay even by today’s standards because of its features and price range. The EOS 6D Mark II was essentially built for photographers who are looking for a reliable Canon body for both outdoor and indoor photography. 

For beginners looking at the original Canon EOS line, the Mark II is an impressive introduction to DSLRs that balance both function and form. Changes from the previous Canon EOS model include modifications to the body for better image quality and improvements to its user interface.

Yes, there are some compromises for this full-frame DSLR, which we will cover in detail in our review. But at its price point, it’s no surprise that many photographers still love this camera.



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4.8
5/5

This model was marketed as a solid introduction to full-frame systems and is in every bit an improvement of the Mark I.

This model was marketed as a solid introduction to full-frame systems and is in every bit an improvement of the Mark I. From its physical build to its image quality, the Mark II represents a reasonable upgrade for owners of the first model at a price that won’t break the bank. 

Users of the previous Canon EOS 6D model are quick to point out its slightly better dynamic range, but this difference is negligible. Upgrading to the Mark II means faster image processing and a weatherproof build, all while keeping the same lens mount to match both your STM lens and the Mark II USM lens.

The picture quality significantly improves from the first version, with a bevy of AF systems to suit many scenarios. Users of the Mark II can quickly shift between pre-set AF systems by pushing the AF button, which covers the most common lighting conditions and compositions.

Overall, budding enthusiasts and fans of Canon shooters will love this camera. But with an autofocus system that was revolutionary for its time, it’s a shame the Mark II is handicapped by a dynamic range that leaves much to be desired.

Build And Handling

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II boasts a sturdy and weather-proofed DSLR build, with seals on the camera ports to protect it from dust, moisture, and the elements. Just like its predecessor, the 6D Mark II has a body of polycarbonate with glass fiber and aluminum alloy, but differs a little in size – users of the 6D will note that this model is much more compact as a result of its updated build.

For its time, the EOS 6D Mark II was a light and compact camera in the family of Canon full-frame DSLR units. But by today’s standards, it has considerable heft. Plus, the lack of a built-in flash means you have to mount your own flash into the hot shoe, adding to its total weight. However, the rear LCD screen is a noteworthy improvement, which now pops out in vari-angle to allow better flexibility in shooting.

Weight And Feel

The camera is designed to sit comfortably in your hand, despite the camera’s weight. At 765g (inclusive of battery and memory card), the additional heft gives it a very professional feel and good balance. That said, it’s a bit lighter than other cameras in its generation, which average in weight at 800g.

Users of the old Canon EOS 6D will find both of these full-frame DSLR cameras nearly identical in their button layouts, with the Mark II being notably more compact. However, there’s no built-in flash and it may be incompatible with some of its predecessors’ accessories, which might turn some faithful users off of the EOS 6D Mark II.

User Interface

The EOS 6D Mark II features a rear LCD screen that brightly displays information, such as the camera’s AF system, drive, and ISO. A button sits next to the command dial, allowing you to change between focusing modes. 

Settings like shutter speed and ISO levels are easy to use and intuitive for photographers who are already used to Canon bodies. These setting buttons rest on the upper right side of the body, naturally laid out for the right thumb to reach. 

The vari-angle LCD makes it easier for the photographer to utilize different angles for the perfect shot composition. The optical viewfinder has also been slightly improved, from the Mark I’s 97% to the Mark II’s 98%.

Overall, this full-frame camera offers a hefty and robust build that improves on its predecessor’s body. With a compact button layout, bright vari-display LCD, and weatherproof features, the Mark II is a lighter and more durable version of the Canon EOS 6D designed for prolific use.

Autofocus System

This full-frame DSLR features a decent 45-point autofocus system, a considerable improvement from the EOS 6D’s 11 points. All 45 points are cross-type, with the center as a functional dual cross-type. The Mark II’s AF system is also fully customizable, with over 16 different settings you can modify.

The Mark II’s autofocus system is geared towards manual control. The AF system’s crosspoint can shoot a slightly better picture when taken at about 45 degrees from the regular point for even more accurate shots. However, do keep in mind that the focus points of the camera might need some getting used to. 

Subject tracking is fair in performance, as the Canon EOS 6D Mark II’s active AF point is heavily centered on the frame. This means you will be recomposing some shots as necessary, particularly when your subject is off-center.

Another great feature is the dual-pixel CMOS AF, which shines in live view photography. Yes, most full-frame DSLRs and mirrorless cameras in the market today can outperform this camera in terms of processing power, but this is a fantastic dual-pixel AF system for its price tag. The live view of the EOS 6D Mark II is a joy to shoot with – crisp, smooth, and quick enough, even by today’s standards.

Image Quality

Does this iteration of the Canon EOS deliver in terms of image quality? Yes, but with a few qualifications. 

Even with its impressive dual-pixel CMOS AF, raw image quality is largely dependent on how you use the camera’s strongest features. But, in the right hands, the EOS 6D Mark II can almost hold up to its mirrorless camera competitors today.

The camera performs best in direct sunlight, making it an easy choice for landscape photography and other natural light settings. In artificial light, you can configure your shooting mode to improve image quality. Also, consider shooting at lower ISO settings, using a slower burst speed, and adjusting for noise reduction.

Viewfinder

With a viewfinder range of 98%, you might accidentally get extraneous elements in your pictures. But the 2% difference is not that noticeable – in actual use, it’s easy and intuitive to compose shots, especially if you’re coming into this camera as a long-time Canon user.

Exposure

In the right hands, this full-frame camera can produce excellent photos thanks to its 26.2MP sensor, even with the unimpressive dynamic range. 

Its 100-40,000 ISO range is expandable to 50-102,400 and yields negligible levels of noise at ISO 800. Shooting at a sensitivity of ISO 4000 has a slightly more pronounced chroma noise. The EOS 6D Mark II also comes with Canon’s flicker detection option, a consistent feature across EOS models that compensates for its underwhelming low-light performance.

The raw files from your Mark II should come out beautifully. To bring out the best in your shots, reduce the image noise during post-processing.

Performance On The Field

Right off the bat, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II has fantastic battery life, as its LP-E6N battery is rated for over 1,200 shots. Even with two days of serious shooting, the battery levels barely move. The only disappointment is that the previous model’s BG-E21 battery grip is incompatible with the Mark II.

As for connectivity, the EOS 6D Mark II comes with built-in Wi-FI, GPS, and Bluetooth connectivity with mobile devices. The straightforward interface lets you transfer your photos and videos to both your mobile devices and computers.

Other Features

The burst rate for this model sits at 6.5fps and can shoot 21 RAW files in succession. The EOS 6D Mark II has a shutter speed of up to 1/4000 and a frame burst depth of 150 frames – that’s a bit of a downgrade from the 1,250-shot limit of the original Canon EOS 6D.

In terms of speed, it might not be the best camera for sports photography, but it’s a solid compromise. Shooting fast-moving subjects with the Mark II’s live view AF system doesn’t feel natural, and the resulting shots will come out with a considerable amount of image noise. However, at its fantastic price point, getting 6.5fps for a full-frame camera is worth it.

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II also uses a 7560-pixel RGB-IR metering sensor, with 63-zone Evaluative, Partial, Center-weighted, and Spot-metering options. Photographers familiar with Canon’s evaluative system know that the trick to maximizing it lies in the autofocus. 

It’s also equipped with a surprisingly reliable auto white balance, which lets you choose between two preset options: 

  • Ambient Priority mode lets you retain the mood of the shot while making it a touch warmer.
  • White Priority gives you a crisp and neutral shot, even with artificial lighting.

Video Capabilities

There’s no beating around the bush – the Canon EOS 6D Mark II is not the best camera for video shooting. This Canon camera doesn’t come with 4K video quality, which is a strange exclusion considering the other improvements from the Mark I.

Canon makes up for the lackluster movie recording capabilities with HD video at 60fps and a built-in five-axis digital stabilization for video. This was a novel feature at the time, as other models (e.g, some Sony bodies) required a physical sensor-shift system. You don’t have to worry about that, as the stabilization is fully built-in.

Pros And Cons

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II gives you incredible value in the following ways:

  • Very competitive price point for a full-frame DSLR system (as low as $1219.95)
  • Compatibility with the Mark I lens kit
  • Plenty of available accessories, such as remote control capability via Bluetooth
  • Reliable AF system that shines in Live View and Continuous AF

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II doesn’t have a lot of drawbacks, but these are the cons you should consider:

  • No 4K video capabilities, allows only video capture in HD (1920×1080)
  • -2% Viewfinder differential from the Mark I
  • Considerable color error for its generation (5.1, although still better than the EOS 6D’s 6.3)

Alternatives To The Canon EOS 6D Mark II

Long-time Canon users may want to upgrade to the EOS 6D Mark II from older DSLR models as it’s a body-only configuration, which means that it’s compatible with other Canon lenses and accessories. But outside the Canon family, the Mark II’s stiffest competition comes from Nikon. 

Let’s take a look at some of the best non-Canon alternatives to the Mark II.

The Nikon D750

The Nikon D750 is a little pricier, retailing at $1699 for brand-new models, but boasts a slightly better 51-point AF system. It also features a better dynamic range. With a 91,000-pixel RGB sensor, two SD memory card slots, and a tiltable LCD screen, it certainly shows up the EOS 6D in terms of features and stats. 

The Sony A7 III

Among Sony bodies, the Sony A7 III retails at about $1799, brand-new and body only. This model features a very compact body and a similar built-in video stabilization feature to the Mark II. Although a pricier camera, the A7 III boasts a 693-point AF system, 4K video, and dual SD card slots like the Nikon camera above.

4.8
5/5
Canon EOS 6D Mark II


Should You Get The Canon EOS 6D Mark II?

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II produces a similar image quality to other full-frame cameras in its price range. The RAW files taken with each camera only slightly vary in image noise and white balance, which can be corrected in post-processing.

So, it’s really a matter of budget and your reason for purchasing. If you already own a Canon DSLR, particularly the Mark I or older, then purchasing the Canon EOS 6D Mark II right now is a great steal as a body-only configuration. If you’re just breaking into DSLR photography and looking to buy your very first full-frame camera, the EOS 6D Mark II offers the ideal balance between feature and form.

But if you’re an experienced photographer who wants to take better photos with minimal post-processing, consider the Mark II’s competition – both Nikon and Sony have some great alternatives. An extra $400-500 could get you a newer camera with better features.

Conclusion

The Mark II has a bluff polycarbonate body, boasts a compact button layout with a dual dial system, and shoots like a charm – most especially with an STM lens. Its highly alluring price point means you can get a full-frame DSLR camera on a budget, perfect for both the budding freelancer and the shrewd photography enthusiast. 

With its Live View AF and white balancing options, you’re guaranteed crisp and clear pictures in natural light. Together with its remarkable battery life, these strengths make the Canon EOS 6D Mark II a distinguished training camera for learning and mastering manual control. 

If you’re thinking about purchasing the Canon EOS 6D Mark II today, it’s all about compromise. The Canon EOS 6D Mark II’s strongest suit is its price tag. At a little less than S$1300, you get a tough and versatile entry into DSLR photography. That said, there are a few features notably missing from this “upgrade”, including 4K video shooting capabilities and built-in flash.

Despite its trade-offs, the Mark II can still compete with many of today’s bleeding-edge mirrorless cameras. In fact, it’s the one older DSLR that Canon users still talk about to this very day!



4.8
5/5

This model was marketed as a solid introduction to full-frame systems and is in every bit an improvement of the Mark I.



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