Introduction

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is the company's latest full-frame DSLR aimed at advanced amateurs and enthusiasts, and even professionals looking for a second Canon DSLR body. Its all-new 26MP sensor has Dual Pixel technology for accurate autofocus during live view shooting, and it gains the same 45-point autofocus system from the crop-sensor EOS 80D for viewfinder shooting. A fully articulating touchscreen, built-in Wi-Fi and GPS capability, and 6.5 fps burst shooting round out the package.

Coming to market over five years after the release of its predecessor, it should come as no surprise that the 6D Mark II builds upon the original in almost every way. Resolution, autofocus performance, burst shooting speed, video shooting and even battery life are all improved.

That said, five years is a long time in the digital camera market, and the competition hasn't stood still. So the question remains: Has the 6D Mark II improved enough?

Let's see if it's all blue skies from here with the EOS 6D Mark II. Processed to taste from Raw.
Canon EF 24-105mm F4L II IS USM @ 32mm | ISO 100 | 1/640 sec | F5.6
Photo by Jeff Keller

Key specifications

  • New 26MP CMOS full-frame sensor with Dual Pixel AF
  • 1080/60p video capture with in-lens + digital stabilization
  • 45-point all-cross-type AF system
  • Dual Pixel AF for both stills and video capture
  • ISO 100-40,000 (expandable to 102,400)
  • 6.5 fps continuous shooting (4.5 fps in Live View)
  • 3" fully articulating touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi w/NFC and Bluetooth
  • Built-in GPS

The original EOS 6D, along with Nikon's D600, jump-started the notion of an 'entry-level' full frame camera; a camera wherein the true value of the thing lay in the size of the sensor, with a somewhat scaled-back feature set and body surrounding it.

The EOS 6D Mark II unabashedly follows in its predecessors' footsteps. Its unique, 26MP full frame sensor is wrapped in a fairly plasticky (though still weather sealed) body, and it makes do with some compromises compared to its full-frame Canon kin - we should stress, though, that this is to be expected given its substantial $1300 discount compared to the 5D Mark IV.

Compromises should be expected given its $1300 discount compared to the EOS 5D Mark IV.

And the compromises in the 6D II are largely the same as those made by the 6D before it: The larger sensor is offset by a lower-spec autofocus system borrowed from the EOS 80D, a lack of 4K video, and a shutter mechanism that tops out at 1/4000 sec, to name a few.

Processed to taste from Raw.
Canon EF 50mm F1.8 STM | ISO 100 | 1/250 sec | F3.2
Photo by Dan Bracaglia

But one could easily argue that, especially given its price point, the 6D Mark II has a lot to offer. It is smaller and lighter than a 5D IV, its articulating screen makes it easier to work at odd angles, and most importantly, it's an affordable entry into the world of full-frame Canon glass and increased depth-of-field control compared to similarly priced cameras with smaller APS-C sensors.

Compared

The market for 'affordable' full frame cameras is leagues more competitive than when the original 6D was released five years ago. We've included the 5D Mark IV for comparative purposes only, as it's targeted at a much higher market than the 6D II.

Canon 6D II Canon 5D IV Nikon D750 Sony a7 II Pentax K-1
Resolution 26MP 30MP 24MP 24MP 36MP
Image stabilization Lens-based Lens-based Lens-based In-body In-body
AF system (viewfinder) 45-pt all cross-type 61-pt (41 cross-type) 51-pt (15 cross-type) 117-pt hybrid 33-pt (25 cross-type)
AF system
(live view)
Dual Pixel AF Dual Pixel AF Contrast Detect 117-pt hybrid Contrast Detect
Viewfinder Optical / 98% Optical / 100%

Optical / 100%

Electronic / 100% Optical / 100%
LCD type 3" fully articulating 3.2" fixed 3.2" tilting 3" tilting 3.2" articulating
Touchscreen Yes Yes No No No
Built-in flash No No Yes No No
Flash sync 1/180 sec 1/200 sec 1/200 sec 1/250 sec 1/200 sec
Burst rate (w/AF) 6.5 fps 7 fps 6.5 fps 5 fps 4.4 fps
Video 1080/60p 4K/30p 1080/60p 1080/60p 1080/30p
Wireless Wi-Fi w/NFC & BT Wi-Fi w/NFC Wi-Fi Wi-Fi w/NFC Wi-Fi
Battery life 1200 shots 900 shots 1230 shots 350 shots 760 shots
MSRP (as of July 2017) $1999 $3499 $1999 $1548 $1800

While at first glance, it's apparent that the 6D Mark II is at least competitive with challengers from Nikon and Sony, it should be noted that both the D750 and a7 II have been on the market for some time, and frankly, are due for an upgrade. For stills shooters, the Pentax K-1 is in a somewhat different league, offering much higher resolution and build quality, but with a more limited lens ecosystem than you get with the Canon EF mount.

But neither of those other systems feature Dual Pixel AF, which we've found in other Canons to be a revelation for those that shoot video or stills in Live View, even occasionally. We've said previously that Dual Pixel makes for one of the best Live View experiences on the market, even though it's an 'old-school' DSLR. So let's see how the 6D Mark II stacks up.