In the camera world, a ‘Mark II’ sequel can be viewed in one of two different ways. For some, it might suggest an underwhelming, modest upgrade. But when it comes to the Canon EOS R6 Mark II, many people will be hoping it means that Canon’s added the finishing touches to what could be their perfect camera.

The original Canon EOS R6, which arrived in July 2020 and is now discontinued, was an excellent full-frame camera that fell just short of greatness. For many, the black mark on an otherwise flawless photo was the camera’s 20MP resolution. While that’s fine for pro sports photographers looking for speed, some found it just a little too limiting for an all-rounder camera.

Enter the EOS R6 Mark II and its new 24.2MP full-frame sensor. That’s a 20% increase in resolution from its predecessor, which should mean better detail and more flexibility for cropping images. But it could also be the sweet spot for burst shooting and video. 

The Canon EOS R6 Mark II camera on a wooden shelf

(Image credit: Future)

Unlike the slower 33MP Sony A7 IV, one of its closest rivals, the EOS R6 Mark II can shoot at 12fps with its mechanical shutter, or up to 40fps when using its electronic shutter (if you’re prepared to accept the risk of rolling shutter). 

For video shooters, Canon’s new all-rounder can also shoot uncropped 4K/60p video using the full width of its sensor. It also oversamples its 4K footage from the sensor’s native 6K resolution, which usually produces superior image quality to cameras that use other techniques like line-skipping.

On paper, this is an exciting combination for anyone who’s looking for a mirrorless all-rounder that can handle all of their photo and video needs. But does the Canon EOS R6 Mark II live up to its sparkling new spec sheet? We played with one for a few hours in a London hotel to find out…

Canon EOS R6 Mark II release date and price

The Canon EOS R6 Mark II is available to pre-order now for a body-only price of £2,779 / AU$4,499 (around $3,190). You can also buy the camera with the RF 24-105 f/4L IS USM lens for £3,999 / AU$6,399 (about $4,585). In some regions, you’ll also be able to get it with the cheaper RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM zoom lens for £3,129.

The Canon EOS R6 Mark II camera on a wooden shelf

(Image credit: Future)

For those in the US and Australia, this pricing is identical to the original Canon EOS R6, which landed in July 2020. In the UK, though, the EOS R6 Mark II is about 6% pricier than its predecessor. Canon is expecting sales to start from late November.

The EOS R6 Mark II’s main rival is the Sony A7 IV, which arrived in December 2021 for $2,499 / £2,400 / AU$$4,299. It’s a higher-resolution camera with a 33MP full-frame sensor, but also slower than its new Canon rival with a maximum burst speed of 10fps and only shoots 4K/60p video with a Super 35 crop.

Canon EOS R6 Mark II: design

  • Same body as the EOS R6 with some control tweaks
  • New dial for choosing stills or movie mode
  • Lacks the EOS R5’s top screen

The Canon EOS R6 Mark II is physically almost identical to the original EOS R6, aside from a few usability tweaks. Given how much we enjoyed shooting with its predecessor, this comfortable familiarity is no bad thing.

First, those changes. Replacing the on/off button on the left-hand side is a new switch for flipping between stills and movie mode. That’s an improvement, as you’re now able to use the camera in the same way, whether you’re shooting photos or videos. The ‘on/off/lock’ switch has now moved above the rear command dial.

Another small tweak is that the command dial now has ‘Auto’ and ‘Scene’ modes, making it more approachable for newbies. The back of the camera looks identical to the original EOS R6, but Canon says it’s redesigned the multi-controller (or AF joystick, as most people call it) to work better with autofocus features like Eye Priority and subject-tracking. Still, it doesn’t have the EOS R7’s unusual joystick design, which has a control wheel circling around it, and that’s fine with us.

The Canon EOS R6 Mark II camera on a wooden shelf

(Image credit: Future)

Lastly, on top of the EOS R6 Mark II you’ll now find a multi-function shoe, like the one on the Canon EOS R3. Like Sony’s equivalent connector, this provides both the power and data communication needed for the camera to work with the latest accessories like Canon’s new Speedlite EL-5, without the need for cables.

Overall, then, Canon has very much followed the ‘if it ain’t broke’ strategy with the EOS R6 Mark II. Thanks to its deep grip, it still handles really well with most lenses, and has a tough, magnesium alloy chassis. Its combination of a textured AF joystick, Quick Menu (Q) button and vari-angle display is also a tried-and-tested one that’ll suit most types of photographer and videographer.

It would have been nice to see a new electronic viewfinder, with the EOS R6 Mark II using the same 3.69-million dot EVF seen on its predecessor. But that one is absolutely fine in practice, thanks to its 0.76x magnification and 119.8fps refresh rate Canon was also, rightly, more focused on bumping up the camera’s resolution and features.

Canon EOS R6 Mark II: features and performance

  • New 24.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • Shoots at 40fps with electronic shutter (12fps with mechanical)
  • IBIS still gives you up to eight stops of compensation

Despite not having a stacked sensor, like the Canon EOS R3, the EOS R6 Mark II’s new 24.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor (and Digic X processor) deliver some notable performance improvements for both stills and video.

Firstly, there’s that headline continuous shooting speed of 40fps when using the EOS R6 Mark II’s electronic shutter. That doubles the 20fps burst shooting ceiling of its predecessor, and matches the top speed of the Fujifilm X-H2S (which has a smaller APS-C sensor). 

This 40fps mode does come with some big limitations. Firstly, the EOS R6 Mark II doesn’t accept CFexpress cards (instead offering dual UHS-II slots), so when shooting raw files at 40fps its buffer will fill up in under two seconds (or 75 raws). Also, while Canon says that the EOS R6 Mark II’s new sensor reduces rolling shutter, this is still something to be aware of when shooting at 40fps. That mode could be handy in specific scenarios, but the 12fps mechanical shutter mode will still be your go-to.

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A more useful addition for shooting speeding subjects will likely be this camera’s upgraded Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system. There’s still no Quad Pixel CMOS AF system, which has been rumored for a while, but the EOS R6 Mark II’s boosted deep learning skills mean it can now recognize aircraft, trains and a greater variety of animals (including horses and zebras). 

We haven’t been able to test this yet, but in practice that should mean improved AF tracking reliability when shooting those subjects. The AF system does seem more adaptable overall than the EOS R6 – when we shot some dancers, it’d revert to tracking their head if the eyes weren’t visible in the frame.

Like its predecessor, the EOS R6 Mark II is also great for handheld shooting, thanks to its impressive in-body image stabilization (IBIS). This gives you up to eight stops of compensation (depending on the lens you’re using), reducing the need to reach for a tripod in challenging light. There’s no improvement on the EOS R6 here, but it is still a great feature.

Canon EOS R6 Mark II: image and video quality

  • 24.1MP sensor gives a 20% resolution boost over the Canon EOS R6
  • Shoots uncropped 4K/60p video using full width of its sensor
  • Video recording time limits removed

While some Canon fans will be holding out for a 30MP full-frame mirrorless camera, the EOS R6 Mark II’s move to a 24.2MP sensor gives it a decent boost over its predecessor for both photos and video.

For starters, that 20% boost in resolution compared to the EOS R6 is a bonus for those who particularly prize detail in their stills, or the ability to crop into them. Those extra pixels could, in theory, also have a negative effect on the EOS R6 Mark II’s high ISO performance, given the potential for increased noise. But Canon says this camera matches its predecessor’s high ISO image quality – that’s something we’ll need a little more time to test.

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This sensor also gives the EOS R6 Mark II’s video skills a helpful boost. Canon says the rolling shutter issues that were prevalent on its predecessor should be much improved (we’ll need more with the camera to test this), and it can now shoot oversampled 4K/60p video (with Dual Pixel CMOS AF II) using the full width of its sensor.

Unfortunately, there still doesn’t appear to be a DCI option for a wider, cinematic look, nor a 4K/120p mode for slow-mo videos that we saw on the Canon EOS R5. But there is a Full HD/180p mode and Canon has removed the 30-minute video recording limits seen on the EOS R6.

Naturally, there are still practical limitations on how long you can continuously record video – Canon says the EOS R6 Mark II can shoot “over 40 minutes” of oversampled 4K/60p at a time, or up to six hours of 4K/30p, all depending on the ambient temperature, plus your memory card space and battery life. That’s pretty good on paper, but something we’ll be looking to check in our full review.

If you’re looking to use the EOS R6 Mark II for more hardcore filmmaking, it is also capable of outputting a 6K raw feed via its HDMI output, which you can record on an Atomos Ninja V+ recorder in ProRes RAW. And for all levels of filmmaker, there’s also Canon’s equivalent of the focus-breathing correction we’ve seen on cameras like the Sony A7 IV, which helps prevent the zooming effect created when adjusting focus on a compatible lens.

Canon EOS R6 Mark II early verdict

The Canon EOS R6 Mark II may not be a dramatic upgrade on its predecessor, but it doubles-down on that camera’s good points (handling, great stabilization, impressive autofocus) and fixes most of its weaknesses. 

The new 24.2MP sensor delivers a notable boost in resolution, which was the main limitation of the original EOS R6. There’s also a new 40fps burst shooting mode (albeit with limited practical use), a refined AF system and some more powerful video features.

(Image credit: Future)

Some Canon photographers may have preferred to have seen more resolution, like the 30.3MP Canon EOS R, at the expense of video features. But the EOS R6 Mark II is a nicely balanced hybrid camera and a very strong alternative to the Sony A7 IV and Nikon Z6 II. 

We’ll let you know which of those powerhouses deserves to top our guides to the best mirrorless cameras and the best camera for photography very soon.