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

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.

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

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.

Just want to see what the M6 II can do? See our initial sample gallery images by clicking here. Otherwise, read on for our hands-on video and in-depth preview of the Canon M6 II below!

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.

 

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