Canon announces the R6 II and RF 135mm F1.8: We go hands-on with Canon’s newest full-frame mirrorless camera and lens
posted Tuesday, November 1, 2022 at 11:02 PM EST
Click here to read our Canon EOS R6 II Hands-on Preview
The Canon EOS R6 launched in the summer of 2020 to much acclaim. The 20MP full-frame camera delivered a true "all-in-one" experience for the EOS R system at a reasonable price. Just over two years later, Canon is back with its successor, the aptly named Canon EOS R6 Mark II. While we can't give Canon any points for originality when it comes to the name, after going hands-on with the camera in San Diego last week, we can give it very high marks for its performance.
Along with the "II" next to its model name, the Canon R6 II includes many significant improvements. Headlining the camera's new features is a brand-new, Canon-developed 24-megapixel image sensor. While not backside-illuminated or stacked, the new sensor delivers impressive image quality across the board, including impressive detail, even at higher ISOs. We can't evaluate image quality much until we get a production unit and test it in our lab, but so far, so good.
Another key new feature is the autofocus system, which is built upon the AF system introduced in the EOS R3. The camera includes deep learning technology to do very impressive subject detection. Autofocus proved fast, accurate and reliable across various challenging shooting situations. Along with impressive autofocus is impressive speed. The R6 II shoots at up to 12 frames per second with its mechanical shutter. Reasonably quick. If you switch to the electronic shutter, shooting speeds can reach up to 40 fps with full AF/AE, which is very swift.
There are also impressive new video features, including 6K RAW video (external) and 4K/60p (internal) recording. 4K/60p video can be shot with 6K oversampling, adding more detail to the final 4K output. You can also shoot FHD (1080p) video at up to 180p.
The Canon R6 II will begin shipping next month, and it will cost $2,499 body only.
There's much more to discuss about the Canon EOS R6 II, including a closer look at the R6 II's autofocus performance. You can learn all about the camera's features in our in-depth Canon EOS R6 II Hands-on Preview.
Alongside the Canon EOS R6 II, Canon has also announced a new RF lens, the RF 135mm F1.8 L IS USM. We also had the chance to try the new lens in San Diego, and wow, it's spectacular. We will need to wait for a production sample to write a full hands-on review of the new fast telephoto prime lens. Still, even the beta sample performed extremely well, delivering sharp images with silky-smooth bokeh.
The lens includes 17 elements across 12 groups, including 3 UD lens elements. The lens has a nine-bladed aperture, delivering round bokeh and smooth out-of-focus rendition, especially at its F1.8 max aperture. The lens focuses quickly thanks to its USM autofocus technology and can focus as close as 0.7m (2.29 ft.), resulting in 0.26x max magnification.
The lens has nice build quality, too, and includes a pair of lens function buttons and Canon's trademark Control Ring. The lens isn't exactly lightweight, weighing 935g (2.06 lbs). It's 130.3mm (5.1 in.) long, and its max diameter is 89mm (3.5 in.). The lens includes an 82mm filter thread.
We suspect the RF 135mm F1.8 L IS USM will prove extremely popular among many EOS R system users, including portrait photographers, photojournalists, videographers, and even sports photographers, especially those who shoot indoors. I imagine it'd be an excellent choice for basketball and hockey, in particular.
The Canon RF 135mm F1.8 L IS USM will begin shipping in December for $2,099.