Gadget review: Canon EOS R6 camera is pricey and complex but full of features

Kishore Bhargava | Updated on May 20, 2021

Mirrorless, mirrorless on the wall, that’s the future for them all

The trend and direction that camera makers are taking are now very clear. Mirrorless is the way to go. Canon announced two cameras back to back and another one is coming out some time later this year. The EOS R5 and the EOS R6 launched last year in July are both really superb machines. While the EOS R5 stole the thunder and was in the news all over the place, the EOS R6 got ignored. The sad part is that the EOS R6 is actually a really nice camera and a total pleasure to shoot with. This comes to you from a hardcore Nikon shooter.

The EOS R6 is just as capable as the EOS R5 and has many of the features are common to both cameras. The biggest difference would be that the R6 is targeted at an enthusiast shooter whereas the EOS R5 is for a professional.

It is interesting to see that camera makers still play the megapixel game and the EOS R6 is pegged at 20 megapixels. The EOS R5 on the other hand has a whopping 45 megapixels. Honestly, one thing that a lot of newbie photographers do not realise is that if you shake 45 megapixels, you get a mega blurred photo. Also, when storing, transferring and editing photos, more mega pixels only result in larger files and you will need more of everything.

The build and design of the EOS R6 are as expected from a Canon camera, quite simply superb. The ergonomics are no surprise either. For a Canon shooter, things will come very naturally. I found that as a Nikon shooter I was comfortable with the camera right away. The power switch is on the left side which is very different to a Nikon but once you used to that, you will find it is actually out of the way. In fact, many Canon shooters were also complaining about it till they started using the camera. The power switch has teeth on the back and one can actually feel and switch on/off the camera quite rapidly. Once you get used to it, you don’t even have to look, you can truly do it by feel. As a wildlife and bird photographer, I usually leave the camera on for the duration of a shoot which could be up to 8-10 hours, so it was not really a problem for me at all. The grip was also just right, my hands are not very large, but when I hold the camera, the fingers and thumb are perfectly aligned with the shutter and command dials and of course the auto-focus button on the back. Very nice to see the comeback of the joystick.

The top of the camera does not have a display as does the elder sibling the EOS R5 but what it does have is a mode dial. The dial is incredibly useful for photographers who need to change modes all the time. Switching from shooting styles, to custom modes to stills and video is just a turn of a dial away without having to take your eye off the subject, so convenient. The EOS R6 inherits the sensor from the EOS 1D X III, along with the sensor it also inherited the Digic X processor both have proven themselves on the 1D and work very much to the same level on the the R6.

Steady does it

One of the most interesting features and add-ons is the in-body image stabilisation (IBIS). For a long time camera makers have struggled with having stabilisation either on the lens or the camera body. The R6 actually takes that to the next level and has it on both. The best part is they communicate with each rather than cancel out or being redundant, providing for up to an 8 EV advantage depending on the lenses being used. Unfortunately, our review unit did not come with a lens on which this could be tested out and worse, given the current conditions in the country, it is impossible to go anywhere to shoot!

Next up is the auto-focus (AF). This too has seen a dramatic change, the AF system on the R6 is amongst the best that is out there right now. Tracking subjects be it human or animal is really easy and totally spot on. This is true for both video and stills. Add to that a silent electronic shutter-release that is capable of shooting 20 frames per second, and you will find more keepers on your cards. It takes a very short while to realise that the shutter is actually be triggered, initially you will find hundreds of photos which all seem like the exact same photo but when viewed on a monitor, you will see that they are all unique and shot in sequence in burst mode. Once you get used that shutter you will be able to use it with care and get the shots you want.

Impressive video

The video capabilities of the EOS R6 are also quite impressive. You can happily shoot 4k video at 8bit or 10bit with full AF tracking on both humans and animals. Some units did have a problem of heating up when shooting continuous video for more than 30 minutes, but we did not experience that on our review unit. I do believe that Canon had also released a firmware update to fix some of these bugs. Low-light performance on the EOS R6 I would say might even be better than the EOS R5. With iSO range of 100-102,400 you can shoot in an almost blacked out room with just a single candle and still expect to get good images. Very impressive indeed.

When looking at a camera, image quality is always top of mind. The R6 does not disappoint in that department.

The in-camera JPEGS are well processed with good details and colour. The RAW files let you do the rest. Canon also introduced the HEIF format for HDR and the R6 lets you shoot both stills and video which would be HDRTV-ready.

The format is not yet quite popular enough to be used for sharing on websites etc, but it is certainly very much used for viewing on high-resolution screens.

With all that shooting, the storage is an important consideration and good thing is the R6 comes with dual memory slots. The even better thing is that both are SD card slots. Many cameras provide one SD Card slot and one CFExpress or XQD slot which requires you to maintain different cards.

The dual SD card slots is an advantage that often gets ignored. So who is the EOS R6 targeted at? It will not be used by the professionals because they may feel the pixel count is too low.

It is clearly meant for the serious enthusiast. It is a great hybrid providing features for both stills and video, though I would say it is a better stills camera than a video camera.

Price: ₹2,15,995 (body only); this is not sold as a kit

Pros: Great ergonomics, good features, amazing auto-focus

Cons: A bit pricey, some features difficult to access, non-optional noise-reduction applied on RAW files

Published on May 19, 2021

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