What has the same size sensor as Canon’s flagship pro camera weighs less than half its larger cousin and costs $4000 less? The new Canon R6 mirrorless camera!

I received a Canon EOS R6 camera, 24-70mm f/2.8 IS USM lens and an EF to RF Canon Control Ring adapter for my existing Sigma Canon EF lenses on loan from B&H for this review.

Sensors, image processors

The flagship EOS 1D X Mark III and the EOS R6 mirrorless cameras have identically sized 20-megapixel sensors measuring 5472-by-3648 pixels but the sensors are not the same. The R6 and 1Dx do sport identical Digic X image processors.

The reason for mentioning these similarities is Canon has made a pro-quality mirrorless camera that has features comparable to their top-of-the-line camera. The big differences are in size, weight and, of course, price.

Canon's new mirrorless camera: The EOS R6
The Canon EOS R6 stands up to its larger cousin the top-of-the-line EOS 1D X Mark III.

Look and feel

The Canon EOS R6 is a clean, sleek-looking body that feels good in my hands that is admittedly used to much larger (and heavier) form factors. The controls are well thought out and placed for ease of use. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is bright and shows exposure changes as they are made. This is very handy when shooting in manual mode which is my personal favorite. The EVF switches automatically from the rear screen to the eyepiece.

In lower light situations, the camera gets confused as to which viewfinder to illuminate. The monitor is a generous three inches in size and it is fully articulated. This makes holding the camera away from my eye much easier. It’s lightweight and in-body stabilization makes hand holding it for composing low and high angle shots quite practical.

Really long battery life

As soon as the camera arrived, I put a fully charged Canon LP-E6NH battery in it and turned it on. I wanted to know how long the battery would last. I turned it on just before Halloween and finally replaced it the day before Christmas. Now, I did not shoot with it every day nor did I shoot video or shoot it tethered both of which require more from the battery. My take-away from this is that if you have a spare battery, you don’t have to be obsessive about turning the R6 off after each use.

Street work

The EOS R6 is quiet or silent, if that’s your choice. This makes it perfect for shooting street and candid photographs like the one of the little girl looking out of a Waffle House window.

Canon's new mirrorless camera: The EOS R6

EF lenses work with an adapter

One of the joys of working with the R6 was its $199 control ring adapter EF-EOS R. It opened up my collection of Sigma Art and Sports lenses to use with the R6.

The control ring is a great bonus. It is programmable to set the ISO, autofocus type, exposure compensation and other properties for the auto modes. Simply rotate the ring until the setting you want appears on the monitor or if your eye is on the viewfinder, in its display and you’re ready to go.

The control ring on RF lenses and with the adapter is cool and super useful. It’s worth the extra $100 to get the adapter with the control ring. An EF to RF adapter only version is $99.

Image stabilization

Like its more expensive sibling, the EOS R5, the R6 has built-in image stabilization. Its 5-axis in-body image stabilization is new to Canon, which has had lens-based stabilization for years. This IBIS will work with lenses that do or don’t have their own stabilization.

There are two settings in the Camera-7 menu after image stabilization is enabled: Always or Only for shot. When Always is selected, the IBIS runs continuously — ideal for shooting video. Only for shot activates IS at the moment the shutter releases.

Foibles with non-Canon lenses

Using the R6 and the Control Ring Adapter causes the viewfinder to become super bright when either pressing the shutter button or (the first custom setting I make on all cameras) the back button focus. This happens thanks to a new feature that RF lenses have — automatic lens corrections. This feature corrects for optical issues that the lenses built for the EOS R series cameras have.

Think of this as a camera level version of lens corrections in Adobe Camera Raw. The camera can correct for peripheral illumination, distortion, diffraction and chromatic aberration issues an RF lens carries. The Camera-3 menu lists these under Lens aberration correction. To return normal function to non-RF lenses, simply turn all of these settings off.

Once this was handled, the R6 became a joy to use.

Size matters

I opened this review noting that I have always carried larger, heavier cameras. I love my 1D X Mark III. But I sometimes hesitate to carry that over 5-pound behemoth with a 70-200mm f/2.8 on long walks. I have been seduced by the small size and weight of the R6 even with the adapter and the 70-200. I found myself picking it up and leaving the “pro” camera in the studio.

The R6 is fun and I’ve enjoyed very much working with it. For someone wanting solid performance in frames-per-second still shooting, low noise at higher ISOs and a lightweight compact form factor, the R6 is a 20-megapixel beauty whose image quality rivals the 1Dx Mark III.

I had a lot of fun shooting with the EOS R6. It’s easy to carry, easy to use and has most of the professional features I have come to rely on from Canon only this camera doesn’t break your back or bank account.