Canon R6 Mark II: First Look In The Field

Pine Warbler photographed with the Canon R6 Mark II at ISO256000.

File Size

R6 Mark II files are 33 to 39MB in CR3. In 16-bit, these files are 4000 pixels wide by 6000 high.

R5 files are 42 to 61MB in CR3. In 16-bit, theses files are 5464 wide by 8192 high.

R3 files are 29 to 35MB in CR3. In 16-bit, these files are 4000 pixels wide by 6000 high.

So we get a smaller file than the R5 but the same size as the R3.

High ISO

Orange-crowned warbler, enlarged to 100% and noise reduction added to background

Pine warbler photographed at 25,600ISO. Enlarged to 100%. Nice feather detail.

High ISO in low light is grainy. There’s no getting around it. The grain in a high ISO photo is no worse with a R6 MarkII than with an R5 or R3. To my eye, each camera is about the same. The files are usable to illustrate the bird while still retaining nice feather detail.

Low ISO and good light is always better, though.

Auto Focus

I’ve used the Canon R6 Mark II on three outings of an hour each. In each test, the camera locked on the bird quickly. Then it never lost focus once it got on the bird.

The auto focus stayed on the pine warbler’s eye even when the bird moved behind the leaf.

The camera found a small bird. The camera found the bird on perch.

In only one instance did the camera change auto focus to a distant background.

The auto focus was quick, stayed on the bird’s eye, and adjusted as the bird moved.

I haven’t had a chance to use the Canon R6 Mark II on flying bird, yet. Stayed tuned for that test.


So far, I’m impressed. The Canon R6 Mark II handles high ISO well and the auto focus is outstanding. I thought I’d find something lacking but this camera is living up to my expectations.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Canon R3 — Shutter Speed of 1/64,000

Day 2 with the Canon R3 and I went to a nearby lake to photograph birds in flight. Someone nearby was flying a drone so I took a picture of it. The drone flew over to me and hovered. Photo Opportunity!!

The Canon R3 locked on to the drone without much problem. This photo is 1/1600 shutter with ISO 400. Notice the propellers are blurred.
I changed the shutter speed to 1/12,800. Yes, there’s a shutter speed faster than 1/8000 now! Notice the propellers are nearly stopped. ISO 4000 for those interested.
I rotated the shutter speed dial to 1/64000. Yes, we have that now! ISO is 20,000 at this point. A bit of noise reduction was needed but not much. Notice that the propeller blades are frozen at this point.

Shutter speeds range from 1/64000 to 30″ seconds on the R3. Life just got a lot more interesting.

Canon R5 Mirrorless — Noise

The previous post ended with a question from Patti asking about noise when using high ISO and shadow recovery.

I can honestly say that the noise is not that bad.

Here’s a before and after photo. (On Left) ISO 500 and very unexposed. (On Right) Basic processing with shadow slider moved to +88 and exposure slider moved to +1.25.

Below the photo is enlarged to 100% and cropped. I moved the exposure slider a bit more and then hit it with a bit of noise reduction in Adobe Camera Raw.

The noise doesn’t look too bad despite high ISO and pulling the exposure.

The Canon R5 files are pretty amazing.

Canon R5 Mirrorless — Noise at High ISO

Someone today asked how the Canon R5 handles high ISO. I happened to shoot in the same place on different days with the Canon 1DX Mark II and the Canon R5.

Let’s see how they compare in the high ISO area.

Black-crested titmouse ISO 2500 with the Canon 1DX
Black-crested titmouse ISO 2500 with the Canon 1Dx at 100%
Black-crested titmouse ISO 4000 with the Canon R5
Black-crested titmouse, ISO 4000 with the Canon R5 at 100%

I’m not seeing much different. In my opinion, the Canon R5 handles high ISO as well as the Canon 1DX Mark II.

Cowboy hat, still life, ISO 12,800

Canon R5 Mirrorless — High ISO

Below you’ll see photographs taken with the Canon R5 mirrorless and the 100-500mm lens with the 1.4x attached. That’s 700mm hand-held.

I thought it would be interesting to photographed at different ISO settings.

ISO 3200

The above photos at ISO 3200 are perfectly acceptable. The first photo is cropped to 100%. The second image is enlarged to show detail. Probably enlarged to 200%+.

ISO 5000

Above is an image from the same session. The first photo is enlarged to 100% and shot at ISO 5000. The second is highly enlarged to show the grain and quality.

ISO 32000

I decided to really push the R5. I raised the ISO to 32,000. The first photo is cropped to 100%. The second photo is enlarged even more to show the grain.

At ISO 32,000 we finally start to see unacceptable grain. Still nice but grain is obvious.

All photos have been processed in Adobe Camera Raw. I used a bit of Noise Reduction. The slider was moved to 25 in the first two images and 50 in the last image.

What do you think?

Two Bad Words in Photography — Crop & High ISO

Back in 2002 and 2003, at the dawn of digital photography with SLR cameras, there were two bad words.  Crop and High ISO.  No photographer wanted to crop a photo and no photographer wanted to use high ISO.

Why?  The photos produced by a Canon 10D or Nikon D100 were only 8MB.  They were 12-bit and 240 pixels-per-inch on the longest side.  Yet, they really weren’t much bigger than the photos we get today from a high-end cell phone camera.

Our photos from the Canon 10D or Nikon D100 were good enough for a magazine cover or full-page photo inside.  We didn’t want to crop, though, unless absolutely necessary.

Today we have DSLR camera that take 24MB files and higher.  We can crop without worrying that the files aren’t big enough to appear in a magazine or that the files aren’t big enough for a nice print.

Least sandpiper KAC7711_1

We can crop our photos thanks for cameras that produce large files.

Avoiding high ISO is also a thing of the past.  Back in the dark ages of digital photography it was really hard to get rid of noise due to using a high ISO.  ISO 400 was acceptable but ISO 800 or ISO 1600 was only for the newspaper photographers.  Newspaper reproduction quality was nothing like the quality we needed for glossy magazines.

That all changed when Adobe gave us noise reduction.  Each generation of Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom does a better and better job of reducing those noisy pixels.

“High ISO?  No problem.  I’ll take that out in Photoshop or Lightroom later on.”

How nice it is to push the boundaries of photography today knowing we can crop and use high ISO.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The three images in this slide show were shot at high ISO and then cropped.

I still try to crop in the camera when possible — that means I get closer and move to eliminate distractions.  I sometimes use a shorter lenses because I can crop versus lugging the 500mm everywhere to photograph birds.

High ISO has become a friend.  It’s so nice to know I can raise the ISO and never miss an opportunity.  I might miss the shot but at least I didn’t miss the opportunity.

Digital photography is evolving fast.  Thanks to great innovations in camera technology and software development we benefit and can leave two bad words behind.



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