Why you should (NOT) buy the Canon R6 for wildlife photography!
An in-depth review of the Canon R6 mirrorless camera for wildlife photography.
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I often get asked: Should I buy the Canon R6 mirrorless camera for wildlife photography? My answer is usually YES!
In October 2020, my friends at Outdoorphoto in Pretoria were kind enough to send a Canon R6 mirrorless camera and a Canon 100-500mm RF lens with for me to test on a two week-long trip through Botswana. I used the Canon R6 to photograph wildlife in some of Botswana’s wildest places, like Nxai Pans and Khwai, and loved it so much that, upon my return, I immediately traded in my trusty Canon 5D Mark4 and got myself a brand new Canon R6.
Since then I have used it on my photographic safaris and in this video I’ve decided to share with you five things that I really love about the Canon R6 for wildlife photography:
1) Auto Focusing
In wildlife photography, getting fast, sharp focus is extremely important, because our subjects’ movements are often fast, erratic and unpredictable. The Canon R6 mirrorless camera has over 1000 focus points spread over nearly 100% of the frame, and over and above the normal auto focusing modes (from spot focus to large areas), it also has subject tracking abilities that basically detects heads, faces and even the eyes of people and animals.
I have set up two of my back buttons on the Canon R6 – one for regular focus and one for subject tracking – so that I can use them together for the best wildlife photography results.
2) Fast Burst Rate
Being able to capture a large sequence of photos in short succession is crucial in wildlife photography, since the shots in between the best ones often look bad or awkward. The Canon R6 can photograph at 12 frames per second in RAW using the mechanical shutter and at 20 frames a second in RAW using the silent electronic shutter, which is more than enough for wildlife photography if you ask me.
3) Image Quality
Some might think that the Canon R6’s 20MP sensor is too small for wildlife photography. Yes, you may not be able to crop much, but the smaller files sizes does mean that you have less processing issues, faster downloading times and more hard drive space to spare, which are big advantages to a wildlife photographer. I certainly can’t justify spending almost double the amount on a Canon R5 mirrorless camera for an extra 25MP.
Another thing I like about the Canon R6’s image quality, is the fact that it shows very little noise at ISO6400, and as a result, I have set that as my maximum value when I use Automatic ISO. Sometimes, when I find animals in very low light, I’ll go as high as ISO12800 or even higher, but then I’ll do some noise reduction in post-processing.
Another important camera consideration when it comes to wildlife photography is dynamic range, in other words, how much detail the camera captures in the light and dark parts of the image. I have been very impressed with the Canon R6’s dynamic range and will happily do gross over-exposures when I create black and white high key wildlife images.
4) Camera Design and Functionality
The Canon R6 has great camera ergonomics – I love the size and the weight of it, and its buttons and dials, which are all highly customisable, are very well positioned on the camera. It’s very easy to set up the Canon R6 to operate exactly the way you want it to.
Another thing I love about the Canon R6 is its flip-out LCD monitor, because it allows you to easily compose wildlife photos when you hold or place the camera at low, awkward angles.
The electronic view finder of the Canon R6 mirrorless camera is also a massive improvement from that of the older Canon EOS R, which had a slow response time and looked very unnatural. On the Canon R6, the electronic view finder activates instantaneously when you put your eye against it, it looks as good as through the eye piece of a DSLR, and it contains exposure simulation.
5) Internal Image Stabilisation
The Canon R6 has a 5-Axis internal image stabilisation system that helps you to get sharp photos in low light when you hand-hold the camera. This is also extremely useful when you take video clips with it – something that the Canon R6 does very well.
All in all, I can highly recommend the Canon R6 mirrorless camera for wildlife photography!
Disclaimer: Keep in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you click on them to make a purchase I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote products that I trust and the and the income from these links allow me to keep producing videos.