Photography News Issue 47

Photography News | Issue 47 |

Camera test 33

Performance: ISO

Original image

Above A fine example of the EOS 6DMark II’s exposure skills with challenging light. Amix of strong lighting and deep shadows presented a challenge but the Evaluative system coped well with this unedited JPEG. The exposure was 1/500sec at f/8 and ISO 100 without any exposure compensation dialled in.

Enlarged section

The EOS 6D Mark II is home to a new CMOS sensor that offers a native ISO range of 100 to 40,000. Expansion to ISO 50 at the bottom end and to H1 (51,200) and H2 (102,400) is available. This selection of pictures was taken at twilight with the camera fitted with a 24-70mm f/2.8 L II and mounted on a carbon-fibre Gitzo travel tripod. In-camera noise reduction was set to off. The resulting Raw files were processed in Lightroom, again with noise reduction set to zero. The base exposure at ISO 100 was 1sec at f/8. Digital noise performance is good and I’d be happy using ISO 800 and even 1600 safe in the knowledge that big enlargements are possible. Actually, ISO 3200 is more than acceptable too especially with some noise reduction in software and any residual grain is very filmic and neutral in look so not at all offensive. VentureuptoISO6400or12,800 and the digital noise is very much more evident but still the images don’t look too rough and detail isn’t too greatly impacted; but you can’t say the same once you go beyond those speeds. All in all, a capable ISO performance from Canon’s new sensor. Left The EOS 6DMark II turned in a capable high ISO performance giving excellent images at ISO 800 and 1600 with minimal digital noise. Higher ISOs continued to give nice images with fine detail clearly resolved and good colour saturation but the grainy effect is more pronounced.

ISO 100

ISO 12,800

Above The EOS 6DMark II’s AF system features 45 points, all cross-type sensors. It coped well with moving subjects like this DLR train – it was coming to a stop so it wasn’t a fast subject. The exposure was 1/1600sec at f/2.8 and ISO 400 with a 24-70mm lens set to 50mm. The enlarged section above is from the last of the three-image sequence.

ISO 800

ISO 25,600

with your focusing, spot AF is a really handy option and is available with all of the 45 AF points. The central AF point is extra sensitive down to -3EV (with f/2.8 lenses or larger) compared with -0.5EV (with lenses of f/5.6 or faster) of its neighbours with lenses. This sensor has what Canon calls a double cross-type point at the centre. With f/2.8 lenses (with a few exceptions), this point has left and right diagonal sensitivity as well as the usual vertical and horizontal sensitivity for greater accuracy including with moving subjects. With f/5.6 lenses this changes to the default horizontal and upright cross-type pattern. Moving the active AF point or zone around the viewfinder can be done either with the multi-way control or the rear input dial so the process is quick – but not as quick or as intuitive as a joystick which we see on top-end Canons. The 45-zone AF area only covers the central section of the image area so not so good for more off-centre compositions. You’ll have to use the nearest (or the central) AF point and then AF lock but obviously taking extra care when shooting at wider lens apertures.

The actual number of AF points available does depend on the fitted lens so while all 45 are available with most Canon optics, this does vary. Fit, for example, an EF 100mm f/2.8 macro USM and you get 35 AF active zones. For this test I had the 24-70mm f/2.8 and 135mm f/2 and found the EOS 6D’s AF performance with these top-end optics impressive, swift and silent. I concentrated on using the zone/ single point AF settings rather than the wide area. I started with the latter but as I often find with such features the camera picks up on what it thinks, often incorrectly, is the subject. The more selective AF modes were more reliable. For static subjects the AF proved really reliable and accurate. I also tried tackling moving subjects too. The EOS 6D Mark II does not offer the subject-related case studies for better continuous AF as seen on higher end Canons, but there are fine-tuning options in the AF custom functions menu. So, for example, tracking sensitivity, tracking acceleration/ deceleration and the speed of AF point switching can be adjusted to cope with different situations. 

ISO 1600

ISO 40,000

ISO 3200

ISO 51,200

ISO 6400

ISO 102,400

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