Canon 6D Mark II dynamic range falls behind modern APS-C cameras
We've reported in recent years how Canon's newer sensor designs have started to close the dynamic range gap, compared with chips from the likes of Sony and Toshiba. Dynamic range isn't everything, of course: Canon's Dual Pixel sensors have brought advances in live view and video autofocus that for many people will be every bit as significant as the noticeable shortfall in Raw file malleability. But it was promising to see Canon getting competitive in an area where it had fallen behind.
Sadly though, it seems the benefits that appeared in the sensors used in the EOS 80D and EOS 5D IV have not been applied to the latest EOS 6D II, and the new camera has less dynamic range than we've become used to. Graphs plotted by regular DPR collaborator Bill Claff illustrate this pretty clearly. In this article, we're taking a look at what this might mean for your images.
Dynamic range assessment
Our exposure latitude test shows what happens if you brighten a series of increasingly dark set of exposures. This illustrates what happens if you try to pull detail out of the shadows of your image.
As you can see, the EOS 6D II begins to look noisy much sooner than the broadly comparable Nikon D750, meaning you have less processing flexibility before noise starts to detract from your images.
The EOS 6D II should have a 1.3EV image quality advantage over the 80D, when the images are compared at the same size, since its sensor is so much bigger. Despite this,images shot with the same exposures look cleaner, when brightened to the same degree. Have a look and you'll see , despite the head start that the 6D II's chip should have. This corroborates what Bill Claff's data suggests.
The downside of our exposure latitude test is that reducing the exposure also increases the noise. Our ISO Invariance test uses the same exposure shot at different ISO settings, such that the shot noise contribution is the same in each image. This way any differences must be a consequence of electronic noise (and how well the camera's amplification overcomes it, at higher ISO settings).
This isn't good, especially not by modern standards. We're used to seeingthat there's barely any visual difference between shooting at a high ISO and using a low ISO (retaining additional highlights) then brightening. Instead we see that you have to amplify to around before you see no additional impact from the camera's electronics. This suggests a reversion to the level of , even perhaps a bit worse. That's unfortunate for those shooting high contrast scenes or anyone who suffers from Canon's metering decision to underexpose in backlit situations, as exposure latitude will be limited.
Real world impact
If you shoot JPEG, you'll never notice any of this, since the differences occur beyond the ~8.3EV or so that tend to be incorporated into a typical image. Similarly, at higher ISO settings, amplification overcomes the electronic noise, so you see the camera begin to out-perform the 80D and then close the gap with the D750, just as Bill's chart suggests.
However, it means if you're processing from Raw at low ISOs, you have much less flexibility in terms of what you can do with the file than we'd expect from a modern camera. Almost as soon as you start to push the image or pull detail out of the shadows, you risk hitting the camera's electronic noise floor and hence you won't see the advantage over the smaller sensor 80D that you might reasonably expect.
Adding to the problem is Canon's metering system, which tends to underexpose images when there's strong back-light. If the metering sensor were high resolution or advanced enough to detect faces, one might expect proper exposures for human subjects even in backlit shots; however, we've found the low resolution metering sensor in the 6D Mark II to be often incapable of detecting - and properly exposing for - faces. That means that backlit shots will be underexposed (unless you intervene), and you'll have limited ability to recover these underexposed shots because of the sensor's poor performance.
|Canon EOS 6D Mark II | EF 35mm F2 IS | ISO 100| F9 | 1/200th Shadows lifted, highlights lowered, slight selective brightening to couples' faces. Blue gradient added along upper edge. As you'll see if you click to view the full-sized image, noise in the areas of lifted shadow is very apparent. Click here to download the Raw file.|
This is an extreme example but it's a photo I'd expect to be able to shoot on other full frame cameras without revealing so much noise. All of our test results suggest I could have achieved just as good a result from a contemporary APS-C camera, if not better if it were also capable of properly detecting human subjects and exposing for them.
|Global Reach by cjf2|
|Maligne Lake by Pete of Oz|
from - Mountain Lake - (Full Colours only + A Border)
Photographer Rick Wenner recently captured an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen with a rather odd camera: The Phase One XF IQ3 Achromatic, the world's only 101MP black-and-white digital back.
Buying used is a good way to save some dough, and with the right precautions you can protect yourself from falling victim to a scam.
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.
Instagram just released a small update that will make a huge difference if you're active on the photo sharing app: threaded comment replies.
Venus Optics has announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E mount. A lens they've dubbed, "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame."
Cinnac is a new social network for photographers that will help you separate your good photos from your great ones through a Tinder-like community-based rating system.
The Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM is an understated jewel of a lens, and one that we've enjoyed on a variety of cameras since its release almost five years ago. Its relatively small size and image stabilization make it a versatile tool for a variety of photography - check out our sample gallery.
You don't need a fancy studio or tons of gear to capture the kind of classic product photography you see in magazines. In this video, Dustin Dolby shows you how to do it with just a couple of speedlights and some know-how.
The life-logging camera is trying to make a comeback. Say hello to FrontRow, a live-streaming enabled life-logging camera from Ubiquiti that hangs on a necklace like a pendant.
When a prospective client approaches you, don't just say "yes" right away. Here's a useful list of questions you should be asking before you decide to take the job and name your price.