Long-Term Test: Canon EOS 6D Mark II

By Daniel Lezano. Posted

A major price drop means this two-year-old model costs the same as its mirrorless equivalent, the EOS RP. When originally tested (February 2018 issue), Canon's EOS 6D Mark II cost £1,730 (body only), scored 90% and achieved a Best Buy accolade. Since then several other full-frame (and APS-C) models have been launched providing strong competition, in particular Canon's mirrorless EOS RP, which has a very similar specification. So, is the EOS 6D Mark II still a worthy choice, or is it already lagging behind newer models?

Handling

The Canon is a robust camera that should withstand some rough usage and while larger than the EOS RP, handles beautifully and balances nicely in the hand. While most mirrorless models are smaller and lighter, there is something to be said for the solidity and assurance you feel when using the EOS 6D Mark II. And, while the body is larger than the EOS RP, it's worth noting that users of this mirrorless model are likely using EF lenses via an adapter until the RF range expands, negating the advantage of the EOS RP's smaller, mirrorless body. So while this model might be larger and heavier than mirrorless rivals, it's worth noting that it's also tougher than most and for many the larger controls and balance it affords is a benefit. While I enjoyed using the mirrorless EOS RP, I have to say that I still prefer the handling of the DSLR.

Ease of use

There are no complaints with the control layout, with the large exposure mode dial on the left and well-sized buttons along the top-plate (which sports a very useful info-LCD) and rear, making operation fast and easy. While it hasn't the number of customisable buttons you'll find on more recent models, it has enough customisation to keep the majority of users happy. It also benefits from an excellent layout, with a simple yet effective set of controls on the top-plate behind the input dial providing fast access to key features like ISO, drive and AF. I found that it didn't take long to feel my way around these buttons while looking through the viewfinder, allowing me to make changes – most often to ISO ratings – without having to take my eye away from the finder.

EOS 6D Mark II K416 Speedlite270EXII EF24-105mm F4L II USM FRA

Features

It's fair to say that even when launched, the specification of this Canon wasn't revolutionary but rather brought the original EOS 6D up to date with what was already available from rivals. In the two years since, we've seen advancements in key areas that gives some rival models advantages that will reduce the Canon's appeal for serious users. The most obvious area where this Canon has fallen well behind is its AF system. Its 45-point Dual Pixel AF system was a big step-up from the 11-point AF of the original EOS 6D, but is way short of what newer models can offer – for instance the EOS RP boasts 4,770 AF points. Not only do newer AF systems offer more AF points, they cover a wider area of the frame, have a greater number of options and modes available and are far more responsive. While the Canon's AF is more than adequate for general subjects, it does struggle with moving elements, making newer options better if you regularly shoot wildlife or sports. There is less concern with the exposure system, with the Evaluative pattern providing very consistent results. And while the 6.5 frames-per-second may be slow in comparison with some models, it's more than good enough for most users' needs.

EOS 6D Mark II LCD BCK

Performance

Few will complain about the image quality from the 26.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, which delivers very high sharpness and low noise, even at higher ISO ratings. That said, its dynamic range is not as wide as newer sensors, so in high-contrast scenes, such as sunsets, rival models will perform better.

So, going back to the original question of whether the Canon EOS 6D Mark II is still worth consideration today, I think the answer to that depends very much on what you plan to use it for. As a general purpose camera, it ticks most boxes, offering good build and handling, an excellent range of features and fine image quality. I used it extensively for portraits and would definitely recommend it if portraiture is your thing. If you're happy with its size it is suitable as a great travel camera, although smaller cameras offer a distinct advantage if you want to travel light. Its slightly limited dynamic range means other models will better suit landscape photographers, while it's not the choice for sports and wildlife enthusiasts. It is also not the option for videographers either, offering Full HD but not 4K video. While it's not a perfect camera and does lack several facilities found on newer models, it still remains, in my view, one to consider, especially following the major drop to its price.

EOS 6D Mark II LCD Open EF24-105mm STM FRA

Value

Two years is a long time in digital camera terms and newer models offer a host of advantages in important areas, such as AF systems and video. But while not being cutting edge, the Canon EOS 6D Mark II still has much to offer, especially to current Canon owners with several lenses. It's all-round performance and lower price means it's still worth consideration against the EOS RP and other mirrorless rivals.

Specifications

Guide Price: £1,399 (body-only)
Image sensor: Full-frame CMOS (35.9x24mm)
Image processor: DIGIC 7
Resolution: 26.2-megapixels
Maximum image resolution: 6240x4160 pixels
AF system: Dual Pixel CMOS AF system. 45 AF points (all cross-type). 63 AF points in LiveView.

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