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Canon EOS M6 Mark II Review: Canon's Best Compact Camera For Hi-Resolution Still Photography
Canon is constantly adding new cameras to the company's portfolio, specifically in the mirrorless range. The company recently announced the compact flagship EOS M6 Mark ii, the APS-C mirrorless camera in India in October 2019. The M6 Mark ii replaces the older M6, and the M5, and is essentially an interchangeable-lens camera engineered for amateur photographers or even professionals that seek high-resolution photography within a compact form-factor.
- Compact And Lightweight Design
- Powerful Sensor Captures High-Res. Images
- Uncropped 4K Footage
- 14fps Burst Shoot
- Brilliant Autofocus Capabilities
- No Built-in EVF
- Limited Native Lens-Support
- Lacks Built-in Stabilization
The EOS M6 Mark II with kit lens (EF-M15mm-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens) is available in India at Rs. 83 995. The highlight of the compact mirrorless camera is the big 32.5 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, which is complemented by the faster-locking and fast-tracking autofocus system.
Backed by the Canon's dual-pixel technology, the EOS M6 Mark ii is capable of delivering impressive 14 fps burst shooting speeds and 30 fps in Raw Burst mode. However, there are some downsides too. The premium mirrorless shooter is not weather-sealed and does not feature a built-in electronic viewfinder. The company shared the EOS M6 Mark ii unit with us for testing with the kit lens. Here's what we found out.
Canon EOS M6 Mark ii Key Specifications
- 32.5MP APS-C CMOS Sensor + DIGIC 8
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF
- 30fps RAW burst mode (One -Shot & Servo AF)
- 5,481 selectable focus positions
- Eye Detection AF (One-Shot & Servo AF)
- 4K Video (Uncropped/Cropped)
Handling- Compact Design Offers Amazing Grip
The Canon EOS M6 Mark ii is a delight to use due to its compact design. Thanks to the APS-C sensor (Image size- 22.3 x 14.8 mm) and the small EOS M mount size, the M6 Mark ii is smaller and lighter than a full-frame camera making it perfect for content creators and street photographers. At 408g with battery and the storage card inside, the camera lets you comfortably shoot videos and capture pictures. You can even capture shots with one hand if the autofocus isn't set to manual.
The handgrip could have been deeper but what more you can expect from a camera this compact. The twin dial controls on the top surface of the camera further add to the convenience. Additionally, the 3.0" touchscreen flips up by 180° thus enabling comfortable shooting in complex scenarios. Overall, the M6 Mark ii scores quite high on ergonomics making it a perfect compact shooter for photographers who want a capable device without the unnecessary bulk.
Buttons And Controls
If you already are a Canon EOS user, you will feel at home as the M6 Mark ii mimics the operation buttons and dials of high-end EOS models with some neat additions. The compact mirrorless features twin control dials. You can quickly change the widely used shooting modes with the left dial on the top plate. The second one allows you to change focus and aperture. The shutter button is positioned at an angle above the handgrip encircled by a scrolling dial. The dial allows you to control various settings depending upon the camera mode you are using to take pictures.
New Dial Button With Control Function
Canon got away with the two-level EV control for a single dial which has a control button at its centre. This button lets you quickly change the ISO levels, white balance and a variety of other important camera settings. A dedicated switch button is placed at the rear side to quickly change the camera's focus mode.
No Built-in EVF
The lack of a built-in electronic viewfinder is a big disappointment. We got the unit without the additional accessory which restricted the photography experience to a big extent. If you are investing in the Canon EOS M6 Mark ii, make sure you are ready to spend another Rs. 14,000 (approx.) for the EVF which takes the price to approximate Rs. 1 lac.
3.0” TFT Color Flip Up Display
The EOS M6 Mark ii flaunts a crisp 3.0"Clear View LCD II screen that supports capacitive touch and offers a high resolution of 1,040,000 dots. You can tilt the touch-enabled LCD to 180° up and 45° down to shoot in complex scenarios. These two angular movements enable high visibility of the LCD panel making the EOS M6 Mark ii a vlogger's delight. You can tilt the screen to capture selfies and record video intros for your content platform with ease. Overall, the compact form factor combined with the flip-up display makes the EOS M6 Mark ii a powerful content creation gadget.
How’s The Autofocus Performance?
The M6 Mark ii has an excellent autofocus system, thanks to the Canon's dual-pixel system and the powerful Digic 8 image processor. The autofocus works seamlessly in both modes- Servo and One-shot. With 5481 points, you can tap anywhere on the 3.0-inch LCD screen to select an autofocus point. If you want the camera to do it for you, the M6 Mark ii considers 143 auto AF areas (approx. 100% coverage) out of 5481 selectable focus positions to give the best shot. There was no autofocus lag whatsoever in daylight and the camera captures impressive pictures with pin-sharp focus.
Impressive Eye-Detection Autofocus
The M6 Mark ii also gets the ‘eye-detection' mode of the company's full-frame mirrorless cameras. The subject-tracking is impressive while using the camera in servo mode with eye-detection mode enabled. I was able to focus on the composition while the Eye AF locked the focus effectively on the moving subject in the frame. However, it is worth mentioning that the camera's AF focuses on the closest eye/face movements if there are more than one subjects in the composition.
14fps Shooting And 30fps Raw Burst Mode With 18MP Resolution
For subjects moving swiftly, the M6 Mark ii has the new ‘Raw Burst' mode. It allows you to shoot 18MP shots at up to 30fps. If you don't want to compromise on picture quality, the camera features 14fps full-resolution shooting with continuous autofocus (with AF and AE). This makes the M6 Mark ii an ideal compact shooter for sports, wedding and street photography. While shooting RAW in burst mode, the camera maintained a good burst speed till 21 shots. You can also shoot uncropped 4K videos to create high-resolution content. Overall, the speed and performance is the highlight feature of this camera despite the compact design.
Autofocus Performance In Low-Light
In low-light, the autofocus can be tricky especially when you are shooting subjects placed at infinity. The autofocus is still quite effective in dimly-lit scenarios, thanks to the camera's low-intensity limit of EV -5 and native ISO sensitivity of up to 25,600. In absolute dark situations, the autofocus struggles a bit. The lack of built-in optical image stabilization is a big miss. You need to be careful while shooting at higher ISOs or during photography sessions that require you to shoot with faster shutter speeds.
As far as extreme low-light photography is concerned, with a good setup and focus effectively set to infinity, you can create some well-lit shots. The above image shows good details and came out well-lit even with the aperture set at F3.5 and ISO 12800. Till 12800, the low-light shots are fairly usable. I would recommend you to keep the ISO at around 6400 for dimly-lit scenarios to fetch stable shots from this compact shooter. Anything above 12800 demands heavy post-processing and stable setup.
Image Quality- Incredibly High-Resolution Images
With the highest resolution APS-C sensor in the market (32.5MP on a crop sensor), you won't have compromise on picture quality. The M6 Mark ii captures crisp shots that can be cropped without losing details. The images show accurate colors and brilliant sharpness. With proper color balance, you have fewer things to worry about in the post-processing, thanks to the Canon's brilliant color science. The images shot on the M6 Mark ii also have very good dynamic range. I really missed the EVF while shooting on sunny days. No amount of screen brightness and vibrancy can match the ease of a good viewfinder to frame that perfect shot.
Delight For Still Photography
Shoot in RAW if you want some extra sharpness and additional information for post-processing. The RAW files can take up to 50MB space per shot. I believe the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 kit lens just didn't justify the high-resolution sensor. The bundled kit lens is only good for everyday photography. You would require a good Prime lens to make the best use of the 32.5MP sensor.
Video Quality- Great Video Camera For General-Purpose Jobs
The EOS M6 Mark ii is an APS-C shooter that can record full-frame videos with some compromises. The camera comes with uncropped 4K video recording support and the company promises that the 4K at 24fps will be added soon via a firmware update. Additionally, you can also shoot 1080p videos at 120p/100p but with no autofocus. And while the sub-sampled 4K footage is very crisp; serious photographers will miss the rival camera's detailed 4K output that uses sophisticated super sampling process.
The autofocus works well for videos too but there were slight issues while shooting videos in challenging lighting. Overall, the M6 Mark ii serves as an ideal video recording device for general-purpose jobs and even for professional-grade jobs to a very good extent.
Connectivity- Type-C Port, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and HDMI Port
The EOS M6 Mark ii ensures seamless connectivity with smart devices via built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. All you need is the Canon's camera connect application that allows you to seamlessly transfer images and videos to smartphones and tablets. Besides, the camera has a single slot for memory card. The left side of the compact mirrorless camera features an external microphone port, and an E3 style remote release port. You will find a Type-C port and an HDMI port on the right side. The EOS M6 Mark ii lacks the traditional headphone port.
The EOS M6 Mark ii uses an LP-E17 lithium-ion battery pack that lasts for an approx. 305 shots. If you use the camera on the Eco mode, the battery can give you close to 400 shots. The battery performance is highly dependent on your usage pattern. The small-sized battery lasted for 250 shots with my usage pattern which was slightly underwhelming. While the camera ships with the Canon's traditional charging adaptor, you can recharge the battery via USB cable by directly plugging it in the camera.
Should You Buy Canon EOS M6 Mark ii?
The Canon EOS M6 Mark ii can be your perfect travel companion. It's compact, lightweight and does not compromise on specifications. It's an incredibly performance-driven portable camera that can deliver professional-grade photography experience. There are some negatives though. The camera lacks built-in EVF and in-body stabilization. The limited native lens-support can also be a big problem. The video recording capabilities aren't best-in-class which would want you to check on the rival devices from Sony and Fujifilm.
I wish we had more native lens options and the additional EVF to better evaluate the camera's potential in different scenarios. Overall, if you are in the market for a compact mirrorless that delivers amazing high-resolution still photography performance, the Canon EOS M6 Mark ii is a great buy. Don't forget to buy the EF-EOS M Adapter to make the most out of the Canon's wide set of lenses.