Photography Gear Reviews

Canon 6D Mark II Real world Review

I review the Canon 6D Mark II DSLR camera and head to the Lake District to put it through it’s paces from a landscape photography perspective.

If you have seen my camera reviews before you will know I am not interested in repeating all the specs and obvious elements. I want to get the camera out into the real world and use it exactly like a photographer would. In the video we look at the abilities of the camera mostly from a landscape photography perspective when we headed to Loughrigg Fell in the Lake District.

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Full Frame Sensor

The whole point of the Canon 6D Mark II is the entry into using a full frame sensor. This has a number of advantages. It usually includes improved dynamic range (not so much in this case - read on), better low light ability and least obviously - the potential to use better glass, particularly at the wide end. High end lenses like the Canon 16-35mm L are perfect for landscape photography and on a full frame camera you get the full 16mm wide end coverage. Putting this lens on a cropped sensor camera effectively increases the 16mm to a more narrow 25mm which can be limiting in some situations.

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Build Quality

Build quality of the camera is the usual Canon quality. It is a plastic build but it feels solid and secure and the weight also benefits from this. It has a flip out screen, which is missing from the higher end cameras for the sake of durability, but I find them particularly useful. When the camera is low down near a stream, or close to the ground, having the screen point up towards you is a real back saver. The flip screen means you can also use the Canon 6D Mark II for vlogging. Not a cheap vlogging option, but it is possible.

Image Quality

Next is the image quality. There are not many cameras out there today that provide poor image quality. This camera is no different. Image quality is superb for stills and you can quite happily use the 26MP sensor to create massive prints. Sadly though dynamic range was not as good as I would have hoped, especially at low ISO. This might put off some landscape photographers who might be looking at rivals from Sony and cameras like the Nikon D750. Personally when it comes to stills I am not concerned too much about dynamic range. Using bracketing can easily capture all the dynamic range in a landscape scene.

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Portraits and Focusing

The dynamic range of the camera improves dramatically as ISO increases. Therefore, like many full frame cameras, The Canon 6D Mark 2 is excellent in low light. Any noise that does appear has a film grain type feel rather than the harsh noise often associated with crop sensor cameras. This means the camera lends itself to shooting portraits as well as landscapes. Depending on the lens you attach to the camera it is capable of capturing stunning portraits. However I would be reluctant to use it at a wedding or for any other professional portrait work. The focus system covers a smaller area of the frame than higher end cameras like the Canon 5D Mark IV which can be limiting when you have to focus and re-frame more often that you would like. Having said that, for most, that will not be a problem. The focus system is still very accurate and fast. It also has the dual pixel autofocus system for video. This Canon system is really second to none for video focus and it very very rarely misses including when using face detection.

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Video Quality

Video quality is reasonable but again the dynamic range can be limiting. When I was out in the mountains getting detail across the frame was not easy and I was often left with blown out skies. This could probably be improved by using a flatter picture setting rather than sticking with the built in presets like I did. There is also no 4K option and the 1080p quality is softer than the Canon 5D Mark IV and more in line with the cropped sensor Canon cameras. However the ability to shoot 1080p at 60fps does provide the option of producing some slo-motion footage.

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Conclusion

Overall I had a superb time using this camera. If you were to buy it, you would be very happy. Just be aware it is not a professional level camera. We should not be expecting it to be though given the price point of £$1600. Indeed, the camera only comes equipped with one SD card port. To remove the slight limitations mentioned above you are looking at upgrading to the pro level Canon 5D Mark IV which is more than double the price. The Canon 6D is an all round performer suitable for all different genres of photography and will perform them all to a good standard. In many respects the upgrade to full frame is something many photographers aspire to and this camera allows you to do it much sooner with only very slight downsides. It is a shame the dynamic range is not better at low ISO but that is being hypercritical. An all rounder at a great price point for a full frame camera. A solid 4 out of 5.

Sony RX100 V Real World Review

We take the Sony RX100 V up a very pretty mountain.

The Sony RX100 V is a compact camera that packs a much bigger punch than its small size would suggest. It is a mirrorless camera with a one inch sensor that shoots 4K, captures 20 megapixel images and has an auto focus system that challenges even the very best DSLR's.

My previous real world review of the Canon 5D Mark IV proved very popular so this is going to be similar. I take the RX100V up a mountain in the Peak District hoping to capture some beautiful landscape photography. In the video I climb Mam Tor but also try to capture this amazing site of Winnats Pass, a collapsed cavern that has created and incredible natural scene.

Price

The Sony RX100 V is currently priced at £1000 in the UK and around $1000 in the US. The price hikes that UK residents are currently suffering are becoming relatively irritating. Regardless it is an expensive camera so in the video I discuss who the camera is for and who would be likely to buy the RX100 V. It is an excellent camera for vlogging given the flip up screen. It would serve as a very good compact camera for a professional photographer. Or it would be especially good for a family who want something small, simple and with great quality.

One of the big selling points of the new model, especially since the Sony RX100 IV is still a great camera, is the sheer processing power. It is essentially a little computer. It has the ability to shoot 24fps which is simply insane. It's a nice feature to have but how much use of it you will get is a vital question. This is not a sports or wildlife camera where a fast burst rate is important, especially given the fixed 24-70mm lens. It is too short for those photography genres. It would however be useful to capture images of your children in short bursts.

Dual Autofocus

The most important upgrade is probably the dual autofocus system. Employing contrast and phase detection it rivals that of top end DSLRs. It focuses fast and accurately and makes shooting stills, fast and filming video a breeze. However it does not have a touch screen which means touch to focus is not an option and this was a feature I really missed.

The Sony RX100 V is a decent improvement over the Sony RX100 IV which was already better than the offering from Canon in this field, the Canon G7X Mark II.

Conclusion

I fully enjoyed shooting with this camera and it made a pleasant change from lugging around a DSLR, especially when I was out with the family. It takes high quality images and is also packing some hefty features. At a £1000 this is very expensive for a compact camera but in two or three months time when prices started to fall it could be a very serious contender for a lot of people.

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