Canon EOS M6 Mark II Mirrorless Camera Review
The Canon EOS M6 Mark II is small, light and packs some powerful features. But does it live up to the hype? Find out in this honest review!
There’s a current trend in mirrorless camera development that sees more and more brands move to powerful and compact interchangeable lens cameras.
While there will always be a demand for larger camera bodies, especially in the full-frame market, the need for cameras like the one we’re reviewing here is growing.
Consumers have caught on to the fact that these companies can give you all that you need in a significantly smaller body. Bigger is no longer better in the camera game!
Packs a 32.5-megapixel sensor and premium performance into a stylish retro-look body.
Enter the Canon EOS M6 Mark II – a brilliant camera with a whopping 32.5-megapixel image sensor and DIGIC8 processor. As it turns out, this is the same tech tag-team found in the larger and highly capable Canon 90D.
This EF-M mount camera has some stunning and powerful features such as a blistering burst mode and the ability to shoot in 4K video.
I was fortunate enough to have received the popular kit version of the Canon EOS M6 Mark II for this review. Let’s take a closer look!
Canon EOS M6 Mark II Kit Specs:
- Attachable electronic viewfinder
- Excellent image quality
- Great focusing performance
- Excellent value kit
- Crappy kit lens
- Sensor: 32.5MP APS-C CMOS
- Continous: 30fps RAW burst
- Kit Lens: Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.6-6.3 IS STM (24-72mm 35mm equivalent)
- Lens Mount: EF-M (EF and EF-S lenses compatible via Mount adapter EFEOS M)
- Processor: Canon DIGIC 8
- Video: 4K 30p, Full HD 60p
- Screen: 3″ Tilt Touchscreen with 3:2 aspect ratio and approx. 1,040k dots
- Viewfinder: Optional Electronic Viewfinder EVF-DC2 (included)
- Dimensions: 119.6mm W x 70.0mm H x 49.2 mm D (4.15″ x 2.39″ x 1.63″)
- Weight: Approx. 408 gg (0.67lb)
- Connectivity: WiFi & Bluetooth
- Image Stabilisation: 5-axis dynamic IS
Build & Appearance
The Canon EOS M6 Mark II kit makes for an attractive package thanks to its out-of-the-box shooting ability. As a whole, the kit is well designed and has a nice balance to it.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the camera and the additional viewfinder look well made and like a premium product.
However, the Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.6-6.3 IS STM lens lets the team down as a result of it looking cheap and nasty. Granted, it is a kit lens to enable that same out-of-the-box experience, but its quality looks low compared to its box-mates.
Starting with the Canon EOS M6 Mark II body, I’m impressed with the overall build and appearance of this compact interchangeable lens camera.
The first time picking it up, I was pleased to find that it was really solid and had a nice heft to it. It’s great to see as one of the let-downs of a lot of compact cameras is their lightweight plastic feeling – like some of the Canon entry-level DSLRs.
The M6 II is robust and even with a fair shake makes no sounds at all – everything is well put together inside.
Being a smaller mirrorless camera, the big and shiny metal lens mount dominates the front of the body. The M6 II features an EF-M mount that supports EF and EF-S lenses that are compatible via a mount adapter.
The only other features are the lens release button and the minimal use of branding.
The grip is excellent and deep – a must in smaller camera bodies, especially for those like me with big hands. A synthetic material that has a rubberised coating for added grip wraps around the camera body.
To one side of the camera, there’s a hidden panel that hides the 3.5mm mic jack and a smaller port for a remote shutter release.
Just above this is a slimline toggle to release the little pop-up flash. One the other side – the grip side – there is another panel to hide the USB-C and HDMI micro ports – great to see the use of the latest connectivity standards here.
Both of the side panels sit nice and flush and all but disappear into the textured lining.
I like that there are metal strap loops for a strong connection to your camera strap.
The base of the camera features the standard tripod screw mount and the battery and SD card door. The door is a little fiddly to open at first, but once you get the hang of the motion, it’s easier to access.
The Canon M6 Mark II houses a single Lithium-Ion LP-E17 battery, and the card slot is spring-loaded for ease of access.
The top of the Canon EOS M6 Mark II features the aforementioned pop0up flash that sits flush across the top plate. Next, there is the standard hot-shoe that’s ideal for mounting a flash or the EVF-DC2 electronic viewfinder included in the kit.
Moving along the top of the M6 II, there’s the standard Canon control dial that also features two custom dial settings. The dial spins smoothly with a fair amount of resistance and click-feedback when in position.
There’s a more significant control ring that sits partly recessed into the top plate of the camera. The centre of this has a Dial/Func button for accessing key menu options. The base of this also acts as the pivot for the On/Off switch.
There is a single M-Fn button that sits to the side of the shutter release button and is flush but responsive when pushed.
Finally, the shutter has a nice amount of resistance and makes a noticeable click when pushed to engage the shutter.
There’s a ridged ring surrounding the shutter button that feels a little too free when it spins – I fear accidentally knocking it and changing key settings.
The rear of the Canon EOS M6 Mark II features a 7.5 cm (3.0″) ClearView II Touchscreen LCD (TFT) with a 3:2 aspect ratio and approximately 1,040,000 dots of resolution.
The screen is an electrostatic capacitive type that is tiltable 180 degrees up and 45 degrees down.
I must say that the electronic viewfinder partially blocks the screen and prevents it from tilting all the way up.
A small array of control buttons sits to the right side of the screen with a central control ring – this feels a little cheap and flimsy compared to the other control elements of the camera.
There’s a nice pronounced thumb rest with an ample amount of thumb real estate next to it for better grip. The thumb rest features two recessed buttons preventing accidental presses.
Lastly, there is a switch to change the camera from MF to AF for quick focusing conditions.
As mentioned the Canon EOS M6 Mark II kit includes an attachable electronic viewfinder – EVF-DC2.
It’s one of two Canon electronic viewfinders that will work with this camera. The viewfinder is built from durable plastic but only weighs around 30g (1.06oz).
The hot-shoe mount features the plate and pins that connect with the camera body, and when connected, the EVF does not budge.
The electronic viewfinder delivers 0.39″ 2.36m-dot OLED display ensuring your get crisp and true-to-life visuals of your frame.
I like that the viewfinder has a single twist dial diopter with a -3 to +1 range. As a person that wears glasses when I shoot, I like that the EVF-DC2 has a 22mm eyepoint for optimal viewing.
I have never been a fan of removable viewfinders, but this one seems to suit the kit and does not detract from the overall look and feel of the camera.
Plus, if you don’t like it, you can remove it and drop it into the included soft-pouch for safekeeping.
It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room – or kit, in this case.
The Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.6-6.3 IS STM has a 35mm equivalent of 24-72mm. The lens has Image Stabilisation that provides 3.5 stops of light when paired with the camera’s Dynamic IS.
It’s compact, with the dimensions of 60.9 x 44.5mm (2.4″ x 1.75″) and super light at just 130g (4.59oz). The 15-45mm lens uses a 49mm filter thread for those that like to accessorise.
While the lens is lightweight, making it ideal for a travel lens, it is made entirely of plastic and feels cheap. The lens mount is plastic, and that gives me cause for concern as when attaching plastic parts against metal parts like a lens mount, the plastic is going to lose the battle.
The lens features a collapsable zoom system that’s operating by twisting the textured zoom ring. The motion feels a little gritty and makes a noticeable click when you hit either the 15 or 45mm points.
I do like that you can completely collapse the zoom and lock it shut to keep the profile of the lens low.
Granted this is a kit lens, and it has a convenient focal range, but it just feels tacky, and I haven’t said that about many lenses in my time reviewing gear.
Fortunately for M6 II shooters, there are plenty of other better lens options available for this mount.
Ergonomics & Handling
I’ve already spoken about the functions and use of the kit lens so I’ll focus here on the camera body with the attached viewfinder.
As mentioned earlier, the Canon EOS M6 Mark II feels good in the hand – it has a great weight and excellent balance.
The deep and textured grip, paired with the thumb rest, provide excellent handling and control of the camera. Given that it’s a more compact camera, you’re more likely to shoot with this handheld or with a strap – at least a better one than the short piece of string included in the kit.
All of the control dials on the top of the M6 II are partially exposed at the rear. As a result, you can spin these with your thumb while you hold the camera single-handed. They have just the right amount of resistance for this action as does the ring that circles the shutter button.
You can flick the camera on with a simple push of your thumb, but turning it off is a little trickier.
I like that you can control a lot of the core functions of this camera with your thumb – it makes for a smoother workflow.
All of the buttons on the rear of the camera are a suitable size even for my fat sausages. The central control dial on the back of the camera feels a little too free when it spins, resulting in setting changes.
When shooting without the electronic viewfinder, the touch screen is bright and clear, with a nice level of resolution.
The screen tilts 180 degrees upward making the M6 II ideal for vloggers. With it tilted down, the camera would be ideal for shooting at a festival or concert where you want to hold the camera above your head.
If you intend to shoot with the electronic viewfinder attached, it sits up at a good height and back from the camera screen – your nose doesn’t squish up to smudge the screen.
The viewfinder is bright with a nice amount of resolution and a clear field of view that covers 100% of your frame. I like that you have the option to shoot with or without the viewfinder depending on your preferred style.
Overall, the Canon EOS M6 Mark II is a comfortable camera to shoot with and thanks to its smaller size and weight, you can shoot all day and not feel fatigued.
When it comes to focusing performance, I found the EOS M6 Mark II to be fast and accurate (keep in mind that I only had the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.6-6.3 to test it out).
I would imagine that with a faster, higher quality lens, the combined focusing system would be superb.
The M6 II features Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus with 5481 AF point positions and Eye AF servo allowing you to grab focus quickly and track your moving subjects.
With the right Servo mode, the camera will automatically hunt for the eye of your subject and follow them. The face detection setting is also very accurate, and when tracking will stay on target most of the time.
Plus, when using full autofocus tracking, you can capture a burst mode of 14 frames per second when shooting in RAW.
Without the use of focus tracking, your burst mode dramatically increases to 30 frames. Overall, the focusing performance of the EOS M6 Mark II is impressive and incredibly useful.
Even if you’re shooting fast-paced sports and the like, you’ll be confident in the camera’s performance never to miss a shot.
Low Light Performance
Staying on the topic of autofocus performance for a moment, the Canon EOS M6 Mark II is a great performer in low light situations.
Even with the kit lens, I found very little evidence of focus hunting in darker conditions. It was able to distinguish between subjects and accurately grab focus on my desired subject.
The M6 Mark II has an ISO range of 100 to 25,600 and an extended range of up to 51,200 in the H mode.
In practical terms, the ISO and noise management of the camera are good with a little room for improvement in the quality of JPEG images shot in a dark scene.
The noise reduction process takes care of image noise but at the cost of some detail degradation. As for shooting in RAW, the noise is evident at extreme ISO levels but nothing that post-processing cannot save.
For the style of photography you’re likely to be doing with this camera, the low light performance is perfectly workable and in no way detrimental to your experience.
The image quality and optical output of the Canon EOS M6 Mark II is impressive.
The 32.5MP APS-C CMOS image sensor and the DIGIC 8 processor is the same as those onboard the Canon EOS 90D. With this combo, you’ll create high-pixel-count images that can be cropped considerably and still retain an excellent level of detail and resolution.
JPEG images have a bright and precise level of detail and colour reproduction faithful to Canon’s long heritage in this game.
Dynamic range achieved naturally by the M6 II is well balanced with reasonable control over highlights and darkened areas. The recovery of these areas is undoubtedly easy to achieve when editing your images.
For those looking for an everyday camera to keep in their daily bag or for those that want a simple-to-use holiday snapper, the image quality will both please and delight.
The Canon EOS M6 Mark II and the included kit electronic viewfinder deliver exceptional performance fit for any entry-level or enthusiast photographer.
And while the included EF-M 15-45mm f/3.6-6.3 lens is not of high quality, it produces clear and crisp images.
At the end of the day it’s a kit lens and, in this case, is nothing more than a value-add from Canon. It allows entry-level photographers to unbox the kit (despite current trends, unboxing on YouTube is NOT essential) and use it straight away.
The combined kit is undoubtedly an attractive package for those that want to explore a deeper level of photography and need a camera that performs accordingly.
The included rechargeable Li-ion battery (LP-E17) will deliver up to 305 shots while using shooting from the LCD and 250 photos with the use of the viewfinder.
The system also offers an Eco mode that allows up to 410 images and extends video recording time to 2 hours and 25 minutes.
With that kind of battery performance and power management in place, you could easily spend a full day shooting and not need to charge your battery.
Thanks to the USB-C port, you can charge your camera on the go with the aid of a power bank.
It’s important to highlight some neat connectivity features of the Canon M6 II that are a must for today’s visual creatives.
The camera comes with integrated WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to share your images seamlessly to your mobile device via the Canon Camera Connect app.
This app provides a user-friendly interface that can also offer remote functionality for controlling your camera. It works with capturing photos and shooting video.
Other Useful Features
If you intend to use the Canon EOS M6 Mark II for videography, you’re in luck as this camera also features strong video performance.
You can shoot 4K video at 30p with no crop applied to the content. What’s more, the M6 II will shoot Full HD at up to 120p for smooth and high-resolution slow-motion video content.
The Dual Pixel focusing system that we covered earlier is also at your full disposal during video shooting. The overall quality of the 4K video is good but not the best available, and when you use the image stabilisation function, the image quality drops even more.
Another worthy mention with the M6 II is the available lens line-up. I consider this to be essential when considering your next camera purchase to ensure that there are lenses to suit your needs.
Fortunately, you can pair this Canon camera with any EF-M mount lens. Plus, with an EF-EOS M mount adapter, you can enjoy the full range of EF and EF-S lenses from Canon.
Looking at the EF-M range, there are a couple of standout lenses that would suit this kit.
Of course, it all depends on what you’re using the camera for, but if you want a great all-purpose lens, then take a look at the Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM. This lens provides a brilliant range from wide-angle for landscapes to telephoto performance for capturing sports and wildlife.
Plus, with a maximum aperture of f/3.5, you’ll get a decent level of subject separation and background blur.
If you’re looking for a light and compact prime lens to pair with the M6 II, consider the Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM. This lens delivers excellent image quality and fast focusing performance. The super-wide f/1.4 aperture will be perfect for low light shooting or for portraiture where you want to optimise subject separation and depth of field.
Value for Money
The Canon EOS M6 Mark II is an award-winning camera that has also won the praise of camera reviewers.
If you were to pick up the camera body alone (no lens and no electronic viewfinder) you would be looking at around US$850.
However, for a little more of your hard-earned cash, you can pick up the kit we have described in this review. The kit includes the M6 II, EVF-DC2 viewfinder and the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.6-6.3 lens – plus the strap, battery and a soft bag for the viewfinder.
All this can be yours for around US$1100, and while the lens is not great, the viewfinder is a quality and beneficial product that will enhance your photography experience.
For those that are starting in the mirrorless camera market, or those upgrading from a smartphone, this is excellent value for money.
Canon M6 Mark II Review | Conclusion
I love the direction that mirrorless camera designs are heading – for too long camera bodies have been getting bigger yet feel hollow.
Now, however, the big brands are waking up to the growing demand from all levels of photographer. They have realised that consumers are no longer impressed by big beast bodies (I like the sound of that).
Fortunately, Canon has answered the call with the Canon EOS M6 Mark II and its kit. Right out of the box you get a powerful and clever mirrorless camera ideal for entry-level and enthusiast photographers.
Plus, the kit includes the electronic viewfinder that allows you to vary your shooting style.
While the kit lens is questionable, it still fills a spot for those that are yet to decide what EF-M mount lens they want to invest in. Plus, the kit allows you to get out and shoot as soon as your battery is charged and a memory card is on board.
I highly recommend the Canon EOS M6 Mark II as a versatile and user-friendly system ideal for everyday use and much more.
Packs a 32.5-megapixel sensor and premium performance into a stylish retro-look body.
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