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:
- Nikon D610
- Nikon D750
- Sony A7 II
- Pentax K-1
- Canon 80D (if you have to buy a Canon camera)
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.
Yusuf Ziya Kandemir says
Why the recommended list excludes 6D? An established Canon shooter could keep his/her 6D if he/she has it. No need to shift to other brands.
Frank Anderson says
I agree. I have a 6D and its that it should be compared to. If the image quality is on par to or better than that, then with all the other improvements – touch screen, focusing, etc, would make it worth for me.
I’m not interested in pixel peeping, shooting video or blaming the camera for my own inabilities as a photographer and I certainly don’t care about what other brands are like. The 6D has been a great camera for me, so does its replacement improve on it?
Yusuf Ziya Kandemir says
You are right: 6D II is not a good camera: overall review scores of 6D is even higher than 6D II at some web sites. This is a real big shame on Canon.
C Bowler says
High ISO performance is modern. Low ISO dynamic range is lacking. That may or may not be an issue for some users. I find the review excessively negative and bent so much so that it’s not worth reading because it’s not objective.
Tan Dem says
Exactly my conclusion. Bought the camera in August 2017 from B&H took many test shots (two weeks), confirmed the articles of bad low/high ISO dynamic range in RAW, yep, CRAP. Requested an RMA and returned the camera using B&H’s superb return policy and never looked back. Best $10 return shipping ever spent.
Greg Bishop says
Eric, this is a sizzler review. Amazing that experience on the part of Canon doesn’t prevent stupidity. All I could do was shaKe my head and mutter “W.T.F”! .i cpuldn’t be more disappointed in Canon, nor happier that I didn’t pull the trigger. Switching to Canon was nearly my celebration of winning the 2017 Port of Long Beach Photo Program contest (“Pinniped Beach”), using my Nikon d5100 with 300mm telephoto lens. I’d been mostly convinced by Canon shooters to join the fold. I’m washing my hands of this and intently looking at Sony.
I’d love to know what the ‘industry’ reaction has been to this pull-no-punches all-out hang ’em high.
Tim Driman Photography says
May I respectfully suggest that you go back a few weeks and look at the SLR Lounge article about the visit to the SONY factory…..
In essence, the three journalists who visited the factory came to the realisation that SONY was primarily an electronics company which had ensured that they concentrated on building probably the best image capturing sensors in the world… The actual camera bodies then became supplementary to their philosophy of electronic image capture…They clearly understand the huge importance of great sensors..
I was a loyal Canon user for 18 years and have the Canon 1DX MKii and the 5D MKiv, as well as the Canon 200mm-400mm f4.0+1.4x Built in converter, 70mm – 200mm f2.8 MKii and 24mm – 105mm f4.0 MKii, so I do have first hand understanding and knowledge of what these flagship toys are capable of and have the results to prove it…
But then I purchased the SONY A9 and G Master 70mm – 200mm f2.8 plus GMaster 2x converter and ran the two Canon rigs in parallel with the new SONY rig…
I shoot action sports, wildlife and birds and have just returned from the ultimate “test” of capturing the most erratic flyers in the avian world … the Carmine Bee-eaters nesting in their breeding location along the Zambezi River.
I started with the big Canon rig, and after 15 minutes put it down and took up the little SONY rig…..
Needless to say that the Canon rig was put away in its case, never to see the light of day again on the entire three week trip! ……. In fact all my Canon gear is on its way to be sold at the largest photo dealership in Southern Africa as I write this ….
Why I changed: I am tired of battling to hand-hold a monster, clunky rig which quite honestly didn’t produce the same results which the new SONY A9 produced with no effort!
If the truth is told, it appears that by their total disregard for a serious mirrorless challenger to FUJI and SONY, that Canon cannot accept the fact that they have missed a trick or two, and worse still, that their new sensors are just not as good as those which SONY are building… *SONY build sensors for their own camera bodies, and also for FUJI and the new NIKON 850 which everyone is raving about…
The fact that in the Canon 1DX, Canon place the two sensors side-by-side, which means each one shares 50% of the work-load, while SONY stack two sensors which probably quadruples the efficiency and enables their absolutely lightning fast tracking ability which refreshes at 60x per second! It’s not even a challenge!
Why are the two CANIKON brands so slow in accepting the fact that their old superiority is being usurped right under their noses?
Let’s face it guys, the age of SLR mechanical image capture is obsolete! When CANIKON finally wake up and smell the coffee, it will be too late for them to catch up to SONY who, no doubt will be a few more steps ahead from now……
As for SONY glass…… Well, my results are showing that the G Master range is every bit as good as Canon, if not a bit better!
Eddie G says
I agree with your great point. I will not buy another Canon product. I’m soooooooo disappointed with them!!!
Just to let you know… Sony did NOT build the Nikon D850 sensor.
It was completely designed by Nikon and produced by Towerjazz.
Could you cite a credible source for that information, please… this being the internet and all…
And, no, long-winded, repetitious tattooed gigglers don’t count as a credible source.
Tim L says
There was a big article about this last week. Pretty well documented. Don’t remember exactly where.
We are all furious with Canon for a decade now. People who still buy Canon products are either don’t know anything about modern tech, or simply don’t want to know anything at all. Nobody can justify buying Canon DSLR in 2017. There’s not a single reason for that when Sony is giving us so much these days.
I am a Canon shooter since 1993 and I definitely want out of this almost sunk Canon ship.
I have a 5Dm3 and 8 L lenses,why change !
Vladimir, cite your sources for Canon’s imaging products division being an “almost sunk… ship”.
Well, DP Review is more diplomatic but they also comment on the limited dynamic range AND mediocre autofocus.
Canon has such excellent technology that it’s hard to understand why they would decide to manufacture a full-frame camera with such drawbacks. Maybe because they know that people have a ton of money invested in Canon lenses. OK, fine, but if a person does, why would he bother upgrading to a new camera with mediocre image quality and autofocus??
Not a great marketing strategy.
Very negative review. If you are a pro, and you need more dynamic range in your photos, maybe you should learn how to expose properly.
A quote from your review:
“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.”
If you did a bit of reading, you would know that the best of Nikon, Nikon D850, does not use a Sony sensor. Nikon D850 is equipped with a TowerJazz sensor. I question your credibility and your review.
Mr. South Africa, you have commented no this many times before. If you are not happy with Canon, don’t buy their cameras and lenses.
Majority of pro photographers use Canon bodies and lenses. Please don’t start on………because they’re heavily invested in Canon glass. They can use Sony cameras with adapters if that was the case but they do not use Sony for a reason. Canon 6D MkII is selling very well and Canon is very well off financially. They are selling and selling and there is a reason for that.
In conclusion, if you’re feel frustrated with Canon, the solution is very simple. Don’t buy their stuff. Switch to whatever you want. We don’t need to know that here and quite frankly, nobody cares.
Yes, we DO need to know that here, Dave, as that is one thing this site exists for. Your snotty, immature, off-point fanboy rant is just pathetic for an adult… if, in fact, you are one, chronologically speaking.
P.S.- I have never owned, nor have I ever seriously considered owning a Canon DSLR, but I do own a mixed Canon M5/ Sony/ Nikon/ (Pentax lens) APS-C-bodies ‘kit’ to complement FF mirror less & DSLR as required … so save your breath, or whatever, Dave, with respect to manufacturing a snotty fanboy bias complaint in response.
Furthermore, as an actual retired pro, I can state confidently that your fantasy about busy, working pros having a realistic option to use lens adaptors on mirrorless bodies for a majority of their work demonstrates how F.O.S. you really are.
And so, thank you, Eric, for a straightforward, pithy summary ‘review’ without apologetics. You are not the only reviewer of note who found saying very much about this camera’s newer details… kind of a pointless exercise in 2017.
If you have never owned a Canon DSLR then S.T.F.U. You don’t know what the F you’re talking about. You’re a retired pro who only used mirrorless and cropped sensor cameras. I don’t know what kind of pro you are/were but anyone can call themselves that. It means nothing. All those that criticize this camera are not photographers. They are simply spec analysts and pixel pickers. You can read in the attached link here about how bad the Canon 6D MkII really is. Ohh, it doesn’t have 4K, that’s a deal breaker for pros like yourself. If you want 4K, get a dedicated 4K video camera. Don’t be cheap. If you’re a pro, you don’t expect to have everything in an ENTRY LEVEL FF camera which can be had now for around $1300 in BandH site. Again, this is and ENTRY LEVEL camera. It is designed to shoot stills. It is not a jack of all trades and master of none, like the pro you claim to be. ENTRY LEVEL camera. ENTRY LEVEL camera. You’d say in your primitive mind………Oh, but Sony A9 offers, a bigger sensor, better autofocus system, 20fps (most people really need that) and overheating batteries included in the prices that 3 times that of Canon 6D MKII ENTRY LEVEL CAMERA. I think I’ve said this enough times so you can get that through you thick skull.
Here is the link to this horrible camera’s review from Outdoor Photographer Magazine.
Thank you for this Dave. I have a 6D mkii and I take absolutley fantastic photos using it. My first full frame and I appreciate it’s quality along with the 35mm F1.4L mk2 glass I paired it with. The only thing that takes the shine off it is reading all the bad press.
William Sparkes says
I used Canon professionally for many years, and acquired a full set of L lenses.
Several years ago I bought my first Sony camera.
Since then I have gradually sold all my Canon bodies and lenses. and am now using only Sony.
I am very happy with the quality of the images, and particularly impressed with the way Sony listens to their users and is very forward thinking in developing their technology. No company is perfect.
I am not here to bash Canon. It just seems they have lost the “edge” they held more so many years.
Eric, I suggest you rent a Sony A9 and a Sony 100-400 lens, and compare the results for yourself.
(Umm, prepare yourself… :):)
dick ranez says
Sony/Canon or Sony/Nikon or Canon/Nikon discussions are much like Prodisdant/Catholic discussions – neither side is right, and neither side is wrong. Choose whatever you like, and enjoy using it. Personally, I won’t buy Sony for other reasons – like an office full of Sony computers that they left me hanging high and dry. They are one of three camera companies that have the ability to make superb sensors, with Canon and Fuji, but who knows how the business models move?
“…neither side is wrong”?? The year is 2017, Dick, not 1317. Of course, if you meant “not even wrong” in the Wolfgang Pauli sense of that, you might have the germ of a point going.
But with respect to cameras and unlike philosophically dead or moribund religious apologetics, yeah, I think, like Eric, that an issue such as trading off between blown highlights and dirty shadows does matter.
P.S.- Good point about business models, BTW, Dick. Canon’s business model seems to be working very well for them despite all the complaints from an enthusiast crowd who can’t manage to distinguish Canon’s order of priorities from their own.
Nevertheless, the rationale for Canon’s choice of a previous decade’s large scale sensor-chipset architecture or topology for an all-“new” sensor design — which I understand to be at the root of the 6D II’s shortcomings — remains a mystery, as far as I know. It is hard to fathom a payoff for this.
Thanks for this. I’ve been a canon user for the past 10 years and I have a heavy investment in canon lenses. I was eagerly awaiting the 6DM2, but this is super disappointment and I’m very glad for honest reviews like this to keep me from pulling the trigger.
Disagree with this author. Entry level full frame. Want all the missing bell/whistles go large. As for dynamic range 5 EV HDR works for me on the low side. I’m not into video so no 4K is ok by me. Works for me the way it is. Captures great with good glass.
6DM1 Entry level full frame is/was better… What is ‘go large’? 5DM4, 5DS/SR? $2K for 1080P? I have good glass and used them, CRAP results. Compared with my 6D the M2 is kaka.
For around $1300 at BandH and Adorama. With the 24-105 L MK II lens included, it’s about $2100. Is 1018p not good enough for you? Who else makes an Entry Level FF camera with a pro lens for $2100? Get a dedicated 4K camera if you want 4K. What the F is wrong with those who want everything in their camera, all the features, all in one camera but don’t want to pay for it and expect it in an ENTRY LEVEL camera?
If you get CRAP results……….learn how to use the camera properly.
Wow… I did’t mean for you to take it personal. Sorry if I offended you.
Tim L says
I dumped Canon after three decades for Fujifilm. I’ve never come close to regretting it. This is why. If size and weight were no object I would have definitely considered Sony.
Yusuf Ziya Kandemir says
It’s a mistake. Yes by definition, 6D II in all respects or at least in most respects should have been a step forward. But in fact in some respects it is a step backward from previous 6D. If this is a marketing trick, it should not be forgiven by the buyer. If this a technical mistake, it should be corrected by the manufacturer.
Canon and Nikon are getting themselves in a fierce competition. Sony is getting their grounds. Meanwhile ever improving mobile phone cameras even with a sort of optical zooms take their soul day by day. So they may make mistakes under tension.
If this is not a mistake, anf if Canon still tries to fool the buyers then it is a different story. Because even if the fans do, Sony may not forgive it.
If this is a technical mistake, then it is not easy to correct it. Because Canon can not issue a corrected camera called 6D III as Nikon could have done it as in the case of D610 just after D600.
Please check Dpreview ratings. 6D gets a score of 83 while 6D II could only score 80.
Please Canon. Take care.
I understand but do not wholly agree with the attitude towards the 6D II. This is a very capable camera which is why I upgraded to it from the 77D. I am a pro and the latitude in dynamic range is not an issue for me. If I see a scene with a huge dynamic contrast I may just rethink how to photograph that scene. Most of the time those kinds of pictures don’t look good I hate to say. This is why the best time to shoot outdoors is just before sunset because things just look better with softer more even light. Dynamic range doesn’t change that basic fact. You really have to take into consideration as well what is natural to the eye. Is it natural for their to be no highlights in a scene? I say absolutely not. To me it would be odd if for instance I had a picture of someone and the sun was in the frame and the sun was not pure white like it normally is. It might be a neat effect to see the surface of the sun but not a natural looking picture if you understand my meaning. Of course it is nice to have dynamic range for those times when you make a mistake, but, it’s not a requirement for great pictures.
Well said, Shawn. All these people complaining about the 6D M2 do not know how to take a picture. They hope that the camera will correct their incompetence. Once Canon comes out with a FF mirrorless this year, they will be selling their sonys and going back to Canon. These are the people who are toy collectors and specs analysts, not real photographers. How would they ever survive in the film era?
Bunch of losers.