Canon EOS R6 review: A perfect hybrid shooter with a big video flaw

Canon released the R6 at the same time as its much buzzier, 8K-capable R5 and both are powerful mirrorless cameras. But while the R5 is an expensive, relatively niche camera, the R6 has plenty of competition in its price range. The R6 does have a few aces up its sleeve, however, so let’s dive in to find out how it measures up.

VideoCanon R6 full-frame mirrorless camera

Steve Dent/Engadget

Let’s start with the most controversial part of this camera: video. In general, Canon has delivered here with the R6. It shoots sharp 4K 60p video internally that’s supersampled from 5.1K with just a small, seven percent crop. You also get Canon log and HDR shooting modes, both of which work in 10-bit to give you the maximum dynamic range and flexibility for editing.

This is a huge improvement over the EOS R, which disappointed video fans with limited 4K recording options that only goes up to 30 fps with 10-bit color and has an awful 1.8 times crop that turns a 50mm lens into a 90mm lens. By contrast, the R6’s video specs should elevate it to a top pick that’s right up there, or even past, similarly priced Nikon, Sony, and Panasonic models.

However, there’s one large caveat: overheating. At around room temperature, you can shoot 4K at up to 30 fps for just 40 minutes, or 4K 60p for 30 minutes before the camera will shut down. That might not sound too bad for normal shooting, especially since the R6 also has a time-based 30-minute recording limit.

The problem, though, is that after it stops, you have to wait a long time — often ten minutes or more before shooting again. And even after that, it might shut down again after just a few more minutes of recording. Most mirrorless cameras can suffer from overheating in certain circumstances, but not to this extent. To top it off, shooting a lot of photos can also affect your video shooting time. All of that makes it highly impractical for events, interviews or other situations where you might need to shoot long, continuous takes.

You can avoid many of the overheating issues by shooting video to an external recorder like Blackmagic’s 12G Video Assist or the Atomos Ninja V. Those will let you shoot unlimited 4K 24p video or just under an hour of 4K at 60 fps, according to YouTuber and creator Gerald Undone. But you shouldn’t have to buy more hardware to get the same features built-in on other cameras.

Canon R6 full-frame mirrorless camera

Steve Dent/Engadget

The overheating is a shame, because otherwise, the R6 is a versatile camera for video. The small size and flip-out screen are great for vlogging or run-and-gun shooting. Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus worked great for my video, locking onto my subjects with minimal focus hunting for action shooting or B-roll situations. This system has been the best in the game for years, until Sony came along with the A7S III.

Plus, the in-body stabilization, combined with a stabilized lens, really steadied out any handheld shooting. It can’t replace a gimbal, but it acceptably smoothed out my walk-and-talk vlogging.

As for image quality, the downsampled 4K video is extremely sharp. Skin tones are pleasing and colors are accurate, particularly in C-Log mode. Unfortunately, the dynamic range doesn’t quite measure up to Panasonic’s S5 or Sony’s A7 III. All that said, with C-Log and 10-bit recording, the R6 still gives you lots of color grading options and support for HDR video to improve footage in post-production.

Aside from the overheating, there are a couple of other small flaws. You can shoot 1.6 times cropped 4K video with Canon’s APS-C EF-S lenses and an adaptor. However, the 20.1-megapixel sensor doesn’t support full 4K resolution when you do that, so it’s slightly softer than the full-frame video. By contrast, both the S5 and A7R III offer cropped 4K video at full resolution in case you need to zoom in to your subject without changing the lens.

Also, the EOS R6 only has either fully manual or fully automatic video shooting modes, with no aperture or shutter priority options. I like shooting with shutter priority, and the EOS R6 would work particularly well in that mode. That’s because it has new aperture settings that go down to 1/8th of an f-stop, so it would have been able to smoothly change the iris when the light changed. This feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity by Canon.

Body and handling