Canon R6-II Hands-on: Faster, more resolution and reduced heating issues |  Engadget

Canon R6-II Hands-on: Faster, more resolution and reduced heating issues | Engadget

Just two years after the release of the original EOS R6, Canon has unveiled its successor, the $2,500 EOS R6 Mark II. It brings a number of key improvements, such as a higher-resolution 24.2-megapixel sensor and faster shooting speeds. Most importantly, Canon has greatly reduced the previous model’s overheating problem.

The EOS R6 was the best camera in this key price range when it was launched, thanks to its speed, powerful video capabilities and excellent Dual Pixel hybrid autofocus. But when Sony’s $2,500 A7 IV came along with comparable capabilities, more resolution and no overheating issues, the R6 lost that very crown.

At a preview event in San Diego, Canon let me shoot with R6 Mark II prototypes for a couple of days in a variety of sports situations. Since it’s not a production model and still had some bugs, this isn’t a final review – but it did give us a chance to share some early impressions.

Body and handling

The EOS R6 II is not just a slightly updated “A” version of the original. It has significant physical and performance changes, starting with the new 24.2-megapixel sensor. It is not, as rumors suggested, the stacked backside illuminated (BSI) sensor from the EOS R3; there is a reason why the model costs so much. But it does offer some advantages over the 20-megapixel chip on the R6.

Canon promises improved image quality beyond just the extra megapixels, thanks to the updated image processing. It also offers improved low-light sensitivity despite the slightly smaller pixels. And Canon says rolling shutter is reduced over the R6.

The R6 also has some changes on the outside. The power/lock/off switch is now located on the right where it’s easier to reach but harder to accidentally hit. It also has a new video/photo mode switch that keeps these functions and all their settings separate. Flipping it also changes the menus, and Canon has introduced a convenient video-specific Q menu.

Steve Dent/Engadget

Otherwise, it’s about the same weight and size as the R6, and has identical grip, menus, control layout and handling. It also uses the predecessor’s stylish fold-out display for vlogging or selfies, dual UHS II card slots and 3.67 million point electronic viewfinder. And of course, it comes with microphone and headphone ports, along with a USB-C socket and (sadly) a microHDMI socket. It has a new in-body stabilization (IBS) system, but it offers the same 8 stops of shake reduction as the EOS R6.

The battery is also identical, but Canon has increased efficiency, from a maximum of 510 shots on the R6 to 760 on the R6 Mark II. In one day I took over 2,000 shots without changing the battery, mostly with the mechanical shutter – pretty impressive.

Performance and image quality

Mechanical shutter bursts are unchanged at 12 fps (RAW, full frame), which is good considering the extra resolution. But now you can shoot RAW images in silent mode at a blistering 40 fps. Additionally, the R6 II now comes with a pre-shoot (RAW burst) option that captures RAW files for half a second before you press the shutter. It allows you to capture a moment even if you react slowly, albeit at the cost of a little battery life. When I tested the feature, I found that it may have allowed me to capture a few shots (out of thousands) that I might have otherwise missed.

Canon R6-II Hands-on: Faster, more resolution and reduced heating issues

Steve Dent/Engadget

Those speeds are great, but if photos are marred by excessive shutter rolling (hello Sony), they’re not that useful. Fortunately rolling shutter is present but better controlled than on the R6, and far less severe than I saw on the A7 IV. It can take a fairly large number of shots (about 70-75 uncompressed RAW files, or 140 compressed RAW files) before the buffer fills, and it recovers quite quickly with fast UHS-II V90 cards. Still, it would have been nice to see a CFexpress slot for faster shooting and better quality video files.

The autofocus on the R6 II is more advanced than any Canon model to date, including the R3, the company says. It now handles people, animals and vehicles, including motorcycles, cars, trains and horses. And it now has an automatic selection that lets the AI ​​decide what to track, which should be a requirement of every mirrorless camera.

The AI ​​smoothly tracked my subject’s eyes, but it sometimes got lost and didn’t quite live up to Sony’s high standards. In regular spot continuous mode (no AI), the autofocus seemed as accurate as the R6, and nailed it in most cases. It was sometimes confused by the background or nearby subjects, but again, this was a prototype unit; these issues could be improved before the December release date.

Gallery: Canon EOS R6 Mark II camera sample images | 27 photos

Image quality is also difficult to judge at this point, as RAW files are not yet ready to be viewed. But JPEGs looked good, with standard Canon-like warm skin tones and accurate hues. Low-light performance was surprisingly solid, with noise well controlled at ISO 6400 and even beyond.


My biggest issue with the original EOS R6 was video, and specifically the overheating issues. That model could only shoot 4K 60p for 30 minutes, and only for another 10 minutes or so after it cooled down enough to shoot again. Suffice it to say, it’s a serious problem for professional shooters.

These issues are effectively gone, and Canon also removed the 30 minute recording time limit. You can now shoot 4K 60p uncropped for 40 minutes and it can normally go well beyond that. Cropped 4K 60p has a limit of 50 minutes, and supersampled 4K 30p has no limits.

Canon R6-II Hands-on: Faster, more resolution and reduced heating issues

Steve Dent/Engadget

It also has better video specs overall. Internally, you can shoot 4K 60fps supersampled from a 5.1K portion of the sensor (or the full sensor width with some pixel binning). 4K at 30 fps is supersampled from 6K at full sensor width. And it now supports 180 fps for 1080p, up from 120 fps previously. Capture files are still limited to MP4 and Quicktime with no ProRes internally – likely a limitation of the UHS II cards. Just like photos, there is a no-pre-record option that captures 3 or 5 seconds of video in a loop before pressing the record button.

In addition, the camera supports 10-bit 4K video and increased dynamic range with either HDR PQ or CLog3. And you can even record 6K RAW to an external Atomos recorder, although that feature wasn’t ready for testing yet.

Gallery: Canon EOS R6 Mark II press images | 15 pictures

As with photos, AF for video tracks people, animals and vehicles. In my limited testing, it worked well, only occasionally focusing on the background. So far, subject tracking isn’t quite as reliable as I saw on the A7 IV, but again, that could be improved with some firmware or other tweaks.

The video was sharp and I didn’t encounter any overheating issues in San Diego, where the temperature reached about 80 degrees in the sun. 1080p 180p video seems a bit soft, as it’s recorded with some pixel binning, and cropped 4K also lacked sharpness compared to full-frame 4K. I was happy with the colors and low-light video performance was good to excellent.


Canon R6-II Hands-on: Faster, more resolution and reduced heating issues

Steve Dent/Engadget

By minimizing heat issues, the R6 II is already a big improvement over the original R6. But it also looks like a better camera for photography thanks to the higher resolution, faster speeds and improved image quality – without the need for a stacked sensor.

Canon’s entire RF ecosystem is also getting better. Its latest lens is the impressive 135mm f/1.8, which combines 26 other full-frame and zoom lenses. So this system has matured surprisingly, considering it was only launched four years ago. I can’t give you a final evaluation for key features like image quality and autofocus, as it’s still in the prototype stage. However, we expect to revisit the Canon EOS R6 Mark II in the form of a full review when it launches in December.

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