6D II - why it's worth a closer look ....

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Marco Nero
Marco Nero Veteran Member • Posts: 5,237
6D II - why it's worth a closer look ....
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There's a lot of hatred for the 6D II at the moment. A lot of it. YouTube is awash with videos that offer plenty of hostile content directed towards the new Canon 6D II. I've watched quite a few of them but I find it hard to find common ground on the majority of issues they address.
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The complaints that shine boldest are as follows:

  • No 4K Video - Same as 6D
  • No Audio Port (there's an external MIC in-port) - Same as 6D
  • AF Zones are clustered in the center - Same as 6D
  • No dual card slots - Same as 6D
  • Allegedly no Dynamic Range improvement - Same as 6D?
  • Max Sync Speed of 1/180 - Same as 6D
  • No 1/8000 shutter speed - Same as 6D

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Lets take a look at what the EOS 6D II offers us instead:

  • Full Frame DPAF sensor.
  • Faster and more accurate Autofocus
  • Native ISO of 100 to 40,000 - plus 'L' (ISO 50 equiv)
  • Higher Resolution @ 26.2 megapixels
  • Lowest Focusing Brightness Limit : EV -3
  • A lot cheaper than the 5D Mk IV
  • Customizable intelligent View Finder
  • Weatherproof (!) & Environmentally Sealed for dust.
  • Ultra-Fast 45 Point all Cross-Type
  • All 45 AF points allow for function with f/5.6 lenses
  • Fully articulated LCD Display
  • 1200 shot battery life (modest approximation).
  • DiG!C 7 Processor
  • Canon's most advanced focus & subject tracking for Live View.
  • Can create 4K time-lapse movies in camera with tacked Auto Exposure.
  • Full HD 60p Movies with Touch AF.
  • High-response Canon Touch Screen.
  • New 4K Timelapse Mode
  • 7560 pixel RGB +IR Metering Sensor
  • Diffraction Control for Lens Aberration.
  • Linear Distortion Correction (!)
  • New 'White Priority' auto WB for White subjects (!)
  • 27 active AF points with the use of EF 1.4x III extenders on 100-400 II lens at f/8 with the Central 9 AF points acting as cross-type AF points.
  • Will now allow AF with an EF 2x Extender on a 70-200mm lens.

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The surprise that only kicked in for me recently was the compatibility with Canon EF lenses. It appears Canon have streamlined the use of numerous lenses with a combination of Extenders for the 6D II. For once I wish my 6D had these options. This is a pretty big deal for those of you with 70-200mm and 100-400mm lenses who might want to add an Extender. This is made possible with the DPAF sensor and DiG!C 7 processor. The image quality of the Mk III Extenders on lenses such as the 100-400mm II lens is very, very good. I think a lot of wildlife and sporting shooters will appreciate this.

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AF Point Cluster:
The clustering of the AF points isn't a big deal if you've owned the EOS 6D. If you need to focus on something outside of the grid, you can switch to Live View and touch the area of the screen you might prefer to focus on. You can lock focus anywhere outside the AF cluster. If you're shooting with the OVF you now have a lot more AF Points and each and every one of them is a super sensitive Cross-Type. This is great news. I'm surprised some people appear so disappointed. Those of us using mirrorless cameras are quite used to touching the screen to shift AF points. There's quite a lot of versatility in this combo but most DSLR users probably aren't used to using Live View because it's normally so slow.

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Shooting 4K today...
The subject of the 4K video seems to be the biggest irritant to those pondering the purchase of the 6D II.  Years ago, there were video limitations to reduce shipping tariffs but those changed with the advent of mobile phone camera improvements.  The thing to remember is that 4K video is only just now being supported by modern UHD televisions.  Even most of the BluRay players available on the market last year were faking their output with software-driven up-scaling interpolation. For those people producing content in 4K UHD, it's worth taking a closer look at the Canon EOS C100 cinema cameras.   There's also a C200 series for the wealthy to consider.  Not to mention the fact that Canon already produce 4K shooting XC10 and XC15 cameras especially for 4K content creators.  Canon have always fought the inclusion of 4K in their DSLR camera and have only done so with the more expensive recent models.  With all the crying, screaming and gnashing of teeth, it's a sure bet that three years from now a 6D III will address the "problem".  Very few professional photographers will use a 6D for film-making.  Not because the 6D cameras can't shoot 4K but because most buyers bought into the system for photographic reasons, not videographic reasons.
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Canon's XC15 and XC10 are designed for 4K shooting, .
Either way, you have other choices:  You can spend a LOT more money on a higher model of DSLR or you can buy a cheaper 4K camera from another manufacturer.  The 6D is foremost a Sill Camera.  The 6D II continues in this tradition.  Since we know that the Timelapse on the 6D II is in 4K, it's very likely Magic Lantern will open this box up for us - just as they did with the 5D III. (and they say that the results are better than footage shot in 4K from the 5D IV).  The GoPro Hero cameras are pretty amazing... but people might want to use their EF lenses, right?  Lenses that were made for DSLR still-image photography.
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Flip LCD (Vari-angle Display)...
Looking at the list of improvements, the 6D has a lost of low flying features that make it very attractive for photographers wanting the benefits of Full Frame sensors combined with the speed and accuracy of Canon's new DPAF sensors and DiG!C 7.  The articulated screen is really going to make Wildlife shooting a pleasure. It's also going to be a major benefit to Astrophotographers who previously needed this feature on their 6D. Surprisingly, Full Frame cameras aren't as suitable for telescope mounting as APS-C cameras ... but for wide shots of the Milky Way or simply for creative composition the flip LCD is going to make life easier.  Even shooting a mushroom on the ground with a Macro lens ... or an insect on a plant close to the ground... will be much more convenient.  The big draw for flip screens with me was always the ability to protect the LCD during transit. 
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IMAGE QUALITY:
The improvement in image quality has been hinted at by numerous "first look" reviewers.  The low-light performance on the 6D II is said to be better than the 5D IV.  With a stated Lowest focusing brightness limit of EV -3  (yes, you can focus in moonlight) and a 7560-pixel RGB +IR metering sensor and a new "Panning" setting in SCN mode (*Panning in Live View only), the 6D II is offering us a lot more than the 6D did.   26.2 MP is one thing, but Canon is making it very clear that the 6D II has much greater low-light sensitivity than the original 6D.  The DiG!C 7 processor promises less noise and the faster shutter burst is highly valued.  New RGB Color metering for skin-tone detection and anti-flicker detection (for neon lighting) is going to be a welcome addition as well.  HDR Movie Mode is also a new feature added.  No matter how you look at it, the 6D II is a considerable improvement over the 6D.  I look forward to seeing what the results of early adopter are.
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Dust and Water Resistant...
Sealed against both dust and water (running water, not submersion), the 6D II can handle rain and dusty environments that will make it attractive to journalists and those visiting sandy or remote locations.  Earlier this week I was monitoring the weather on an hourly basis to avoid getting caught out in the rain because I'd forgotten to bring a protective bag for my 6D and i couldn't be sure a droplet of water might not make its way past a switch.  It's nice to know there's some protection against the elements on the 6D II.
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Is it an upgrade to the 6D Mk1?  Absolutely.  There's not doubt that the commercially released 6D II will exceed the needs of most photographers.  For those of us using strong zooms and extenders, the 6D II is a very attractive camera.  For a full-frame camera the new model isn't overly expensive but plenty of fence-sitters will be waiting to see if it drops in price a little.  Sony struggles with Canon lenses via Metabones adapters but Canon is clearly leading the market with their DPAF sensors.  If you look at the wording of Canon's original patents, they were designed for use on their Mirrorless cameras but it's fantastic to see them migrating to the DSLR lineup.  I'm considering the 6D II.  I love the use of extenders but the Live View on the 6D Mk1 is simply too slow for my uses.  Sadly I'll need to buy another extended grip and a second battery - because neither of those on my 6D are compatible with the 6D II.
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A word of caution though: From recent additional patents filed in 2016 by Canon. the next generation of DPAF is going to offer incredible Dynamic Range compared to anything on the market today.  This means that every DPAF camera will probably be superseded when the new DPAF II tech hits the market in a few years from now.

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Regards,
Marco Nero.

 Marco Nero's gear list:Marco Nero's gear list
Canon PowerShot S95 Canon PowerShot G1 X Canon EOS 60D Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS M +15 more
Canon 6D Mark II Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS 6D Canon XC10
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