High-resolution 32.5MP sensor. 14fps burst rate. Quick, accurate autofocus. Face and eye detection. Flip-up LCD. 4K video. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
EVF isn’t built-in. Sensor isn’t stabilized. Native lens library lacks premium options. Dumbed-down video options. Pricey.
- BOTTOM LINE
The EOS M6 Mark II marks a big step forward for Canon’s APS-C mirrorless system, but the available lenses aren’t as appealing as those offered by Fujifilm and Sony.
That said, I’ve worked with the Canon Camera Connect app (for Android and iOS) with other models. It makes it quite easy to connect your devices, beaming photos to your phone for editing and social sharing. The M6 Mark II adds the ability to pair with multiple devices and toggle between them, ideal for families sharing the camera or photographers who may want to edit on their phone sometimes, and their tablet at others.
Physical connections include the hot shoe, which works with the EVF and Speedlite flashes, as well as a 3.5mm mic jack, a 2.5mm remote connection, micro HDMI, and USB-C. The battery and memory card both load in the bottom. It’s a single SDXC slot with support for the fastest UHS-II media.
Improved Autofocus, Shutter Mechanism
The M6 Mark II’s Dual Pixel AF system is notably improved from the previous generation. It covers a wide swath of the sensor, the full height and 88 percent of its width, and can be sized down to a small point for precise focusing.
The camera can fire as quickly as 14fps in its Hi+ burst rate, with 7fps capture available at the Hi setting and 3fps at the Low. It tracks subjects effectively, even at top speed. The buffer does fill up pretty quickly if you’re working in Raw format—we’ll run formal speed tests when we get the camera in for review.
Faster burst rate aside, Canon has made some other improvements to the focus system. Face and eye detection are available, even in continuous (AI Servo) focus. It works well—you can see it in action in our Atomos Ninja screen recording, embedded above. I don’t think it’s quite as confident as the similar tech in the Fujifilm X-T30 and Sony a6400, but it’s not that far off. It will definitely help you get better-focused snapshots of your kids at play, for example.
I was also happy to see how well the tracking focus system kept pace with cars moving down a racetrack at high speeds. I found that tapping on the subject, or using the Touch Pad AF function, to be the best way to identify a subject.
Canon has upgraded the shutter mechanism. It’s capable of firing at 1/4,000-second at its fastest, but you now have the option of using both front and rear mechanical curtains—which means it closes down, opens, and closes again to make an image, just like with an SLR. It’s a departure from earlier M models, which rely entirely on an electronic front curtain shutter (EFCS).
It’s a minor thing—there are some instances where an EFCS can distort the shape of bokeh highlights. It’s not something I’d fret about—the portrait above was shot with EFCS and the EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM lens at its widest aperture and the bokeh looks fine to me. There’s also a fully electronic shutter option, which can fire as quickly as 1/16,000-second.
Densest APS-C Sensor
Canon has squeezed 32.5MP into its APS-C sensor format, more than anyone else to date. We’re going to hold off on diving too deep into its performance until we’ve had a chance to test the camera in our lab and to get a better handle on its Raw output.
The current release of Lightroom processes the M6 Mark II’s images, but support seems preliminary at best. There’s a little bit more color fringing visible in conversions, which I expect will be better suppressed when Adobe adds official support.
That said, the new sensor, along with its Digic 8 image processor, is capable of doing some things with video that older Canon chips couldn’t do—like record 4K video using the full width of the frame, and with speedy Dual Pixel AF. It also supports 1080p, of course, at 30 or 60fps with audio recording and full-time autofocus. There is a slow-motion option, 1080p120, but autofocus is locked in for the duration of the shot and audio isn’t captured.
But there are loads of video features that simply aren’t here. The very basic ability to shoot at a cinematic 24fps rate is one—you can switch to PAL and roll at 25fps, but it’s not quite the same look. It’s no surprise that more advanced options, like proxy recording and flat color profiles, are omitted—this isn’t a camera for serious video work.
My biggest gripe about the M6 Mark II and video isn’t the lack of pro-grade features; if that’s what you want, other brands will serve you better at this price point. Rather, it’s that Canon hides away the 4K and slow-motion capabilities. They are only enabled when the Mode dial is set to the movie camera position. In all other modes, pressing the Record button limits you to 1080p. It’s a design choice that takes some control away from the creator, but is in line with Canon’s choice to also omit 24fps capture.
Extremely Capable, Modestly Supported
Here’s the rub—there’s a lot to love about the EOS M6 Mark II. Canon has finally pushed its Dual Pixel AF system to a level that’s on par with its very hearty competition, and it’s finally given us an APS-C camera that can use its full sensor width to shoot video at 4K. It can shoot and track moving targets at 14fps, with autofocus coverage over most of the frame.
But, despite how much this camera can do, Canon has decided to hide some things, and limit others, especially in terms of video. You can’t record 4K video by simply hitting the Record button on the rear, you need to switch the Mode dial over to video. It also omits 24fps capture, something cinematographers enjoy, but Canon feels has no place in a consumer camera. Meanwhile, Fujifilm and Sony absolutely pack video options to the gills in their competing cameras.
Lenses are important for everything, not just video. Canon offers a number of zooms, covering ultra-wide through telephoto distances, but only a couple of prime lens options and a single native macro at this point in time. Sigma has promised to release its DC DN Contemporary trio in EF-M later this year, and sundry manual focus lens makers offer their wares in every mirrorless mount. But it’s still far fewer options than offered to Fujifilm X and Sony E users.
How much all this matters to you really depends on what you want out of the camera. If you’re happy with what it offers and content with the lenses, the EOS M6 Mark II looks like a very promising, albeit expensive, option. Family photographers used to a basic Rebel SLR from even a couple of years ago will be blown away by the upgrades in speed and resolution.
Likewise, pros deeply invested in the Canon system can look at this as another tool in the kit, a small, extremely capable stills camera, compatible with Speedlites and lenses which are already owned, and with a very familiar user interface.
It’s the enthusiast crowd, or pros who aren’t in the Canon ecosystem, for whom the EOS M line, on a whole, is a tougher sell. The lenses just aren’t there, and the video features that serious YouTubers and aspiring Kubricks look for aren’t there either.
Not everyone fits into those categories, of course. We’ll take a closer look and deliver a clearer conclusion on the M6 Mark II itself when we’ve had a chance to test it in more situations, including our lab, and take a deeper dive into its image quality and performance before rating it. Canon expects to deliver the M6 Mark II starting in late September.
Copied from pcmag.com
Canon EOS M6 Mark II Review
- Good low light camera
- Water resistant
- Double the internal capacity
- Lacks clear upgrades
- Same design used for last three phones
- Battery life unimpressive