Canon EOS M6 Mark II assessment: are megapixels necessary?

“The M6 ​​Mark II has the sensor with the highest resolution of all mirrorless APS-C cameras – but that’s not enough to save them.”

32.5 megapixels

Compact, light

Good menu system

Dual Pixel AF works for 4K video

No built-in viewfinder

Poor high ISO performance

Limited number of EF-M lenses

Are you looking for the highest resolution without switching to full screen? The new Canon EOS M6 Mark II may be your best choice. With 32.5 megapixels, the sensor has almost a third more pixels than the more common 24MP and 26MP APS-C sensors from Sony and Fujifilm. It’s the first big jump in resolution for crop sensor cameras in several generations, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a worthwhile investment.

Megapixels alone aren’t enough to sell a camera these days, and unfortunately the $ 850 M6 Mark II isn’t enough in other areas. Given the tough competition from more established systems, it’s a tough sell.

Design and ease of use

The Canon EOS M6 Mark II is a very compact and lightweight mirrorless camera that looks very similar to the company’s G-series point-and-shoots. It measures 4.7 x 2.8 x 1.9 inches and weighs 14.4 ounces without a lens. It uses the EF-M mount and there are still only eight Canon native EF-M lenses. Fortunately, there is an adapter that allows you to attach the millions of EF lenses built for Canon DSLRs. However, this does not help the M6 ​​Mark II to maintain its compactness.

The M6 ​​Mark II looks like most other mirrorless cameras from the competition. It’s boring, but that’s fine as it has a simple layout and a decent grip. There is one thing that really stands out and the lack of a built-in viewfinder. Without them, you can only use the 3-inch LCD monitor to frame and review your shots. Since the LCD is a mediocre screen with just over 1 million pixels – and tends to wash out in bright sunshine – this is far from ideal.

Canon EOS M6 Mark II back with EVF-DC2David Elrich / Digital Trends

Fortunately, the kit we tested came with the optional EVF-DC2 electronic viewfinder that fits into the hot shoe. This 2.36 million point EVF is not the best, but it is certainly helpful on bright days and gives the camera a retro look. It also costs $ 200, which increases the total price of the camera without a lens to over $ 1,000. It’s more than the Fujifilm X-T30, one of the best mirrorless cameras you can buy.

Nevertheless, we would like to urge anyone considering this rig to buy it from the EVF. We may also recommend avoiding the standard 15-45mm kit lens, which is compact and light but doesn’t take the best pictures.

Canon EOS M6 Mark II front with EVF-DC2David Elrich / Digital Trends

For a small camera, there are a good number of buttons and dials to quickly access various controls. However, the movie record button is too practical. This means that you can accidentally record a video if you don’t want to. This happened to us many times before we recognized the problem and decidedly became more careful about how we handled the camera. Nevertheless, it is a step above the mirrorless competitor models from Sony, in which the recording button is clumsily attached to the side of the thumb grip.

USB, HDMI and microphone connections are included, but a headphone jack is missing.

Performance and picture quality

The main function of the M6 ​​Mark II is the 32.5 MP APS-C sensor, compared to 24.2 MP in the older M6. The sensor is coupled to a new Digic 8 processor, which improves the burst rate to 14 frames per second despite the increased number of pixels. That is twice as much as the older M6. Video has also jumped from Full HD to 4K. If you are familiar with these specifications, it is because they are identical to the new Canon EOS 90D DSLR.

One thing that is definitely not the same as the 90D is the battery life. With only 305 shots, the M6 ​​Mark II is far behind its DSLR camera, but is standard for a mirrorless entry-level camera.

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While we’re always looking forward to more megapixels, you don’t have to jump to the 61MP full-screen Sony A7R IV for high-quality pictures. Lower resolution APS-C sensors are more than good enough for the vast majority of photographers, and the extra resolution the M6 ​​Mark II offers over the original M6 is handy if you need to crop.

As we mentioned earlier, resolution isn’t everything, especially nowadays when so many of our photos are taken exclusively through Instagram and its 1,080 pixel resolution. Fortunately, the sensor isn’t the only new thing in the Mark II. It also has an improved Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus system with Eye AF, a feature found on almost every new camera. We raved about it in our Sony reviews, and it works well here, but not as well as Sony’s more advanced system. We were able to test the Canon M6 Mark II alongside the Sony A6100 in a dark interior scene, where the Sony with Eye AF achieved sharper results with the same subject.

Another innovation is the frame rate of 14 fps. It’s an important selling point of the M6 ​​Mark II, and as such, Canon took us to the Road Atlanta Motor Sport Center to test it (we were guests of Canon, but all opinions are our own). There we had the opportunity to photograph sports cars that raced along the route, as well as more static, more human motifs. We used the native 18-150mm f / 3.5-6.3 zoom and the very cool 32mm f / 1.4 prime. We loved this little lens because it is fun to walk around in the camera with good depth of field. It is the only real portrait lens Canon makes for the EOS M system.

David Elrich / Digital Trends

The typical M6 Mark II for Canon has an easy-to-use menu system and a responsive touchscreen. Everything is aimed at beginners who may not understand the terminology of the camera. When you turn the mode dial to Tv (time value, commonly referred to as the shutter priority), the camera shows examples of how long and short shutter speeds work. Other exposure modes are also shown, making the advanced controls more accessible to new photographers.

Unfortunately, the Mark II is a disappointment when it comes to producing good pictures – especially with the kit lens. Although it worked well in bright sunshine, dark interiors were his downfall. However, the results with the 32mm f / 1.4 were much better thanks to the larger aperture.

After the race track we took the Mark II and the kit lens to an indoor rodeo. A challenging situation for every camera. Because of the kit lens’ maximum f / 6.3 aperture, we had to set the ISO to 25,600 to achieve a shutter speed that was fast enough to freeze the motion. The ISO range is between 100 and 51,200, but the noise prevents you from wanting to go that high.

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This sensor, which is coupled to the kit lens, has too little light to get clean results. Our standard test confirmed that the Mark II is not in the same environment as competitor models like the Sony A6100. As mentioned earlier, there is more than just megapixels in every camera, and low-light performance is often more important.

More positive is that the 4K / 30p videos look good. We have always liked the dual pixel CMOS autofocus system and it did a good job of tracking fast moving subjects like horse racing on an indoor track. This isn’t billed as a video camera, but it will do a good job for vlogging and home videos.

Our opinion

This isn’t one of Canon’s best efforts, though its shortcomings can be fixed with the right lens. Unfortunately, Canon has a shortage of large aperture lenses for the EF-M mount, but the 32mm f / 1.4 that we loved is at least affordable at $ 479.

EOS M is hardly new, but it remains an immature system that does not meet the standards of Sony and Fujifilm, which have far more lenses and offer built-in EVFs in models at prices similar to the M6 ​​Mark II. We’re confused as to why Canon offers two mirrorless systems with different mounts (EF-M and RF) compared to Sony, which uses the same mount for its APS-C and full-frame models. Canon’s newer R-series is definitely the favorite kid, and the EOS M doesn’t seem to be a wise investment right now.

Are there any better alternatives?

Yes. The Sony A6100 ($ 750, case only) has a built-in viewfinder and state-of-the-art auto focus and subject tracking. It’s “only” 24MP, but the pictures are pretty good. Over 50 e-mount lenses are also available, and Sony also makes full-frame cameras that use the same frame. This means that you have an easy upgrade path if you wish.

The Fujifilm X-T30, available for just $ 900, is 26 MP, also offers great picture quality, a built-in EVF, excellent video specifications and a cool retro design. There are also almost 30 XF mount lenses available, including many prime numbers with large apertures for good performance in low light conditions.

How long it will take?

The original M6 was on the market for over two years, so a Mark III will not arrive as quickly. This camera is not intended for professionals, but we have always been satisfied with Canon’s build quality and the M6 ​​Mark II should be at your disposal for many years to come.

Should you buy it?

No. The M6 ​​Mark II is a mirrorless entry-level camera with a resolution of the highest level, but is otherwise lagging behind. Lenses are missing from the entire system, and Canon seems to be focusing more on its R-series mirrorless full-frame cameras.

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