The Canon EOS 6D is something of an oddity in digital camera terms, having been in continuous production for almost five years. But finally, the time has come for an update to one of Canon's most popular models, and it has arrived in the shape of the EOS 6D Mark II.
Unusually for a new Canon product, we had the chance earlier this month to use a late pre-production EOS 6D Mark II ahead of its official announcement. What follows is a first take on how the camera performs, based on a two-day shooting excursion, organized by Canon, to the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
The first thing that struck me about the EOS 6D Mark II is how similar it feels to the original 6D. Ergonomically, Canon really hasn't changed the basic recipe much. When the two cameras are compared side by side, it's pretty hard to tell them apart from a moderate distance and even in use, there are more similarities between the models than there are differences.
The major operational difference is also the most obvious. The 6D Mark II's rear LCD is fully articulating, and touch-sensitive, in line with recent Canon DSLRs like the EOS 80D. In fact, the 6D Mark II handles a lot like a slightly up-sized 80D in general. It also shares a lot of the same technology, in particular the same 45-point PDAF system and Dual Pixel autofocus in live view and movie modes.
As such, for 80D users looking to make the jump into full-frame, the 6D Mark II would be a very sensible upgrade - aside from the lack of a built-in flash on the 6D, there's virtually no learning curve.
The 6D Mark II incorporates a latest-generation Digic 7 processor, which enables an impressively fast continuous shooting rate of 6.5 fps. I haven't had a chance to shoot any action with the 6D II yet, but even during extended shooting of bracketed Raw images it didn't keep me waiting. Canon claims a burst depth of 25 Raw + JPEG Fine shots at 6.5fps with a fast UHS-I card and this seems accurate, based on my experience.
The 6D Mark II's viewfinder experience is pleasant, thanks to a magnification of 0.71x and 98% coverage vertically and laterally. Sub-100% viewfinder coverage is just one of several differentiators that Canon uses to distinguish its non-professional models (a single card slot being another) but the loss of that 2% is unlikely to cause any problems in normal photography.
Autofocus response in one-shot mode is fast and positive, but the downside of adopting the 80D's PDAF autofocus system is obvious when you put your eye to the viewfinder. Because it is inherited from a cropped-sensor camera, the AF array occupies a comparatively small, central area of the 6D II's frame. The relative lack of lateral AF coverage means that the 6D Mark II won't be particularly versatile when it comes to off-center compositions or tracking, but to be quite honest, I suspect that most potential buyers won't care.
If you really need super-accurate AF tracking from a Canon DSLR, you'll need to save up for an EOS-1D X Mark II. But based on our experience of the closely-related 80D, the 6D II's 45-point cross-type AF system, coupled with the 7560-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor is likely to be more than adequate for everyday shooting of mostly static subjects.Read More...
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