The Canon EOS R6 is one of Canon's latest full frame mirrorless cameras.
In this video and blog post I put it through its paces and review it from the eyes of a timelapse photographer.
Is the Canon EOS R6 a good timelapse camera? Let's find out!
Disclaimer: The kind people at Canon UK gave this camera on loan to me for two weeks, but that being said they’ve had absolutely zero input in this video.
Timelapse relevant specs
- Full frame mirrorless 20.1MP CMOS sensor with a DIGIC X processor.
- It produces 14 bit RAW CR3 files, as well as (8 bit) JPEG files and the newer 10 bit HEIF files.
- There’s also the compressed RAW aka CRAW files.
- Timelapse photo and video mode.
- The video mode has holy grail mode built in where it gradually adjusts settings for day to night transitions.
- Full flip and touch screen which is great for odd angles.
- A 2.5mm jack input for remotes (such as the LRTimelapse Pro Timer).
- Two SD card slots.
- The new LP-E6NH battery which can charge over USB C using Power Delivery.
1. How to set up a timelapse
1.1 Timelapse photo mode
Switch camera to manual mode and go into the red menu to find the interval timer.
You can set the interval from 1 second to a max of 99 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds.
Exit the menu, hit the shutter button and let the camera run.
To stop the sequence turn the mode dial to Bulb mode.
How to shoot a holy grail shot: Either use Aperture Priority mode with auto iso for a very solid performance or use the manual exposure adjustment shooting method and then use LRTimelapse software to smooth out the exposure bumps.
Despite the lack of a dedicated holy grail mode in photo timelapse, the camera performed much better than expected. There’s no crazy exposure zig zagging in the sequence brightness curve which we would see in DSLR cameras.
1.2 Timelapse video mode
Offers Full HD and 4K video timelapses, where the camera records video frames and stitches them together as soon as you stop recording. Sadly this does not save any RAW or JPEGs.
Do not use this with shutter speeds faster than 1/100th of a second as there are some strange warping artefacts which you can see on screen right now. I do not recommend shooting on this mode.
You can set a number of frames from 2 to 3600.
Minimum interval is 2 seconds, maximum is 99 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds.
Fun fact: If you combine these extremes the longest possible video timelapse you can shoot is 14996 days or just over 41 years.
How to holy grail: Turn to Av mode with auto iso on, enable ‘measure exposure each frame’. You’re going to want to limit your auto iso to say 6400 otherwise the camera will ramp the iso to the max and introduce a lot of noise before ramping the shutter speed.
1.3 Using external remotes
There is a 2.5mm jack which is what most timelapse remotes come with. There are also remotes on the market who trigger through USB C but I haven’t been able to test those.
I really like the LRTimelapse Pro Timer 2.5 which you can find more info on here. I can’t recommend this remote highly enough.
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2. Dynamic range
I think the DR on this camera is pretty amazing. I was able to recover shadows and highlights when I thought they were gone entirely.
It’s important to note that the dynamic range reduces and the low light performance is worse when using electronic shutter as this reduces the sensor readout to 12 bits.
I highly recommend only using the mechanical shutter. If you’re worried about ruining your shutter please watch this video I made about that here. In short: you won’t ruin your shutter and even if you do it’s worth it.
The new CR2. You can choose this one or the compressed RAW which cuts file size in half and allegedly has no noticeable quality loss despite it being a lossy compression method.
I’ve shot a bunch of the CRAW files and I liked them, if you’re shooting a ton of timelapses like I am then this is a great option.
I had a hard time spotting the difference in sharpness between these two image formats so for someone like me who shoots a TON of timelapses this is a great option to have.
10 bit image file VS jpegs 8 bit in the same file size. It's the image format of the future, apparently. None of my apps could open these HEIF files so I don’t know what to do with these..
The standard 8 bit file with the baked in Canon colours that we know and love. Not ideal but good to have if you want to render a quick preview of your shot or if you’re in a time crunch where you don’t have time to render RAW files.
20.1 megapixels is enough for the majority of people. If you want more then you can go for the EOS R5 instead. The photos are 5472 x 3648 pixels wide and tall which means you can create 5K timelapse videos which is more than enough for most people.
This camera is an absolute pleasure to use. It’s what we know and love about Canon cameras.
6. Low light
ISO goes all the way up to 204800 and I found it very usable up until 12800. After this you’ll need some extra de-noising. I recommend Neat Video for all your denoising needs.
Dual SD UHS-II card slots which is nice. A faster slot would have been good but honestly I haven’t felt the need for that at all, the SDXC cards I have did more than fine.
8. Weather sealing
The EOS R6 features the same weather sealing as the 6DMkII which has never let me down and has been through some horrendous down pours.
As this R6 is a loaner from Canon UK I’m not going to be pushing any boundaries but it’s well known that Canon’s weather sealing is amazing. I left it out in the rain once and blew off the water off the lens with a blower then let it air dry, no issues there.
9. Battery life
Comes with the new LP-E6NH battery which has 14% more battery than the LP-E6N and is rated for 510 shots using the LCD and 310 shots using the viewfinder.
These numbers are for normal photography though not timelapse so let’s look at what I’ve managed to get out of it:
- Video timelapse mode: 3500 shots used up 75% battery
- Video timelapse mode: 2000 shots at 6s interval with auto iso used 46%
- Video timelapse mode: 615 shots used up 17% battery
- Photo timelapse mode: 600 photos used up 25%
- Photo timelapse mode: 2000 photos used up 30%
- Photo timelapse mode: 2600 used up 75%
Plugging in USB C PD keeps battery level when using, but it only charges when camera is off.
Some ways to improve battery life: turn live view off and dim the brightness of the screen.
If you close the screen then the viewfinder goes on which you can’t turn off which leads to battery drain.
Obviously disabling AF and image stabilisation helps with battery life as well, but they should have been disabled already as we don't use those for timelapse photography.
Overall I’d call this battery life good not great. It does not beat the battery life in DSLR cameras as they don’t have a constant sensor readout.
10. Rendering in camera
Not an option, unless you consider timelapse video mode which once again I don’t really recommend unless you don’t want to bother with post production.
11. Bugs I’ve found
The odd image compression issues when shooting time-lapse videos with high shutter speeds. I recommend shutter speeds lower than 1/100s.
This is a great all round camera, it’s got a lot of bang for buck and it’s a pleasure to use.
It performs well as far as timelapse goes with great holy grail performance in Av mode, great file sizes, great dynamic range, solid low light performance.
There’s three things I would change: dedicated holy grail mode for photo timelapse using some sort of exposure levelling like in the Lumix S1, more megapixels and in camera rendering.
Even though this camera isn’t perfect for timelapse I’d still like to get one.
That being said, I’m very tempted to get it but would like to test out the R5 first.
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