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