Canon may dom­i­nate the DSLR mar­ket, but its range of mir­ror­less mod­els has made far less im­pact. Can the EOS M6 change its for­tunes?

Digital SLR Photography - - Contents - Test: DANIEL LEZANO

Are Canon still in the mir­ror­less race? The new EOS M6 looks to set the stan­dard in com­pact sys­tem cam­eras

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TIONS Guide Price: £ 770 ( body- only)/ £ 880 ( 15- 45mm) Im­age sen­sor: APS- C CMOS ( 22.3x14.9mm) Res­o­lu­tion: 24.2- megapix­els Max­i­mum im­age res­o­lu­tion: 6000x4000 pix­els AF sys­tem: Dual Pixel CMOS AF sys­tem with Phase De­tec­tion pix­els on imag­ing sen­sor. Uses 49 AF points Me­ter­ing pat­terns: Eval­u­a­tive ( 384 zones), par­tial & cen­tre- weighted av­er­age ISO range: ISO 100- 25600 plus Auto Shut­ter speeds: 1/ 4000sec- 30 sec­onds & Bulb In­te­gral flash: Guide Num­ber: 5 ( ISO 100, m) LCD mon­i­tor: TFT 3in 1,040,000- dot touch­screen Frame rate: Up to nine frames- per- sec­ond Stor­age: SD ( SDHC/ XC) Size: 112x68x44.5mm Weight: 390g ( in­clud­ing bat­tery & card) Web­site: www. canon. co. uk

CANON DOM­I­NATES THE dig­i­tal SLR mar­ket, with a very healthy 50% or more share of sales, so it's no sur­prise it left it longer than most to in­tro­duce a mir­ror­less model, the EOS M, in 2012. Since then, it has re­leased fur­ther mod­els at a slow but steady pace in an at­tempt to carve it­self a slice of this rel­a­tively new and grow­ing sec­tor of the cam­era mar­ket. It's fair to say that it's not had as much suc­cess with its EOS M- se­ries as it would have hoped for, pro­duc­ing com­pact mod­els that while good in their own right, haven't matched the qual­ity of its rivals.

The EOS M6 joins a mir­ror­less range cur­rently made up of the flag­ship (£ 1,050) EOS M5 and en­try- level (£ 430) EOS M3 and (£ 295) EOS M10 mod­els. As is the norm, it shares fea­tures from mod­els im­me­di­ately above and be­low it in the range. Aimed at ad­vanced amateurs and en­thu­si­asts, it also hopes to tempt EOS M3 and M10 own­ers to up­grade, while of­fer­ing an al­ter­na­tive to DSLRS for those in need of a more com­pact yet well- spec­i­fied cam­era. In terms of gen­eral spec­i­fi­ca­tion, the Canon DSLR it's most sim­i­lar to is the EOS 77D.

Un­like many of its retro- styled rivals, the EOS M6 has a smooth, sculpted mod­ern de­sign that I think looks par­tic­u­larly ap­peal­ing on the sil­ver/ black ver­sion. It's much smaller and slim­mer than your stan­dard DSLR and cleaner too, thanks to a fewer num­ber of but­tons. That said, there are five di­als in to­tal, with four housed on the top- plate alone! While small cam­eras often feel a lit­tle in­sub­stan­tial to hold, the well- sized and rub­berised hand­grip and thumb rest af­ford­saff ords se­cure pur­chase. Build qual­ity is very good too, with the body feel­ing re­as­sur­ingly solid.

I was im­me­di­ately im­pressed with the EOS M6' s gen­eral ease of use. The clearly marked con­trols help, as does their neat po­si­tions, while the cus­tomi­sa­tion op­tions and al­ter­na­tive ways of ac­cess func­tions make a dif­fer­ence too. Along with the stan­dard menu sys­tem, you can ac­cess key func­tions us­ing the Quick or Info but­tons along­side the four- way con­trol or touch­screen fa­cil­ity. The lat­ter op­tion is slick and helps speed up chang­ing set­tings.

The 3in LCD mon­i­tor is ex­cel­lent, with a high- res­o­lu­tion screen that is bright and us­able outdoors in day­light. It sits on a tilt­ing plat­form that al­lows it to be used at high and low an­gles, as well as fac­ing for­ward, but can't be tilted side­ways. The LCD mon­i­tor needs to be good, as the EOS M6 lacks an in­te­gral viewfinder – which is one of the key dif­fer­ences be­tween it and the M5. An op­tional elec­tronic fin­der, the (£ 230) EVF- DC2 can be at­tached on the hot­shoe. It was in­cluded along with our test sam­ple and we can ver­ify that the 2,036,000- dot screen is ex­cel­lent. But adding it to the pack­age brings the to­tal price close to the M5, which has a fin­der built- in.

The key fea­ture that the EOS M6 shares with the M5 is the 24.2- mil­lion pixel APS- C sen­sor, which houses a Dual Pixel CMOS AF sys­tem for im­proved aut­o­fo­cus per­for­mance. This set- up works with the DIGIC 7 pro­ces­sor to al­low smooth and ac­cu­rate phase- de­tec­tion AF us­ing Live­view or when shoot­ing video. With this type of cam­era be­com­ing more pop­u­lar with vlog­gers, this fea­ture is an im­por­tant one. How­ever, videog­ra­phers will be less than im­pressed by the lack of a 4K ca­pa­bil­ity, with Full HD be­ing the M6' s best video res­o­lu­tion. Five- axis dig­i­tal im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion is avail­able when shoot­ing video – when shoot­ing stills, op­ti­cal im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion is pro­vided on a num­ber of lenses.

The EOS M6' s aut­o­fo­cus is based on a 49- point sys­tem with var­i­ous op­tions and modes. As well as be­ing able to have all ac­tive or use a sin­gle AF point, you can touch the screen ( ex­cept near the edges) for where

you want to fo­cus, or ac­ti­vate face de­tec­tion. Whichever you use, you'll find the dual pixel AF sys­tem works very well with both static and mov­ing sub­jects. While it's not al­ways the fastest, it gen­er­ally proves very re­spon­sive and ac­cu­rate. Switch to man­ual fo­cus and you ac­ti­vate fo­cus peak­ing, which pro­vides a coloured out­line on sub­jects that aid with fo­cus­ing ac­cu­racy.

The me­ter­ing sys­tem boasts a wider than av­er­age choice, with both spot and par­tial sup­port­ing Eval­u­a­tive and cen­tre- weighted pat­terns. Our tests found the Eval­u­a­tive pat­tern to be very con­sis­tent, with the pro­nounced ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion dial with the Live­view im­age al­low­ing fast changes to be made when it does strug­gle.

A full range of ex­po­sure modes is avail­able to suit pho­tog­ra­phers of all lev­els. From full man­ual to semi- auto to a wide range of fully auto op­tions, there is some­thing for ev­ery­one, with two cus­tomis­able modes avail­able too. There's an in­te­gral flash that of­fers a wide range of fea­tures, in­clud­ing first or sec­ond- cur­tain sync, flash ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion, E- TTL II or man­ual con­trol. This is use­ful, but with a Guide Num­ber of only five ( ISO 100, m), it has a very lim­ited range. How­ever, you can at­tach ex­ter­nal flash­guns on a hot­shoe for when ad­di­tional power is re­quired.

Other fea­tures worth not­ing is the in­clu­sion of Wi- Fi, NFC and Blue­tooth for wire­less con­trol and im­age trans­fer, a top shoot­ing rate of 7fps us­ing Servo AF ( 9fps with AF- S) and sev­eral cre­ative fil­ters.

As we've men­tioned dur­ing the test, the AF and me­ter­ing sys­tems are ex­cel­lent and, along with a wide dy­namic range and smooth tonal ren­di­tion, the EOS M6 is ca­pa­ble of first rate re­sults. In terms of per­for­mance, it scores highly.


The stylish Canon EOS M6 body boasts smooth lines and a small size. It's a ca­pa­ble al­ter­na­tive to a DSLR if you're in need of a more com­pact pack­age.

Ex­po­sure: 1/ 400sec at f/ 3.5 ( ISO 800)

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