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Canon EOS 6D Mark II: Lots of improvements but lacks 4K video recording

Better shooting speed, more autofocusing points and excellent battery life are among the stand-out features of the Canon EOS 6D Mark II.
Better shooting speed, more autofocusing points and excellent battery life are among the stand-out features of the Canon EOS 6D Mark II.PHOTO: CANON

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is an entry-level full-frame DSLR camera in the Japanese imaging giant's growing photography arsenal.

As its Mark II moniker suggests, this is the successor to the original 6D that was launched nearly five years ago - an eternity in technological terms.

The 6D Mark II has plenty of improvements, including a 26.2- megapixel full-frame image sensor (up from the original's 20.2 megapixels) and the latest Digic 7 image processor (a two-generation improvement from 6D's Digic 5). As a result, shooting speed has improved to 6.5 frames per sec (fps), up from the original's 4.5fps.

While 6D has a fixed 3-inch 1.04-million-dot display, the Mark II comes with a 270-degree rotatable 3-inch touchscreen display of the same resolution. Great for composing shots in creative angles.

One of the weaknesses of the 6D has been its sluggish autofocusing (AF) speed, especially during video recording, and meagre 19 AF points.

Canon rectified that with the Mark II, which boasts 45 AF points and includes the company's much-touted Dual Pixel AF technology, which allows for quick AF during Live view image capture and video recording.

But, being the entry-level full-frame DSLR camera with a much more affordable price than its other full-frame peers, some features found in Canon's mid-range full-frame DSLR EOS 5D Mark IV are missing here.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $2,899 (body only)

    IMAGE SENSOR: 26.2-megapixel full-frame CMOS

    DISPLAY: Tiltable 3-inch touchscreen with 1,040,000 dots; optical viewfinder

    SENSITIVITY: ISO 50 to 102,400

    SHOOTING SPEED: Up to 6.5 frames per second

    WEIGHT: 765g (without battery and memory card)

    RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

I can understand having fewer AF points (than 5D Mark IV's 61), no dual memory card slots and smaller display. But the omission of 4K video recording is almost scandalous, considering that even high-end smartphones are capable of shooting 4K videos.

Build-wise, though, the 6D Mark II feels really sturdy, almost as solid as the 5D Mark IV. Its rubberised grip lets you hold the camera comfortably when shooting.

Button layout is impeccable. Those who have used top-end Canon DSLR cameras, such as the 5D Mark IV or 7D Mark II, will be totally at home with the 6D Mark II's handling and controls.

The responsive touchscreen display also makes changing settings easier and quicker, as you can tap directly at the options instead of moving the dials.

The only downer is that the 6D still does not have the joystick multi-controller of high-end EOS DSLR cameras, which lets you move the AF point.

The Mark II's start-up and shutdown operations are almost instantaneous. Shutter lag is negligible.

Using an SD card with a 94MB per sec writing speed, the camera was able to capture 17 RAW images in 2.6sec. Shooting speed is as advertised - 6.5fps.

In this review, I used the camera with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L II USM lens.

In bright sunlight, the AF was instantaneous. In dim lighting, it took less than a second to lock onto a focus.

The AF performance during video recording is quite stellar. When panning from one scene to another, it took less than 2sec to automatically lock onto a focus in most cases. Its predecessor usually took more than 3sec to do so or even gave up.

Image quality is excellent with sharp and good level of details. Colour rendition is superb and accurate.

Image noise is non-existent at ISO 3,200. And you have to go up to ISO 25,600 to notice significant noise artefacts and loss of details.

Its full high-definition video quality is sharp but its microphone readily picks up a fair bit of ambient and wind audio.

Battery life is superb at 1,200 still images on a full charge. If you are travelling, you probably can go for five days before needing to recharge the battery.

As it also uses the same battery as 5D Mark IV, the 6D Mark II can be a great back-up DSLR camera for professional photographers who use the 5D Mark IV.

They can just slot the battery from a malfunctioned 5D Mark IV into the 6D Mark II.

•Verdict: The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a superb entry-level full-frame DSLR with autofocusing and excellent image quality. The only downer is the lack of 4K video recording.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2017, with the headline 'Lots of improvements but lacks 4K video recording'. Print Edition | Subscribe