Basic Specifications
Full model name: Canon EOS M6 Mark II
Resolution: 32.50 Megapixels
Sensor size: APS-C
(22.5mm x 15.0mm)
Kit Lens: 3.00x zoom
15-45mm
(24-72mm eq.)
Viewfinder: No / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 25,600
Extended ISO: 100 - 51,200
Shutter: 1/16000 - 30 sec
Max Aperture: 3.5 (kit lens)
Dimensions: 4.7 x 2.8 x 1.9 in.
(120 x 70 x 49 mm)
Weight: 19.0 oz (538 g)
includes batteries, kit lens
Availability: 09/2019
Manufacturer: Canon
Full specs: Canon EOS M6 Mark II specifications
32.50
Megapixels
Canon EF-M APS-C
size sensor
image of Canon EOS M6 Mark II
Front side of Canon EOS M6 Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon EOS M6 Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon EOS M6 Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon EOS M6 Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon EOS M6 Mark II digital camera

Canon M6 Mark II Review -- Now Shooting!

by Mike Tomkins
Posted: 08/28/2019

Updates:
08/28/2019: Initial Gallery images posted
09/06/2019: First Shots added
09/12/2019: Performance posted

10/02/2019: Field Test Part I posted
10/25/2019: Field Test Part II posted

For those looking for our Overview of the camera's features and specs, please click here. For a real-world test, read on!

 

• • •

Hands-On with the Canon 90D and M6 Mark II

• • •

 

Canon EOS M6 Mark II Field Test Part II

Rounding out the real-world testing with sports, low-light, video and more

By Mike Tomkins | Posted: 10/25/2019

40mm (64mm eq.), 1/60 sec. @ f/6.3, ISO 6400
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

A couple of weeks ago, I published my first field test for the Canon EOS M6 Mark II. (If you've not already read that earlier article, I highly recommend starting there for the full story.) In that first report, I shared an in-depth look at the M6 II's handling and ergonomics, the selection of lenses available for its EOS M mount, and some of the accessories which can be used to extend its capabilities.

I also reported on its image quality when shooting in the daytime, but with that first article already getting pretty lengthy I reserved some further testing -- most notably night shooting and video capture -- for a second field test. And now, it's here!

What's on tap for this second field test

As well as offering my verdict on low-light and video image quality in this followup, I also want to discuss the M6 II's updated face and eye-detection autofocus capabilities both for stills and video capture. But before any of that, I'd like to quickly revisit daytime shooting for a look at how Canon's latest EOS M-series mirrorless camera performs with more active subjects like sports.

This is something which we've already discussed previously in our hands-on preview video, courtesy of senior editor WIlliam Brawley's experiences shooting at Canon's launch event, which was held quite near Imaging Resource headquarters at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. (You'll find that video embedded near the top of the first field test.)

Time for some go-karts to give the new raw burst mode a workout

I wasn't present at that event, though, and so I sought out a sports subject of my own from which to form my own opinions, particularly for the new (and incredibly speedy) 30 frames per second raw burst mode which is making its debut in the EOS interchangeable-lens camera lineup with this model. And so it was that I found myself back at Xtreme Racing Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, home to the fastest go-karts I've yet found in my area, and a reasonably sports subject I've shot a fair few times over the years with a variety of cameras.

200mm (320mm eq.), 1/320 sec. @ f/7.1, ISO 320
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

Third-party software doesn't yet understand Canon's raw roll files

As its name would suggest, raw burst mode captures images only in a raw roll format with a .CR3 suffix, with a CSI instead of IMG file prefix indicating that it's not a standard raw file. Creation of JPEGs or individual raw files comes after the fact, either in-camera or in Canon's Digital Photo Professional software package on Windows or MacOS. (I used Windows, but the Mac version functions similarly.)

200mm (320mm eq.), 1/320 sec. @ f/7.1, ISO 320
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

As of this writing, that's a significant limiting factor. Third-party software including as Adobe's Camera Raw plug-in for Photoshop, as well as Adobe Bridge, Photoshop Lightroom and DxO PhotoLab, all can't recognize and open these special raws directly. If you favor one of these third-party apps for your editing, you'll need to first extract raw or JPEG frames in-camera or with DPP, before switching to your app of choice.

Raw burst mode reduces resolution significantly, yet has spectacular file sizes

Raw burst mode comes with a 2.1x overall focal length crop which both limits wide-angle possibilities, and also reduces resolution to just 17.9 megapixels, significantly less than the EOS M6 II's full-sensor 32.5-megapixel resolution. Yet these multi-frame raw roll files can nevertheless be absolutely huge, sometimes clocking in at more than 900 megabytes per file in my own testing, because they can contain as many as ~70 frames in a single file.

Single frame from raw burst roll; JPEG and raw extracted in-camera, JPEG then renamed to match raw
200mm (320mm eq.), 1/320 sec. @ f/7.1, ISO 200
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

That file size can vary wildly, though, for several reasons. Firstly, if you let off the shutter button early, fewer frames are captured and so the file size can potentially be significantly smaller, so long as you time your bursts carefully and keep them brief. Secondly, if you continue to hold the shutter button down after a burst completes, another burst will start as soon as the camera is able.

It takes just a fraction of a second for that to happen with a sufficiently fast flash card, but with a fast-moving subject captured at around 30 fps, even that fraction of a second means a sizeable gap mid-burst, so you need to be careful to avoid running out of buffer at a critical moment. And these subsequent bursts can then vary wildly in length from as many as ~20 to as few as just six or seven frames in each file. (All of these figures, incidentally, are based on my own real-world experience with a 64GB Sony SF-G series UHS-II memory card boasting a swift write speed of 299MB/s.)

A 71-frame animation created from 100% crop of raw burst at racer's helmet, replayed at 50% of real-time speed.

Third-party software doesn't yet understand Canon's raw roll files

Rather than fiddle with extract single raw or JPEG files in-camera, I decided to stick mostly with Canon's Digital Photo Professional software, hoping for an easier experience as I prefer to do most of my image selection and editing in the aforementioned third-party apps. I nabbed a copy from Canon's website -- it's free of charge after you provide your camera's serial number which is hidden on the rear of the tilting LCD panel -- and installed it on my 2018-model year Dell XPS 15 9570 laptop.

Digital Photo Professional's installer doesn't play very nicely on 4K screens like that of my machine, with the smallest fonts being as little as just 1mm (0.04 inches) tall, but thankfully I could still navigate the installation process, as the buttons needed to do so were a bit more generous at 4mm (a bit less than 0.2 inches) tall. And once installed, the app itself seemed to work fine on high DPI screens like mine.

200mm (320mm eq.), 1/400 sec. @ f/6.3, ISO 2000
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

Extraction of individual frames en masse is unnecessarily painful

Once DPP is installed, you can then extract individual raw frames, or choose to extract multiple frames in one go. But annoyingly, the latter option requires that you select contiguous frames -- that is to say that you can't, for example, select the fifth, seventh and 12th thru 16th frames in a burst, and then extract them all in one go. And even more frustrating is the fact that you can't simply convert all frames -- or even just a contiguous range of them -- to standard raw files in a single operation. Instead, any range you select will just be exported as another multi-frame raw file that still can't be understood by popular third-party applications.

85mm (136mm eq.), 1/160 sec. @ f/5.6, ISO 500
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

Hopefully third parties will integrate support for raw burst mode in the future and solve this problem, but Canon itself could also make things much simpler by providing a tool with which to convert a range of frames to standard raw files all with a single button-press. As is, you have to export, name and save every single frame you want to set free from its raw roll file individually. (And even on a reasonably swift, modern processor, just browsing the frames takes a fair while, with each taking a couple of seconds to render a full-resolution 1:1 preview.)

If you can live with its drawbacks, raw burst mode is a very useful tool

With all of that said, while it's a bit of a pain to use, burns through flash cards like there's no tomorrow, isn't useful for wide-angle shooting and has much lower resolution than the camera itself is capable of, the raw burst mode can still feel like something of a revelation. That level of performance in a camera so relatively compact as the M6 II is just spectacular, especially because the AF system is fast enough to really take advantage of that speed.

200mm (320mm eq.), 1/400 sec. @ f/6.3, ISO 2000
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

I found myself both surprised and impressed by what a good job the M6 II's autofocus system did of tracking the go karts as they raced towards me down Xtreme Racing's back straight. (I've previously estimated the karts at this particular circuit to have a top speed of around 25 miles per hour -- well down from their claimed 40 mph, but nevertheless the fastest karts I've found in my area, and plenty fast enough to provide a good challenge when headed directly towards the camera.)

45mm (72mm eq.), 1/100 sec. @ f/6.3, ISO 1000
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

Burst after burst, the M6 II nailed the focus the overwhelming majority of the time. I have bursts as long as 70+ frames where the focus remains locked on the driver's helmet down almost the entire length of the back straight, with the kart literally filling the entire frame by the end of the sequence. Only a handful of those frames aren't spot on, focus-wise, and even when it did stray the AF system always corrected itself within just two or three frames, keeping losses to a minimum. (Extracting 71 raw frames in DPP so I could create the animation further up the page in Photoshop, however, did leave me feeling somewhat murderous.)

Rolling shutter is there, but its effect is fairly well-controlled

Since it relies on an electronic shutter, I did find that the raw burst mode was prone to rolling shutter effect, which can cause vertical subjects to appear as if slightly tilted to one side. I felt the effect was fairly well-controlled, though, and unlikely to be a big issue unless you're shooting very fast-moving subjects crossing the frame laterally. (And even then, depending upon the subject you're panning to follow, it may well not prove much of an issue.)

Since the file sizes are spectacular and you can't really open them with anything except Canon's own software, I'm not making a full raw burst roll file downloadable in this review. Instead, I've extracted both a raw and JPEG frame from a raw burst in-camera, and have linked them from the shot of the kart racer looking over his shoulder above, so you can get an idea of the results. (Since two operations were required to extract the images, the camera gave different names to both files, beyond just their difference in extension. I've renamed the JPEG to match the raw, just so that our image-handling system here at IR recognizes them as the same shot, and keeps them together in the gallery.)

20mm (32mm eq.), 1/60 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 4000
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

I've also included a couple of full-resolution standard raw+JPEG pairs as well. As you'd expect, given that it can keep up with the much faster raw burst mode pretty well, the M6 II's AF system had no issues doing the same in standard shooting at its still-swift 14 fps burst rate. Both of the images I chose are from towards the end of a burst which had started at the other end of the straight, with the camera tracking and updating focus throughout the burst just fine.

Face and eye-detection are fast, accurate and easy to use

I also tested out the M6 II's updated face detection, which now sports eye-detection capabilities, both for static shots and tracking my son running around or even directly towards the camera, and found it did a good job of detecting and tracking faces, even when they were extremely out of focus to begin with.

24mm (38mm eq.), 1/85 sec. @ f/4.5, ISO 10,000
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

The detected face is framed by a white box, while a smaller white box frames the selected eye. If you'd prefer the other eye to be focused on instead, it's as simple as just tapping on it on the touch screen. (Or if you're not a fan of the touch screen, you can instead press the AF point selection button, and then tap the left or right arrow to achieve the same thing.)

Unfortunately, I didn't have access to a really wide-aperture lens during my review to make the most of this and really test the accuracy of the eye-detection. As of right now, there are only two EF-M mount optics with an aperture wider than f/3.5, the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM (35mm equivalent) and EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM (51mm equivalent). The latter will obviously be your better option for individual portraits, with both a larger aperture and a more flattering focal length, although the 22mm f/2 should still give nice results if you don't frame too tightly on a single person.

45mm (72mm eq.), 1/85 sec. @ f/6.3, ISO 8000
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

Based on the accuracy of the face and eye-detection and the AF system in other respects, though, I don't doubt that the M6 II will do just fine for portraiture, with a suitable lens attached.

Very usable image quality all the way to ISO 6400, or even 12,800 in a pinch

And with all of that out of the way, it's time to turn my attention to some night shooting. I shot with the Canon M6 II on a few different nights, both in nearby downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, and in the tourist resort town of Gatlinburg, in the Great Smoky Mountains, with my exposures spanning the entire sensitivity range.

As I mentioned in my first field test, I'd already shot at sensitivities as high as ISO 3200-equivalent, and did note the first signs of noise reduction starting to appear in real-world images by that point. I have to say, though, that I thought everything up to ISO 6400 was very usable, and would be happy enough with ISO 12,800 in a pinch, too.

White balance and autofocus systems all performed just fine in low light as well, although I did think there was still a slight tendency towards overexposure from the metering system. (But honestly, that's probably good news, because it means the behavior is similar to that in daytime shooting, making it easily resolved with just a slight 1/3EV touch of exposure compensation left dialed in, since you can't fine-tune the metering system instead.)

I'd personally try to avoid using ISO 25,600 or the extended ISO 51,200 setting unless there's no other option, though, as the shadows get rather muddy, the finer details are lost to both noise and the effects of noise reduction, and color gets more muted, as well. Although with that said, I thought color held up pretty well across the whole standard range, with only a modest decrease in saturation at the very highest sensitivity.

37mm (59mm eq.), 1/60 sec. @ f/5.6, ISO 16,000
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

Even ISO 25,600 will likely be quite useful once DxO PhotoLab support arrives

And also, I have a feeling that once the M6 II is supported by DxO Labs' excellent PhotoLab application, its PRIME denoising engine will make even ISO 25,600 exposures fairly usable, too. Sadly, I can't yet test this, as DxO hasn't released raw support for this camera, given that it only started shipping about a month ago.

The PRIME engine typically outperforms anything else I've found in terms of noise reduction, though, simply by throwing a significant amount of desktop / laptop CPU power at the problem. It can take a bit of time to process each individual frame in this manner, but the results at high ISO often make doing so very worthwhile indeed.

19mm (30mm eq.), 1/60 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 20,000
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

Support for the M6 II is currently slated for December 2019 in the planned version 3.1.0, which sadly is around the same time as this site is currently slated to stop producing new content. If we're still live when the update is released, though, I'll try to drop back and update this review with an example shot or two processed with PhotoLab at the M6 II's highest sensitivities.

Be sure to check the gallery for more high ISO (and other) M6 II sample photos

In the meantime, you can see some of my high ISO results throughout this field test, and for even more spanning the entire sensitivity range, be sure to check the gallery. (You'll also find raw files to accompany just about every one of my shots, other than a multi-shot HDR exposure for which there's obviously not a raw equivalent since the M6 II can only save HDRs in JPEG format.)

And that just leaves video to discuss. I've included samples below of both ultra high-def 4K video shot at the sole capture rate of 29.97 frames per second, and high-def Full HD footage at the higher rate of 59.94 frames per second, with each shot from the same position. And the great news here is that even for 4K footage, the Canon M6 II can record with its full sensor width, so there's no penalty in terms of focal length for shooting ultra-high def video.

Download Original
3,840 x 2,160 pixels @ 29.970 frames per second

Download Original
1,920 x 1,080 pixels @ 59.940 frames per second

Download Original
1,920 x 1,080 pixels @ 29.970 frames per second, 119.9 fps record rate, 4x slow-motion effect

Download Original
3,840 x 2,160 pixels @ 29.970 frames per second

Download Original
1,920 x 1,080 pixels @ 59.940 frames per second

(I say "can" because a focal length crop is still possible, but only if you enable the optional digital image stabilization, which necessarily involves a focal length crop to give some latitude to move the active "window" around the image sensor and counter the effects of camera shake -- but if your attached lens supports image stabilization that's going to yield better results anyway, so I recommend leaving digital IS disabled.

The other piece of good news is that 4K footage also allows use of Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF autofocus system, as well as the face / eye-detection tech we've previously discussed. What this means is that similarly accurate autofocus is available for movie capture as for stills, even when shooting ultra high-def content.

23mm (37mm eq.), 1/85 sec. @ f/4.0, ISO 12,800
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

As well as these clips, I've also included one more shot with the Canon M6 II's high frame-rate mode. Here, there's only one resolution and frame-rate option. Your content is recorded at Full HD resolution at a capture rate of 119.9 frames per second, and then plays back at 29.97 frames per second for a 4x slow-motion effect.

4K video image quality is great, and Full HD is pretty good too, all things considered. I did notice some moiré / false color artifacts in the Full HD video, though. (It's most noticeable in the drain cover in the foreground of the go-kart videos, but can be seen elsewhere a bit too.)

45mm (72mm eq.), 1/60 sec. @ f/6.3, ISO 25,600
Click thumbnail for JPEG, or here for raw file

And that brings me to the end of this field test. Watch this space for more as we work to complete our review in the coming weeks!

 

Canon EOS M6 II Review -- Overview

by Mike Tomkins
Preview posted: 08/28/2019

Seven years ago, Canon launched the EOS M, its first entry in the mirrorless camera market. Although it was small, sleek and offered great image quality, that initial model suffered from slow burst shooting and weak autofocus. The situation improved in the subsequent EOS M2 and M3 models, though, and things got even better with the arrival of the M5 and M6 over the next couple of years.

And now, the Canon EOS M6 Mark II is here to take things to the next level. Its performance promises to blow away even enthusiast-grade DSLR cameras like the EOS 90D, with which the M6 II shares its image sensor and processor, while providing a big savings in weight and bulk. The M6 II is, according to its maker, a followup to both the M5 and M6, although its clearly the latter camera which is the more closely-related to this new model.

Before we go any further, let's take a quick moment to compare the Canon M6 II to both of its nearest predecessors, as well as to the DSLR which shares its imaging pipeline.

Canon EOS M6 II vs EOS M6

Compared to its immediate predecessor, the EOS M6 II has grown just a little bit in both size and weight. For that increase, though, it's added both a configurable rear dial and a new focus mode switch, although it's also dropped the earlier model's infrared remote receiver from the spec sheet. The M6 II has significantly higher resolution than the M6, and is also much faster -- and that's even before you enable the new model's 30 frames-per-second raw burst mode. And the M6 gains more sophisticated autofocus with face tracking, eye detection, focus bracketing and much better low-light AF performance.

There's also new support for 4K, high frame-rate and high dynamic range video capture, a 1/16,000 electronic shutter and an expanded sensitivity limit of ISO 51,200. And Canon has also switched to more modern CR3 and C-Raw file formats, as well as USB-C connectivity with support for in-camera charging. Battery life is slightly better when shooting with the LCD monitor, but significantly lower than the M6 if you use their optionally-available electronic viewfinder accessories.

Canon EOS M6 II vs EOS M5

Compared to the M5, the Canon M6 II is both smaller and lighter, but that's no surprise as it lacks a built-in electronic viewfinder, and also uses a smaller and lower-resolution LCD monitor. It does, however, switch to a more sensible articulation mechanism for the display, which allows selfie shooting even when tripod-mounted or with the camera placed on a convenient flat surface.

As with the M6 comparison above, resolution, performance and autofocus are much better than those of the M5. The M6 II also bests the previous EOS M flagship with the same movie, electronic shutter, storage and connectivity improvements we mentioned previously. And as with the M6, the M5 will also best the M6 II significantly if shooting through the viewfinder, but will trail it just slightly if shooting on the LCD monitor.

Canon EOS M6 II vs EOS 90D

Compared to the EOS 90D with which it shares its imaging pipeline, the EOS M6 II is much smaller and lighter, but has fewer physical controls and no optical viewfinder. (You can mount an external electronic viewfinder accessory, though.) The M6 II's LCD articulation mechanism is less versatile than the tilt/swivel LCD of the 90D, and it will need an adapter to mount EF or EF-S lenses which could be mounted natively on its DSLR sibling. (But at the same time, the 90D can't shoot with EF-M lenses designed for mirrorless models like the M6 II.)

When it comes to burst-shooting performance, the Canon M6 II should outperform the 90D handily, but if you add autofocus tracking into the equation, Canon still predicts a slight edge for its DSLR model. (So depending on your subjects and focusing setup, that performance gap may well be narrower than the spec sheets might suggest.) And of course, the 90D's battery life is much better when using the optical viewfinder, and unlike the M6 II, the 90D supports an optional battery grip yielding even greater battery life.

A brand-new body with added and more customizable controls

But enough of the comparisons, what's new in the EOS M6 Mark II? Relative to the M6, the new model is about a third of an inch wider and a couple of tenths deeper than before, and weighs about a half-ounce more as well. The difference is enough to notice, certainly, but it's far from night and day.

As we mentioned in the comparison with the M6 previously, there's no longer a remote control sensor located in the handgrip, so you'll need to instead rely on Wi-Fi / Bluetooth remote control from your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet, or the new Bluetooth-equipped BR-E1 wireless remote (the wired RS-60E3 remote switch is still supported). Another change which is even more immediately obvious is that Canon has reworked the top-deck control dials so that they're the same height, giving the M6 II a somewhat sleeker look than its predecessor. And one of these two dials, previously dedicated solely to exposure compensation, is now configurable courtesy of a centrally-positioned dial function button.

On the rear deck, there's a new focus mode switch and button combo, and Canon has also tweaked the options available in record mode through the four-way controller pad. Since focus options now have their own dedicated control, the left arrow button can now be used to access drive modes instead of manual focus. And the up arrow can now be used to access exposure compensation instead of ISO sensitivity.

Other than these changes, the EOS M6 Mark II looks very similar indeed to its predecessor, with basically the same control layout as in the earlier model.

The new imaging pipeline offers much higher resolution

On the inside, though, things are very different indeed. There's a brand-new 32.5-megapixel, APS-C CMOS sensor with a total pixel count of 34.4 megapixels and a 3:2 aspect ratio. Each pixel on the sensor has dimensions of 3.2 x 3.2μm, giving them about one-quarter less surface area than the 3.72μm photodiodes of the M6's sensor. A self-cleaning system is included, and the camera can also record dust delete data which can be used to automatically fix dust specks in your images using Canon's provided software.

Output from the image sensor is fed to a DIGIC 8 image processor, a generation newer than the DIGIC 7 CPUs in the 24.2-megapixel EOS M5 and M6.

You can now extend the default sensitivity range

Despite the significant increase in sensor resolution (and the attendant decrease in pixel size), the standard sensitivity range offered by the Canon M6 II is unchanged from those of the M5 and M6. By default, everything from ISO 100 to 25,600-equivalents is available. However, you can extend the upper limit to ISO 51,200-equivalent, which you couldn't do on the earlier cameras.

Even better performance than an enthusiast-grade EOS 90D DSLR!

The performance gains unlocked in the DIGIC 8 image processor allow for some pretty spectacular performance in the EOS M6 II. Where the previous models were limited to seven frames per second with AF adjustments between frames, or 9 fps if AF was locked from the first frame, the M6 II doubles this with a manufacturer-claimed speed of 14 fps regardless of whether or not continuous autofocus is enabled. Claimed buffer depths are fairly healthy, too, at 23 raw, 36 C-Raw or 54 JPEG frames in a burst.

And as if that wasn't already plenty of speed, there's also a 30 frames-per-second raw burst mode that captures a reduced-resolution 17.9-megapixel image cropped from the center of the sensor, and pre-buffers 15 frames. (We've seen high-speed raw modes like this before in smaller-sensored PowerShot cameras, but this is an APS-C / EOS first.) This allows you to reach back in time up to half a second before you pressed the shutter button if your reflexes were too slow, potentially saving the day, and does so with the flexibility of a raw format as well.

The spectacularly-fast raw burst mode comes with a crop, but that's not a big deal

The downside is that there's another 1.3x focal length crop on top of the existing 1.6x crop that comes when shooting with an APS-C sensor-based camera from Canon. That takes you up to about a 2.1x crop overall, limiting your wide-angle possibilities. Even if you opted for the wider of the two kit lenses, for example, the 15mm focal length of the 15-45mm f3.5-6.3 IS STM lens would effectively become a 32mm wide-angle when shooting in raw burst mode.

But it's likely that this isn't a big deal, because the kinds of subjects most conducive to these shutter speeds -- sports, birds and the like -- are more likely to be shot at telephoto anyway, in which case the crop isn't such a big deal. After all, the telephoto position of the other kit lens, the EF-M 18-150mm f3.5-6.3 IS STM, effectively becomes about 315mm tele if you can live with the reduced resolution of raw burst mode.

The same lens mount as past Canon EOS M-series mirrorless cameras

Up front, the Canon M6 Mark II sports the same EF-M lens mount as its EOS M-series predecessors. As of this writing (August 2019), there are eight EF-M lenses to choose from, including five zoom lenses that together cover everything from 11-200mm, as well as 22mm, 28mm and 32mm prime lenses. Although that's not a huge selection, it does cover everything from about 18-320mm between the zooms, and gives you 35, 45 and 51mm-equivalent primes as well. And you can also mount Canon's vast selection of EF and EF-S lenses using the optional Mount Adapter EF-EOS M, which lists for about US$200.

A major upgrade in the autofocus department

The autofocus system in the EOS M6 II is still based on Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, which splits every pixel on the sensor into two distinct halves. These can be read together as a single pixel when recording images, but can be read separately to allow for phase detection as well, effectively turning the entire sensor surface into a phase-detection AF sensor.

Although the basic technology is the same, the way in which the system operates has been upgraded considerably. Firstly, the system now has 143 autofocus points by default, up from just 49 in the previous-generation cameras. You can also manually select one of 5,481 different AF point locations to put focus just where you want it. And the M6 II is also capable of tracking human faces and locating their eyes, then focusing precisely on that point, even during 4K movie capture.

The system now has an expanded working range, too, able to function all the way from -5 EV to 18EV (at 23°C, ISO 100, with EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM). The low-light limit was just -1 EV previously, so this is a pretty significant improvement, although do note that it's measured only for the centermost AF point and applies only to still imaging. For all but 4K movies, the lower limit is -3EV, and during 4K movie capture the limit is EV -2.5.

A few other things to note on the AF front: Smooth zone AF has been replaced by Zone AF, and there's a new Spot AF mode too. There's also a new focus bracketing function, and when using the EVF-DC2 viewfinder accessory, you can also use the LCD monitor as a touchpad for focus point adjustment while looking through the viewfinder.

There's still an AF+MF mode and one last addition will prove popular with movie shooters. You can now adjust servo AF speed and tracking sensitivity during movie capture, with 10-step speed control and seven-step tracking sensitivity control.

Same LCD and viewfinder accessories as before, but the EVF can be bundled

Canon offers a choice of not just one but two electronic viewfinder accessories for the EOS M6 II. Both viewfinders have the same 2.36 million dot resolution, 22mm eyepoint, -3 to +1m-1 dioptric adjustment and manufacturer-rated 100% coverage. Both with-lens kit versions of the EOS M6 II include the more affordable of the two EVF accessories in the product bundle.

The EVF-DC1 is the more expensive version at $300 list, is based around a larger 0.48-inch type LCD panel, and weighs 43 grams. It also has a 90-degree vertical tilt option, and has a tiny, fiddly dioptric adjustment dial tucked beneath the eyepiece. The EVF-DC2 is more affordable at $200 list, is based around a smaller 0.39-inch Organic LED panel, weighs about 29 grams, cannot be tilted and has a larger, much easier-to-adjust dioptric adjustment ring around the eyepiece.

Of course, most M6 II owners are likely to forgo a viewfinder altogether, and just frame on the main LCD at arm's length. Here, the LCD monitor looks to be completely unchanged. It's still based around a three-inch touch panel, and still has a vertical tilt-only articulation mechanism which allows it to be flipped upwards 180 degrees for selfie viewing (unless anything is mounted in the hot shoe, anyway), or downwards 45 degrees for shooting over your head. The only small change we could find in the LCD department is that there are now seven steps of manual brightness adjustment, versus five steps in the previous generation.

Some interesting additions on the creative front

The EOS M6 Mark II still offers mechanical shutter speeds ranging from 1/4,000 to 30 seconds, but can now shoot as fast as 1/16,000 second using an electronic shutter. Exposures are measured with a 384-zone evaluative metering system which also offers 4.5% partial, 2.6% spot and center-weighted evaluative metering modes. The metering system will now function in somewhat darker conditions though, with a working range of EV -2 to 20.

Some other changes of note are a new Flexible-priority AE exposure mode, the addition of interval and bulb timer functions, a choice of ambient-priority or white-priority for the auto white balance mode, a white-balance bracketing function, and new panning and continuous self-timer drive modes. There's still a built-in, manually-raised flash strobe, but it now has a slightly weaker guide number of 4.6 meters, down from 5 meters in the previous-generation cameras.

Ultra high-def with no crop, plus HDR and HFR video, but no 24p is a shame

The Canon M6 Mark II has gained both ultra high-definition 4Kp30 video capture without a sensor-width crop, as well as the ability to film in HDR and in Full HD at a high 120 frames-per-second capture rate, for up to a 5x slow-motion playback. It also retains the 1080p60, 1080p30 and 720p60 modes of its predecessors, but drops the cinematic 24 frames-per-second capture rate altogether, along with standard-definition VGA capture. Recording time is normally limited to 29:59 per clip but capped at 7:29 for high frame-rate clips.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless communication, just as before

Just as in its predecessors, the M6 Mark II includes both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios, allowing it to be controlled remotely or images transferred to an Android or iOS smartphone with a minimum of fuss, though NFC support has been dropped. Once the Bluetooth radio is paired, though, it can automatically raise and lower the Wi-Fi connection for you as needed to gain high-speed transfer or save power. You can also trigger the shutter by Bluetooth using the optional BR-E1 wireless remote, and can tag your images with the capture location by piggybacking off your phone's GPS receiver.

More modern storage, connectivity and file formats

Canon has also made some very worthwhile changes in the storage department. First, the EOS M6 II can now take advantage of the greater performance of UHS-II Secure Digital cards. It also boasts the newer Canon .CR3 raw file format instead of the older .CR2, and adds a lossily-compressed C-Raw file format which offers almost indistinguishable differences in image quality and the greater versatility of a raw file format, while significantly reducing the file sizes.

There's also a new USB-C terminal in place of the previous Micro-B USB terminal, meaning that you'll no longer need to check which way around the cable is before inserting it. It's still High-speed USB 2.0 (480 Mbps), but one piece of good news is that in-camera charging is now supported. A 3.5mm external microphone jack and a 2.5mm remote switch jack are still provided, but sadly there's still no headphone jack. The Type-D Micro HDMI port remains, but it can now output clean 4K or Full HD video for external recording

If you shoot predominantly with the LCD monitor, another piece of good news is that battery life has climbed by ten shots since the EOS M6, with the M6 Mark II said to be capable of 305 shots on a charge to CIPA testing conditions using the same LP-E17 battery pack. However, if you want to use the EVF accessories you'll need to carry extra batteries, as the battery life when using an EVF has plunged from 290 frames on the M6 to just 250 frames with the M6 II.

Canon M6 Mark II price and availability

Available from late September 2019 in black or silver, the Canon EOS M6 II will list for about US$850 body only, US$1,100 with EF-M 15-45mm f3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens and EVF-DC2 viewfinder accessory, and US$1350 with EF-M 18-150mm f3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens and EVF-DC2 viewfinder accessory.

 

Canon EOS M6 Mark II Field Test Part I

A real-world test for the M-mount speed demon!

by Mike Tomkins |

It's been a little over seven years now since Canon first launched its EOS M mirrorless camera line with a camera of the same name. And although I've handled and shot with several models in the series, I've never field tested one -- until now, that is. But boy, did I ever luck out with my first EOS M-series review, with the recently-launched Canon EOS M6 Mark II.

Announced just barely a month ago as I write this, the Canon M6 II looks to be a solid answer to the performance concerns of some earlier models. In fact, not only does Canon look to answer critics of its earlier mirrorless offerings with the burst capture speed and autofocus performance of the M6 II, it's actually looking to best even enthusiast-grade DSLRs like its own EOS 90D, with which this interesting little camera shares its imaging pipeline.

Plenty of performance for sports and wildlife shooters, as we showed you recently
With an impressive 14 full-resolution frames per second burst capture with or without autofocus adjustment between frames, there's no question that the EOS M6 Mark II is a swift camera. (And even more so if you enable its 30 frames per second raw capture mode, which can even pre-buffer a half-second's worth of shots to reach back in time to a little before you pressed the shutter, if your reflexes aren't as fast as you'd like.)

 

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