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Rudy Winston
Rudy Winston

Rudy Winston has more than 20 years experience with Canon USA's Pro Products team, and has been responsible during that time for training Canon's staff on new products, creating presentations for customers and dealers, numerous writing projects, and providing technical assistance to professional and amateur photographers.

EOS 6D Mark II for Weddings and Events

August 16, 2017

Bringing full-frame imagery to event photography — whether you’re a serious photo enthusiast, a budding professional, or even a full-fledged pro wedding shooter — is a great way to raise the quality of your images.  And while the original EOS 6D certainly acquitted itself well in terms of its picture quality, the new focus and performance features in the new EOS 6D Mark II make it a very appealing step-up for these fast-paced situations. We’ll look at the Mark II’s new-found features, and see how they might apply to users who shoot events regularly.

Size and Weight

Event photography often demands being light on your feet.  In almost every instance, light weight is an advantage to serious shooters, and the EOS 6D Mark II gives you Canon’s lightest and smallest full-frame DSLR.  In fact, it’s about 15% lighter than Canon’s top APS-C sensor camera, the EOS 7D Mark II.  True, it’s slightly bigger than the original EOS 6D, but one reason is the new articulated, Vari-angle LCD monitor (the 6D Mark II is Canon’s first full-frame camera ever to have an articulated LCD monitor!).  If you’re a user who values both image quality and a reduction in what you’re carrying at an event, the EOS 6D Mark II deserves consideration on that basis alone.

Full-frame Sensor

If you’ve been a user of APS-C sensor cameras up to now (Canon or another brand), the step-up to full-frame has the potential to raise not just the quality of your images, but to open up more imaging potential for some types of shooting.  A few reasons:

  • Full-frame sensor with 26.2 million effective pixels.  The resolution alone means you can make a 13x19-inch direct print, with absolutely no enlarging of the file (an ideal way to utilize a pro-level desktop printer, BTW!).  And, larger, poster-size prints are easily within the capabilities of these files.  When large décor-type prints are a part of what you sell to a customer, here’s a camera that can provide great quality without breaking the bank, and producing files with good detail yet manageable file sizes.
  • Large pixels mean more low-light sensitivity.  This will be a strong camera for available-light shooting, and a powerful choice when you need to shoot at high ISO settings.  The standard ISO range is 100~40,000, and this can be expanded to 50~102,400 if desired.  Low-light image quality is one area where the step-up to full-frame will show distinct improvements, when compared to entry-level cameras, older DSLRs, or most APS-C sensor cameras.
  • Wide-angle lens options suddenly become abundant.  Several things to consider here:
    • You get choices in terms of lens speed.  Want the available-light options an f/2.8 lens, like the EF 24–70mm f/2.8L II lens provides?  Or is the compact size of an f/4 or similar lens more appealing?  There’s no one correct answer, but the point is that the EOS 6D Mark II camera gives you options.

      Here’s an example of the lens versatility we’re talking about. A compact and sharp EF 24mm f/2.8 IS lens (fixed focal length — not a zoom) was super-easy to hand-hold in low light, at ISO 6400. Full-frame cameras open the door to the multitude of fixed focal length wide-angle lens choices in the Canon line, as well as choices in wide-angle zooms.
    • You get lens options that include Image Stabilization, if you want.
    • You get multiple ultra wide-angle zoom choices.  Two 16–35mm lens options: a less-expensive L-series 17–40mm f/4 choice, and the world’s widest-angle zoom (as of mid-2017), the EF 11–24mm f/4L.
    • And, multiple fixed focal length lens options — from the 35mm f/2 with Image Stabilization, down to the ultra-wide EF 14mm f/2.8L II lens.

The bottom line is that there’s viable payback to stepping up to a full-frame DSLR for wedding and event work.  The image quality benefits are tangible; things like large prints become even more attainable; a new dimension in low-light work at high ISOs opens up; and you have a multitude of lens options.  EOS 6D Mark II delivers this, at far less cost than some other full-frame options.

Image Quality

Beyond simply having a full-frame sensor, the EOS 6D Mark II has other features of interest to quality-conscious users:

  • Auto White Balance options
    Traditional Canon AWB, which is now called “Ambient Priority AWB” (it deliberately allows tungsten-type lighting to be recorded with a distinct amber tone, to deliver a bit of warm ambience to such scenes), and now the option for “White Priority AWB” (still Auto White Balance, but now warm-toned light sources are deliberately corrected, for more of a true white appearance).
  • The choice here can be important in fast-paced, indoor shooting in available light.
  •   
    The White Priority AWB option can be chosen in the camera’s shooting menu. It impacts how tungsten (and similar) artificial lights are rendered. Traditional Canon AWB allowed a warm color rendering (see the white plates in the photo above), while the White Priority option definitely renders the whites — and indirectly, all other colors — in a more corrected fashion. This only impacts tungsten and similar lighting…in sunlight, or other artificial light sources, the two AWB options are essentially identical.
  • Lens aberration corrections
    More in-camera tools to improve picture quality.  Diffraction Correction gives subtle but added sharpening in two scenarios — when stopped-down to small lens apertures (f/16, f/22, etc.) it sharpens to counter the impact of optical softening from diffraction, and even at middle or wide apertures, it can help counter the softening that can occur from the low-pass filter, which is immediately in front of the image sensor.
  • Distortion Correction can detect and correct barrel or pincushion linear distortion, sometimes visible at extreme ends of a zoom lens’s range.  This can be a nice addition for high-quality group photos, when working on location.
  • Added sharpening tools, to maximize output from the 26.2 megapixel image sensor
    • Fine Detail Picture Style (first seen in the high-resolution EOS 5DS series cameras) now added to the EOS 6D Mark II…potentially very helpful for users who shoot JPEG still images, and for RAW shooters, a great way to get even more detail if you process your files in Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software
    • Added sharpening tools for all Picture Styles, when shooting still images…sharpening now is similar to “Unsharp Mask” tools in high-end image editing software, with added “Fineness” (similar to “radius) and “Threshold” adjustments in the Picture Style menu

Anti-flicker Shooting

Sooner or later, the event shooter working on-location will encounter an artificial light source like older fluorescent lights, mercury-vapor, or other lighting that creates a big problem for still images at faster shutter speeds — the lights may flicker on and off, and result in serious changes in exposure and white balance, from shot to shot.  The EOS 6D Mark II now has Flicker Detection technology built-in, thanks to its RGB metering sensor.  When it’s active, the camera will not only alert you with an icon in the viewfinder, but will subtly change shutter timing so that exposures occur during the instant of peak brightness, as lights cycle on and off.  EOS 6D Mark II isn’t the first Canon EOS camera with this feature, but it’s yet another nice addition for shooters who photograph events on-location, and are considering the move to full-frame.

  
You may have encountered this before — in artificial light, you shoot a series of pictures, and suddenly one like the first one here appears. What happened? Why is it so dark, and the color “off?” Why the unevenness of exposure? It’s all from using a fairly fast shutter speed, and the lights pulsing on and off. With Canon’s Flicker Detection, shutter timing is changed, to that it’s opened at the precise moment that artificial lights are at their peak brightness during a pulse cycle. The result? A lot more images like the second one.

Autofocus

The 45-point AF system in the EOS 6D Mark II is a big step forward from the far simpler, 11-point system used in the original EOS 6D camera.  In one step, Canon has delivered to the working wedding and event photographer a far more robust AF system, which will meet the challenges of on-location shooting.

  • 45 focus points, with centralized coverage in the viewfinder. Concentrated near the center of the frame, they’re well-positioned for users who prefer the traditional lock focus-and-recompose approach to shooting off-center subjects, but still allow room for photographers who like to move AF point locations to work comfortably with those same off-center subjects.

    Here’s how the 45 AF points are positioned, in the central area of the EOS 6D Mark II viewfinder. In this graphic, a single AF point (positioned in dead-center) of the image is the active AF point, and you can clearly see it’s highlighted by its size and shape. The remaining 44 AF points appear to simply show the available locations that the one active AF point could be manually moved to, if and when the photographer desires.
  • AF Area choices, to change the size of a focus point. These include Spot AF, to reduce the size of a single AF point for truly precise positioning over a subject, and two Zone AF options to expand the size of a focus point — very useful for quick candid shooting on-location.

    An important aspect of the 45-point AF system in the EOS 6D Mark II is the ability to change the size of the active focus area, with AF Area control. Here, Zone AF — a cluster of nine active AF points — is shown, and positioned in the center of the AF Array. Zone AF can be moved to any of eight additional positions around the 45-point AF array. Change from one AF Area to another by pressing the AF Area button, located immediately above the shutter button.
  • Cross-type AF performance, with up to all 45 AF points.  This means that at the actual AF sensor, a pair of line sensors, at 90-degree angles, read twice as much subject information as a single-line sensor would.  This can mean even faster read-and-react times for focus, especially with subjects that don’t have a lot of detail (think of men at weddings in black tuxes!), as well as superior responsiveness in very low light.
  • Adjustable AI Servo AF, in the Custom Functions menu.  Not every event is table shots and speakers at podiums.  If and when you have to photograph moving subjects, you have choices beyond just setting the AF to AI Servo AF…you can adjust the AF system’s response to sudden interference or changes in what you’d been tracking, as well as set the AF system to expect either continuous, steady movement, or movement that may tend to have a start-and-stop quality to it.

    Sports and action may not be a huge part of what wedding and event photographers capture, but the need to meet a client’s requests may mean shooting moving subjects, like the walk down the aisle. While the default, factory settings in AI Servo AF normally allow for excellent focus upon moving subjects like this go-kart, the EOS 6D Mark II does allow further fine-tuning of AI Servo AF to tailor the camera to different types of subject movement, or challenging situations like where foreground objects may momentarily block your view of that moving subject.
  • Outstanding AF for Live View and Video, too.  Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology takes over any time you use the LCD monitor as your viewfinder.  This AF system reads directly off the imaging sensor, rather than a separate and dedicated AF sensor alone.  It’s super quick, positive, and responsive.  And, it can be set to Servo AF, to focus on moving subjects as well.  This opens up some great still-imaging options, such as super-low angle shooting, or spontaneously shooting with a camera held above a crowd, for an overhead look.

Intelligent Viewfinder

There are tools in the eye-level, optical viewfinder that can help you get better pictures in challenging situations.  

  • Crop lines in the viewfinder
    Using the Aspect Ratio commands in the Set-up Menu, you can set up crop lines to indicate 4x5/8x10 border lines (really valuable if you work events that rely on delivering well-composed, traditional-sized prints).  Crop lines can also be set for square images, if that’s an important way to deliver content to a particular client.  Square images from the EOS 6D Mark II would be about 17.3 million pixels in size, when it’s set to full-res RAW or JPEG recording.

    The EOS 6D Mark II’s Intelligent Viewfinder is a sophisticated and transparent LCD, directly over the focus screen in the eye-level finder. One option in the Set-up menu is to display Aspect Ratio crop lines — and this can be a real compositional asset, for users who expect to have traditional prints made from their digital files at an event. Here, the 4x5 Aspect Ratio lines are displayed, making it easy to avoid “chopping off” subjects at the far sides of the frame, when a print such as 8x10 inches or letter-size is anticipated.
  • Keep the camera level
    Two compositional assists in the EOS 6D Mark II viewfinder:
    • Grid lines, to help with composition, and alignment with straight lines in a scene
    • Dual Axis Electronic Level display, to show any tilt in camera positioning.  This obviously can be useful during careful tripod-mounted shooting, but it’s a great reference as well in hand-held situations, such as shooting group photos, or wide-angle shots of a venue (especially if you’re positioned at an angle, rather than shooting straight-on).
  • AF point displays
    You can show as much or as little information in the picture area of the EOS 6D Mark II viewfinder as you like.  The display of 45 AF points is no exception…if you like to frequently move AF points from center to off-center, you can display the location of every available AF point, as an instant reference to where you can move if and when you want.  Likewise, if you prefer a plain display with little information, you can opt to show only the active AF point. You can even have it appear only during actual AF operation, if you really want a clean viewfinder display!
  • Camera settings in viewfinder
    A feature first seen on high-end EOS models, this now is possible on the EOS 6D Mark II — and again, it’s completely controllable.  You can determine which, if any, of the following appear at the bottom of the frame, within the picture area:
    • Battery status; Exposure mode; AF operation setting; JPEG or RAW; Drive mode; Metering mode; Flicker detect icon; and warning icon.
  • Having this info in the viewfinder can be a very useful reminder in some fast-moving situations, especially if you change fundamental camera settings often as you work an event (example: shooting RAW files at a wedding ceremony and for formal portraits, and switching to JPEGs for candids at a reception).

Auto ISO

More and more serious enthusiasts and professionals are discovering the potential of Auto ISO, especially in fast-paced shooting where light may change significantly and suddenly.  The Auto ISO in the EOS 6D Mark II is well-suited for fast, available-light shooting.  

  • Auto ISO can be used in any Creative Zone exposure mode, including Manual mode
  • Users can define the slowest shutter speed allowable, before Auto ISO begins to raise ISO as light drops (from one second to 1/4000th of a second, the camera’s fastest shutter speed)
  • In Manual mode, users can lock-in a chosen shutter speed and aperture, and allow ISO to vary automatically as lighting changes
    • Deliberately under- and over-expose Auto ISO shots in Manual mode by committing either the SET, AF-ON, or AE Lock buttons to change exposure, using Custom Controls (press the button, hold it in, and turn the top Main Dial to compensate exposure)

6.5 fps Shooting Speed

This won’t always be a factor in wedding and event shooting, but it’s useful to know that shooting speed has been boosted noticeably in the EOS 6D Mark II, compared to the original EOS 6D model.  Its maximum speed for stills of 6.5fps is sufficiently fast to shoot sports and action images when needed, as well as capture bursts like a bouquet toss at a wedding.

Live View Versatility

Event shooters usually regard Live View — shooting still images, and using the LCD monitor as your viewfinder — as a secondary way to work at weddings and events.  But even if pulled out of your pocket, so to speak, for quick high- or low-angle shots, it’s a really useful asset.  If and when situations call for you to shoot using a tripod, such as taking a series of large group photos, Live View really becomes a useful way of working, compared to trying to squint through a viewfinder.  EOS 6D Mark II amplifies the Live View experience in several important ways:  

  • Vari-angle LCD monitor, which you can rotate and tilt in a wider range of settings than many of the “tilting” monitors on other cameras.  This alone transforms the potential of Live View, in situations where it’s not practical to get your eye up to the eye-level finder.
  • Touchscreen interface: Control the camera, make menu settings and changes, and even move focus points, by just touching the screen.  Another transforming experience that may change the way you think about Live View when you’re shooting events.

    You don’t see it in this image, but the Vari-angle LCD monitor of the EOS 6D Mark II really transforms how Live View shooting can become a viable option when working on-location. Couple that with the ability to just tap the screen to tell the AF system where to focus, and you’ve got a powerful tool that excels both on a tripod, and in many hand-held situations.
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
    It’s impossible to overstate the value of this Canon technology, anytime you’re working from the LCD monitor.  Live View AF has transformed from a chore to a joy, with its smoothness and responsive operation.  The 6D Mark II now has Servo AF during Live View, so you can focus continually on moving subjects as well.  Even if you only use Live View occasionally, the AF performance will delight you.

Video Operation and Possibilities

There’s no denying it — even if you’re a totally committed still-image professional shooting events or weddings, adding video to your offerings enhances your value — and money-making potential — to your customers.  And stepping up to a full-frame camera like the EOS 6D Mark II doesn’t mean that HD video is now an afterthought.  This camera continues to shine, when you move its rear switch from still images to the video position:

  • The full-frame benefits remain intact
    Full HD (1080p) video, still by far the most popular video size for online viewing today, utilizes the entire width of the 6D Mark II’s full-frame sensor.  You get great low-light sensitivity, excellent quality when ISOs are raised, and continue to see the same wide-angle perspectives you would get when shooting stills.
  • Shoot at up to 60 frames per second, at Full HD (1920 x 1080 resolution), for smooth rendering of any movement in a scene
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
    Simply outstanding AF for video, whether subjects are completely still; or set it to Movie Servo AF, in the red shooting menu, for moving subjects
  • Movie Digital IS
    Few things are more annoying to viewers than video with excessive camera shake.  The Image Stabilization in many Canon EF lenses is a great start in reducing this, but if you’re moving to follow a subject (reality-TV style), you can get big movements as you walk or even run, which an IS lens can’t totally suppress.  EOS 6D Mark II adds Canon’s Movie Digital IS technology, which provides digital stabilization at the sensor, to counter these large camera movements.  It combines with whatever stabilization you may have in a lens to really smooth out hand-held video, and can be a potentially big asset in giving your video a professional, quality “look.”
  • Movie Digital IS is turned on or off in the red shooting menu when the camera’s set for video recording. There are two settings available: “Enable” (standard level of correction) and “Enhanced” (greater correction, for larger anticipated camera movement).  Since it does crop the image slightly (what you see on the LCD monitor remains completely correct; no guessing is required), Movie Digital IS is off by default, and must be activated by the user.
  • HDR video, in-camera
    Need to shoot some video clips at an outdoor event, at high noon, and there’s not a cloud in the sky?  The ability to set the camera to HDR — High Dynamic Range — video can tame that excessive contrast in these and other situations (think of harsh stage lighting indoors as another example).  The camera generates a Full HD video, at 30 frames per second, where it deliberately lowers the brightness of harsh highlights…perfect for holding some detail in the bride’s white wedding dress under noontime sun.
  • HDR video is activated by first being sure the EOS 6D Mark II is set for video operation, and then turning the Mode Dial to the “SCN” setting…when the camera’s set for video, the only Special Scene option is the HDR video mode.

  • Time Lapse Movie
    This might be another go-to option when you need to deliver a finished video, or just one shot in a video, with a different look.  Time Lapse Movie lets you speed-up any activity that takes place over a longer period of time…could be anything from clouds speeding by a client’s building to a new building rising from a construction site.  The cool thing about this EOS 6D Mark II feature is you can do it all in-camera, and generate a finished video file that’s rendered in either Full HD or 4K size (your choice, in the menu), right to your memory card…no blending individual still image frames in the computer, after the fact, is required.

Built-in Wi-Fi®

This has great potential for wedding and event shooters, especially in terms of being able to select images, transfer copies to your phone or tablet, and send them to pre-selected websites or even e-mail them — and you can do it while an event is still going on!

The Wi-Fi in the EOS 6D Mark II is easier than ever to connect to compatible smartphones or tablets, partly because it now adds Bluetooth, low-power connectivity.  With it, the camera can maintain constant connection to your device, and any time you want, quickly re-connect to it.

The built-in Wi-Fi primarily lets users connect to compatible phones or tablets, once Canon’s free Camera Connect app has been installed in the mobile device.  Then, you can view images on the camera’s memory card using your device; you can select and send any you want to the device; and you can even remote-control the camera, using the device’s screen as a viewfinder — and, you can do this from up to 50 feet (15m) away!

Keep in mind that for serious projects in the studio, another Wi-Fi option with the EOS 6D Mark II is to combine it with Canon’s EOS Utility software, and in effect have “wireless tethered operation” with a compatible Mac® or Windows® computer.

Built-in GPS

If and when the need arises for a client at an event to geo-tag their images with location information, you can do this with the EOS 6D Mark II’s built-in GPS capability.  No accessory device is needed; you simply activate GPS in the yellow Set-up Menu.  There’s also a separate Logging function, to record the camera’s position at intervals you define in the menu.  You can then trace your movements as a path, using either Canon’s free Map Utility software (part of the downloadable software package that is standard with the camera), or with compatible third-party software programs.

One other cool GPS feature — if you have more than one Canon camera with GPS capability (another EOS 6D Mark II, or a different EOS model), you can sync the time on both, using the GPS in each, so that their camera-generated times will match, within one second of each other, using UTC from GPS positioning satellites.  Wedding shooters who work with multiple cameras will find this a great assist in setting up before an event, even if actual GPS positioning data isn’t a requirement on-location.

Summary

The combination of full-frame sensor and its inherent image quality, the low-light suitability and high ISO performance, excellent autofocus answers for challenging situations, and numerous other features make the EOS 6D Mark II a great option as a serious, multi-media creation tool for wedding and event shooters.

It’s the lightest, smallest and most affordable of Canon’s full-frame EOS cameras, and it’s a fantastic step-up for those either entering the world of professional event photography, or for experienced pros who may simply want to step up their equipment, without a massive cost.  Either way, the EOS 6D Mark II is well-suited for many types of challenging work, and we hope this article has shed some light on how it may benefit you and the work you both do now, and aspire to do in the future.

The CDLC contributors are compensated spokespersons and actual users of the Canon products that they promote.

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