AF continues to offer the best live-view
and video autofocusing we’ve seen in a
DSLR, and the Mark II’s implementation
is no exception.
The camera can burst at up to 6. 5 fps with
focus locked on the first frame. It does a nice
job keeping moving subjects in focus, though
you won’t have the extensive AF controls
found on higher-end Canon models. Still,
frame for frame, the 6D Mark II is as fast as
Nikon’s D750 and speedier than both Sony’s
a7 II and the Pentax K- 1.
The battery life is also very solid at 1200
(viewfinder shooting) images, on par with
Nikon’s D750, ahead of Pentax’s K- 1 and miles
ahead of Sony’s a7 II.
No one gets everything they want and,
with the 6D Mark II, Canon faithful
have some trading off to do. The Mark
If you’re casting a wide net for your
next camera, $2,000 can get you a lot of
functionality, particularly if you’re willing to
opt for a crop sensor. If you are, then you have
flagships from Fuji, Olympus and Panasonic
to consider. All of those models record 4K
video, offer faster burst modes, pack in more
AF points and feature smaller, lighter builds.
If you want full frame, though, your
options narrow. You’ll get a significantly
higher-resolution sensor from Pentax’s less
expensive K- 1 with the added ability to get
even higher-resolution images using its Pixel
Shift Resolution mode. The K- 1 is something
of an ergonomic oddity with its tilt-shifting
LCD and is bulkier than the 6D Mark II but
also has in-body image stabilization. It also
lacks the video quality and autofocusing
chops of the 6D Mark II. Nikon’s older D750
is also bereft of 4K but delivers comparable
shooting speeds and slightly more AF points.
It lacks the 6D’s rotating LCD, too. Sony’s
mirrorless a7 II is cheaper than its DSLR
competitors with built-in image stabilization,
but its battery life is woefully short, its shutter
is thunderous and while it’s lighter weight, it
lacks the 6D’s comfortable grip.
No one said this would be easy.
Canon 6D Mark II
PROS: Excellent build quality; Dual Pixel
CMOS AF; flip-out display; improved
sharpness; great battery life.
CONS: No 4K video; ISO performance
trails rivals; poor dynamic range vs.
predecessor; video quality and feature
set underwhelms at this price point.
The resolution remains consistently high to
ISO 1600, where 92 percent of the theoretical
maximum is used (1911 line pairs per picture
height). Similar resolution quality between
ISO 100 and ISO 1600 means the 6D Mark
II user can shoot at ISO 1600 with the same
confidence regarding resolution as at ISO
100. Image resolution is greatly improved
compared to the original 6D.
Although the Canon 6D Mark II has an ISO
range up to 40,000 (102,400 extended), the
resolution is less good in images at higher ISOs
(ISO 3200 and above). However, even here the
resolution is strongly improved in comparison
to the 6D. Visual inspection of an image
captured by the 6D Mark II at ISO 12,800
of the complex, detailed black-and-white
pattern of the Siemens star shows only a slight
softening compared to ISO 100. However,
resolution at the highest ISOs is noticeably
poor (hi1, equivalent to ISO 51,200, and hi2,
equivalent to ISO 102400); a user is unlikely to
find these extended ISOs of much utility.
An examination of images made by the
6D Mark II of the test chart shows that both
high- and low-contrast texture is captured
well at ISOs ranging from ISO 100 to ISO 800.
Lab measurements show that more artifacts
are present in images made by the 6D Mark
II than its predecessor; this is to be expected
with a larger sensor. Shooting at ISOs ranging
from ISO 100 to ISO 800, high- and low-contrast texture is reproduced well. At higher
ISOs, high-contrast texture is reproduced
better than low-contrast texture. At ISO 1600,
low-contrast detail is observably degraded by
smoothing. At ISO 6400, low-contrast detail
is largely lost, and at ISO 12,800, there is more
noise in the image than recorded details.
SHARPNESS & COLOR
Canon’s tendency to be a bit heavy-handed
with sharpening has been addressed in this
model, and the sharpening curve shows
only a moderate degree of overshoot and
undershoot. This is a major improvement
over the strong sharpening that could be seen
in tests of the Canon 6D.
The automatic white balance
delivers excellent results (between
0.4 and 0.8) at all normal ISOs
and even hi1. The overall white
balance performance is a great
improvement over the previous model, the
6D, which produced test results showing
poor automatic white balance at all ISOs
(ranging from 4. 6 to 5. 5) and even higher
values in the extended ISO range.
Color reproduction is good, with strong
deviation from the reference color only with
a few intense reds. Mid-tones and neutral
colors were the most faithfully reproduced.
At ISO 1600, however, the brighter skin tones
become a bit washed out.
The 6D Mark II has a fairly good dynamic
range of more than 9 f-stops at ISOs up to
ISO 6400. This is somewhat smaller than
the dynamic range of the 6D, which was over
Autofocus using the optical viewfinder takes
0.46 seconds in bright light. This is a tiny bit
slower than the previous model, which tests
at 0.35 second. Autofocus speed in low light,
at 0.54 seconds, is also a bit slower than the
6D. The autofocus in bright light during Live
View is greatly improved over the 6D’s slow
2. 2 seconds.
The image quality in video mode is less good
than in still photography, and the camera’s
resolution is poorer at both high and low
ISO settings. Texture loss is relatively large
at both high and low ISOs, and visual noise is
obvious in the darker parts of a video image
at high ISO.
NOTES FROM THE TIPA TEST BENCH
PDN is a member of the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) which has contracted
with the testing lab Image Engineering for camera evaluations. Below is an excerpt
from their lab report. The full report is available online at www.pdnonline.com.
ABOVE: The 6D Mark II presents a familiar face
to Canon users. No complaints here.