Canon EOS R6 Mirrorless Full Frame Camera Review
The Canon EOS R6, released in the summer of 2020, was one of the most overshadowed camera announcements. Coming just one month after the long-anticipated R5, the Canon EOS R6 didn’t get as much attention as it deserved.
This full frame mirrorless camera has some impressive specs that make it an exciting piece of gear, especially for the price.
I’ve used the camera for several months on photo and video shoots and it performs incredibly well. It’s cheaper and almost as good as the Canon EOS R5, especially if you’re not interested in high-end video specs.
Read on below for why I think you should check out the Canon EOS R6 for your next full frame mirrorless camera.
Canon EOS R6 Specs
- Great image quality
- Excellent autofocus
- Good dynamic range
- Intuitive menu
- Solid video specs (4k 60)
- Larger/heavier than alternatives
- Less-than-impressive battery life
- Lower resolution than alternatives
- Expensive native RF lenses
- 20 MP Dual Pixel CMOS Sensor
- In-body stabilization rated at up to 8EV of correction
- Dual Pixel AF II with AI-trained subject tracking and 100% AF coverage
- 20 fps shooting with e-shutter, 12 fps mechanical
- UHD 4K shooting at up to 60p, 1080 at up to 120p
- 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording in either C-Log or HDR PQ
- 10-bit HDR photos in HEIF format
- 3.68M-dot EVF
- 1.62M-dot fully-articulated rear touchscreen
- New battery rated at around 380 shots per charge (EVF)
Build & Appearance
The Canon EOS R6 takes the same form factor as previous Canon full frame mirrorless cameras (EOS R & EOS R5). The build is equally rugged and durable yet compact.
It may not be the lightest mirrorless camera but the R6 has a firm build that feels tough and professional. With the trim body and comfortable grip, it looks and feels like a slimmed-down DSLR.
I always appreciated the build quality of the Canon 5D line of cameras and this camera seems equally resilient with less bulk.
Although the viewfinder has less resolution than some other recently released cameras, I found it to be more than adequate.
The viewfinder on the Canon R6 lets you easily see what’s sharp in your image and how the exposure settings will affect the final result – something I love about shooting with mirrorless cameras.
The Canon EOS R6 comes with a flip-out screen which is both a pro and a con.
In some situations I find the flip-out screen to be frustrating because you have to have the screen sticking out to the side of the camera. When shooting verticals from a low angle, however, the flip-out screen is very useful. It’s also great for selfies/vlogging.
Depending on what type of images you shoot, you may or may not like the flip-out screen. The resolution and brightness on the screen seem adequate and I had no complaints.
Overall, I was very happy with the build and appearance of the Canon EOS R6.
Ergonomics & Handling
If you’re coming from a DSLR and the Canon EOS R6 is your first venture into full frame mirrorless cameras, you will appreciate the compact feel and updated ergonomics.
The R6 feels like a mini DSLR. Many people complain that Sony mirrorless cameras are too small and have poorly designed grips. I think those people will appreciate this camera.
The EOS R6 is not ultralight or compact but it does feel great to use. The comfortable grip and well-placed buttons make it a really enjoyable camera to shoot with.
Similar to the R5, I wish you could turn on/off the camera with a one-handed grip to conserve battery but this is a small issue.
The other dials on this camera feel firm but smooth and I appreciate the record button located near the shutter. Additionally, the ability to customize many of the controls makes it even more functional/ergonomic.
Lastly, the menu system on this camera is awesome. The touch control and ability to tap/scroll make it a breeze to navigate to the functions you need quickly. An intuitive menu can save a lot of time and stress when you need to adjust a feature during a shoot.
The wide appeal of the ergonomics of the Canon EOS R6 is another reason I think this is an underrated camera.
Autofocus has come a long way recently for Canon cameras. In the days of the DSLR, there were a limited number of points and they never seemed to work quite as you hoped.
Now, the Canon EOS R6 has 100% autofocus coverage and it’s almost instantaneous to lock focus.
Along with these advancements comes some complexity so be aware that you will have to master the autofocus menu controls in order to get the most accurate results.
Although customization is needed to maximize performance, the Canon EOS R6 works well straight out of the box.
I typically use the single or multi-point modes that allow you to move your focus point to a specific spot and lock on to a subject. Other popular features are Eye AF and tracking which work great when set up properly.
Because of the awesome low light performance of the sensor, the Canon EOS R6 focuses quickly in dark rooms. I never have issues locking focus even in dark situations.
If you want the latest in autofocus speed, the Canon EOS R6 delivers.
Low Light Performance
As you should expect from a newly released high-quality camera, the Canon EOS R6 has great high ISO performance. Also, it has the advantage of a slightly lower megapixel count (20mp) than some of its competitors (24mp).
The lower sensor pixel density allows for larger pixels and therefore more light gathering ability. This results in lower noise values in the files.
I find that the images are totally usable up to about ISO 12800. After that, you start to lose some detail and the images start to get more noise. If you’re ok with some noise and loss of sharpness, the files are very usable up to about ISO 51,200.
Comparing this to older cameras, the Canon EOS R6 is a very impressive camera in low light. It may not live up to the low light performance of the Sony a7S III but it’s very impressive given how affordable this camera is.
In real-world use, this camera can shoot in almost any situation with a fast prime lens. I rarely find myself needing to go above ISO 12800 when shooting most subjects with an f/1.8 or faster lens. Beyond that, you’re shooting in almost total darkness.
The images from the Canon EOS R6 are quite satisfying. I find the dynamic range (14.3 stops) to be more than adequate and the tone of the images to be very pleasing.
Canon has always been a leader when it comes to color science and the R6 delivers. I am usually quite happy with the files straight out of camera and they don’t require much processing if you appreciate a natural look.
The JPEG files are also very nice and produce a pleasing sharp, saturated look.
The Canon EOS R6 has a very similar dynamic range to the more expensive Canon EOS R5. It’s nice when a more affordable camera retains specs from its costlier counterparts without it affecting the price tag.
Some people may complain about the low resolution of the R6 but I appreciate that it has a 20-megapixel sensor. After doing some large print tests, I realized that you can make a large print from a 12 MP file. With that in mind, 20 MP is more than adequate.
Additionally, you won’t fill up your hard drive like you would shooting the 45 MP Canon EOS R5.
Although the sensor on the R6 isn’t record-setting, it has very good specs and will suit most photographers’ needs quite well.
When it comes to performance, the Canon EOS R6 is very fast. It shoots 20 frames per second in electronic shutter mode and 12 with a mechanical shutter.
I never have issues with the buffer or the camera lagging during heavy use. It does an excellent job writing the media to the SD cards. Yes, it has two card slots! More on that below.
In general, the Canon EOS R6 is very easy and fast to operate. All the controls I need are readily accessible and the touch screen makes adjusting settings on the back screen super quick.
One last feature I appreciate is the viewfinder/monitor sensor that quickly switches the display from the back screen to the EVF. Having this sensor properly located and tuned makes this camera very quick to shoot in a variety of scenarios.
Other Useful Features
Finally, Canon is making mirrorless cameras with two cards slots! I was very frustrated when Canon released the EOS R late in 2018 with only one card slot. As a working professional, having simultaneous recording feels essential.
Now the Canon EOS R6 has two card slots, it feels like a camera that can be marketed to professionals.
The next feature that I find myself really enjoying is the touch screen. It was always a natural tendency to touch the back screen of the camera like a smartphone and now you can. Almost all the settings are literally at your fingertips without having to press the menu button.
Lastly, I really like how the shutter on this camera comes down to keep dust off the sensor when changing lenses. It’s such a simple way to protect the sensor and substantially reduces the time spent cleaning.
Value for Money
At around US$2,500, the Canon EOS R6 is excellent value for money! It has some impressive specs like super-fast autofocus, 14+ stops of dynamic range, dual card slots, 4k 60fps video, and powerful IBIS.
Many of these impressive features have trickled down from the more expensive Canon EOS R5 and the R6 is ~$1,400 cheaper.
There are alternative cameras that have better specs or cheaper prices but the Canon EOS R6 offers an excellent balance of the two.
I think the R6 will be popular for wedding and portrait photographers who want to upgrade from an older camera and get the latest in autofocus, dynamic range, and ergonomics.
The only concern right now is finding affordable RF mount lenses. I think Canon and third-party manufacturers will continue to release lenses, making the R6 an even better option.
If you’re looking for an affordable full frame mirrorless camera, check out the Canon EOS R6 for its incredible value.
Canon EOS R6 Review | Conclusion
The Canon EOS R6 is a value-packed and feature-rich camera that was overshadowed by the release of its more expensive brother, the Canon EOS R5.
If y0u want to get many of the features of the R5 without the price tag and fancy video specs, the R6 is for you. The only thing missing from this camera for me is a slightly more compact size and cheap RF mount lenses.
I’m looking forward to the continued development of new full frame mirrorless cameras from Canon and the options like the Canon EOS R6 that are targeted at budget-conscious buyers.
If you’re in the market for a full frame mirrorless camera, definitely add the Canon EOS R6 to your shopping list!
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.