Canon EOS M6 Review – Is it a masterpiece of the middle range?

A tiny mirrorless digital camera with an APS-C sensor and 24 megapixels, the Canon EOS M6 also feature dual dial controls and a touch screen interface. It takes the internals of the EOS M5 camera, which has an electronic viewfinder (EVF), and places them in an upgraded version of the body of the M3 camera. The price for the body begins at $779. It is located in Canon’s M range between the M3 and the M5, and it may be purchased as a kit option with either the 15-45 or 18-150mm lenses for a price of $899 or $1,279, respectively.

Key Features

  • APS-C sensor with 24 megapixels and a maximum ISO of 25600 Dual Pixel PDAF on the sensor
  • In-lens image stabilization and electronic video stabilization work together to provide 5-axis IS.
  • Continuous filming at 7 frames per second (9 fps with focus and exposure locked)
  • Wi-Fi paired with Bluetooth that is constantly linked

As is customary for Canon, the company has a unique perspective on the market, which leaves the M6 as either a costly, better-built alternative to entry-level mirrorless competitors or as a mid-level/enthusiast model without a viewfinder. In either case, it appears to be on the expensive side.

Its quality of construction and controls puts it in competition with retro-inspired cameras such as the Olympus PEN F, the 4K-capable Panasonic GX85/80, Sony’s value-tastic a6000, and Fujifilm’s X-E2s, which is getting on in years.

Several years ago, I worked as an assistant for a fashion and editorial photographer who, before to the launch of the EOS M and EF adaptor, had placed a pre-order for both products. They were thrilled to have a second camera that was smaller than a point-and-shoot and had an APS-C sensor, taking up less room in their camera bag than a lens.

They envisioned a camera with autofocus capabilities, controls, and image quality comparable to that of a mid-range APS-C DSLR, but with the portability and convenience advantages of a mirrorless system. After quickly attaching it to one of their already existing EF lenses, it was sent back to the manufacturer. Due to the delayed nature of the CDAF system, it was impossible for it to even come close to having a second body that could be relied on in an emergency.

I am delighted to report that the camera that they had previously hoped would be available has in fact been released. Although the Canon M6, retails for $780 (body only) and is slightly larger and more upscale than the original M, it is still capable of keeping up with DSLRs in terms of controls, and image quality, and autofocus performance in many different scenarios. Additionally, it contains Canon’s Dual Pixel Autofocus technology in the most compact form that it is now possible to locate.

In this critique, we will examine the camera from the perspective of a number of different people who are considering purchasing it. To get things started, let’s have a look at how the EOS M6 truly performs when added to the bigger gear of an experienced Canon photographer.

As a shooter’s second body for Canon cameras

The EOS M6 has a sophisticated control scheme, despite the fact that it is a very compact camera. There are two command dials: one is located around the shutter button, and the other is located around the four-way controller on the back of the device. Only the manual exposure mode makes use of the dial on the back of the camera; users have the ability to select which dial performs which function.

Importantly, it provides about as much flexibility and customizability as a photography enthusiast who is used to working with bigger DSLRs might want.

There is also a third dial that may be found underneath the exposure compensation dial in a pretty orderly fashion. It is possible to adjust its function independently for Av/Tv/P and manual movie modes, which allows it to manage ISO, white balance, AF technique, metering, and drive mode. In M mode, you may also set it to control either the shutter speed or aperture, making the more fussy dial on the back face of the camera unnecessary.

Because the M6 does not have a ‘Dial Func’ option as Canon’s tiny cameras have, there is no simple way to modify the assigned parameter; rather, this must be done through the menu system. However, having four primary dials is far more control than is provided on the majority of other mirrorless cameras, even the higher-end ones with viewfinders, and it is configurable so that the most critical functions may be placed on the dials that are the handiest.

First and foremost, it provides about as much flexibility and personalization as an enthusiast who is used to working with bigger DSLRs could ask for in most regards. The interface does not exactly match that of Canon’s DSLRs, which, unfortunately, means that customers who transition between the two will experience a slowdown in operation due to the animated look of the ‘Q’ menu.

There is also a restriction on the ability to customize the buttons, and fans of Auto ISO will be disappointed to find that the M6 comes with painfully subpar implementation. You have no influence over the shutter speeds that the camera selects; however, you are able to utilize Auto ISO when shooting in manual mode and set a shutter speed for yourself.

The 24MP sensor is a significant improvement over the sensor found in the original EOS M. It possesses all of the performance that one could possibly want from a second camera and has color reproduction that is characteristic of Canon cameras.

One of the most significant enhancements to image quality that this 24MP chip has provided is an enhanced dynamic range. This allows for larger changes to be made during post-production without causing artifacts such as noise and banding to appear in adjusted regions to an excessive degree.

Dual Pixel autofocus is the genuinely significant improvement that this new technology brings to the table. It encompasses eighty percent of the frame’s width and height respectively (equalling a total of 64 percent coverage). It is the identical mechanism that we discovered in the EOS M5, which was carried out magnificently in all of our evaluations.

The remarkable autofocus performance is unaffected by the utilization of modified or adapted lenses.

Most significantly, the performance of adapted lenses does not change while using existing EF and EF-S lenses. This is because an EF adapter is nothing more than an extension tube with wires running through it to expand the electrical contacts. This indicates that it now possesses the AF that fans, and even professionals in a variety of specializations, would want out of their second body.

When compared to the M5, utilizing the M6 in some circumstances may provide even better results. To begin, it is more compact, which provides a greater size benefit in comparison to the DSLR you are now using. In addition, because there is no electronic viewfinder (EVF), there is also no eye sensor that can be mistakenly activated when shooting with the screen in the flipped-out position.

During our testing of the M5, we had this issue frequently whenever we used the touch screen to try to shoot at a low aperture or select an AF point. Therefore, the M6 will be the camera that will make it simpler to locate intriguing vistas, since there will be no hassles associated with utilizing the screen in any posture… So, virtually any position would do.

For Vlogger

Since the Canon 5D Mark II was updated to include full high definition video capture, the company’s cameras have become increasingly popular among video bloggers (sometimes known as “vloggers”). Due to the absence of a viewfinder, the M6 is able to give the finest consumer-grade APS-C video capabilities (meaning 1080p) that the firm has to offer in one of the most compact sizes conceivable. In addition, there is Wi-Fi for instantaneous file sharing.

Size is a consideration for many people, particularly video bloggers and people who produce their own movies. Their ideal camera should be lightweight and able to automatically handle all of the critical points of good footage to anyone creating content, including exposure, focus, and stabilization. For them, less equipment means they can focus more on living whatever lifestyle they’re documenting, such as riding a motorized skateboard.

Therefore, get yourself a Gorillapod and turn the screen around so that it faces you in order to discover.

Because the camera occupies a portion of the display’s lower bezel, accessing the really important touch controls is either excruciatingly difficult or completely impossible. The screen of the EOS M3 is equipped with a device that is spring-loaded, and this mechanism pulls the screen upward those additional few millimeters so that it is clear of the top of the body.

A record button is not displayed on the screen of the M6, so users will have to either reassign the M Fn button or search for the record button, which is located on the back of the device in a relatively flush location.

And although it is true that you can regulate exposure by tethering your phone to the EOS M6 over Wi-Fi and using that method, the built-in screen is preferred for rapid-fire photography since it is more intuitive.

In any case, it is possible for the camera to easily catch some acceptable footage when it is not pointing back at our imaginary content producer, but rather forward at the environment that is surrounding them. Now, this film isn’t exactly state of the art, especially considering the cost of it.

Although it costs a little bit extra, the X-T20 is capable of recording in 4K resolution. Additionally, 4K is supported with the Panasonic GX85. Both the GX85 and the Fujifilm do not have phase detection autofocus (PDAF), therefore neither is as dependable at handling focus for the user.

The Canon boasts, out of the three, some of the most impressive continuously active AF in the video that is now available, exactly as we experienced in the EOS M5. The Canon is one of the greatest options for customers who want to create Full HD material that is readily digestible by their computers and the Canon is one of the best options for keeping things in focus.

In contrast to its stellar performance in focusing, the Canon’s stabilization capabilities are only adequate. When capturing footage, several of the lenses available for the M system provide optical stabilization, which, when paired with the digital stabilization that is available when the camera is set to movie mode, may give 5-axis stabilization.

However, the stabilization is not quite as good as the stabilized sensors that are found in cameras such as the Panasonic G85 or the Olympus E-M5 II. When it is engaged, there is only a little crop and a loss of resolution, but the stabilization works very well overall. It is recommended that you avoid using the “Enhanced” option since although it produces better results, doing so results in a substantial crop as well as a loss of resolution.

However, for the same amount of money, there is maybe a more suitable alternative: the Rebel T7i. The camera body does not obstruct the completely articulating screen’s ability to face forward, up, or down. Additionally, the camera retains the ability to utilize the front-facing screen even when an external microphone is connected. Keep in mind that in addition to that, it includes an optical viewfinder. The Rebel, which is better suited for novice users, has a larger footprint in addition to fewer control points than the other two models.

The M6 comes ahead once again when you want to shoot some stills after a long day of vlogging and have been using it for that purpose. However, the M6 is capable of shooting at up to seven frames per second with focusing, but the DSLR is limited to roughly 4.5 frames per second at its absolute maximum. Both cameras are able to focus quickly and effortlessly and can track subjects effectively in live view.

Unfortunately, following a burst, both cameras have a propensity to become unresponsive for the majority of the time that they are writing data to their memory cards, exposing their status as beginner-level devices.

Quality of the Image

The actual world is full of a wide variety of textures, colors, and sorts of details, which our test scene attempts to replicate. In addition to that, it features two modes of illumination, so you can witness the effect of various lighting circumstances.

The JPEGs produced by the camera are precisely what we have come to expect from Canon, which is to say that they have pleasing coloration but do not make the most of the capabilities of the camera.

At its default settings, the sharpening is rather blatant, putting an emphasis on edges at the expense of the most minute details (which leads us to believe that it was designed with printing in mind). Although the camera provides an exceptionally high level of control over the sharpness, there is no in-camera Raw conversion option, so you cannot quickly experiment with the several ways in which the sharpening might affect the image.

Noise reduction is also a little bit cumbersome, since it eliminates unwanted noise but at the expense of quite a lot of detail in the process. Having a look at the underlying Raw file reveals that the sensor performance is comparable, which means that there is potential for you to achieve superior results if you process your data on your own.

Raw Dynamic Range

In terms of the dynamic range, you can see that there is a very slight amount of noise in the very darkest areas of the image. This indicates that you do not have nearly as much processing latitude when shooting high contrast situations as you would with the very best of its APS-C competitors.

However, if you try to push files that were shot with the same exposure but different ISO settings up to the same brightness, you can observe that the camera adds so little noise that it is fully overcome by ISO 200 or such. This can be seen if you try to push the files to the same brightness.

Even if it’s not exactly cutting edge, this is still a really strong performance. We believe that the benefits of Dual Pixel AF in terms of AF are substantially more important than any modest sacrifices in terms of image quality.

Video

The majority of Canon stills cameras record 1080 film that is typical, somewhat grainy, and not extremely detailed. The EOS M6 shoots this same type of footage. It is obvious that this is not anywhere close to being as detailed as the 4K footage that the Panasonic GX85/80 is capable of shooting, but taking pictures of it is relatively simple because of the dependable tap-and-track Dual Pixel AF.

Autofocus

The 24-megapixel sensor included in the EOS M6 comes equipped with Canon’s Dual Pixel focusing technology, which performs exceptionally well. Because it has the same sensor and processor as the more expensive EOS M5, this camera is a great analog for evaluating the performance of this focusing technology.

Autofocus with face detection for both static and moving images
Check out the demonstration, but also take a look at the reel that can be found on the Video portion of our website. There, you’ll see even more evidence of how amazing Canon’s face identification can be.

When the camera loses focus on Dan’s face, the M5’s autofocus mechanism, which is identical to the one found in the M6, is sophisticated enough to continue following Dan’s head, which is precisely where Dan’s face was when the camera had a focus on it. It instantly understands that fact once his face is brought back into view, and then it goes on without stopping. It’s amazing to think about.

Canon EOS M6 Specifications

Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless
Body materialMetal
Sensor
Max resolution6000 x 4000
Other resolutions3:2 (6000 x 3368, 3984 x 2656, 2976 x 1984, 2400 x 1600), 16:9 (6000 x 3368, 3984 x 2240, 2976 x 1680, 2400 x 1344), 4:3 (5328 x 4000, 3552 x 2664, 2656 x 1992, 2112 x 1600), 1:1 (4000 x 4000, 2656 x 2656, 1984 x 1984, 1600 x 1600)
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels24 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors26 megapixels
Sensor sizeAPS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorDigic 7
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 100-25600
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Image stabilization notes5-axis for video only
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, standard
File formatJPEG (Exif v2.3)Raw (Canon CR2, 14-bit)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points49
Lens mountCanon EF-M
Focal length multiplier1.6×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3″
Screen dots1,040,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic (optional)
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modesProgramShutter priorityAperture priorityManual
Built-in flashYes
Flash range5.00 m (at ISO 100)
External flashYes
Flash X sync speed1/200 sec
Drive modesSingleContinuousSelf-timerRemote control
Continuous drive9.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 secs, custom, remote)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpotPartial
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV steps)
WB BracketingNo
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Modes1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 35 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 24 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 24 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1280 x 720 @ 60p / 16 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC card
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (micro-HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portNo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11/b/g/n with Bluetooth and NFC
Remote controlYes (Wired, wireless, or smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLP-E17 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)295
Weight (inc. batteries)390 g (0.86 lb / 13.76 oz)
Dimensions112 x 68 x 45 mm (4.41 x 2.68 x 1.77″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
GPSNone

Conclusion

In the event where portability is of the utmost importance, the M6 can serve as an effective backup or second body for an experienced Canon photographer. The settings and touchscreen interface are a delight to use, and much smaller EF (and -S) lenses couple up extremely nicely with the camera. It is the company’s smallest camera to utilize its newest 24MP APS-C sensor with Dual Pixel AF.

A combination of camera lock-up and live view delays in continuous shooting may be a bit off-putting for photographers who focus more on the action, but other than that, the M6 is an easy camera to recommend.

The EOS M6 shows to be pretty good when used in this sense, joining the ranks of other Canon cameras that are favored by vloggers due to their reliable face tracking and attractive (though not extremely detailed) output.

However, there are a few drawbacks, such as questionable ergo’vlog’ics, and there are a plethora of other mirrorless choices to think about that are capable of shooting 4K video. It is important to note, however, that none of them will be able to give the astonishingly dependable and user-friendly performance of continuous focusing that Dual Pixel AF does.

It is impossible to overlook direct rivals that typically cram in more features for comparable money or equivalent feature for less; the EOS M6 ends up being a “premium” choice for those who truly want it. This is especially true if you are not already invested in the Canon system.

If you don’t already have Canon lenses that you can adapt, several of these competitors also offer lens ranges that have been around longer and are more established. But in the end, if you do decide that you want the EOS M6, you will be quite delighted with it since it is a superb camera in many different ways. Despite this, the Canon EOS M6 does not receive our top awards because it does not have any of the more advanced capabilities, and it also has a premium pricing.

Pro & Cons

  • HTP and ALO are helpful in situations with great contrast.
  • An M5 without an integrated electronic viewfinder that is more compact, lighter, and more affordable.
  • When compared to the M3, the new 24-megapixel sensor delivers a significantly better dynamic range.
  • A respectable high ISO performance for its category.
  • Excellent color and hue accuracy
  • Processing of JPEG images using the default settings might be improved, especially at higher ISOs.
  • The dynamic range is still not as good as that of some of the camera’s APS-C competitors.
  • Tungsten illumination makes both the auto and incandescent white balance settings appear overly warm.
  • Even a competent autofocus system might have difficulty focusing in low light when using slower lenses.
  • Automatic white balance setting a little chilly during the day
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
The EOS M6 is an excellent camera that is suitable for both experienced users of Canon products and novice filmmakers. The focusing performance continues to be quite impressive, and despite the fact that many of the EOS M6's immediate competitors offer 4K video and some type of viewfinder, the EOS M6 is a very well-built camera that is capable of producing very high-quality photographs.

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Canon EOS M6 Review - Is it a masterpiece of the middle range?The EOS M6 is an excellent camera that is suitable for both experienced users of Canon products and novice filmmakers. The focusing performance continues to be quite impressive, and despite the fact that many of the EOS M6's immediate competitors offer 4K video and some type of viewfinder, the EOS M6 is a very well-built camera that is capable of producing very high-quality photographs.