Canon may be one of the latecomers to the mirrorless camera race, but it remains persistent and has released yet another M-series model few months after the M5. Between the two, the M6 is more affordable at around S$500 lesser than the M5, giving budget conscious photographers an affordable option without sacrificing performance.
Weighing just 390 grams (body only), the M6 feel rather plasticky and lacks that professional-grade body build. The saving grace is the prism-texture control knobs that elevates the design and beauty. The vintage silver (review unit) is a nice homage to the classic camera look.
Despite its cost-cutting body, the internal components are some of the best and latest from Canon. The new APS-C sensor with 24.2 MP dual pixel CMOS AF and DIGIC 7 image processor has a ISO range from 100 to 25600 and built-in 5-axis Image Stabilizer system. It can capture up to 9 frames per second up to 26 shots (JPG) or 16 shots (RAW + JPG). Shutter can be adjusted from 30 seconds to 1/4000 seconds.
The 3-inch screen is tiltable 180-degrees upwards – for the selfie everyone needs – and 45-degrees downwards. The display is touch-enabled so most of the settings can be done on-screen by tapping on the action icons. I prefer to use the knobs which I find very responsive and without lag. Most of the labelled buttons are customisable with other functions, which can be really useful.
Generally, the camera operates with ease and good response. It takes just about 1 second to start the camera and ready to shoot. Auto-focus speed varies with the lens, and with the 18-150mm kit lens, AF is pretty fast even under indoor lighting, and hunts a little longer when the object is not so well-defined. To focus anywhere on the frame, just tap the area on-screen: the M6 has 49 AF points.
Object tracking is quite accurate: by tapping the object on the screen, the AF sensor will follow it all around the frame.
I like the quality of the photos. The versatile 18-150mm lens captures sharp images even at the tele end.
High ISO certainly performs better than the smaller-sensor G series, even at ISO 6400, there is little chroma noise that affects the image quality.
White-balance is reliable though the choice of which the camera decides on the WB point seems questionable. When shooting an indoor scene with a laptop monitor in frame, the M6 takes the WB off the bright monitor instead of the shopping mall lighting even though the former occupies less than half the frame.
Most of the shooting modes are also available in the compact G series, like the Hybrid Auto which compiles a sequential video of photos taken for the day, SCENE modes like Miniature that applies real-time effects while shooting. The M6 does not have built-in EVF, so an optional EVF-DC2 may be purchased and inserted to the hotshoe. I did not test enough to comment on the battery life, but I feel it lasts longer than the premium compact G-series. Unlike the compact series, the M6 is unable to charge the battery directly via micro-USB cable.
The M6 supports Bluetooth connectivity, in addition to Wi-Fi and NFC. The purpose is to allow constant connectivity to the smartphone even though the camera goes into auto power-off. When I tested the wireless transfer, the wireless connectivity gets auto-disconnected and I feel it did not perform as consistently as the compact G-series. I did not feel the Bluetooth feature improves reliability.
While the Canon EOS M6 seems to have shooting features no different from the more compact G series cousin, the major differences would be the high ISO image quality and versatile interchangeable lens selection, at the expense of size. These would be key determinants whether to purchase an equally-responsive G7X Mark II or invest in the bulkier M6, the new mirrorless camera for enthusiast photographers. Buyers who desire electronic viewfinder might want to check out the EOS M5.
The M6 (body only) retails for S$1039 in Singapore, or S$1639 when bundled with EF-M 18-150 IS STM kit lens. The EVF-DC2 attachment retails at S$329.