Here’s our in-depth review of the mirrorless Canon EOS M6…
Despite Canon’s continued dominance of the DSLR market, as well as a strong performance in the premium compact sector, its CSC range has had a relatively unremarkable start, with only four UK models released over a five-year period. There are also just seven EF-M lenses on offer – significantly fewer than in the ranges of Fuji, Olympus, Sony or Panasonic.
But there are signs that the Japanese tech giant is starting to up its game in the mirrorless market, especially after it released the flagship M5 at the start of 2015, a CSC which offered an extremely competitive featureset for the price. Its latest mirrorless offering, the enthusiast-level M6 (which replaces the M3) is equally well-specced, boasting exactly the same 24.2MP APS-C sensor and DIGIC 7 processor found in Canon’s latest two DSLRs, the 77D and 800D, and also in the wildly popular 80D. This means you’re getting DSLR performance in an extremely compact body, a combination that will be very attractive to many, and especially those who like to shoot on the fly.
The Canon EOS M6 features Dual Pixel AF and 5-axis Digital IS.
Sharing the 80D’s sensor isn’t the only impressive feature on offer. The 3in 1040k-dot LCD touchscreen comes with the usual high quality controls, such as touch focusing, menu navigation and playback review. It also tilts up to 180°, allowing you to see yourself while shooting or filming – perfect for anybody into selfies or vlogging their adventures with the Full HD video.
Canon’s impressive Dual Pixel AF gives you up to 49 AF points, using both phase and contrast detection, which cover 80% of the frame. The M6 also packs in 5-axis Digital IS and 9fps of continuous shooting (or 7fps when using Servo autofocus). It also boasts full connectivity through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC, even allowing you to use the Canon Connect App to wake the camera from sleep mode.
Handling & build
The M6 is very compact, and despite only weighing 390g the body feels pleasingly robust. Canon has made some wise ergonomic choices and fits plenty of physical controls onto the body. Front and rear wheels can be found on the top-plate, along with a pop-up flash and mode selection. The rear features the AF selection button, another control dial and menu buttons, to name but a few. Although there is no viewfinder as standard, I used the EVF-DC2 electronic viewfinder, which slips onto the hotshoe.
The M6 feels like a very capable camera. The 3in display shows a glorious preview, with very pleasing colours and tonal range. The final shots are equally as impressive, with both the dynamic range and contrast being noteworthy for such a small unit. All controls are on the right of the body, meaning it’s all operational from your right hand, leaving the left to control the lens. The front and rear wheels control shutter speed and aperture respectively, though the latter can also be controlled via the rear dial, as well as flash, autofocus selection and ISO.
The touchscreen is very responsive and navigation is a breeze. The touch-to-focus is just as effective as it is on its DSLR cousins and the tilting mechanism feels solid.
While Canon says the battery can manage 425 shots in the energy-efficient ECO mode, normal operation will limit this to 295 shots, which sadly isn’t the same as its DSLR stablemates. The additional EVF is also a bit disappointing, suffering from noticeable lag, detracting from the experience, and its hotshoe placement takes away from the camera’s otherwise pleasing aesthetic. However, if you’re not worried by the lack of built-in viewfinder, the 1040k-dot screen does a great job of letting you compose your shots.
Canon has clearly put a lot of thought into its mirrorless range, with great design, exceptional performance and brilliant image quality for any level of photographer. The lack of an in-built EVF may not be for you, and the lens range is still quite limited. However, it’s a great travel camera and perfect for any budding YouTubers who are serious about vlogging.
- Quick autofocus
- Intuitive ergonomics
- Excellent touchscreen
- Beautiful design
- 180° tilting screen
- Additional EVF expensive and laggy
- No 4K video
- Limited battery life
- Limited lens range
- Kit lens: EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
- Effective resolution: 24.2MP
- Sensor: 22.3x14.9mm CMOS
- Processor: Digic 7
- LCD: 3in 1040k-dot tilting touchscreen
- Viewfinder: No, but optional EVF-DC2 hotshoe EVF
- Shutter: Bulb, 30-1/4000sec
- Autofocus: 49-point Dual Pixel phase- and contrast-detect
- ISO: 100-25,600
- Shooting speed: 9fps (7fps in Servo autofocus)
- Video: Full HD at 60fps
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
- Pop-up flash: Yes, GN 5
- Other features: Time-lapse movie, focus peaking
- Battery life: 295 shots
- Card type: SD, SDHC, SDXC
- Size (WxHxD): 112x68x45mm
- Weight: 600g
- Find out more at the Canon website