Canon EOS R6
Price as Reviewed:£2,499.00 (Body Only)
Andy Westlake takes a first look at Canon’s exciting new mirrorless all-rounder
Canon EOS R6: At a glance
- £2,499.99 body only
- 20MP full-frame sensor
- ISO 50-204,800 (extended)
- 12fps continuous shooting
- 3.69m-dot EVF
- 3in fully articulated touchscreen
- 5-axis in-body image stabilisation
- 4K 60fps video / Full HD 120fps
It’s fair to say that Canon’s first attempts at making full-frame mirrorless cameras weren’t universally loved, with the EOS R and RP discarding too much of the design ethos that underpinned the firm’s finely-honed DSLRs. However, the sleeping giant is now well and truly awake. And while it’s created a lot of buzz around the high-end EOS R5 over the past few months, the camera that photographers will surely go out and buy in their droves when it goes in sale in late August is its less expensive sibling, the Canon EOS R6.
Where the £4,200 Canon EOS R5 is a 45MP, 8K video-capable monster, the £2,500 Canon EOS R6 has slightly more modest specifications, but still looks like a fantastic all-rounder. It employs a 20MP full-frame sensor based on that in the flagship EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR, just with a less sophisticated optical low-pass filter. It provides a standard sensitivity range of ISO 100-102,400, along with continuous shooting at 12 frames per second with continuous AF, or 20fps using the silent electronic shutter.
Autofocus employs Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, which allows every single pixel on the sensor to be used for phase detection. As a result, the camera boasts 6,072 selectable AF points spread across the entire frame, with face and eye detection AF available for humans, along with subject tracking for animals such as dogs, cats and birds, powered by Canon’s deep learning AI technology.
Video recording is available at 4K and 60fps, or Full HD and 120fps. Headphone and microphone sockets are built in, with the latter positioned on the front shoulder to avoid obstructing the movement of the screen. Footage can be recorded internally using either the widely-supported H.264 compression, or the more space-efficient 10-bit H.265. Canon Log gamma is available to provide extra flexibility for colour grading in post-production.
Canon EOS R6: Design and Handling
The EOS R6 uses a very similar design to the R5, with the most noticeable external difference being a conventional exposure mode dial in place of the latter’s top-plate LCD. Most importantly, both cameras gain features that were previously conspicuous by their absence from Canon’s full-frame mirrorless models, including dual card slots and 5-axis in-body stabilisation.
Indeed the firm hasn’t done things by halves, claiming up to 8 stops stabilisation when using selected RF lenses. When an optically-stabilised lens is mounted, it corrects for pitch and yaw movements, while the sensor corrects for rotation about the lens axis, along with vertical and lateral movements.
Previous EOS R models went out of their way to re-think how the camera should be used, and as a result ended up looking unfamiliar to Canon DSLR owners, without actually handling any better. But to its credit, Canon has listened to its critics and adopted a different approach. As a result, the EOS R6’s physical design melds the best new ideas of the R system with EOS staples such as an AF joystick and a relatively large back-plate control dial.
My initial impression is that Canon has done a fine job of fitting so many controls onto the body while keeping them all accessible. With three dials on the camera body, and another on the native RF lenses, you can now have one dial dedicated to setting the ISO all the time, so there’s no need for a separate button. The AF joystick is a little bit of a stretch for your thumb – I’d prefer it to be closer to where the ‘magnify’ button is positioned – but it’s still quite usable.
Canon has fitted a very decent viewfinder to the EOS R6, in the form of a 3.69m-dot unit boasting 0.76x magnification, and refreshing at up to 120 frames per second to give a sharp preview with smooth motion and no discernible lag.
Below it is a 3-inch, 1.6m-dot fully articulated LCD touchscreen, which can be set to point in almost any direction – up down, or forwards for selfies or vlogging. It can also be folded in against the body for protection when you’re not using it. A proximity sensor beneath the viewfinder automatically switches between the two, and thankfully is disabled when the screen is swung outwards.
Power is provided by an up-rated version of Canon’s long-running LP-E6 battery. It’s completely cross-compatible with older cameras and chargers, and promises a very decent stamina of 380 shots per charge with the EVF, or 510 when using the LCD. If this isn’t enough, the matched BG-R10 grip accepts two batteries and provides a duplicate set of controls for portrait-format shooting.
Canon EOS R6: First Impressions
Even from a relatively short time with the camera, it’s clear that the EOS R6 is incredibly exciting. Canon appears to have finally got things absolutely right, and may just have made the best-handling full-frame mirrorless body that we’ve seen to date, with a large comfortable grip and fantastic control layout. It’s regained enough of the traditional Canon DNA to feel truly part of the EOS family, just with an electronic viewfinder rather than an optical one.
The specification is obviously very impressive, with the EOS R6 dramatically surpassing the firm’s DSLRs in terms of shooting speed and autofocus. Indeed it’s difficult to see many photographers being disappointed with this kind of spec sheet. I guess some may bemoan the ‘mere’ 20MP resolution, but it’s more than sufficient for making a detailed A3+ print, and there’s little practical difference compared to a 24MP sensor. We’re hugely excited to find out what the Canon EOS R6 can do in real-world use in our upcoming full review.
Canon EOS R6: Full Specifications
- Sensor: 20MP dual-pixel CMOS, 35.9 x 23.9mm
- Output size: 5472 x 3648
- Focal length magnification: 1z
- Lens mount: Canon RF
- Shutter speeds: 30-1/8000sec
- Sensitivity: ISO 100-102,400; ISO 50-204,800 expanded
- Exposure modes: PASM, Fv, B , C1-C3, Auto
- Metering modes: Evaluative, partial, centre, spot
- Exposure compensation: +/-3EV in 0.3EV steps
- Continuous shooting: 12 fps; 20 fps electronic shutter
- Screen: 3in, 1.6m-dot fully articulated LCD
- Viewfinder: 3.69m-dot, 120fps, 0.76x magnification
- AF points: 6,072
- Video: 4K 60p, Full HD 120 UHD
- External mic: 3.5mm stereo
- Memory card: 2x SD UHS II
- Power: LP-E6NH Li-ion
- Battery life: 380 shots using EVF, 510 with LCD
- Dimensions: 138 x 98 x 88mm
- Weight: 680g including battery and card