Canon EOS M6 Review
|Full model name:||Canon EOS M6|
(22.3mm x 14.9mm)
|Viewfinder:||No / LCD|
|Native ISO:||100 - 25,600|
|Extended ISO:||100 - 25,600|
|Shutter:||1/4000 - 30 seconds|
|Max Aperture:||3.5 (kit lens)|
4.4 x 2.7 x 1.8 in.
(112 x 68 x 45 mm)
includes batteries, kit lens
|Full specs:||Canon EOS M6 specifications|
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EOS M6 Summary
The 24-megapixel APS-C image sensor and DIGIC 7 image processor help deliver good image quality and impressive overall performance, but the Canon EOS M6 has to separate itself from not only its EOS M5 sibling but very good mirrorless cameras from numerous other manufacturers. In terms of blending performance and portability, the EOS M6 does well thanks to its great performance and functionality, but it comes up a little short in a few key areas. Nonetheless, it is an impressive mirrorless camera which can be a great choice for many, especially those already invested in Canon's EOS ecosystem.Pros
Enthusiast-oriented compact camera body; Good image quality in most situations; Impressive Dual Pixel CMOS AF; Very good overall performance.Cons
Dynamic range and high ISO image quality aren't quite up to par with some of its competition; No 4K video recording; Video features in general are underwhelming; Native EF-M lens selection is limited.Price and availability
Available since April 2017, the Canon EOS M6 can be purchased for under US$780 for the body only and is available in two kits: The first kit comes with an EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens and retails for just under US$900. A second kit comes with an EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens and this kit costs about US$1,100. The Canon EOS M6 is available in two colors: black or silver.Imaging Resource rating
4.5 out of 5.0
Canon M6 Review
by Jeremy Gray
Preview posted: 02/14/2017
Last updated: 07/18/2017
Following up on their enthusiast-oriented mirrorless camera, the EOS M5, Canon's similar and slightly more affordable mirrorless camera, the Canon EOS M6, is actually the successor to the M3. In many ways, the M6 and M5 cameras are the most alike, especially on the inside, but they do differ in several ways. Let’s take a look at what the Canon M6 has to offer.
Smaller than the M5 but no built-in electronic viewfinder
One of the biggest differences between the M5 and the M6 is that the latter does not have a built-in electronic viewfinder. The M5 was the first Canon mirrorless camera to offer a built-in EVF, but the M6 returns to the series' roots and opts to go without one. Although, like some prior M cameras, you can attach an optional electronic viewfinder accessory to the camera's hot shoe. The M6 is compatible with the Canon EVF-DC1 electronic viewfinder as well as the new EVF-DC2 which uses an OLED display instead of an LCD with the same number of dots (2.36 million), however it does not tilt like the EVF-DC1.
There are a handful of other differences between the M6 camera body and the M5. The Canon M6 employs a 3-inch LCD display rather than the 3.2-inch LCD found on the M5, although they are both tilting touchscreen displays. The tilting display on the M6 can tilt 180° up and 45° down, though the bottom of the screen is partially blocked by the top deck when facing forward. The EOS M6 display has a lower resolution as well, offering 1,040,000 dots versus the 1,620,000 dots found on the M5's slightly larger display. Further, when looking at the top of the camera, the M5 has a dedicated mode dial on the left whereas the M6 moves it to the right side of the camera next to the exposure compensation dial. The Canon M6 still has a dedicated dial like the M5 does, although on the M6 it is located underneath the exposure compensation dial. On the back of the camera, the button layout is identical for the two cameras.
Besides these few differences, the cameras look very similar; both cameras share similar styling and an enthusiast-oriented control layout. When it comes to dimensions, the M6 is 4.4 x 2.7 x 1.8 inches (112.0 x 68.0 x 44.5 millimeters) and it weighs 13.8 ounces (390 grams) with a battery and memory card. The M6 then is smaller than the M5 in each dimension, especially in terms of height thanks to the lack of built-in EVF.
Canon M6 shooting features
The Canon M6 pairs a 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor which has a 1.6x focal length multiplier (like all APS-C sensors found in Canon cameras) with a DIGIC 7 processor, both of which is shares with the M5. The Canon EOS M6 offers a native ISO range of 100-25,600 and includes an Auto ISO feature (the ISO range in Auto ISO is 100-6400).
On the autofocus side of things, the M6 employs Canon's hybrid Dual Pixel CMOS AF system, which we have been pleased with when we have tested other cameras using it such as the Canon 80D and the Canon M5. The autofocus system offers 49 user-controllable autofocus points and numerous autofocus area modes, such as Face + Tracking AF, Smooth Zone AF and 1-point AF. The autofocus system is rated to operate from -1 to 18 EV.
Metering is performed by a 384-zone evaluative metering system and the M6 has evaluative, partial, spot and center-weighted evaluative metering modes. The metering range is 1-20 EV. The camera offers +/- 3 EV of exposure compensation via the dedicated dial on the top of the camera.
Shooting modes include the standard program auto, aperture priority, shutter speed priority and full manual modes in addition to more creative modes that include Creative Filter modes and Scene modes, both of which have dedicated positions on the mode dial. The Scene modes include: Close-up, Sports, Food, Panning, Handheld Night Scene, HDR Backlight, Self Portrait, Portrait and Landscape. The available Creative Filters are: Grainy Black and White, Soft Focus, Fish Eye, Art Bold, Water Painting, Toy Camera, Miniature effect and HDR High Dynamic Range The Canon M6 also has a dedicated movie mode and an automatic shooting mode. For users who enjoy custom shooting modes, the M6 has a pair of those as well. Speaking of customized functions, the camera has five functional dials on its body.
The shutter speed ranges from 30 seconds to 1/4,000s. When shooting at slower speeds, the camera helps you capture sharp images with its hybrid 5-axis image stabilization system, which combines digital image stabilization with in-lens optical image stabilization when a compatible EF-M lens is attached. As a note, the M6 is fully compatible with the Canon EF-M lens adapter kit for Canon EF/EF-S lenses, which is available for just under US$200.
Thanks to its DIGIC 7 processor, the Canon M6 is a speedy camera. The M6 mirrorless camera offers continuous shooting speeds up to just over 9 frames per second with autofocus locked at the first frame. At these speeds, the camera can record 27 JPEG frames or 17 RAW frames. If you want servo autofocus, the speeds drop down to 7 fps, but the slower speed means a larger buffer. The Canon M6 is rated for 31 JPEG frames at 7 fps, although RAW buffer depth information is not available. It is worth noting that at a slower 4 fps speed, the Canon EOS M6 has a RAW buffer depth of 30 images. Unsurprisingly, considering the M6 uses the same image sensor and processor pairing as the M5, its continuous shooting speeds are practically identical. See our Performance page for details.
For low light shooting or for adding fill-flash, the M6 has a built-in pop-up flash. The flash has a guide number of 5 (ISO 100/m) and the camera has a max flash sync of 1/200s. If you want to utilize a Speedlite, the M6 also has a hot shoe.
Video features are similar between the M6 and other recent non-professional Canon cameras. The Canon M6 does not offer 4K UHD video recording but instead tops out at 1920 x 1080 resolution. The camera can record Full HD video at up to 60 frames per second and a maximum bitrate of 35 Mbps. The M6 has a maximum recordable clip length of 29 minutes and 59 seconds. Clips are recorded in MP4 files with H.264 codec and audio is stereo MPEG-4 AAC-LC. The camera does not have a headphone jack, but it does have an external mic jack.
With built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC, the Canon M6 has extensive wireless capabilities. It can communicate with the Canon Camera Connect application on compatible smart devices, offering image transferring and remote control capabilities. Like the M5, the Canon M6 can also send images to another Wi-Fi compatible Canon camera and connect to your smartphone via an always-on Bluetooth connection. Additionally, the M6 is compatible with Canon’s CS100 Connect Station, a photo and video hub for storing, managing and sharing media. The M6 is also compatible with Canon's RC-6 infrared remote.
Wired connectivity includes a Micro-B USB 2.0 port, a Micro Type-D HDMI port, a 3.5mm external microphone jack, and a 2.5mm RS-60E3 remote switch jack. The Canon M6's flash hot shoe also has connections for the EVF-DC1 and EVF-DC2 external electronic viewfinders mentioned previously.
Power is provided by a rechargeable LP-E17 lithium-ion battery and the camera comes with a dedicated battery charger. (In-camera charging via USB is not supported.) When using the built-in monitor, the camera offers up to 295 shots of CIPA-rated battery life. If you are using an optional electronic viewfinder, the battery life dips slightly to 290 shots. The M6 also has an Eco mode, which provides up to 425 shots when using the monitor by dimming it after about two seconds and then turning it off after ten seconds when the camera is idle.
The Canon EOS M6 records images and videos to a single card slot that is compatible with SD/SDHC/SDXC cards as well as UHS-I types.
Canon M6 versus Canon M5
As we have seen, the new Canon M6 is very similar to the M5 which was released last fall. There are some key differences between the two cameras, however.
On the pro-M6 side of things, the M6 is smaller and lighter than the M5. Further, the M6 costs less than the M5 by US$200 with current street prices. For the extra money, the Canon M5 offers a built-in electronic viewfinder and larger rear display.
Both cameras utilize the same 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, DIGIC 7 image processor and share many of the same enthusiast-oriented physical controls. For more about the Canon M5, head over to our Canon M5 Review.
Canon M6 versus Canon M3
Although similar in many ways to the recent Canon EOS M5, the M6 is the successor to the Canon EOS M3. There are numerous differences between the M6 and its predecessor. Under the hood, the primary differences are that the M3 uses Canon's Hybrid CMOS AF III system and a DIGIC 6 processor, while the M6 utilizes Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF autofocus system and a DIGIC 7 processor. The latter improvement leads to much better performance for the M6, including over twice the speed of image capture and a much larger RAW buffer size.
It is worth noting that despite both utilizing a 24.2-megapixel sensor, the M6 has a wider native ISO range (100-25,600 versus 100-12,800), and it offers a wider dynamic range than the M3 does. Further, the Canon M6 offers Full HD video recording at 60 frames per second, whereas the M3's 1920 x 1080 resolution video topped out at 30fps.
Canon M6 Pricing and availability
The Canon M6 began shipping in April 2017. The camera is available body only for US$780 or in two kits: The first kit comes with an EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens and retails for just under US$900. A second kit comes with an EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens and this kit costs about US$1,100. The Canon EOS M6 is available in two colorways: black or silver.
Canon EOS M6 Field Test
A less expensive M5 delivers same good images, performance
Canon has been reinvigorating its interchangeable lens mirrorless M series, first last fall with the EOS M5 and now with the new EOS M6, which is the successor to the EOS M3. The Canon M6 packs in many of the new features introduced in the EOS M5, including Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus and a DIGIC 7 image processor.
I have been using the Canon EOS M6 and it has impressed me in many of the same ways that the M5 did when I tested it earlier this year, including the camera's handling and image quality.
The Canon M6 body is compact, but that doesn't mean it skimps on controls. The camera feels good in the hand and the small front grip does a good job of allowing you to get a decent handle on the camera. The rear grip and thumb rest are comfortable as well.
Canon EOS M6 Image Quality Comparison
See how the Canon M6's IQ compares to its predecessor and rivals
Here we present crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing Canon M6's image quality to that of its predecessor's, the M3, and also to its larger EVF-equipped sibling, the Canon M5. We've also compared the M6 to several other mirrorless competitors in its class or price range: the Fuji X-T20, Panasonic G85 and Sony A6300.
NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved, click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page...
Canon EOS M6 Print Quality
Find out how big you can print at higher ISOs!
Print quality and image quality are similar but not identical, because what you see on a print isn't always the same as what you see on the screen. Our print quality analysis answers the important question: "Just how big can I print my photos at higher ISOs?"
The Canon EOS M6 yields print size results across the ISO range as we'd expect for this sensor size and resolution, and delivers a solid performance overall. Print quality is quite good up to ISO 800, offering the ability to print very large sizes, and the Canon M6 continues to offer the ability to print a good 11 x 14 up to ISO 3200. Once again, a solid effort all around in the print quality department here from Canon.
Canon EOS M6 Conclusion
A smaller, more affordable M5
The Canon EOS M6 joins the EOS M5 in Canon's current mirrorless lineup as a more affordable, more compact alternative. The M6 and M5 are essentially the same in terms of functionality and performance, which is to say that they are both noticeably improved over the Canon EOS M3 and M10 cameras.
During our field time with the camera and in the laboratory, the Canon M6 proved impressive in many respects, including image quality and performance. We are ready to conclude our review of the Canon EOS M6, so let's see how it stacks up in greater detail.
In the Box
The Canon EOS M6 15-45mm kit retail box (as tested) ships with the following items:
- Canon EOS M6 body
- EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens
- Front and rear lens caps
- LP-E17 battery pack
- LC-E17/LC-E17E battery charger
- Hot shoe cover
- Body cap
- EM-300DB neck strap
- Camera Instruction Manual booklet
- Large capacity SDHC/SDXC memory card. Look for at least a Class 6 speed grade card if you plan on shooting video, and consider a fast UHS-I card to minimize buffer clearing times.
- Extra LP-E17 battery pack
- Additional lenses
- Canon EF-M Lens Adapter Kit for EF / EF-S lenses
- Canon EVF-DC1 or EVF-DC2 viewfinder
- External Speedlite flash
- External monaural or stereo microphone
- Micro (Type-D) HDMI cable
- Medium size camera bag
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