Photography News | Issue 46 | absolutephoto.com
continued from cover story Canon at the double
The original EOS 6D was announced five years ago so an updated model was due – and here it is. The EOS 6D Mark II features a new sensor, Canon’s Dual Pixel AF system and an increased continuous shooting rate, so it looks as though thewait has been worthwhile. At the EOS 6D Mark II’s heart is a brand new CMOS sensor boasting a resolution of 26.2 megapixels, which works with Canon’s DIGIC 7 image processor. The combination is said to give exceptional exposure latitude to help get maximum detail in bright conditions. The native ISO range is 100 to 40,000 and this can be expandedup toH2 ISO102,400at the top end and 50 at the lower. The DIGIC 7 processing skills, working with the Dual Pixel AF system, help to give accurate focus tracking of moving subjects and, together with the EOS 6D Mark II’s
6.5fps continuous shooting speed, mean that this camera is better suited to action photography than its predecessor. Autofocusing is handled by Canon’s tried and tested Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. In this system, pixels covering about 80% of the image area on the sensor comprise individual photodiodes, left andright. To achieve accurate AF, the camera compares the images of both diodes and if they are different (ie. not in phase) the lens is instructed to make adjustments until they look the same, to give sharp focus. Single AF point, auto 45 point and various zone AF options are available so most needs are catered for, andAF point selection canbedoneviathetouchscreen.There is amaximumof 63AFpoints in a 9x7 grid via the optical viewfinder. Priced at £1999 body only, the EOS 6D Mark II is Canon’s lowest priced
DSLR forwould-be full-frame owners and it certainly has a lot going for it at this price point. It will be in the shops this July. While the EOS 6D Mark II is targeted at first-time full-frame buyers, its companion the EOS 200D is aimed at those keen shooters currently using a camera phone and contemplating a move to a ‘proper’ capture device. It’s an APS-C format DSLR with a 24.2-megapixel resolution from its CMOS sensor, and is all packed into a really compact body. The DIGIC 7 processor makes another appearance in this camera, and again, Dual Pixel CMOSAF technology is deployed. A 3in vari-angle monitor, Wi-Fi, optical viewfinder and a nine-point AF systemare other highlights. The EOS 200D body is priced at £579 and will available in the shops this July.
So what is the thinking behind the new Canon EOS 6D Mark II, and why now, five years after the original EOS 6Dwas announced? Firstly, there is no set rule on when new cameras are introduced. Lower down the line, cameras seem to move more quickly and higher up the line products move more slowly. To be fair, the EOS 6D is still a good camera even today and the image quality is very good, but things have changed, so the gap is probably longer than usual. We know there are a lot of people looking to step up on their photography, wanting full-frame pictures. It used to be for professional and semi-pros because of cost, but full-frame is more achievable now than before. I know this because I spoke to a lot of people at The Photography Show and spend a lot of time talking to people on socialmedia, andone of the biggest questions we get is ‘should I step up to full-frame and will I see a difference?’ Once you have shot full-frame it is really hard to go back, and once people realise the benefits, people will want to step up. What do you think are the main highlights of the Canon EOS 6DMark II from a keen photographer’s point of view? I’ve always loved the original EOS 6D. I thought the larger, full-frame cameras were heavy but the EOS 6D, with its light weight, meant it was ideal for carrying around for landscape photography. But what really struck me on the EOS 6D was its low-light capability. It was fantastic in low light, not just its AF down to -3EV but also the high ISOs you could go to and still return good image quality. Now with the EOS 6D Mark II, I am dying to see how good the new sensor is – I have only seen pre- productionmodels so I haven’t seenwhat image quality is like yet. I think being able to push the boundaries of where you can shoot is very exciting and having this new sensor is the key to the EOS 6D Mark II. We are not expecting people to use the camera at ISO 40,000 every day but what this does tell you is that the more usual ISOs are even more usable. DavidParry Product intelligence professional
Will Cheung, PhotographyNews editor
One thing I saw in the EOS 6DMark II presentation is the emphasis on AF performance at f/8. Why is this? Are there that many people shooting at f/8? It was something we were asked for years and years ago. It doesn’t really affect Canon lenses but we know a lot of our owners use third-party lenses and we are happy to showwe are not cutting these people out. The EOS 6D Mark II is ‘dust and drip resistant’ when other brands use ‘dust and weather resistant’. Why is this? None of our cameras are what people call weather- sealed. The reason is: take the lens off and there is a big hole on the front. So howgood the camera is at keeping out weather depends on the lens on the front. It means we can’t quote a figure on how weather resistant a camera is because it depends on the lens. We did try it back on the EOS 50D. We said it could survive light rain for 15 minutes – but is that light rain here in the UK or light rain in Asia? There are also so many variables, and while we are happy to talk about seals and grommets on our camera bodies we have stayed clear of quoting weather resistance figures. However, people should have confidence in our productsbecausealotofthemareusedbyprofessionals andwe know they are robust; they are toughmachines and most are tools for doing jobs, often in wet and dusty environments.
The sample EOS 6D Mark II that I got to handle was fully working but pre- production, so I was not allowed to load an SD card to take any pictures. At first glance there is little cosmetic difference between the thismodel and its predecessor in terms of layout. A longer look reveals an extra buttonon the front and a vari-anglemonitor. I’mabigfanofvari-anglemonitorsandtheEOS6DMarkII'sisafineexample; the provided bright viewing image makes composing low-down or above the head shots a cinch, and themonitor also features touchscreen functionality. In the hand, the body has a solid feel and its controls have a positive action. Of course, this is a full-frame DSLR and in that context its body is compact and respectably lightweight. Its dust- and drip-resistant build should ensure a reliable performance even in challenging conditions. The EOS 6DMark II’sAF system is the same as that found in the EOS 80D, a camera I have tested and found to be impressive, with swift focusing and ability to trackmoving subjects. Fittedwith a 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, the EOS 6D Mark II’sAFwas speedy, responsive andaccurate. Trackingon this earlysample was good but was onlywith peoplewalking across the room. The viewfinder is an optical one and the image provided is bright and contrasty, with camera setting information aligned across the bottom. Layout is typicallyCanon andwill be familiar to existing users. The same canbe saidof the camera’smenu structure. In fact, consistentmenu layout across its cameras, whether mirrorless or DSLR, is one aspect of design Canonmakes a great deal of. I didn’t have long with the EOS 6D Mark II and there is only so much one can glean from a pre-production camera that you can’t shoot pictures with, but there is no doubt that the new camera has great potential for aspiring full-frame photographers. Much of the EOS 6DMark II is existing Canon technology (the AF, exposure and white-balance systems, DIGIC 7 and so forth) but the most crucial aspect is the exciting newsensor with its claimedwide exposure latitude capability.We look forward to testing the camera in PhotographyNews soon.www.photographynews.co.uk
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