Thursday, April 20, 2023

Using the Canon R6 Mark II: My initial thoughts

Most of you know that I switched to all mirrorless cameras about a year ago, mainly using the Canon R6, Canon R5 and the Canon R3 bodies. Everything has been going great with these three camera bodies, but with the release of the Canon R6 MK II, I decided to sell my Canon R6 and switch to the new body. 

I have been using the Canon R6 MK II for a while now and wanted to give you my initial thoughts.

Why I wanted to upgrade

First of all, let me tell you why I switched to the new camera. I thought that it would be nice to have the following (in order of importance to me):

* Higher resolution (24.2MP vs 20.1MP)

* Even better auto focus (face and eye detection)

* A faster frame rate (40fps vs 20fps)

I also like to be using the latest and greatest cameras since Canon is always upping their game. 

Much like the Canon R6, the image quality is exceptional, capturing great detail, color and clarity. So now I have the same great quality with the increased resolution. This is a good thing, although it is not a massive change going from 20MP to 24MP. In many ways, the newer camera acts and feels like the original R6, but in some ways it is very different. More to come on that later. 

Below are some images I captured on the Canon R6 MK II while on our photo tour in Japan last month.

The overall ergonomics and weight of the camera stay the same, which is a good thing since I have had no issues with this on any of the Canon mirrorless cameras (other than the original Canon R with the touch bar). 

I have been blown away with how good the subject and eye detection has been on the recent Canon mirrorless cameras, and heard that with the R6 MK II, it was even better. When selecting the subject to detect, there is now a menu option for "Auto" which I assumed would save me jumping between "people" and "animals", which I do fairly frequently since I use the camera for local events and photo tours. But so far I have found that choosing my subject type manually (like with the Canon R6) gives me better results. There is also an option for the eye detection which lets me choose "Auto", "Right eye" or "Left eye".  I am not sure why I would ever use this, since I almost always want to focus on the eye that is closest to me, not caring which side that is. Auto does a great job and I just leave that as my default.

The faster frame rate is a nice to have, but not a real selling point for me, since I rarely use the highest frame rate of my Canon R3 (other than to capture fast action in sports). But...if I am going to capture fast action, I will still default to the R3. The typical photographer would never need 40 fps, but I guess it is nice to have that option for sports of wildlife photography. The only drawback of 40fps, is having to go through so many similar images in post production. 

I know that there are many improvements when shooting video with the Canon R6 MK II, but since I am primarily a still shooter, I will leave that to the videographers.

The one change I don't like

Now let me talk about the one "feature" that I do not like on the new Canon R6 MK II. They moved the power switch to the right side of the camera. That may not sound like a big deal, but to us photographers who have gotten used to all the buttons and dials, this is a real pain. Not only did they move the power switch to the right, there is another switch (almost exactly where the power switch used to be) for selecting still image mode or video mode. I have built up many years of muscle memory, and have used the wrong switch countless times in the last month. It is really frustrating. When I am using the Canon R6 MK II in combination with the Canon R3 (where the power is on the back of the camera) it is less confusing. When using the Canon R6 MK II in combination with the Canon R5, I have to consciously remember which camera I am using, to make sure I am turning the camera off and not switching to video mode. 

Was it worth the upgrade?

The big question I ask myself is: Was it really worth upgrading from the Canon R6 to the Canon R6 MK II? And the answer is a little convoluted. I really love the camera and the images look awesome, but this was true from the R6. The increased resolution is nice to have, but not a massive difference. I have yet to use the burst rate of 40fps, so that is not a factor. Lastly, the auto focus is excellent, but again, it was excellent in the original. So it comes down to the cost. I was able to sell my R6 and purchase the new R6 MK II for a net difference of about $400. I think it is worth that to be using the latest and greatest. If you are looking to upgrade from a DSLR camera or an older Canon R, either camera would be a great addition to your camera bag. I think the big difference will come down to budget. If you are willing to pay $500 more for the newest model, then the Canon R6 MK II is your camera. If you are on a tighter budget, the original Canon R6 will cost less and is still is a great choice, while they are still offered.


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Anonymous said...

Great review! I bought the R5 about 18 months ago. I do concert photography. I was shocked that the camera only has zebra stripes in video mode. If you bump into any of the Canon reps, please ask them to release an upgrade that adds zebra stripes or blinkies to Stills mode on these cameras. The “exposure preview” and histogram are ineffective at determining where I have overexposure, and in concert photography, the light changes so fast that there’s no time to chimp the shots. Thanks.

Michael Ball said...

I enjoyed your write! I'm an R and R5 user, and before that primarily the 5D3 and 7D.
It is interesting to hear your thoughts on the power switch and video button. I really like the addition of a video switch -- all the way back to the 7D where we had to flip the mirror! And I like an easier physical lock button -- while I don't use it a ton, that makes sense to me. I appreciated the photo/video/power switch added to the R5C, even though there it's really for very different modes.

But, yes, I can definitely get a feel for why this would be an odd muscle memory thing. I wonder if they could have sorta switched modes a bit so you have power on the left, and photo/video/lock(?) on the right. Maybe the next R5 will provide clarity on this...

Marshall G said...

I wish Canon would add blinkies or zebra stripes. The R5 has zebras in video mode but not in stills mode. Other mirrorless camera makers offer this.

Jeff Cable Photography Blog said...

The camera does indeed have "blinkies", otherwise known as Highlight Alert. I use this all the time! Again, I only use the camera in still mode, not much for video.

Anonymous said...

Sports photographer (in France), I plan to switch to the R system soon. The R 3 being expensive for my current budget, I am looking at the R6MK II to make the transition (I still plan to keep a DX MK II as a second camera) . Do you have any feedback on the R6MK II for use in sports photography (Football, rugby, tennis mainly)? I take your advice.

Jeff Cable Photography Blog said...

Yes - the R6 K II would be an excellent sports camera with the focus abilities and the fast frame rate. I promise you that you will not use your 1DX after trying the mirrorless. My 1DX is now a paperweight. An expensive one at that!

Anonymous said...

thank you for your feedback Jeff