Canon has given its smallest, lightest full-frame camera a much-needed overhaul. The new EOS 6D MkII maintains the enthusiast-focused feature set of its predecessor, but improves on all the important basic specs to offer a more capable, powerful entry point to the world of full-frame photography.
Although it looks nearly identical to the original 6D, Canon has made a host of meaningful changes under the skin to create the MkII. The 20.2-megapixel sensor has been swapped for a new full-frame 26.2-megapixel CMOS unit, good for a maximum native ISO of 40,000 – up from 32,000 in the old model. That should make for better low-light shots, although you'll still want to run with a good old-fashioned tripod-mounted long exposure if noise is a concern.
The new sensor is paired with a DIGIC 7 image processor, capable of handling high-speed continuous shooting up to 6.5 fps. Autofocus is handled by a 45-point system while using the viewfinder, or a phase-detection "Dual Pixel" system for live view shooting. Speaking of live view, the three-inch rear screen is now touch sensitive and folds out for easy selfie (or tripod) shooting.
Both those features are likely to appeal to snappers upgrading from entry-level Canon DSLRs, which have included folding touch screens for a number of years. Canon has also added a modern suite of connectivity options to the 6D, with GPS, NFC and Bluetooth now joining Wi-Fi as standard.
On the video side of things, Canon hasn't included 4K shooting. Instead, the 6D MkII maxes out at 1080p at 60 fps, putting it well behind the (significantly more expensive) 5D MkIV for professional video work. On the bright side, the smaller, cheaper 6D is now dust and water resistant like its bigger brother.
"After just one day in Yellowstone National Park with the EOS 6D Mark II DSLR Camera, it was clear that the camera is greatly improved over its predecessor," says photographer and Canon Ambassador, Adam Jones. "Landscape and nature photographers will be very happy. The new and improved autofocus is way ahead of the previous generation and performed extremely well, even in very low-light situations."
Launched alongside the 6D MkII is a new low-end Rebel SL2 DSLR. Designed to welcome buyers upgrading from a smartphone or point-and-shoot camera, it has a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor capable of stretching to ISO 25,600. Autofocus is handled by a nine-point system through the viewfinder, or a Dual Pixel CMOS system while shooting in live view.
Canon will be selling the 6D MkII for US$1,999 (body only), or $3,099 with the 24-105 f/4.0 lens. The EOS Rebel SL2 will retail for $549 (body only), or $699.99 with an 18-55 f/4.0-5.6 kit lens. Both cameras will go on sale in late July.