Review: Canon EOS M6 Mk II (An Excellent Travel Camera)

Canon’s Color Science proves to be very lovely with the Canon EOS M6 Mk II.

The Canon EOS M6 Mk II is a small mirrorless camera with the most megapixels on an APS-C sensor on the market. Sharing the same sensor with the Canon EOS 90D, I was sort of skeptical of how it would perform. But in real-life testing, I was pleasantly surprised. This camera is targeted at the hobbyist and serious enthusiast. It’s going to shoot great photos. More importantly, you’re going to create fantastic pictures with it. And beyond that, I was also impressed at the JPEG quality. As a photographer that has been leaning more towards getting it right in camera, the Canon M6 Mk II gave me a whole lot to work with.

Editor’s Note: Two members of the Phoblographer’s staff were taken on an all-expenses-paid trip by Canon, where we got to use the Canon EOS M6 Mk II. Our full review was done in NYC on our own bill and on our own time. The Phoblographer’s staff are trained in ethics and transparent writing from the start. And as always, we declare things like this to ensure that we have your trust. 

 

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Beautiful colors
  • The sound of the shutter will appeal to long-time photographers
  • It feels like a solid, impressive camera
  • Canon’s implementation of the Touch and Drag AF system is the best it’s ever been with the Canon EOS M6 Mk II.
  • Pretty stellar battery life
  • You’ve got more megapickles than you need. U DONT NEED MOAR MEGAPICKLES!!!!

Cons

  • I really wish it was weather sealed
  • An integrated viewfinder would have put this over the top

Gear Used

We tested the Canon EOS M6 Mk II with the 15-24mm STM lens and the DC2 viewfinder. You can get this package at Adorama for $1,099.

Tech Specs

Tech specs for the Canon EOS M6 Mark II taken from Canon’s official press briefing.

  • 32.5 Megapixel CMOS APS-C Sensor
  • 14 fps continuous shooting with AF/AE tracking
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF with 5,481 manually selectable AF points
  • Supports Eye AF Servo
  • 4k UHD 30fps / 1080p 120fps
  • 30fps RAW Burst Mode with Pre-Shooting
  • Electronic shutter with a minimum of up to 1/16,000 seconds
  • Touch & Drag AF with Optional EVF
  • 3.0 inch Touch Panel LCD Screen with Tilt Option
  • Superb Control
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Mobile RAW Workflow

 

Ergonomics

Taken from our first impressions

The front of the Canon EOS M6 Mk II is a minimalist affair. The sole button is the lens release button. To the untrained eye, it’s very easy to mistake the M6 Mk II with its predecessor.

Moving towards the top of the M6 Mk II, you’ll find a pop up flash, hot shoe (seen here with the optional Electronic Viewfinder attached), the mode dial, the main dial with the shutter button nestled within, the Multi-function button, and the secondary dial/dial function button/On-Off switch combo.

Here’s the Canon M6 Mk II with the pop-up flash extended. It’s a pretty small light source but should do in a pinch for selfies or indoor photos. Just be aware that the light will be pretty hard and don’t expect it to reach more than a few feet in front of you.

Here’s another look at the top of the Canon EOS M6 Mk II, sans the optional EVF, exposing the hot shoe. This shoe can accommodate other flash accessories, or even video monitors and such.

Moving towards the rear of the M6 Mk II, much of the camera’s rear real estate is dominated by the 3.0″ articulating touchscreen. New to the M6 Mk II is a dedicated Manual/Auto Focus switch. Below that are the buttons for Info, Movie Record, Playback, and Menu, along with the rear control wheel, which can thankfully be customized to control the ISO value. The “face” of the rear control wheel includes the drive mode, exposure compensation, a pop-up flash release, Quick Set menu/Set, the Erase buttons, and it also functions as a directional pad for navigating the camera’s menus or moving the AF points. The AE lock and AF Frame selector buttons are located on the top of the thumb rest.

Here’s a look at the articulating touch screen. With the optional EVF removed, you can flip the screen 180 degrees up to face forward: perfect for vloggers and selfie lovers.

 

Build Quality

While some photographers may feel like this is a smallish camera, the Canon EOS M6 Mk II quite honestly feels very solid. Those of us who wear more massive mitts might think that this camera is too small. But those of us with more standardized phalanges won’t see a problem. This is a camera that you genuinely want to carry around with you everywhere. It’s got a bit of heft to it, but the Canon EOS M6 Mk II isn’t at all unmanageable. Just be careful to not take it out into the rain. Perhaps that’s the worst thing about the Canon M6 Mk II. At this point, I expect every camera on the market to have some sort of moisture resistance. As a counterpoint, this camera survived being tossed around in tote bags, messenger bags, and around my chest. It’s still holding up well.

 

Ease of Use

If you’re a Canon mirrorless camera user, then the Canon EOS M6 Mk II will feel right at home. But if you’re coming from the world of DSLRs, then a few things will be different. You’ll get used to them eventually, though. Canon continues to have the single best menu system of any of the manufacturers. Couple this with the easy to use touchscreen, and you’re in business. Steve Jobs always ensured that folks could get to whatever they wanted in a menu with two clicks. You can do the same with the Canon menu system.

What I really like about the Canon EOS M6 Mk II is that a photographer can easily be creative with it. Some modes allow for this. At times I really like creating these in-camera paintings where I slow the shutter down and make photos look like paintings.

 

Autofocus

There was a time not long ago where I didn’t think that Canon’s autofocus was all that great. With the Canon EOS M6 Mk II, I see that they’ve done a lot to improve not only the speed but also the accuracy. Tracking autofocus still isn’t as good as what Sony can do, but it’s a very close second place amongst all the camera manufacturers. For me, this is quite odd. I started using Canon DSLRs around 10 years ago, and back then, Nikon was at the top of the game when it came to autofocus. Canon just couldn’t keep up. But now, they’re starting to show that they’re seriously trying and in many ways, they’ve done well. The Canon M6 Mk II does pretty well in low light too. However, there are instances where it will miss, as you can see in the photo below. But where I was most impressed is with Face Detection. The face detection here is nearly the level of the Canon EOS R after the most recent firmware update. And I’m delighted with it!

Image Quality

The Canon EOS M6 Mk II is a camera that delivers fantastic image quality. I adore it. At the moment, Capture One doesn’t support the RAW files, and so we didn’t test those out. However, these JPEGs are images that I’m more than happy with. If you’re the type of photographer to simply just be satisfied with what you get out of the camera because YOU KNOW HOW TO SHOOT IN THE FIRST PLACE, then you’ll really like the Canon M6 Mk II.

A Fantastic JPEG Camera

All of the images in this review are JPEGs. They’re clean, crisp, beautiful, and well colored. I can’t think of a single photographer that would hate these images for the type of camera that we’re working with. When zoomed in at 100%, I see a few weird artifacts at times. But again, I’m not zooming in on the details of every image I see. I understand that a photographer shoots a scene to photograph the whole scene and not just a part of it.

High ISO Performance

The high ISO performance of the Canon EOS M6 Mk II isn’t at all that bad. You’ll still retain details, and I was pretty impressed at how it handled ISO 6400. Canon packed a whole lot of pixels on this APS-C sensor, but they’re also dealing with them very well.

Extra Image Samples

Conclusions

Likes

  • Small size
  • Fantastic feeling in the hand
  • Beautiful image quality
  • Reliable autofocus
  • Good battery life

Dislikes

  • I wish it had weather sealing.

Despite the Canon EOS M6 Mk II not having weather sealing, I’m pleased with the camera. It just means that you need to be a tad more careful with it. Photographers who are hobbyists will seriously enjoy it. But in addition to that, a professional looking for something smaller to simply toss around will be very satisfied. The camera not only takes excellent images but has a very satisfying shutter sound. I can’t get over it. It sounds and feels like an old school film camera in some ways. The autofocus is also excellent in good lighting. Once things dim a little, though, it can suffer in some situations. The face detection is very good, and I can’t really complain about that at all. Overall, I think that the Canon M6 Mk II is a great camera.

But here’s what I really don’t understand. Canon’s pricing is very wacky. For $1,200, they’re offering a full-frame mirrorless camera with pretty much better everything. That’s not too much more. In my opinion, the Canon EOS M6 Mk II should be less money as a result. But that’s not for me to decide.

The Canon EOS M6 Mk II wins four out of five stars. Want one? Check out Adorama for the latest prices.