I was so pumped when the Canon 6D Mark II rumors were pouring out and when it was announced. Then, early reports concerned me about the image quality; however, I was also a little hopeful that the numbers and charts wouldn’t necessarily reflect real world experience. After using the 6D Mark II for a few weeks, I’m disappointed to say that the images produced by the Canon 6D Mark II are as bad as the number and charts suggest.
There’s just no holding onto the highlights. The real world use reflects that terrible dynamic range score the 6D Mark II received from DxOMark tests. While the color in the 6D Mark II is nice – as is the case with virtually all Canon DSLRs – the photos look like they came out of a Canon 60D. Of course, the 60D was a fine camera . . . in 2010!
I’ve shot just about every Canon DSLR in the past decade. Some I’ve shot more than others. I’ve logged hundreds of thousands of shots on the 5D Mark II and 60D. When I loaded the first 6D Mark II RAW file into Lightroom, I immediately cringed at the highlights and thought it looked more like a 60D file than a full frame camera file. DxOMark says the 6D Mark II and 5D Mark II have the same dynamic range of 11.9EV; however, I’d swear the 5D Mark II holds onto highlights better. I may do some side-by-side comparisons (if I can stomach using this camera any longer) but why do I really need to compare two camera models nearly a decade apart?
How Canon has the nerve to release a DSLR like the 6D Mark II in 2017 is beyond me. How did someone in the engineering department not raise their hand and be like, “Listen guys, this sensor isn’t up to snuff. Our mid-range 80D has better dynamic range and holds onto highlights better than what we’re about to put in this $2000 full frame camera. Why don’t we pump the brakes for a second and see if we can deliver a better product since we have the tech sitting right here on the workbench?”
Everything else about the 6D Mark II is fantastic. I love the autofocus system, the touchscreen and Dual Pixel AF. But the one thing that matters more than anything else, the one thing that makes all the other wonderful icing on the cake a superfluous batch of crap, is the image quality. If you’re going to ask $2000 for a DSLR in 2017 and beyond, you need to do much better than the images that the 6D Mark II gives us.
I don’t know what to think about Canon anymore. I’ve been a Canon user since the 90s but I’m on the verge of switching everything over to Sony, which is just stomping a mudhole in Canon’s backyard right now. The sensors that Sony is throwing in camera after camera, including the best of what Nikon and Hasselblad have to offer, are head and shoulders above what Canon delivered in the 6D Mark II.
The 6D Mark II sensor debacle really hits a nerve with me because I thought it would make the perfect camera to add to my kit – that is, until I saw the images. It should be a perfect full frame camera on a budget. It’s smaller than the 5D line and really closer to the size of the 80D. It’s got great ergonomics and user interface. The flip screen and touch screen are so convenient – and Canon really does have the touchscreen operation down. But the image quality is about what Canon was doing in 2008.
I’m almost of the opinion that the poor image quality is intentional. We’ve always talked about how Canon neuters its product line to keep consumers from getting “next level” features like . . . I don’t know . . . headphone jacks or 4K video…. But cutting down a camera’s image quality is a dirty move if Canon’s trying to separate this camera from the 5D product line. There are so many great cameras, including full frame cameras, from other brands in the $2000-ish and under price range that Canon has to be completely full of itself to think such an inferior camera deserves consideration.
In case I haven’t gotten the point across yet, I cannot in any way recommend buying the 6D Mark II. Instead, let me suggest 5 cameras that will deliver better images for less money:
I included the Canon 80D as the only APS-C camera because Canon doesn’t sell a full frame camera in the 6D Mark II’s price range that offers better image quality than it’s mid-range APS-C models.
To sum it up, industry leader Canon has delivered us the worst image quality of any current full frame camera in the market with the 6D Mark II. It is a camera that no one should buy if they care at all about taking images in anything than flat lighting in a controlled enviroment with no flexibility of RAW image files in post production.