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Canon EOS R6 Review First Look with Footage – Serious Limitation, Doubtful Video Tool

The Canon EOS R6 will be shipping later this month and we were lucky enough to get a pre-production model and put the camera through its paces. I’m sure you guys are curious to find out how well it functioned in the field and if I noticed any overheating issues. So let’s dive into my Canon EOS R6 review. (Mind you that my opinion and overview of this camera are based on using a pre-production Canon R6 and the above video and writing reflects my own opinion after working with it.)

The Canon EOS R6 arrived at my home late last week and as I normally do with all other yet to be reviewed new cameras, I left it next to the entrance door in its original box for a day. Just an old belief that a camera deserves to get used to its new home before becoming a temporary family member and an attempt to allow me the extra time to finish other ongoing reviews…

Now after doing the aftermath, this was the only day that the Canon EOS R6 and I made friends as in all honesty, nothing has prepared me to what’s about to come.

Canon EOS R6. Image credit: cinema5D

I have been in this business for a day or two, met a few people who are behind the making of those wonderful advanced tools, so as a professional user, I have A LOT of respect to what those guys plan, manufacture, deliver, and do. But nothing has prepared me for the encounter I was about to have with the Canon R6. After all, I’ve seen many happy faces of cheerful Canon ambassadors raving about its video quality and ease of use. Testing the Canon 1D X Mark III lately made me believe that I’m about to use “the next best thing”. As always, if you are interested in purchasing this camera, I advise you to do your own homework, check other sources of information, and buy from a reputable seller in case that you have to return it if it does not match your expectations.

Canon EOS R6 – Three wheels control. Image credit: cinema5D

Canon EOS R6 – What’s new

There is A LOT to like in this new camera. Solid 4K picture up to 60fps. 1080 up to 120fps (love the Canon warm colors), non cropped full Frame, internal 10-bit, 4:2:2 recording (H.265, IBP), great Auto Focus in all filming modes. great IBIS (in-body image stabilization), C-Log, HDR PQ, and more.

IBIS:

EVERYTHING in the above short documentary (excluding the main interview with Neal) was shot handheld! As you can see, the IBIS in this camera is working remarkably and can easily imitate “tripod-like” steady shots. It is also very good when following people. Yes, there is a certain crop when using the strongest stabilizing mode, but personally, I prefer this than having shaky images.

One thing to remember when using a stabilized RF lens. When turning IBIS OFF, there is still some stabilizing going on, I guess from the lens itself (while in “ON” mode).

Auto Focus: 

I think there is no need to introduce Canon’s famous Dual Pixel Auto Focus function as it is one of the best (if not the best) currently in the market. The EOS R6 (and EOS R5), continues this tradition by deploying an improved version of this function, the Dual Pixel CMOS AF II. Be it by touching the LCD screen or by activating the back “jog stick” (activating in the camera menu), the autofocus will work most of the time like a treat! The Canon AF system is one of those that will allow you to film an interview for example, on a camera without an operator next to it knowing that focus can be tracked well even if your subject of filming moved a bit while filming.

Other features worth noticing:

  • Fully articulated screen. While this is not new, I like the way it is implemented. One can connect mic/headphone to the camera body without “fearing” of limiting the LCD screen position while filming
  • Audio quality. I really like the sound quality coming out of this little camera. When taking a closer look, there is also a way to record “uncompress audio” by choosing a specific setting in the menu. While I acknowledge that this mirrorless camera is not part of Canon’s video line, I hope that future models will allow direct connectivity to some advanced audio attachment à la Sony and Panasonic.
Canon EOS R6 – Easy video menu access. Image credit: cinema5D

Canon EOS R6 – What Deserves Attention

While working in C-log, there is a way to use “view assist” in order to bring “color back” to the flat image. While this is a very welcomed feature that can help with judging the images you are filming, the key feature to its usability is accuracy. The Canon R6 offers BT2020 and REC709 color overlay, but unfortunately, I do find the REC709 to be inaccurate (color-wise), at least in the pre-production camera I tested. Similar view assist functionality is found in cameras made by other manufacturers too.

We did not yet test the Canon EOS R6 in our lab for Dynamic Range and Rolling Shutter effect results (we will do so when having the final model in our hands), but from what I could already notice while filming, the rolling shutter effect seems to be horrendous.

Lowlight capabilities: unfortunately I was not able to specifically test the lowlight capabilities of the camera and will do so when and if we get it next time.

Menu structure and body controls: I truly like the idea of being able to control much of the basic camera functionality by being able to assign functions to the main 3 wheels. When it comes to the camera menu, after a short struggle, I managed to assign and access everything I needed very easily. When I write “struggle”, I mean that at first, it looked as if the camera has “too few buttons” to assign function to, but actually, that was not the case as most if not all the needed video functions could be accessed via the “Q” button (after assigning specific functions).

Canon EOS R6 – LCD screen and mic socket. Image credit: cinema5D

Canon R6 – In the Field

Everything was ready for me to execute my next short documentary. I do those short films knowing that they will never change the world but on the other hand, might inspire others (next to satisfy my passion to tell and share human stories). Neal Somchand and Mari Fujii-san (double “i” is correct here), both were kind enough to open a small window to their daily activity and culinary state of mind and the Canon R6 seemed to be the perfect candidate to support me in visually telling their story. And let me tell you, boy I was wrong!

I’m one of those who got really excited when Canon announced two new mirrorless cameras (EOS R5 and EOS R6). Besides the obvious healthy competition, I was happy to see Canon going back to its roots by trying to redefine the mirrorless camera market again with new innovative working tools. The move to win the heart of video content creators back seemed very welcomed. (My last adventure filming with a Canon mirrorless camera was a bit over 18 months ago when I took the Canon EOS R to India and filmed a mini wedding documentary).

Back to the topic of “in the field”, with some awesome features I was hoping to conduct a successful filming day but at some point, it all started to go wrong.

Canon EOS R6 – Overheating warning. Image credit: cinema5D
anon R6 – Overheat control “on”: When this function is enabled, the movie size and frame rate are automatically changed while the camera is in standby mode to to suppress the rise of the internal temperature

Record Time Limitations and the Overheating Issue

Of course, I was aware of the overheating issue and Canon’s advisory on how to try and combat it next to the imposed recording time limits. Yet, “data on paper” is one thing and experience on the filed is another and let me tell you, if you thought that the overheating issue is bad, think twice. It is certainly worse than what you can imagine!

Recording time imitations is one thing but overheating shutdown in unexpected points of the filming day is truly an obstacle. Furthermore, the recovery time is long (or at least seems to be long when you are under pressure to resume filming as your talents are all waiting). As my frustration grew, I tried it all. Ice bag on the camera, strong fan pointing directly to the sensor glass (yes, at some point I did not care anymore about exposing the sensor to the strong wind as long as I can resume filming)… I also tried looking up at the sky and mumble a few words (if it doesn’t help, it won’t hurt for sure I thought). I even made promises to be a nicer person and a good friend. All for the sake of seeing the camera working again, BUT, no evil. The weather-sealed camera body did a “great job” by doing what it supposed to do, and not let anything enter it. Not even the fresh fan air…

Frustrated as hell, I had to apologize to Mari Fujii-san and Neal. Some of the best images I was supposed to capture that day were missed. Other actions had to be repeated and if it was not enough, at some point I had the “genius idea” of lowering the resolution to Full HD and continue shooting, just not to waste their time. This method worked to some extent, but not all the time. Some of the kitchen images you see in this video were upscaled from full HD to 4K in order to match the rest of the footage.

Bottom line, the Canon EOS R6 controlled my filming day instead of me controlling it in order to tell a visual story.

Canon EOS R6 with ice cubes. Image credit: cinema5D
Canon EOS R6 – Overheating issue, no help from the fan. Image credit: cinema5D

Conclusion

I’m truly sorry to report that the Canon EOS R6 is not working for me. When filming, one needs a reliable tool that can sustain the dynamic nature of a production day (indoor/outdoor filming, Different temperatures, and such). The camera I had is a pre-production model but as Canon representative stated, “almost final”. I truly hope that something can be done in order to “ease the pain” and at least shorten the “in between” camera start up times. Not a perfect solution at all, but maybe it can help some.

The above sample footage has been shot on a Canon EOS R6 pre-production model. 4K/24p (and at times 1080/24p which later upscaled to match the rest of the timeline footage), Canon Log and graded with Lutify.me.  Music: epidemicsound

A big thank you for Neal Somchand and Mari Fujii-san. Her cookbook (Fresh Vegetable Dishes from the Temples of Japan), can be ordered here. Neal can be reached by sending him a direct email

Canon EOS R6 – Ice cubes on camera during an interview. Image credit:cinema5D

Did you pre order the Canon EOS R6? If yes, what are your expectations? Will you tolerate overheating issues during your production day? Please share with us your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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