Canon EOS R6 review: A perfect hybrid shooter with a big video flaw
With the introduction of the EOS R6, Canon finally seemed to have a camera that could tap the full potential of its RF mount system and compete with its competitors. With a 20.1 megapixel sensor very similar to that of its Pro-Level 1DX Mark III DSLR, as well as stabilization in the body, dual-pixel autofocus and a 10-bit 4K 60 fps video, it offers killer specs for a $ 2,500 camera.
It looked like Canon did everything right, but then reality kicked in. While the small case works great, it doesn't dissipate heat well, which limits the use of the camera for long recording sessions. In addition, the video dynamic range is below competing models from Sony and Panasonic, which cost less.
Canon released the R6 at the same time as the much livelier 8K-capable R5. Both are powerful mirrorless cameras. While the R5 is an expensive, relatively niche camera, the R6 has a lot of competition in its price range. However, the R6 has a few aces up its sleeve. So let's dive in to see how it can measure up.
Canon R6 full screen mirrorless camera
Let's start with the most controversial part of this camera: video. In general, Canon delivered the R6 here. It internally records sharp 4K 60p video that was oversampled by 5.1K with just a small crop of seven percent. You also get Canon Log and HDR capture modes, both of which work in 10-bit to give you the maximum dynamic range and flexibility for editing.
This is a huge improvement over the EOS R, which disappointed video fans with limited 4K recording options, which only get up to 30 fps with 10-bit color and has a terrible 1.8x crop that a 50mm lens does transformed into a 90mm lens. In contrast, the R6's video specs should make it a top choice, right up there or even in previous Nikon, Sony, and Panasonic models with similar prices.
There is one major caveat, however: overheating. At room temperature, you can record 4K at up to 30 fps for just 40 minutes or 4K 60p for 30 minutes before the camera shuts down. That might not sound bad for normal recordings, especially since the R6 also has a time-based 30-minute recording limit.
The problem, however, is that you have to wait a long time after you stop - often ten minutes or more before recording again. And even after that, it may shut down again after just a few minutes of recording. Most mirrorless cameras can overheat under certain circumstances, but not to this extent. To top it off, taking lots of photos can also affect the recording time of your video. All of this makes it extremely impractical for events, interviews, or any other situation where you may need to take long, continuous recordings.
You can avoid many overheating problems by recording video on an external recorder like Blackmagic's 12G Video Assist or the Atomos Ninja V. These allow you to record unlimited 4K 24p videos or just under an hour of 4K at 60 fps, according to YouTuber and creator Gerald Undone. However, you shouldn't have to buy more hardware to get the same features as other cameras.
Canon R6 full screen mirrorless camera
The overheating is a shame, otherwise the R6 is a versatile camera for video. The small size and fold-out screen are great for vlogging or run-and-gun shooting. Canon's dual-pixel autofocus worked extremely well for my video, capturing my subjects with minimal focus chasing for action shots or b-roll situations. This system has been the best in the game for years until Sony brought the A7S III together.
In addition, the stabilization in the body in combination with a stabilized lens really stabilized every handheld picture. It can't replace a gimbal, but it did acceptably smooth out my walk-and-talk vlogging.
In terms of image quality, the downsampled 4K video is extremely sharp. Skin tones are comfortable and colors are accurate, especially in C-Log mode. Unfortunately, the dynamic range does not quite match the Panasonic S5 or Sony's A7 III. With C-Log and 10-bit recording, the R6 still offers you many color correction options and support for HDR videos to improve the footage in post-production.
Aside from the overheating, there are a few other minor flaws. With Canon's APS-C EF-S lenses and an adapter, you can record 1.6x cropped 4K video. However, the 20.1 megapixel sensor does not support full 4K resolution and is therefore a little softer than the full-screen video. In contrast, both the S5 and A7R III offer cropped, full-resolution 4K video in case you need to zoom in on your subject without changing lenses.
In addition, the EOS R6 only has fully manual or fully automatic video recording modes with no options for aperture or shutter priority. I like to shoot with shutter priority, and the EOS R6 would work particularly well in that mode. This is because there are new aperture settings that go up to 1/8 of an aperture so that the iris could easily be changed when the light changed. This seems like a lost opportunity for Canon.
Body and handling
It's been about two years since Canon launched the full-frame mirrorless RF mounting system used in the R6. Therefore, it is a good time to evaluate the program. The EOS R came out with four lenses, and all but one cost $ 1,000 or (much) more. Since then, a total of 15 lenses have been released in the $ 400-3,000 range, including standout models such as the $ 1,100 RF 24-105mm f / 4L IS USM (used to record videos and photos in this story), the 500 US dollar RF 24 -105mm f / 4-7.1 IS STM budget zoom, the $ 500 RF 35mm f / 1.8 IS Macro STM and, in the upper price segment, the outstanding $ 2,300 RF 50mm 1: 1, 2 model (baby pictures taken with this lens). In just two years, Canon has developed a respectable range of lenses.
With the camera itself, the housing of the R6 is relatively light at just 680 grams with battery and memory card - that's only 20 grams more than the EOS R. It's quite an achievement when you consider that it now has stabilization in the body System and additional card slot that the original lacked. The fact that all of these things were crammed into a similarly sized body no doubt contributed to this heating problem.
It has a perfectly large handle so I can carry it and shoot with complete confidence. And the playful touch bar on the EOS R has been thankfully killed and replaced with a classic joystick that is much easier to use. You get all of the buttons and dials required for full manual control. If you are not satisfied with the default setting, you can reprogram each button to do what you want.
Instead of the upper display of the R5, the R6 has a simple mode dial. Honestly, I prefer this setup - it makes it easy to switch between the different recording and video modes. All in all, the R6 feels and handles great.
However, when you dive into the menus, things aren't that nice. While even Sony improved its historically lousy menus with the A7S III, Canon hasn't changed its clumsy and confusing system in a decade. The Panasonic A7S III and S5 have tabbed menus that allow you to quickly navigate and see where you are. However, Canon's system forces you to go through each page to get to a particular setting. It is best to program the camera to avoid them entirely.
Canon R6 full screen mirrorless camera
As with the EOS R, the touchscreen folds out and rotates so you can use it from any angle, including facing your own face. And unlike most Sony cameras (except the A7S III), the display supports touch for all functions, including autofocus tracking, quick menus and main menu.
If you prefer to shoot with an electronic viewfinder, the R6's OLED EVF is 3.69 million points sharper than Panasonic's S5, compared to 2.36 million. I think that's a sweet spot for a camera in this price range, and it's significantly brighter and clearer than the S5's.
The two high-speed SD memory card slots are fast enough for this camera. They don't deliver the insane speeds of CFExpress cards, but you also don't pay the insane prices.
Canon's new battery for the R6 is also a great addition as it has more capacity than its predecessor, but works with the older EOS R and many Canon DSLRs, and vice versa. This gets big points in my book as I can use all of my previous Canon batteries in the new camera and still charge the new battery in my old chargers.
Finally, you get a whole bunch of ports, including microphone and headphone jacks, plus a USB-C port for file transfers, battery charging and extending recording times. Unfortunately, it has a micro port rather than a full-sized HDMI port. So when using an external recorder, be careful not to damage the cable or connector.
Canon R6 full screen mirrorless camera
If photos are more your thing and video is a side appearance, the R6 is a top choice. First of all, it can record at an excellent 12 frames per second with the mechanical shutter or at 20 frames per second in silent electronic mode with continuous autofocus activated. Canon's Dual Pixel Hybrid Phase Detection Autofocus System is reliable and faster than ever for photos. In difficult situations with moving subjects, it can pin the focus evenly, making it great for sports, portraits, street shots, and more.
AI-controlled body, eye, and face tracking is faster and less lagging than any other Canon camera I've tried, and now captures subjects almost as well as Sony's autofocus. On the whole, it can keep up with subjects better than previous Canon cameras and is less likely to be fooled if they move out of the picture or turn around. It now supports Animal Eye AF and does it surprisingly well. Currently, Canon and Sony are on par with other competitors when it comes to autofocus for photography.
The EOS R6's stabilization system in the body is also very effective for photos. Canon claims to have up to 8 levels of camera shake reduction with supported lenses, and with a stabilized lens I got sharp pictures up to an eighth of a second. That alone gives you sharper photos in low light.
The 20.1 megapixel sensor also helps here. Yes, it has a lower resolution than the Panasonic S5 and Sony A7 III. The larger pixels can also absorb more light, and I have usable images up to the normal ISO range of 25,600 in RAW mode, with the noise in the advanced settings becoming excessive above this.
JPEGs have a good level of detail without undue sharpening, albeit a little less than the A7 III or S5 mentioned above. However, skin tones are more comfortable than other full frame cameras I've tried recently, and the color accuracy is top notch. RAW images also retain more detail in shadows, making it easier to edit images if you underexpose them. In this regard, it is far better than the EOS R.
The EOS R6 exceeded my expectations in most areas, and while this is definitely an issue, I don't think overheating is a deal-breaker for many hybrid shooters that take still photos and record videos. You should weigh your needs carefully, however, as there are many other full frame mirrorless cameras from Nikon, Sony, and Panasonic available at or below the $ 2,500 price of the R6.
If you want to use it for classic video production and don't want to record for more than about 10 minutes continuously, it's great - better than other models in its price range, although Panasonic's S5 is close. For photography, it's a great camera with autofocus that outperforms competitors like the Nikon Z6 and is only surpassed by the Sony A7 III.
However, if you're doing event videos or lengthy interviews, don't get the R6, get another camera. Otherwise, overheating could be a real handicap that literally prevents you from shooting. This is a shame because it interferes with a camera that is near perfect.
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