Canon EOS R6
Canon EOS R6

Canon EOS R6- the EOS R5, the R6 offers a lot of the same technology but in a more affordable, slightly more enthusiast-focused model. While the more advanced R5 might dominate headlines for a while, the R6 is likely to end up in the hands of more photographers.

Canon EOS R6 Professional Models

Canon has a long tradition of adding features from its professional models into lower-tier cameras over time, but this is the first time we’ve seen a sensor from a flagship DSLR end up in an enthusiast camera.

R6’s 20MP sensor is essentially the same as the one in the EOS-1D X Mark III, offering 20MP and a wide ISO sensitivity span of 100-102,400 (expandable up to 204,800).

This image shows the sensor exposed because we know that you like to look at sensors.

 but we’ve been impressed by the images that we’ve been able to create from the 1D X III. Although we don’t (yet) have full third-party support for the R6’s Raw files, we expect similarly clean high ISO images and good dynamic range compared to previous generations of Canon ILCs.

Where the R5 takes over from the popular EOS 5D DSLR series, the EOS R6 follows on from the EOS 6D series. However, to compare the EOS 6D Mark II to the R6 would be foolhardy, as there’s a whole lot more to unpack in the new mirrorless version – in fact, it’s fair to say that the R6 is on a completely different plane to its DSLR predecessor.

Canon EOS R6 Specs and features

  • 20.1MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • IBIS with up to 8 stops of compensation
  • Head- and eye-detect AF for animals as well

There have been so many cameras aimed at video makers in recent years that it’s refreshing to see that some manufacturers haven’t forgotten stills photographers. Canon’s target market for the new EOS R6 is “photographers more focused on stills” who may also want to take videos occasionally, with the camera inheriting some top-end features from the EOS 1D X Mark III, starting with its processor.

Canon’s latest Digic X imaging engine works alongside a slightly redesigned 20.1MP full-frame CMOS sensor that, the manufacturer says, is “similar” to the one used in the sports DSLR.

The updated sensor incorporates Canon’s second-generation Dual Pixel autofocus architecture (called Dual Pixel CMOS AF II), which should, in theory, improve phase-difference detection autofocusing in Live View, and also allow for faster readout speeds during fast continuous shooting and while capturing 4K video at high frame rates. It should also reduce rolling shutter distortions when using the sensor-based electronic shutter.

Canon EOS R6 Sensor

Canon EOS R6 Sensor

20.1MP might seem like a step down from the 26.2MP sensor in the 6D Mark II and EOS RP, but it’s all about improving speed. While it can’t quite match the 1D X Mark III’s blazing-fast 16fps burst rate with the mechanical shutter, the R6 is capable of 12fps bursts, while if you switch to its electronic shutter it’ll match the sports DSLR’s 20fps – perfect for any wildlife or sports scenario.

feature, though, is the addition of in-body image stabilization, something Canon has historically shied away from. Canon says the newly designed 5-axis system offers up to eight stops of compensation when working in tandem with a stabilized lens, making it possible to use the camera handheld at slower shutter speeds, although the compensation will depend on which lens is being used.

Canon EOS R6 Design and Handling

  • ergonomic grip
  • Joystick multi-controller
  • Dual card slots

Physically, the Canon EOS R6 resembles the original EOS R in some ways, but there are a few obvious differences, the most noticeable one being the return of the joystick multi-controller on the camera’s rear.

The touch bar on the rear panel of the EOS R was a bone of contention for many users and, and we’re happy to see that it’s gone. In its place is a large and textured joystick, which is easy to find without taking your eye off the viewfinder when you want to select AF points. The other difference on the rear control setup is the return of the Quick Menu (Q) button, which was also missing from both the EOS R and the RP.

Up top, the R6 misses out on the LCD display found on the EOS R and R5 (and also on Canon’s DSLRs), but gets a traditional mode dial that will be familiar to most Canon DSLR users.

Like most of Canon’s DSLRs, and its R-series cameras, the grip on the R6 is deep and comfortable to hold for long periods of time, even if you’ve got small hands. If you’re an existing Canon user the control layout will, for the most part, be very familiar to you, as will the menu system.

Performance

Canon EOS R6 Mirrorless Camera Body
Canon EOS R6 Mirrorless Camera Body
  • Excellent AF performance
  • Very effective IBIS
  • Up to 20fps burst speed

It’s tempting to compare the performance of the Canon EOS R6 to the 1D X Mark III – they’re remarkably similar in terms of speed and autofocus accuracy. Although we tested a pre-production sample of the R6 which didn’t have the final firmware, the camera performed beautifully.

whether you’re focusing on people or a bird, and the camera knows instantly to aim straight for an eye. We didn’t have an Atomos recorder to demonstrate how precise animal AF was, but every time we focused on a bird, the AF system would hone in on the animal’s head if the eye was turned away, and very often even kept the entire body in focus if the head was tucked under a wing.

Like the 1D X Mark III, subject tracking is exceptional as well, with the camera able to lock onto a target and stay with it even if something (or someone) crosses its path.

 verdict

There seems to have been a sea change at Canon. Not only have we finally got a relatively affordable Canon body with IBIS, but there’s 4K video recording using the full width of the sensor, even at high frame rates – and that’s just for starters.

Date and pricing

  • Pre-orders open July 9
  • Shipping begins August 2020
  • Australian customers get Canon’s five-year warranty

If you’re keen on getting your hands on the EOS R6, it will set you back $2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,499 for the body alone.

That’s a pretty competitive price point when you take into consideration the R6’s impressive spec sheet and the EOS R’s launch price of $2,299 / £2,349 / AU$3,349. 

The EOS R6 is available to pre-order directly from Canon and from all major retailers now, although you will have to wait until the end of August for the camera to start shipping and land on shelves.

FOR

  • Impressive burst speed
  • Animal AF (dogs, cats, birds)
  • In-body image stabilization
  • HEIF file support

AGAINST

  • Negligible size advantage over most EOS DSLRs
  • Lacks top-plate display

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