Video

Key Takeaways:

  • 4K video is reasonably detailed, but not outstanding. Applying electronic stabilization significantly lowers quality
  • Autofocus is simple and effective, but with limited control over behavior
  • No flat or Log profiles for grading flexibility
  • Separate exposure and custom button settings for stills and video make it easy to switch back and forth

The M6 II can shoot 4K video at up to 30p, with the promise of 24p to be added in forthcoming firmware. There's a 1080/120p option with no autofocus. The camera also has a fully auto 'HDR video' mode that captures two frames (a short and a standard exposure) for each output frame, meaning you get 1080/30p video from 1080/60p capture but with more highlights squeezed into an SDR file. Canon says the camera will output a 10-bit signal over HDMI (though we've not been able to confirm this) but there are no flat or Log modes to take advantage of the extra flexibility this gives.

The 4K footage is subsampled, and is much less detailed than rivals that oversample their footage. On the plus side, this allows the M6 II to produce footage with very little rolling shutter distortion.

Autofocus

The other thing the Canon does rather well is video autofocus. You have essentially the same choice of AF area modes with the main difference being that the Face + Tracking mode doesn't let you specify an initial focus point, even if you've set it to in stills mode, instead you can choose your subject by tapping the screen. Once you start recording, you can't change AF area mode, but you can press an on-screen button at the bottom left of the screen to pause the camera's attempts to refocus.

The M6 II doesn't give you any control over the speed or sensitivity of the video AF, instead it will try to glide focus fairly swiftly to a new focus point if you tap to specify a different subject, or will pause before pulling focus if the distance to the subject under the AF point changes. The camera's Dual Pixel AF system all-but eliminates the risk of focus 'wobble', so long as there's enough of a subject to bite onto.

Control

In addition to autofocus, the camera offers focus peaking to help guide manual focusing. It doesn't, however, offer zebras or highlight warnings to help set exposure: you have to entirely depend on the camera's metering scale. The histogram and level gauge, if you have them activated, disappear when you hit the [REC] button.

The M6 II lets you specify a different button configuration for stills and video shooting and maintains a separate set of exposure parameters for the two modes, making it especially quick and simple to jump back and forth between the two styles of shooting.

Stabilization

The camera offers two levels of electronic image stabilization for both 1080 and 4K video. The 'Enabled' setting imposes a slight crop, which reduces the video quality but takes the edge off any hand-shake when you're trying to pretend to be a tripod. The 'Enhanced mode' crops in much further (making it harder to achieve a wide angle shot and reducing image quality by essentially using a smaller sensor). It gives an impressive level of smoothness if you move around with the camera but at a tremendous cost to the image quality.