By Jean Rydberg
There's a reason Canon is one of our favorite camera brands underwater: their camera designs are streamlined and intuitive. I’ve been shooting the Canon EOS R6 over the past year and I’m really excited to get underwater with the brand new Canon EOS R6 Mark II.
This video covers the new features that are most important to underwater photographers, plus an overview of the exciting new updates to the R6 Mark II housing. If you're already shooting the R6 Mark I, stay till the end to learn how to use an older housing with the new camera.
New CMOS Sensor
A brand new sensor boosts the camera’s resolution up to 24 megapixels. This is not surprising and it’s really what we have come to expect from a camera at this price tier.
AI Auto Tracking
Canon has been doing amazing things with their AI-driven autofocus tracking development. Canon’s machine learning algorithms have really nailed animal eye tracking - and even bird eye tracking. The R6 Mark II has almost five times as many focus points as any of the other R-series cameras which should lead to an even more accurate tracking autofocus.
Exciting New Features for Underwater Photographers and Videographers
The R6 Mark II leads its category in housing ergonomics and several features that are important to underwater photographers, like image stabilization rating, low light autofocus rating, and video capture options.
The R6 Mark II is capable of shooting 4K ultra HD video at 60 frames per second using the full width of its sensor. That’s something the Sony a7 Mark IV and Nikon Z6 Mark II are not able to do.
Another cool thing when you’re shooting video is the new 'detect only' autofocus mode. If you’re tracking a subject that wanders off screen, the camera will lock focus instead of searching for the next subject. I feel like that’s going to help me because I hate when a fish moves off the screen and suddenly the camera is racking focus.
Burst Shooting Rate
The Canon R6 Mark II has an incredible burst shooting rate of 40 frames per second (FPS) which is double the speed of the Canon EOS R6 Mark I and even faster than the flagship R3. This could be very useful in surf photography and when shooting extremely fast moving subjects underwater. I do like that the camera groups burst images similar to the way an iPhone does so that you can scroll through your images more quickly and also easily eliminate all but the best captures from a burst series.
Battery life is also a bit better with the new camera but even before I had no problem getting through a good day of diving with the R6 camera.
The Canon R6 Mark II is priced competitively around $2500 US. If you don’t need all of that extra stuff, you can save about $400 right now on the purchase of the original R6 camera.
Updated Housing Design for Improved Ergonomics
I’ve spent quite a bit of time shooting our original Mark I housing for the Canon EOS R6 underwater and I’m really excited about the upgrades on the new housing. The bodies are so similar between the two cameras but there is some functionality change that makes the housings a little different and improves the ergonomics of the camera.
The biggest physical change on the camera is the addition of a power on/off lever. On the R6 Mark I, the camera was turned on with a dial on the top left of the camera. On the R6 Mark II this is home to the new Still/Video switch, with power On/Off moving to a lever control around what Canon calls the Quick Control Dial 2. I like the new still video switch because it’s a lot faster and more intuitive than using the mode dial for this purpose.
What I’m most excited about is the totally new back profile of the housing, which makes the whole thing feel quite a bit smaller, sleeker, and dare I say sexier. It feels really good in my hand and honestly makes the system feel even more streamlined.
If you’re just getting in to the R6 system don’t forget you will need to purchase a compatible DL system port. Visit the Port Chart to find the right components for your lens.
I also recommend adding a Vacuum Pump and Right Hand Quick Release Handle, especially if you’re diving on scuba. The R6 Mark II is fully compatible with our DL5 DS Link TTL Converter for perfect automated strobe exposure when shooting Ikelite DS series strobes.
Camera Mount Compatibility
If you want to use the Mark II camera in an existing housing built for the Mark I, you will need to purchase a new camera mount. The original camera mount for the Mark I will not fit unless you want to take a file to the camera’s LCD screen.
You can drop the camera directly in and operate it in an older housing with the new camera mount. The Quick Control Dial 2 may be a little finicky as the camera’s physical dial did change positioning slightly to accommodate the new On/Off switch.
Speaking of which, you would not be able to turn the camera on and off once it’s installed in the housing. This is because, as we discussed, Canon moved the On/Off switch. We can add this feature to your housing if you give us a few weeks a few dollars. Visit the Upgrade Page where you can find information on getting that done.
Pics or It Didn't Happen!
If you’re out there shooting the Canon EOS R6 Mark I or Mark II we would love to see what you’re creating! Shoot us an email to email@example.com
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Jean Rydberg, daughter of Ike Brigham, became President & CEO of Ikelite in 2006. Prior to that, she wisely pursued a degree in Astronomy & Astrophysics to prepare herself for the challenges of running a technology-driven manufacturing business with global distribution. Jean fully embraces the need to travel outside of her hometown of Indianapolis to experience good diving. She believes that any camera is capable of amazing results in the right hands, and anyone can become a great photographer given the right advice. When she's not working she's spending time with her husband, cats, and two daughters (though not necessarily in that order).