July 21, 2017

More Bad News for Canon's 6D Mark II

Does Canon's new camera actually perform worse than the cheaper EOS 80D?

Canon released its 6D Mark II last month to a pretty unanimously disappointed group of DIY filmmakers. Many had hoped that Canon's popular, cost effective little brother to the 5D would have the ability to record in 4K. It does not. 

4K is quickly becoming a necessary format for cinema cameras, so this is a significant spec for Canon to leave out if it is courting the filmmaker market at all. Others are quick to point out that the photography company has been distancing their line of DSLRs from film users, perhaps in an attempt to draw more buyers towards its true cinema line of C-series cameras. The 6D was clearly updated with the photographer and not the filmmaker in mind. 

The big upgrades are a swivel screen, image stabilization, and dual pixel auto focus. As Charles Haine noted in an earlier piece, "Dual pixel, a technology that many love, hasn't come in such an affordable package before, which will excite photographers. However, filmmakers, who still tend to manually focus more often, aren't necessarily dying for the feature. The swivel screen is a nice addition, but it's also something that pretty much all the major competitors have already, and many, many filmmakers are attaching external monitors for a larger image and extreme articulation, so the feature isn't likely to be a strong draw."

More bad news came this week as Camera tester William J. Claff of Photons to Photos released his Dynamic Range vs ISO chart for the 6D Mark II. As you can see, in some cases, the camera actually seems to perform worse than the last model.

The dynamic range is almost identical to the original 6D, with the main difference seemingly lying in an improvement at higher ISOs, but with the consequence of a worse performance at lower ISOs. Perhaps, the most indicative reading from the graph is that the 6D Mark II somehow performs worse than the significantly cheaper 80D DSLR at lower ISOs. The full frame 6D Mark II has a retail price of $1,999 while the APS-C 80D goes for $1,099.

It appears that the camera's highly touted newly designed sensor is actually worse. DPReview wrote that “it seems the benefits that appeared in the sensors used in the EOS 80D and EOS 5D IV have not been applied to the latest EOS 6D II, and the new camera has less dynamic range than we’ve become used to,” adding that test shots from both cameras revealed the 80D footage, “shot with the same exposures look cleaner, when brightened to the same degree.” 

This is a major step backward for Canon's DSLRs, regardless of whether or not you're using it for video. As you can see in the second chart above, the current number one digital camera manufacturer on the market now faces some stiff competition from the likes of Sony and FujiFilm—especially for filmmakers—and it looks like the 6D won't do much in the ways of keeping them at the top.     

Your Comment


Have started my transition to sony for DSLR filmmaking... Canon slacking off and I'm tired of it.

July 22, 2017 at 2:00AM

Wentworth Kelly
DP/Colorist/Drone Op

Damn, looks like the 5D IV is a better camera than the 6D. Who would've thunk it?

Although, if I was shooting at ISO 100 all of the time and did not care about full frame vs crop frame, I would probably prefer the 80D. Truthfully, I just have a few EOS M's that I pull out whenever I need to take photos or timelapse since I am really more of a videographer than a photographer. If I really wanted to make money off of photography I would probably go for the 1DX II. Or maybe a 5D IV if the weight was an issue.

What does any of this have to do with the article? Nothing. If you want to shoot video with photo camera, get a Sony.

July 22, 2017 at 10:53AM

Casey Preston

@NFS, wouldn't a more appropriate title for this article be, "Why the hell are filmmakers still paying any attention to Canon?"
Haha, in all honesty... this is a company who got lucky off the 5D and just DOES NOT GET US! Nor do they care about "us" (filmmakers). If that's not clear to you yet & your still expecting something worthwhile from the Canon-Camp, maybe you should write for a photography blog.
Canon is dead in my eyes and I have over $10k in EF glass, so it's not like I wasn't pulling for them, but I knew the score back when the 7DII first dropped.
These guys have no interest in catering to filmmakers via DSLR. They would rather you spend 5x more cash to buy one of their plastic Documentary-Cameras.
When they release a 6DII in 2017 with no 4K, it's lights out.

July 22, 2017 at 9:32PM

J.M. Anderson
Director of Photography

If you look at the bottom of any page on the site, you'll see 'The DSLR Cinematography Guide'. It's one of the things this site was started and built on; the DSLR revolution. Canon was the first to kick start it, and things haven't been the same since. It's like your first love moving on; you keep clinging to hope, even though not much is there, but you can't pretend nothing happened. Who knows? Maybe Canon might just hear the outcry, and mix everything up (They're mixed plenty up in the past!)

July 23, 2017 at 12:42AM

Craig Douglas
Writer/ Director/ Editor/ Videographer

Peter McKinnon married his first love and didn't have to worry about moving on. That's why he's my favorite filmmaker on YouTube.

April 12, 2018 at 5:41PM

Stephen Kawakami
The Boss

The C-Series is what Canon is offering videographers. They regard shooters still using one of their photo cameras primarily for video as a novelty, and the spec's on the 6DII & 5D MKIV were a not so subtle way of telling video shooters that their DSLR line is "just not that into them."

July 24, 2017 at 11:35AM

Marc B
Shooter & Editor