December 15, 2017, 01:56:31 AM

Author Topic: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance  (Read 28258 times)

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DXOMark has completed their sensor review of the Canon EOS  6D Mark II and came away impressed in some areas, most notably color and ISO performance.

The EOS  6D Mark  II ended up with a score of 85, which is well behind the 91 scored by the EOS  5D Mark IV and 5th place overall for Canon sensors.

From DXOMark

Canon’s 6D proved a popular and affordable DSLR for serious-enthusiasts looking to step up to full frame, or pros after an affordable second body.

Five years on, it was crying out for an upgrade however, and the 6D Mark II’s resolution boost, improved autofocus system, faster frame rate and touch-screen LCD make it a more viable option in the modern market.

Its sensor performance continues the upward trend for Canon chips too, although it doesn’t quite hit the dizzy heights of Canon’s best sensor to date in the 5D Mark IV. This is a result of notably lower dynamic range recorded by the 6D Mark II at base ISO, which is a concern for photographers after the best image quality in good light. From ISO 800, dynamic range is much closer to the performance of semi pro rivals such as the Nikon D750 and Sony A7 II however, and with good color sensitivity at all settings and well-controlled noise the 6D Mark II lends itself better to low light photography. Read the full review

I must say it’s nice to read something positive about this camera, as some of its perceived shortcomings have been the source of a lot of negative discussion. However, it is DXOMark and that can create heated discussion on its own.

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aceflibble

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2017, 04:13:44 PM »
Reminder to everyone about to throw a fit because something is better/worse/exactly what they thought it would be:

- Look at the total measurements for the whole range of the camera, not just the overall score or the 'best case scenario' scores.
- Colour depth really does not matter.
- ISO sensitivity matters a lot, yet is hardly ever brought up by anyone.
- The processor makes almost as much difference as the sensor, so don't talk about just the sensor as if it's the only thing which matters.
- 99% of the time absolutely any camera made in the last ~10 years will end up giving you essentially the same results, with only a few specific, specialised purposes really demanding more from any one aspect of the body.
- If you really care about getting the cleanest images and the most dynamic range, you'd probably already be used to compensating with image averaging, HDR, and other similar techniques.

 
With that in mind, the only part of the 6D2's measurements which is at all surprising is how low the true sensitivity is. ISO 100 is actually 63 and ISO 200 is actually 127. That's a record-low for Canon, and I believe a record-low for any SLR. That means that using like-for-like settings, the 6D2 underexposes by nearly two thirds of a stop. To compensate and get the same exposure you'll need to either use a faster lens/open up (potentially dropping in sharpness and increasing vignetting), lower your shutter speed (yay motion blur) or raise the ISO (more noise and less exposure latitude to play with).

That's a huge problem. Yes, the 80D also severely overrates its ISO, but that wasn't quite this bad. Yes, Fuji do it too, but again, not by this much. Nikon and Sony haven't, as far as I'm aware, ever fudged their ISO sensitivity by any more than half a stop. (Though even half a stop is too much to get away with, in my view.)

This means that, if we assume you don't want to change your aperture or shutter settings and only raise the ISO to compensate for the 6D2's low sensitivity, you won't really get any cleaner images than you would with a 5D mark 2 at a 1:1 pixel level. At 1:1, the 6D2 is only 1/3rd of a stop cleaner... but it shoots 1/3rd of a stop darker. So if you have to raise the ISO by a third of a stop anyway, you end up at the exact same place.
Now, the 6D2 does of course have slightly higher resolution, which helps it along. It has about 2/3rd of a stop lead when the 5D2 and 6D2 files are scaled equally, which after compensation, would still leave it 1/3rd of a stop cleaner. But 1/3rd of a stop after 9 years is pretty awful.

Not only that but if you throw in a 5D3, which is also 1/3rd of a stop cleaner once the images have been equalised, you're matching the 6D2. Now, that 5D3/6D2 image quality is far more than good enough for most uses (so is the 5D2's, really), but that's still very poor considering the time between releases and also the price of a second hand 5D2 or 3 vs a brand new 6D2.

Dynamic range is the exact same deal, although the 5D2 actually leads very slightly at the lower ISO settings. The 6D2 matches them in range but not in exposure, so once you've increased sensitivity of the 6D2 to match the 5D2/3, it's fallen behind them. And again, the higher pixel count helps when you compare the equalised measurements, but not enough to actually put it ahead. The only variance is at ISO 3200 and above, where the 5D2 drops off sharply. (The 5D3 remains very slightly ahead of the 6D2 once you compensate for the 6D2's lower-than-advertised sensitivity.)

For people who want long exposures matching the lower ISO settings of other cameras which Canon usually lacks (e.g. Nikon usually has a ISO 64 setting which isn't just ISO 100 pulled down, like it is with Canon's extended range ISO) settings, you could see this as a benefit; buy a 6D2 and set it to ISO 100 and you're essentially at 64. But if you're not one of those few people trying to get the absolute longest shutter you possibly can, this is a big problem.

 
TL;DR version: What you're looking at with the 6D2's fundamental image quality is a 5D2 with more potential for cropping, assuming you want your final images to also be of the same brightness. The 6D2 is only better than the 5D2 if you open up the lens or shutter by half a stop or so and do not crop (or any other action which would throw away pixels) so the higher resolution can work in the 6D2's favour once you've scaled the image down or printed it at its final viewing size.

Again, if any of that bothers you, re-read the very first part of my post. Also consider that the 6D2 has far better functionality over the older 5D2 and 3. Considering how most photos these days end up only being seen printed at relatively small sizes or scaled down to fit Instagram, I'd say the 6D2's technical image quality is more than good enough for most people and the functionality is far more important. The few people who do genuinely need better IQ (for huge printing/viewing, very heavy cropping, industry catalogue work, legitimate fine art, etc) likely already have better. (That kind of person is unlikely to have even considered a 6D2 in the first place, as they're more likely to be shooting with medium format, already have a 5DSR, etc). I highly doubt a single person who buys a 6D2 today would be bothered by the image quality in terms of the final viewed image.

The 6D line is a 'prosumer' line meant to satisfy the richer hobbiests as a primary all-round camera, or fill in nicely enough as a back-up for professionals. In that regard, the 6D2 seems to do fine. It's horrible that Canon is flat-out lying about the ISO settings, and they should be taken to task for that, but in terms of the end results it can be compensated for easily enough, and the other features of the camera make it more than worthwhile for the kinds of user it is aimed at.

YuengLinger

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2017, 04:31:48 PM »
Bottom line:  Actual photographers won't complain about the images, but gear-heads will complain about specs and charts.

Another capable, thoughtfully designed camera from Canon!

ahsanford

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2017, 05:06:41 PM »
1) So I can keep my ND grads, right?   8)

2) Why is this thread filed under Lenses?

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privatebydesign

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2017, 05:16:53 PM »
1) So I can keep my ND grads, right?   8)

2) Why is this thread filed under Lenses?

- A

[tongue in cheek]

1/ Only if you feel the need to 'look' like a photographer used to look.

2/ Because the 6D MkII is such an embarrassment we need to hide all talk of it well away from anybody. Particularly if it is positive talk, can't have any of that considering how badly crippled it is and how Canon are incapable of anything innovative. Besides, it's only a "mirror slapper" so  who cares.

[/tongue in cheek]
Too often we lose sight of the fact that photography is about capturing light, if we have the ability to take control of that light then we grow exponentially as photographers. More often than not the image is not about lens speed, sensor size, DR, MP's or AF, it is about the light.

Talys

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2017, 05:49:20 PM »
Yay, someone has a chart now, so I may not be delusional in thinking that 6DII manages high ISO noise really well.


1) So I can keep my ND grads, right?   8)

2) Why is this thread filed under Lenses?

- A

1) No.  You need to send them to me.  ;D

2) Because the 6D Mark II Sensor... works best with lens attached!  8)

traveller

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2017, 07:12:59 PM »
Reminder to everyone about to throw a fit because something is better/worse/exactly what they thought it would be:

- Look at the total measurements for the whole range of the camera, not just the overall score or the 'best case scenario' scores.
- Colour depth really does not matter.
- ISO sensitivity matters a lot, yet is hardly ever brought up by anyone.
- The processor makes almost as much difference as the sensor, so don't talk about just the sensor as if it's the only thing which matters.
- 99% of the time absolutely any camera made in the last ~10 years will end up giving you essentially the same results, with only a few specific, specialised purposes really demanding more from any one aspect of the body.
- If you really care about getting the cleanest images and the most dynamic range, you'd probably already be used to compensating with image averaging, HDR, and other similar techniques.

 
With that in mind, the only part of the 6D2's measurements which is at all surprising is how low the true sensitivity is. ISO 100 is actually 63 and ISO 200 is actually 127. That's a record-low for Canon, and I believe a record-low for any SLR. That means that using like-for-like settings, the 6D2 underexposes by nearly two thirds of a stop. To compensate and get the same exposure you'll need to either use a faster lens/open up (potentially dropping in sharpness and increasing vignetting), lower your shutter speed (yay motion blur) or raise the ISO (more noise and less exposure latitude to play with).

That's a huge problem. Yes, the 80D also severely overrates its ISO, but that wasn't quite this bad. Yes, Fuji do it too, but again, not by this much. Nikon and Sony haven't, as far as I'm aware, ever fudged their ISO sensitivity by any more than half a stop. (Though even half a stop is too much to get away with, in my view.)

This means that, if we assume you don't want to change your aperture or shutter settings and only raise the ISO to compensate for the 6D2's low sensitivity, you won't really get any cleaner images than you would with a 5D mark 2 at a 1:1 pixel level. At 1:1, the 6D2 is only 1/3rd of a stop cleaner... but it shoots 1/3rd of a stop darker. So if you have to raise the ISO by a third of a stop anyway, you end up at the exact same place.
Now, the 6D2 does of course have slightly higher resolution, which helps it along. It has about 2/3rd of a stop lead when the 5D2 and 6D2 files are scaled equally, which after compensation, would still leave it 1/3rd of a stop cleaner. But 1/3rd of a stop after 9 years is pretty awful.

Not only that but if you throw in a 5D3, which is also 1/3rd of a stop cleaner once the images have been equalised, you're matching the 6D2. Now, that 5D3/6D2 image quality is far more than good enough for most uses (so is the 5D2's, really), but that's still very poor considering the time between releases and also the price of a second hand 5D2 or 3 vs a brand new 6D2.

Dynamic range is the exact same deal, although the 5D2 actually leads very slightly at the lower ISO settings. The 6D2 matches them in range but not in exposure, so once you've increased sensitivity of the 6D2 to match the 5D2/3, it's fallen behind them. And again, the higher pixel count helps when you compare the equalised measurements, but not enough to actually put it ahead. The only variance is at ISO 3200 and above, where the 5D2 drops off sharply. (The 5D3 remains very slightly ahead of the 6D2 once you compensate for the 6D2's lower-than-advertised sensitivity.)

For people who want long exposures matching the lower ISO settings of other cameras which Canon usually lacks (e.g. Nikon usually has a ISO 64 setting which isn't just ISO 100 pulled down, like it is with Canon's extended range ISO) settings, you could see this as a benefit; buy a 6D2 and set it to ISO 100 and you're essentially at 64. But if you're not one of those few people trying to get the absolute longest shutter you possibly can, this is a big problem.

 
TL;DR version: What you're looking at with the 6D2's fundamental image quality is a 5D2 with more potential for cropping, assuming you want your final images to also be of the same brightness. The 6D2 is only better than the 5D2 if you open up the lens or shutter by half a stop or so and do not crop (or any other action which would throw away pixels) so the higher resolution can work in the 6D2's favour once you've scaled the image down or printed it at its final viewing size.

Again, if any of that bothers you, re-read the very first part of my post. Also consider that the 6D2 has far better functionality over the older 5D2 and 3. Considering how most photos these days end up only being seen printed at relatively small sizes or scaled down to fit Instagram, I'd say the 6D2's technical image quality is more than good enough for most people and the functionality is far more important. The few people who do genuinely need better IQ (for huge printing/viewing, very heavy cropping, industry catalogue work, legitimate fine art, etc) likely already have better. (That kind of person is unlikely to have even considered a 6D2 in the first place, as they're more likely to be shooting with medium format, already have a 5DSR, etc). I highly doubt a single person who buys a 6D2 today would be bothered by the image quality in terms of the final viewed image.

The 6D line is a 'prosumer' line meant to satisfy the richer hobbiests as a primary all-round camera, or fill in nicely enough as a back-up for professionals. In that regard, the 6D2 seems to do fine. It's horrible that Canon is flat-out lying about the ISO settings, and they should be taken to task for that, but in terms of the end results it can be compensated for easily enough, and the other features of the camera make it more than worthwhile for the kinds of user it is aimed at.

Do you have a STFL;DR version?  ;)

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2017, 07:12:59 PM »

ahsanford

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2017, 07:34:59 PM »
Do you have a STFL;DR version?  ;)

Ooh, I'll try: 

DRones are obsessed with comparing the 6D2 to the 80D when they should be comparing the 6D2 to the 5D2.

If you're going to throw a fit: do it right, people.  ;) 

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aceflibble

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2017, 08:11:43 PM »
Do you have a STFL;DR version?  ;)
Yeah maybe read the bit which says "TL;DR version" in big bold letters. And also maybe don't quote an entire post, taking up twice as much screen space, if you're then going to complain about the length of it.

Ooh, I'll try: 

DRones are obsessed with comparing the 6D2 to the 80D when they should be comparing the 6D2 to the 5D2.
In all fairness, calling it a 5D2 in an 80D body would actually be fairly accurate summation. It's the functionality of an 80D and the final image quality is a-slightly-above-5D2; it's also the only camera which is overrating its ISOs more than the 80D does. There are lots of similarities.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 08:14:32 PM by aceflibble »

ahsanford

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2017, 08:29:30 PM »
In all fairness, calling it a 5D2 in an 80D body would actually be fairly accurate summation. It's the functionality of an 80D and the final image quality is a-slightly-above-5D2; it's also the only camera which is overrating its ISOs more than the 80D does. There are lots of similarities.

You misunderstand my 6D2 sensor review joke.  When Bill Claff first reported his testing data here, there must have been a dozen DRones wondering aloud why one would get the 6D2 when the 80D was 'better' and a whole lot cheaper -- with better being defined as 'Number of stops of DR at base ISO per dollar spent (if MP are roughly equivalent)'. 

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aceflibble

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2017, 08:31:30 PM »
I know. I'm simply observing that it actually is basically an 80D+5D2 hybrid, as it turns out.

dash2k8

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2017, 10:32:21 PM »
Bottom line:  Actual photographers won't complain about the images, but gear-heads will complain about specs and charts.

Another capable, thoughtfully designed camera from Canon!

I disagree. Having used it in real life, my opinion on this body was already decided before reading the numerous negative reviews and opinions: this is just not a worthy update to the original 6D. Is it a good, serviceable camera? I suppose. Is this all Canon could put together after FIVE years? Hahahaha. At this point it makes more $$$ sense to buy a 6D1 at a huge discount than to splurge on the 6D2 for marginal improvements.

AA

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2017, 10:56:36 PM »
What are you guys talking about "positive review"? What positive review? Are we reading the same thing? DXO shows what people have been talking about: the DR of the 6D2 is WORSE THAN THE FIVE YEAR OLD 6D's, and every single competitors' by Nikon and Sony in the same price range! Cameras released three years ago have 2-3 stops better DR for less!

DR is a BIG DEAL. It is a big deal because our eyes can see 20 stops of DR!!! A state-of-the-art DR of 14-15 (by Sony) still blows! Every stop counts. 12 stops is simply not good enough in 2017. The competitors do much better. So could Canon. They proved it even in their cheap APS-C cameras!

Whoever says DR is not a big deal never converted a raw file. Guys, go ahead and try it. It'll be like enlightenment! Literally.

And if you've never tried converting a Sony / Nikon raw file, please don't weigh in. It would be like me talking about being pregnant, and I'm a single dude!

If that S____ DR weren't enough, Canon gave us video that is lower data rate than the original 6D's video was. The Camera Store TV's review says the video of the 6D II is so soft, it looks more like 720p video. In 2017!? WTF Canon!?

And there is no 4K while the new iPhones shoots 4K at 60fps. $75 Chinese action cams shoot 4K video!!! Seriously Canon! WTF!?

PS: I'm not a troll. I'm a loyal and very disappointed Canon shooter. Not sure for how long... I'm an enthusiast. I don't need Canon Professional Services. What I need is a 2017 camera in 2017, not a 2010 one.
6D, 5D IV, Sony RX100 II, 24-70 2.8 II, 70-200 2.8 II, 85 1.2 II
Next stop: Sony A7R III?

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2017, 10:56:36 PM »

Aglet

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2017, 11:41:55 PM »
Interesting to see the full SNR curves... finally.
5d2, 5d3, 6d2, nearly identical = no improvement except, perhaps, in the quality of the noise, which unfortunately DxOmark does not present so it's hard to tell how much FPN improvement there is over the 5d2/3.
IMO, it's still overpriced for what it delivers.

ahsanford

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2017, 12:04:20 AM »
I disagree. Having used it in real life, my opinion on this body was already decided before reading the numerous negative reviews and opinions: this is just not a worthy update to the original 6D. Is it a good, serviceable camera? I suppose. Is this all Canon could put together after FIVE years? Hahahaha. At this point it makes more $$$ sense to buy a 6D1 at a huge discount than to splurge on the 6D2 for marginal sensor improvements.

Fixed that for you (above)

For the rest of us who aren't locked in at ISO 100 manually focusing on a tripod...

Much better AF

Tilty-flippy / touch / DPAF
Intervalometer
Anti-flicker
Burst fps within 0.5 of the 5D4

...are very nice reasons to get this rig instead of the 6D1.

- A

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Re: DXO: Canon EOS 6D Mark II Sensor Review: Great Color and ISO Performance
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2017, 12:04:20 AM »