Canon EOS M6: The M5, but Stripped Down

 

Conchita Fernandes puts Canon’s newest iteration, the EOS M6, on the test bench to see what’s different about it.

EOS M6 BK w15-45 FRT RTI 830

EOS M6 BK w15-45 FRT RTI 830

When the Canon EOS M5 was launched, it featured quite a few significant changes in its design and handling, and also displayed a superior performance. However, on the features front, it wasn’t on par with its competitors and moreover, it was heftily priced. Has Canon upped the ante with the new EOS M6? Let’s find out.

Features
The M6 has retained quite a few features from its predecessor. It comes equipped with the same 24.2MP APS-C sensor, along with a DIGIC 7 image processor, has an ISO range of 100-25,600 and a Dual pixel CMOS AF system (with 49 AF points), the latter enabling users to shoot fast live videos. It also features 7fps continuous shooting and 9fps, when the focus and exposure is locked. On the video recording front, the M6 features 5-axis stabilisation, which in conjunction with lenses featuring IS, will give you the benefits of stabilisation. Unfortunately, Canon has chosen to stick to the same 1080/60p resolution as that of its predecessor. There’s also a built-in microphone and the option of attaching an external microphone to the camera.

The M6 features a tilting LCD, but with a 3-inch screen (slightly smaller than the M5) and a lower resolution of 1.04 million dots. Also, unlike the M5 which could be tilted all the way down, the M6 tilts all the way up, making it convenient for those who are interested in shooting self-portraits and video blogs. The LCD screen also tilts 45° downwards.

One significant change in the M6 is that Canon has done away with the EVF, which was present in the M5. But, you do have the option of attaching an external EVF on the camera’s hotshoe. The camera also features WiFi with NFC. After downloading the Camera Connect App on your phone, you can use it to connect to the M6 and use your phone as a remote release.

The M5’s speedy AF system enabled me to quickly lock focus on the hen, before it flew away. Exposure: 1/60sec at f/7.1 (ISO 200)

The M5’s speedy AF system enabled me to quickly lock focus on the hen, before it flew away. Exposure: 1/60sec at f/7.1 (ISO 200). Photograph/Conchita Fernandes

Handling
Weighing in at 390g, the M6 is slightly lighter than the M5. Even so, the camera feels sturdy to hold and features a prominent right-hand grip. Canon has brought in most of the change in the arrangement of controls on the top portion of the camera. All of the dials have been shifted to the right side, making it much easier, in my opinion, for users to shift between the various controls. The top left portion of the camera features only the flash, which can be accessed via a switch located on the left side of the camera body. The rear portion of the camera has been left unchanged, with a layout similar to the M5. The touchscreen feature on the LCD enables easy access and operation of the camera’s various features.

The only problem area that I noticed was when the LCD was tilted all the way upwards, thus blocking access to features like ISO, aperture and shutterspeed. So if you’re shooting a video or a photograph of yourself, then you may find it a bit cumbersome to change the settings via the touchscreen.

The camera offers the option of enabling the touch shutter feature, which was exactly what I used to make this image. It was quick. Exposure: 1/500sec at f/7.1 (ISO 160)

The camera offers the option of enabling the touch shutter feature, which was exactly what I used to make this image. It was quick.
Exposure: 1/500sec at f/7.1 (ISO 160) Photograph/Conchita Fernandes

 

Performance
The M6 has the same Dual Pixel CMOS AF system as the M5, and does a good job at quickly locking focus on subjects that are stationery. Moreover, the Dual Pixel AF system is functional over 80% of the width and height of the sensor, which means that it covers 64% of the image area in total. Even on the video front, using continuous AF, the camera is able to keep its subjects in focus. However, when shooting continuously in the burst mode, the M6 falls back a little, with the time that it takes to write images on the card. This is a little annoying, especially when shooting scenes that are unfolding quickly. In low light situations, the AF wasn’t clumsy and performed fairly quickly and accurately.

There was considerable noise reduction in the JPEGs, which resulted in the loss of quite a bit of detail in the image. This was prevalent even at the base ISO. With regards to the camera’s rendition of colour, the M6 does a very good job by producing pleasing colours in the photographs. Moreover, the camera produced sharp images on the wide and tele-end of the lens.

In good, available light, the camera does a very good job in capturing details. This was shot on the wide end of the lens. Exposure: 1/400sec at f/8 (ISO 500)

In good, available light, the camera does a very good job in capturing details. This was shot on the wide end of the lens. Exposure: 1/400sec at f/8 (ISO 500) Photograph/Conchita Fernandes

Conclusion
My overall experience with the M6 was a good one. It is the perfect sized camera to carry along on a trip, or if you’re an ardent blogger and need to create videos. It is also inconspicuous enough when shooting out on the street. Although I usually prefer cameras with viewfinders, I didn’t miss having it on the M6. The touchscreen was super fast and the menu too, was easy enough to go through, to change any given settings. Additionally, I rarely faced any problems with the camera’s autofocus.

In comparison to the M5, the M6 does not feature significant changes in its features, with the exception of two things—the lack of an EVF and the significant reduction in the price (the M6 costs Rs. 56,995, versus the Rs. 81,995 price tag on the M5). But even with this price reduction, the main question is if the M5 is still at par with its competitors, who not only offer a superior AF system but 4K video recording capability. The M6, unfortunately, does not. But despite this the camera is a good option for anyone wanting to switch to a smaller and cheaper camera, and for those not wanting to move away from Canon’s lineup of cameras.

FINAL RATINGS
Features
Tilting LCD, WiFi, no 4K, no EVF
24/30
Performance
Nice colours, fast AF, good sensor
30/25
Build Quality
Sturdy, no weathersealing
22/25
Ergonomics
Excellent touchscreen, prominent hand grip
13/15
Warranty & Support
Wide service network
4/5
MRP Rs. 56,995
OVERALL 84%
VALUE FOR MONEY 3/5
Who should buy it? Anyone wanting a small and easy-to-use mirrorless camera system, or Canon DSLR users wanting to shift to a smaller and cheaper camera.
Why? The M6 is the perfect sized camera to carry around and offers great benefits like fast AF and good colour rendition.
Tags: better photography, Canon, Canon EOS M6, Conchita Fernandes, Gear Guide, July 2017, Review