Canon EOS R6 Review

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Canon EOS R6 Review

Although the new Canon EOS R6 may have been overshadowed by its more costly sister, the EOS R5, due to its outstanding feature set, it has a good chance of becoming Canon’s most popular camera.

It bridges the gap between the relatively amazing talents of the EOS R and the top-end specifications of the EOS R5 in terms of performance (which, admittedly, might be too much of a camera for the average user).

To put it more succinctly, the EOS R6 is essentially a more cheap version of the R5; however, it has a substantially lower sensor quality and significantly more limited video recording capabilities, although they are still great.

And despite the fact that it is categorised as a camera for enthusiasts, the EOS R6 comes with capabilities that are comparable to those found on Canon’s professional-level cameras, which are incredibly pricey. When taken together, these factors establish the Canon EOS R6 as one of the company’s most capable cameras currently on the market.

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The EOS R6 takes a page or two out of the playbook of the EOS 1D X Mark III and inherits the same 20MP sensor resolution as the DSLR, but it does not quite inherit the same sensor. The change is in the architecture, as an improved version of Canon’s tried-and-true Dual Pixel CMOS autofocusing technology has been placed into the sensor. This is a significant improvement over the previous model.

Because of this, the performance of the autofocus and tracking systems on the EOS R6 has been significantly enhanced, and it is now able to equal and even occasionally surpass Sony’s Real-Time Tracking Autofocus.

The pixel count of 20.1MP is lower than the pixel count of 26.2MP found in the EOS 6D Mark II and the EOS RP (or the 30MP one found in the EOS R), and this difference is visible when comparing the two cameras side-by-side, but you will need to look really closely to be dissatisfied.

The dynamic range, on the other hand, is not very impressive; photographs shot in broad sunshine come out looking flat, and there is a loss of clarity in both the highlights and the shadows. In comparison, the EOS 6D Mark II did significantly better when faced with the identical challenge. Having said that, the image quality is still pretty darn amazing, and it is an absolute joy to shoot with the EOS R6.

No matter how huge or little your mitts are, its ergonomic design makes it comfortable for all-day use, and you can shoot handheld at shutter speeds as high as 2 seconds and still capture shots that are amazingly crisp (provided you have steady hands).

In-body image stabilisation (IBIS) is Canon’s first attempt at the technology, and boy did the firm succeed with flying colours! It also makes recording videos an utter joy because of this feature. Even while there are certain restrictions when shooting 4K video and you won’t have access to the R5’s stunning 8K option, Canon has made it quite clear that the EOS R6 is primarily intended to be used for still photography.

Then there is the noticeable gain in speed; although it can’t quite equal the blitzing 16fps burst that the 1D X Mark III is capable of with the mechanical shutter, the R6 is capable of 12fps bursts. If you switch to its electronic shutter, it will equal the sports DSLR’s astonishing 20 frames per second (fps) continuous shooting speed, which is more than adequate for photographing animals or sporting events.

Overall, the EOS R6 is a significant improvement over either the EOS 6D Mark II or even the EOS R and the EOS RP, and it has earned a spot in our rundown of the best cameras for photography. But all of that outstanding performance comes at a hefty price, especially considering that full-frame mirrorless versions with the better resolution are now available at a price range comparable to this one.

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Specifications and Functions

  • 20.1MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • IBIS with compensation for up to 8 stops of loss.
  • Animals’ heads and eyes are scanned to identify AF.

It is reassuring to learn that manufacturers have not abandoned still photographers in favour of those who produce videos since there have been so many cameras geared toward those who make videos. The new EOS R6 from Canon is geared for “photographers primarily focused on stills,” although it is capable of recording movies on occasion. The camera has inherited certain high-end capabilities from the EOS 1D X Mark III, beginning with its processor.

The most recent iteration of Canon’s Digic X image processor is meant to operate in tandem with a 20.1 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor that, according to the company, is “comparable” to the sensor found in the company’s sports DSLR.

The upgraded sensor makes use of Canon’s Dual Pixel focusing design, which is in its second iteration (called Dual Pixel CMOS AF II). This has allowed for quicker readout times during fast continuous shooting and while filming 4K video at high frame rates. Additionally, the phase-difference detection autofocusing in Live View on the R6 has been enhanced as a result of this. When utilising the sensor-based electronic shutter, this should in principle even eliminate rolling shutter aberrations.

For a camera that is intended to be versatile, having a resolution of only 20.1 megapixels may seem like a step backwards, but what really matters is how much faster it is.

When utilising its mechanical shutter, the R6 is capable of shooting bursts at an astounding 12 frames per second. This is an impressive figure for a camera that is designed specifically for enthusiasts and hobbyists. If that frame rate is not quick enough for you, you can easily swap the R6 over to its electronic shutter, and it will achieve the same maximum frame rate as the EOS 1D X Mark III.

The EOS R6 has a native ISO range of 100-102,400, which can be stretched on either side to ISO 50 and ISO 204,800. This is a significant improvement over the EOS R, which had a native ISO sensitivity range of 100 to 40,000.

Canon claims that the choice to utilise a sensor with a lower resolution was made in order to assist event photographers in managing their workflow. Because a lower pixel count results in smaller file sizes, this decision also speeds up the transfer rates.

The most notable improvement, though, is the incorporation of image stabilisation into the camera’s body, which is a technology that Canon has hitherto avoided. According to Canon, the newly built 5-axis system is capable of providing up to 8 stops of compensation when used in conjunction with a stabilised lens. The shutter speed correction, however, will vary depending on the lens that is being used.

For instance, if you use the RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens, which has a 5-stop image stabilisation system, you will receive 8 stops of coordinated control. On the other hand, if you use the RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS USM lens, which is longer and heavier but has the same 5-stop stability, you will receive a combined 6.5 stops of stabilisation.

This latter lens is the one that we utilised for most of our testing, and we were able to shoot handheld at a shutter speed of 2 seconds at an effective focal length of 24mm, which is quite close to matching what Canon claims you can do with their camera. Even if you use a lens that does not have IS, such as the RF 28-70mm f/2, you will still receive the full 8 stops of stabilisation that it offers.

Additionally, the R6’s focusing technology has seen significant improvements as well. The user may pick from a total of 6,072 autofocus points that span the whole frame, which is an increase from the EOS R’s 5,655 AF point system.

Although Canon says that the R6 and R5 have the “world’s quickest AF for a full-frame camera,” tested at 0.05 seconds, EOS R also claims to have the same AF acquisition speed as the R6 and R5. In light of this, Sony has surpassed Canon with the APS-C format Alpha A6400, which boasts an autofocus acquisition time of 0.02 seconds.

Support for the HEIF (High-Efficiency Image Format) file format is included in the EOS R6, just as it is in the 1D X Mark III. This indicates that photos are taken in 10-bit RGB colour, which provides a higher dynamic range and colour spectrum than other colour modes. This format also employs a more effective compression method, which preserves a lot more information than typical JPEGs. It is an excellent option for everyone who does not shoot in RAW, and it is one of the advantages of using this format.

When it comes to video, it is quite evident that the R6 is not a competitor to the R5. The greatest capture you can get here is in 4K at 60 frames per second, and only in UHD. The lack of DCI support prevents the creation of a look more like that of a movie theatre, but Canon hasn’t made this camera with videographers in mind. Having said that, the fact that the R6 is superior to the EOS R and RP in that it can record 4K video while utilising the entire width of the sensor is a significant benefit.

Design and handling

  • Deep, ergonomic grip
  • Joystick multi-controller
  • Dual card slots

The Canon EOS R6 does not have a much larger form factor than its DSLR relative, the Canon 6D Mark II. It weighs 680 grammes, which is a little less than the 765 grammes that the other model weighs, and its measurements are 138 millimetres by 98 millimetres by 88 millimetres (as opposed to 144mm x 111mm x 75mm for the 6D II). In practical situations, you won’t be able to tell much of a difference between the two.

The R6 is incredibly comfortable to hold and use for extended periods of time thanks to its deep grip, which makes it beautifully ergonomic. Those who are concerned about the weather will be relieved to know that the R6 is weather sealed. You can really configure the EOS R6 (and the R5) to keep the shutter locked even while the camera is switched off, which helps to reduce the risk of dust damage. This is something that can be done within the camera’s menu system.

The body is quite similar to that of the earlier model of the EOS R in most respects; however, there are a few visible alterations, the most notable of which is the reinstatement of the joystick multi-controller on the rear of the camera. It is relieving to see that the touch bar that was located on the back panel of the EOS R has been removed because it was a source of disagreement for a large number of consumers.

Finding your way around the textured joystick can be done without removing your focus from the viewfinder. You may use it to conveniently select the AF point of your choosing, or you can use it to browse the menu system if you don’t like using the touchscreen feature that Canon offers.

The Quick Menu (Q) button, which was absent from both the EOS R and the RP, has been reinstated as part of the camera’s back control layout. This is the other significant change. If you have experience with Canon products in the past, both the control arrangement and the menu system will seem quite comfortable to you. This is especially true for the former. If you’re coming from an entirely another setup, the Canon setup has always been incredibly user-friendly and simple to understand; all it takes is a few minutes to get comfortable with it, and you’ll be good to go.

The LCD display that is featured on the EOS R and R5 (and also on Canon’s DSLRs) is not present on the top of the R6, but in its place, Canon has included a classic mode dial that will be recognisable to most people who have used Canon DSLRs in the past.

The R6 does not have the high-resolution viewfinder that is found on the R5, but rather it has an electronic viewfinder with 3.69 million dots (matching the EOS R). You won’t even be able to tell when there’s a blackout because of the extremely fast refresh rate of 119.8 frames per second, even if it would have been fantastic to have an electronic viewfinder with a greater resolution.

You always have the option to shoot in Live View and compose your shots on the 3-inch, 1.62-million-dot rear touchscreen if you would rather not use the electronic viewfinder (EVF). The display of the EOS R5, which has a vari-angle capability and is 3.2 inches, is somewhat larger than the one on this device, which measures 3.1 inches.

Dual card slots, both of which are compatible with the SD UHS-II standard, are yet another significant advance brought forth by the R6. You have the option of recording to either one at a time or to both at the same time if you so want.

On the side of the device that is not reserved for memory card slots, you’ll find all of the additional ports you’ll require. In addition, there is a mini HDMI port, a 3.5mm headphone and microphone jack, a 3.1 Gen 2 speed USB-C port, and an E3 remote shutter terminal. The camera’s battery can be recharged over the USB-C connector even while it’s not in use.

Speaking of charging, both the R6 and the R5 take advantage of a new battery known as the LPE-6NH. This battery not only provides a longer battery life (about 510 shots according to CIPA’s conservative rating), but it is also compatible with any Canon body that takes LP-E6N or LP-E6 batteries. The R6 and the R5 both benefit from this new battery (like the 6D Mark II, for example).

Autofocus

  • 6,072 AF points
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF II
  • 100% horizontal frame coverage

The R6 possesses remarkable speed and accuracy, comparable to that of the professional-grade 1D X Mark III and the more costly EOS R5, as well as autofocus performance that is likely the finest in its category. Starting with subject detection, then locking onto a face or eye, and finally tracking the subject, it was all extremely accurate virtually every time that we tested it.

The sequences of images that we took of birds and of a seaplane flying show every single frame in very clear focus, as do the seaplane shots. The R6 immediately enlarged the size of the focus box and locked on onto the back of the subject’s head whenever the animal or person that we were photographing turned their back on the camera. In point of fact, even if the subject turned around to look at the camera again, the R6 was able to lock onto an eye without the subject so much as batting an eye.

The autofocus technology that Canon uses is the greatest in its class, and the only time we were unable to take a picture that was sharp was when we were moving too slowly compared to our objects.

The autofocus technology that Canon uses is the greatest in its class, and the only time we were unable to take a picture that was sharp was when we were moving too slowly compared to our objects (Image credit: TechRadar)

Canon claims that the animal identification feature of the R6 is only capable of recognising birds, cats, and dogs at this time; however, this does not prevent the camera from focusing on anything that it believes to be an eye or a head. Even in the case of objects as little as bees, the R6 was able to locate the insect’s head and maintain contact with it for as long as it remained perched on a flower.

However, we were unable to successfully track the bees because we were too sluggish to keep up with the active bodies, and the blurry photographs were not the result of the camera’s failure but rather the user’s incapacity to keep up with the action.

The new Dual Pixel CMOS AF II technology from Canon enables on-sensor focusing and provides you a staggering 6,072 AF points to select from, which is a significant improvement over the R5, which only had 5.940 user-definable points available. These points cover the full horizontal frame and 90% of the vertical frame, which is more than what is offered by the majority of cameras that are classified as intermediate-level.

To make a long story short, there isn’t any camera in this class that can accomplish what the R6 can do in terms of autofocus, at the speed that it can do it, and, perhaps, at the price range that it can do it. This is because the R6 is the only camera that can do all three of these things.

Performance

  • IBIS is unrivalled among full-frame models
  • Burst speed of up to 20 frames per second
  • The lengthened time between charges

Because it is equipped with Canon’s most recent Digic X image engine, you would anticipate the R6 to be a top-performing camera just like the 1D X Mark III, which is where the processor made its debut. Our research has shown that this is the case.

The R5 was capable of collecting photographs with a greater resolution of 8192 by 5464 pixels, however, the R6 is capable of recording images with 5472 by 3648 pixels in either JPEG or 14-bit RAW format. Although compressed RAW is also an option, the 10-bit HEIF is the file format that we recommend using. To take pictures in this format, you will need to turn on HDR PQ. This will cause the camera to use HEIF instead of JPEG, but you will still have the option to convert it back to JPEG.

It is essential that the R6 have an equally remarkable buffer memory in order for it to be able to match the burst pace of the camera. During the course of our tests, the camera was able to record a burst of about 315 images to a UHS-II SD card without even requiring us to give it a second thought. A lot will rely on the memory card that you choose to use.

In point of fact, you won’t notice any slowdown in the rate at which the camera operates even if you store more than 1,000 JPEGs or compressed CR3 RAW files into a UHS-II card. The buffer depth will considerably decrease to 240 consecutive files if you are shooting in uncompressed RAW format. In either case, that is a far greater amount than what the majority of individuals will require.

But the picture stabilisation was the feature that we were most excited to test, and boy, were we impressed by the results. According to Canon’s own claims, we were meant to obtain a total of 6.5 stops of correction when using this lens in conjunction with the RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS USM lens, which already incorporates its own built-in image stabilisation system of 5 stops.

Because of this, at an effective focal length of 24 millimetres, we should have been able to hold the camera steady for a maximum shutter speed of 2 seconds, and in fact, this was the case. The only thing that prevented us from obtaining images with pin-sharp quality was the gusting wind we were exposed to. On the other hand, a photograph taken with a shutter speed of 1.6 seconds on the same evening with a lot of wind was totally useable.

There is no detectable rolling shutter effect while panning using the Canon EOS R6 electronic shutter (on the right), in contrast to the Canon EOS R6 mechanical shutter (on the left) (Image credit: TechRadar)

We also put the electronic shutter of the R6 through its paces to see how it would perform when panning. While shooting with a sensor-based electronic shutter, rolling shutter effects are frequent. Nonetheless, our testing demonstrated that there was no visible distortion when panning slowly; however, we did find a substantial lean when panning more quickly.

Image quality

  • Excellent colour reproduction
  • Disappointing dynamic range in JPEGs
  • Excellent performance with ISO

The resolving capability of the 20-megapixel sensor is something that the vast majority of customers will be interested in. We discovered that the R6 is capable of holding its own so long as it is not compared head-to-head with the R5, which would be an extremely unfair practice.

Canon’s hallmark has always been the ability to make colours jump in photographs without making them look oversaturated. The R6 has some issues when exposed to direct sunlight, despite the fact that the details are often quite superb.

Comparing the Canon EOS R6 (left) with the Canon EOS 6D Mark II (right), we can see that the DSLR is capable of capturing more overall details and textures, while the R6 is superior at resolving the minutiae contained within the building.

Comparing the Canon EOS R6 (left) with the Canon EOS 6D Mark II (right), we can see that the DSLR is capable of capturing more overall details and textures, while the R6 is superior at resolving the minutiae contained within the building (Image credit: TechRadar)

On a day with intense sunlight, we took a number of photographs, but when reviewing them, we saw that the photos were dull and lacked depth. When compared to the EOS 6D Mark II, we discovered that the latter’s 26MP had a little more detail and texture than the R6. This can be seen in the comparison of both cameras’ JPEG files with a crop of 50% which is shown above.

While the R6 did a great job of resolving the bars visible through the glass wall of the ferry port, the 6D II captured greater detail on the top of the wharf and the surface of the sea. When compared to the DSLR, the image captured by the R6 appears to have uniformly duller hues.

However, these are just regular JPEGs; if you shoot HEIF files, the R6’s 10-bit dynamic range will be activated, and you’ll be able to record a wider variety of tonalities. Keep in mind that software support for HEIF is currently somewhat restricted, despite the fact that it is the default file format for Apple’s Photos app and that you may convert all HEIFs into JPEGs while they are still in the camera.

If the image was captured at a low ISO, you’ll find that the camera’s 20-megapixel sensor has adequate resolving ability to allow for some cropping without an extreme loss in clarity. This is something you’ll discover when using the camera. At high ISOs, as was to be expected, you’ll discover that some details have been lost, although we didn’t start to notice this problem until we increased the sensitivity to 20,000. The R6 is also quite good at dealing with background noise.

Conclusion

The Canon EOS R6 may be the mirrorless alternative to the Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR, but it is far more than simply an improvement in terms of features and capabilities. The performance of its autofocus and picture stabilisation are the finest in their respective classes, and its lightning-fast burst speed makes it ideal for capturing any kind of action or wildlife. To cut a long tale short, it’s one of the greatest all-rounders you can acquire, despite the fact that the resolution of its sensor is 20 megapixels, which might not be ideal for everyone.

Canon EOS R6 Specs

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Max resolution5472 x 3648
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels20 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors21 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (36 x 24 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorDigic X
ISOYes, 100-102400 (expands to 204800)
Boosted ISO (minimum)50
Boosted ISO (maximum)204800
White balance presets8
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Image stabilization notesWorks with lens-based IS systems for maximum shake reduction
CIPA image stabilization rating8 stop(s)
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, normal
AutofocusPhase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points1053
Lens mountCanon RF
Focal length multiplier
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size3″
Screen dots1,620,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.76×
Viewfinder resolution3,690,000
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic)1/8000 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject / scene modesNo
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe)
Continuous drive20.0 fps
Self-timerYes
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpotPartial
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
FormatMPEG-4, H.264, H.265
Modes3840 x 2160 @ 60p / 230 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 120 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 23.98p / 120 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 120 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 60 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 30 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p / 30 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage typesDual SD slots (UHS-II supported)
USBUSB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 GBit/sec)
USB chargingYes
HDMIYes (micro HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth
Remote controlYes
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLP-E6NH lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)360
Weight (inc. batteries)680 g (1.50 lb / 23.99 oz)
Dimensions138 x 98 x 88 mm (5.43 x 3.84 x 3.48″)
Orientation sensorYes
GPSNone

Canon EOS R6 Price

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