Canon EOS M6

      Photo Review 8.5

      In summary

      A successor to the EOS M3, the EOS M6 sacrifices a built-in EVF to provide a smaller, lighter body than the higher-featured, EVF-equipped EOS M5.

      While the EOS M6 offers some worthwhile improvements over its predecessor, the lack of a built-in EVF will always be a serious barrier to its acceptance as a serious enthusiast’s or pro photographer’s camera ““ even as a back-up body.  


      Full review

      Promoted by Canon as ‘The Content Creator’s Mirrorless’, the EOS M6 updates its predecessor, the EOS M3  by importing some of the advanced features introduced in the EOS M5 (which we reviewed in December 2016). But it lacks the built-in, high-resolution EVF that made the M5 attractive to serious photographers. For anyone taking pictures in the Southern Hemisphere, that makes it much less attractive.  


      Angled front view of the EOS M6 with its pop-up flash raised and the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens fitted. (Source: Canon.)

      The review camera was supplied with two lenses: the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM  which we reviewed with the EOS M5 and will also be bundled with the M6 and the EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM  wide angle zoom lens, which we reviewed August 2013. Although quite pricey for a snapshooters’ camera, the EOS M6 is cheaper than the EOS M5. But the three models (M3, M5 and M6) have many features in common, as shown in the table below.


      EOS M6

      EOS M3

      EOS M5

      Effective resolution


      Image processor

      DIGIC 7

      DIGIC 6

      DIGIC 7

      Shutter speeds

      30 to 1/4000 sec. plus Bulb

      Max. burst speed (fixed focus)

      9 fps

      4.2 fps

      9 fps

      Buffer capacity

      26 JPEG or 17 RAW

      100 JPEG or 5 RAW  

      26 JPEG or 17 RAW

      ISO range

      Stills: 100-25600, Movies: 100-6400

      Stills: 100-12800, Movies: 100-6400

      Stills: 100-25600, Movies: 100-6400


      AE only

      AE, WB





      Optional EVF-DC1 attachment

      Built-in OLED EVF with 2,360,000 dots


      Tiltable (180 degrees up/45 degrees down), 3-inch   LCD touch panel, 1,040,000 dots

      Tiltable (85 degrees up/180 degrees down), 3.2-inch LCD touch panel, 1,620,000 dots

      AF technology

      Dual Pixel CMOS AF

      Hybrid CMOS AF

      Dual Pixel CMOS AF

      Touch-and-drag AF point selection



      AF points


      Metering sensors


      EV compensation

      +/- 3 EV


      Built-in GN 5 (ISO 100/m)


      Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC

      Wi-Fi, NFC

      Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

      Customisable buttons






      CIPA rated capacity

      295 shots/charge

      250 shots/charge

      295 shots/charge


      112.0 x 68.0 x 44.5 mm

      110.9 x 68.0 x 44.4 mm

       115.6 x 89.2 x 60.6 mm

      Weight (with battery & card)

      390 grams

      366 grams

      427 grams

      Both cameras are limited to Full HD 1080p video recording and both have a microphone port but no connection for headphones. The smaller dimensions and lighter weight of the M6 work in its favour for anyone who wants to travel light. But the lack of a built-in EVF is a deal-breaker for serious shooters and when you add the optional EVF-DC1 or new EVF-DC2 the M6 becomes as big, heavy and costly as the M5 (which you’d be better off buying).

      Who’s it For?
      In the light of the comments above, we can’t see any reason to buy the M6 ““ unless you genuinely prefer using the monitor to compose all shots and are seriously into taking ‘selfies’. The M6 has the advantage that its monitor tilts upwards above the camera, whereas the M5’s tilts below it. But, it’s essentially the same screen as used in the M3. Neither camera is easily pocketable.

      The ‘bar of soap’ body designs of the M3 and M6 are also marginally less conspicuous for street photography and give the impression of an amateur’s camera so you’re less likely to attract attention.   However, without a viewfinder,   the M6 appears to be a backwards step in a product line that looked quite promising when the EOS M5 was released. Canon’s mirrorless cameras still lag behind the latest models from Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony in how they cater for photo enthusiasts.

      Build and Ergonomics
       Like previous EOS M models, the M6’s body is made from polycarbonate, although the overall build quality is a cut above the PowerShot models. It is offered in all-black or black and silver finishes but, like others in the line, lacks environmental sealing.


       Top view of the EOS M6 with the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens. (Source: Canon.)

      The control layout differs somewhat from the EOS M5 since the top panel has been re-arranged to accommodate the pop-up flash, while still allowing access to the hot-shoe. The mode dial, which sat on the left hand side of this panel on the M5 has been shifted to the right and now sits between the hot-shoe and the combined exposure compensation dial and  Quick Control Dial at the rear right hand corner of the panel.

      The Quick Control Dial is a downscaled version of the multi-function dial  on the M5. The  shutter button sits forward on the top panel, slightly to the left of the grip moulding, with a M-Fn (programmable function button) to its right.

      A power on/off lever is located below the combined dials at the junction between the top and rear panels. The flash pop-up button has been shifted from the top panel on the M5 to the left hand side panel on the M6.


       Front view of the EOS M6   without a lens. (Source: Canon.)

      The front panel has a similar layout to the M5, with a decent grip moulding that has a remote control sensor embedded in its upper section. Other features are the usual lens release button and an embedded LED lamp that does double duty for AF illumination and self-timer alerts.  


      Angled view of the rear panel of the EOS M6 with the   monitor tilted downwards. (Source: Canon.)

      The rear panel layout is identical to the EOS M5’s, with all controls arranged on the right of the monitor screen.  As in the EOS M3, the screen flips up through 180 degrees to face forwards for shooting ‘selfies’. It also tilts down through 45 degrees.


       Front view of the EOS M6 with the monitor flipped up in ‘selfie’ mode. (Source: Canon.)

      Although the screen is smaller than the M5’s it supports most of the same touch controls,  including touch AF and touch shutter functions.   The touch-and-drag function from the M5 that allows your thumb to be moved across the screen to change the focus while you’re composing shots through the EVF is not available.  

      Right of the monitor is a conventional arrow pad with directional buttons that access the ISO, flash, delete and white balance sub-menus. Above are the Info and movie buttons, while below lie the playback and menu buttons.  

      Like the PowerShots and EOS M5, the M6 houses its battery and memory card in a single compartment in the grip, accessed via a hatch on the base plate.  You can’t open the hatch when the camera is tripod mounted.

      The metal-lined tripod socket is in line with the optical axis of the lens, while the USB socket and microphone jack sit beneath flexible plastic covers on the left side panel. The HDMI port is on the  right hand side, with the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth antenna below it.

      Sensor and Image Processing
       We’ve covered both in our review of the EOS M5  which has identical specifications. There are four size options for JPEGs, three of which provide two compression levels, with the S2 size only offering one compression setting.  Users can choose from four aspect ratios: the standard   3:2 plus 4:3, 1:1 and 16:9 aspect ratios, achieved by cropping.  

      Stepping up from the DIGIC 6 processor in the EOS M3 to the DIGIC 7 processor chip, enables a native sensitivity range of   ISO 100-25600 and facilitates panning.  HDR (high dynamic range) capture is now included but time-lapse recording (which is available in the M5) is not enabled.

      The continuous burst speed has doubled since the EOS M3 and, like the M5, the M6 can record continuous bursts of shots with frame rates of up to 9 fps provided focus and exposure are locked on the first frame. The buffer memory can now accommodate up to 60 Large/Fine JPEGs, 17 CR2.RAW files or 16 RAW+JPEG pairs.

      Video capabilities are the same as in the EOS M5, with four movie settings  available: Full HD at 50 fps, Full HD at 25 fps, HD at 50 fps and VGA at 25 fps. Slow motion playback is not supported.

       Connectivity options are the same as in the EOS 5D, with built-in Wi-Fi, low-power Bluetooth and NFC (Android devices only). The Bluetooth connection provides an  always-on link that enables the camera to connect with a smart device for automatic transferring of images and movie clips.

      Once Wi-Fi is set up it can be used to connect the camera to the CANON iMAGE GATEWAY service, where an account must be set up requiring your email address and a four-digit password. Other web services can also be used for uploading images.

      Playback and Software
       Both are essentially the same as with other recently-released EOS cameras. Like most manufacturers, Canon supplies the software for managing and editing images and video clips via a free download service that is accessed from a central website ( Instructions for downloading the software can be found on page 3 of the printed, 131-page Getting Started manual supplied with the camera.

      The same page also provides a link for downloading the full user manual in PDF format.

      Unsurprisingly (since they have the same sensor resolution), the overall performance of the review camera was very similar to the results we obtained from the EOS M3 when we reviewed it in April 2015. We obtained slightly higher resolution with raw files from the review camera but JPEG resolution was much the same as in the previous model.

      Despite the introduction of Dual Pixel CMOS AF autofocusing hasn’t improved in low light levels and remains beyond the capabilities of the AF system. The review camera inevitably hunted for several seconds and often did not find focus after dark.

      On switching to manual focusing we had to brighten up the monitor screen and use the focusing aids available (magnification and peaking) before manual focusing could be used. But even then, it was difficult to make the scene appear sharp because the manual focus ring on the lens lacked tactile feedback.

      In bright daylight focusing became faster and more accurate but it also became difficult to compose shots on the monitor screen due to high ambient light levels. Indoors and in shady conditions, the monitor was adequate ““ but only just. This adds to the proof that you really need a viewfinder for shooting outdoors in Australia; a monitor screen on its own simply doesn’t suffice.

      Our Imatest tests showed the colour balance in JPEGs had been set up to reflect snapshooters’ preferences, with a slight increase in saturation in the warmer hues (including skin colours) to make human subjects appear ‘healthier’ and more attractive. Other hues were accurately rendered. Converted CR2.RAW files showed the usual loss of saturation but were much closer to the ideal colours. This would make such files easier to edit, even with basic software.

      Imatest showed the camera to be capable of maintaining relatively high resolution across most of its sensitivity range. However, resolution failed to meet expectations for the sensor’s resolution with JPEG files, although it exceeded expectations comfortably with CR2.RAW files. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest tests across the camera’s sensitivity range.


       Test shots were almost noise-free up to ISO 3200, after which both noise and softening became increasingly visible in long exposures. By ISO 12800, both noise and softening were obvious when images were enlarged even slightly and 3.2-second exposures at ISO 25600 were fuzzy looking due to noise-reduction processing.

      Most flash exposures were taken at f/6.3 (the widest aperture available at 45mm) with a consistent shutter speed of 1/60 second until ISO 25600, when the lens was stopped down to f/8 and the shutter speed increased to 1/80 second. Like the M3, the built-in flash produced under-exposed shots with the 45mm focal length between ISO 100 and ISO 800 but managed correct exposures between ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 (inclusive), thereafter producing increasing levels of over-exposure up to the top ISO settings (which were grossly over-exposed).

      Video quality was similar to the results we obtained with the M3 and generally good  when recordings were made in normal light levels. The addition of a 50 fps frame rate to Full HD recording mode is welcome, although it didn’t appear to make a huge difference to the smoothness of the recordings.

      The camera’s autofocusing system was able to keep pace with moving subjects in movie mode, resulting in clips in which there were few lapses in focusing ““ or exposure. The dynamic range in movie clips was acceptably wide, even in contrasty lighting.

      Audio quality was similar to the quality we obtained from the EOS M3 and good for the size and location of the built-in microphones. Some wind noise was picked up when shooting outdoors in windy conditions, although the wind filter could generally suppress gentle breezes. No camera noises were detected in movie soundtracks.

      We conducted our timing tests with the same 16GB Panasonic Gold Series SDHC Class 10/UHS Class 3 card as we used to test the EOS M3. This card supports a read speed of up to 95MB/s and write speeds up to 45MB/s.  

      The review camera took just over a second to power up ready for shooting. We measured a consistent capture lag of 0.1 seconds when the shutter button was used to trigger the exposure and 0.3 seconds with the touch shutter. This lag was eliminated with pre-focusing when the shutter button was used.

      Shot-to-shot times averaged 0.6 seconds without flash and 3.3 seconds when the flash was used. Unlike its predecessor, the EOS M6 has an indicator light to show image processing times so we were able to record an average of just over half a second to process either a Large/Fine JPEG or CR2.RAW file.

      In the high-speed continuous shooting mode the review camera recorded 24 Large/Fine JPEGs in 2.4 seconds, which equates to 10 frames/second. It took six seconds to process the burst and clear the buffer memory.

      With CR2.RAW files, the capture rate stalled after 18 frames, which were recorded in 1.9 seconds. It took 11.8 seconds to process this burst. When the camera was set to record RAW+JPEG pairs, capture rates slowed after 16 frames, which were recorded in 1.6 seconds. It took 15.2 seconds to process this burst.

       To get the best results out of the EOS M6/15-45mm combo you have to shoot raw files. And that’s something snapshooters simply won’t do. And with 99% of snapshooters using their smartphones for almost all of their shots, there’s little to attract consumers to buy cameras like the M6.

      Consequently, there’s not much incentive for any manufacturer to cater for this sector of the market, especially as smartphones do a much better job of posting images and movie clips on social networks. Photographers are still waiting to see Canon direct its attention to the ‘serious’ end of its mirrorless range and come up with a camera to rival the flagship models from Fujifilm, Olympus and Panasonic.  

      Although the EOS M6 offers some worthwhile improvements over its predecessor, the lack of a built-in EVF will always be a serious barrier to its acceptance as a serious enthusiast’s or pro photographer’s camera ““ even as a back-up body. We also think its price is high for a snapshooter’s camera, given the current competition from rival manufacturers, who have similarly-priced models with built-in EVFs that provide equal or better functionality and performance.

      Following so soon after the EMS M5, the M3 is a disappointment because it suggests Canon is still seeing its mirrorless cameras as a low-end product (albeit with a high price tag for the category).   Canon lists the EOS M6 body on its website at AU$1279, which we assume is the RRP (Canon won’t disclose RRPs to local journalists in Australia, although it gives them out freely to journalists in other countries.)

      Already local re-sellers are offering it at discounted prices, with some listing the camera plus 15-45mm lens below the Canon body-only price. If you’re attracted by this camera it pays to shop around. Off-shore re-sellers list the EOS M6 body at US$799, which equates to approximately AU$1033.

      The body plus 15-45mm lens kit is listed at US$899, which converts to approximately  AU$1192. Expect to pay more than AU$50 for the cheapest shipping prices if you choose this option, although we recommend you shop locally since you’ll probably end up with a better deal.

      The price of the EOS M5 single-lens kit has been reduced from AU$1949 to $1599 on Canon’s local online store. And you can get the EF-EOS M    Mount Adapter included in the bundle for no extra charge. A few local re-sellers have the kit listed at under AU$1600.

      Even though the EOS M5 fails to meet all enthusiasts’ expectations, in our opinion it is streets ahead of the EOS M6. Ironically, mirrorless cameras are the only category showing real growth in a sluggish worldwide camera market. Sadly, while it might sell well in Northern Hemisphere countries, for Southern Hemisphere buyers we see the M6 as a decidedly retrograde step.  



       Image sensor: 22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS sensor with 25.8 million photosites (24.2 megapixels effective); 3:2 aspect ratio, fixed low-pass filter
       Image processor:  DIGIC 7
       A/D processing: 14-bit
       Lens mount: EF-M (EF and EF-S lenses compatible via Mount adapter EF-EOS M)
       Focal length crop factor: 1.6x
       Image formats: Stills: JPEG (Exif 2.30 compliant), CR2.RAW, RAW+JPEG; Movies: MP4 (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, Audio: MPEG-4 AAC-LC [stereo])
       Image Sizes: Stills ““ 3:2 aspect – 6000 x 4000, 3984 x 2656, 2976 x 1984, 2400 x 1600; 4:3 aspect – 5328 x 4000, 3552 x 2664, 2656 x 1992, 2112 x 1600; 16:9 aspect – 6000 x 3368, 3984 x 2240, 2976 x 1680 2400 x 1344; 1:1 aspect – 4000 x 4000, 2656 x 2656, 1984 x 1984, 1600 x 1600; Movies:   1920 x 1080 (59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 23.976 fps) HD -1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps)VGA -640 x 480 (29.97, 25 fps)
       Image Stabilisation: Lens based, plus electronic 5-axis  stabilisation for movie recording
       Dust removal: EOS integrated cleaning system
       Shutter (speed range): Electronically controlled focal-plane shutter (30 – 1/4000 second in 1/3 stop increments plus Bulb)
       Exposure Compensation: +/-3EV in 1/3EV steps (+/-EV for movies)
       Exposure bracketing: 3 shots, +/-2 EV, 1/3-stop increments (can be used together with Exposure Compensation)
       Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay plus Custom and Remote settings
       Focus system: Dual Pixel CMOS AF; maximum 49 AF points (Fixed location on 7×7 grid) via camera automatic selection plus 1 AF point/ 1 AF Zone (9 points, 3×3 grid) via manual selection
       Focus modes: One-Shot AF and Servo AF, Face and subject tracking via automatic recognition/ manual selection via touchscreen; MF available via AF/MF   switch on lens
       Exposure metering:   Evaluative (384 zones), Partial (approx 10% of Live View Screen at centre), Centre-weighted and Spot (approx 2%) metering patterns
       Shooting modes: Scene Intelligent Auto, Hybrid Auto, Creative Assist, SCN(Self-Portrait, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Food, Panning, Handheld Night Scene, HDR Backlight Control), Creative Filters (Grainy B/W, Soft Focus, Fish-eye Effect, Art bold effect, Water painting effect, Toy camera effect, Miniature effect (Stills and Movie), High Dynamic Range), Program AE , Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual exposure, Custom (x2), Movie (Movie auto exposure, Movie manual exposure, Time-lapse movie)
       Picture Style modes: Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Fine Detail, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Defined (x3)
       In-camera image processing modes: Highlight Tone Priority, Auto Lighting Optimizer (4 settings), Long exposure noise reduction, High ISO speed noise reduction (4 settings + Multi Shot NR), Lens peripheral illumination correction, Chromatic aberration correction, Diffraction correction,
       Creative Assist modes: Background Blur (5 settings), Brightness (19 levels), Contrast (9 levels), Saturation (9 levels), Colour Tone (19 levels), Monochrome (Sharpness Strength / Sharpness Fineness / Sharpness Threshold / Contrast (9 levels),   Filter effect (Ye -Yellow / Or -Orange / R -Red / G (Green) / Toning effect (S -Sepia / B -Blue / P -Purple / G -Green)
       Custom functions: 13 customisable buttons/ dials
       Colour space options: Adobe RGB, sRGB
       ISO range: Auto,   ISO 100 – 25600 in 1/3 stop increments; ISO 100-6400 for movies
       White balance: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten light, White Fluorescent light, Flash, Custom, Colour Temperature (100 Kelvin increments), Custom (1 setting), +/- 9 levels of WB compensation in B/A and M/G axes
       Flash: built-in GN 5 (ISO 100, metres); max. coverage at 15mm focal length, recycle time approx. 3 seconds
       Flash modes: Auto (E-TTL II), Manual Flash On/Off (3 flash power output settings); red-eye reduction available
       Flash exposure adjustment: +/-2EV in 1/3EV steps
       Sequence shooting: Max. 9 frames/sec.  with fixed focus, 7 fps with AF
       Buffer capacity: Up to 26 JPEG or 17 CR2.RAW
       Storage Media: Single slot for SD, SDHC, SDXC cards (UHS-I compatible)
       Viewfinder: Optional Electronic Viewfinder EVF-DC1, EVF-DC2
       LCD monitor: 180 degree tilt up, 3-inch   Clear View LCD II touch panel with approx. 1,040,000 dots
       Playback functions: Single, index (6/12/42/110 images), Jump display (1/10/100 image, by shot date, by rating), slideshow, 2x -10x playback zoom enabled in 10 steps, display options: shooting info, grid overlay (x3 formats), histogram (brightness/ RGB), highlight alert,   electronic level, aspect ratio, erase, protect
       Interface terminals: Micro USB 2.0 connector, HDMI (Micro -Type-D), 3.5mm stereo microphone jack
       Wi-Fi function: Integrated Wi-Fi and NFC plus low-power Bluetooth functionality
       Power supply: LP-E17E Rechargeable Li-ion Battery Pack; CIPA rated for approx. 295 shots/charge with monitor
       Dimensions (wxhxd): 112.0 x 68.0 x 44.5 mm
       Weight: Approx. 390 grams with battery and SD card

      Distributor: Canon Australia  



       Based on JPEG files taken with the EF-M 15″“45mm f/3.5″“6.3 IS STM lens.


       Based on CR2.RAW files converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw.






       Auto white balance   with incandescent lighting.


       Auto white balance   with fluorescent lighting.


       Auto white balance with LED lighting.


       Auto white balance with flash lighting.


      ISO 100, 28mm focal length, 30 second exposure at f/6.3.


      ISO 800, 28mm focal length, 13 second exposure at f/7.1.


      ISO 3200, 28mm focal length, 8 second exposure at f/9.


      ISO 6400, 28mm focal length, 5 second exposure at f/11.


      ISO 12800, 28mm focal length, 5 second exposure at f/16.


      ISO 25600, 28mm focal length, 3.2 second exposure at f/22.


      Flash exposure at ISO 100; 45mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/6.3.


      Flash exposure at ISO 800; 45mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/6.3.


      Flash exposure at ISO 3200; 45mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/6.3.


      Flash exposure at ISO 6400; 45mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/6.3.


      Flash exposure at ISO 12800; 45mm focal length, 1/60 second at f/6.3.


      Flash exposure at ISO 25600; 45mm focal length, 1/80 second at f/8.


      ISO 100, 15mm focal length, 1/500 second exposure at f/10.


      ISO 100, 45mm focal length, 1/500 second exposure at f/9.


      ISO 200, 28mm focal length, 1/125 second exposure at f/7.1.


      ISO 200, 45mm focal length, 1/125 second exposure at f/6.3.


      Close-up at ISO 200, 45mm focal length, 1/100 second exposure at f/9.


      Close-up at ISO 6400, 45mm focal length, 1/60 second exposure at f/6.3.


      Strong backlighting, ISO 100, 16mm focal length, 1/125 second exposure at f/8.


      ISO 100, 15mm focal length, 1/200 second exposure at f/5.


      ISO 100, 42mm focal length, 1/400 second exposure at f/7.1.


      ISO 400, 15mm focal length, 1/10 second exposure at f/10.


       Still frame from Full HD 1080 video clip taken at 50p.


       Still frame from Full HD 1080 video clip taken at 25p.


       Still frame from   HD 720 video clip taken at 50p.


       Still frame from VGA video clip taken at 25p.


      RRP: AU$1279; US$779.99 (body only); AU$1399; US$899.99, as reviewed with 15-45mm lens

      • Build: 8.7
      • Ease of use: 8.4
      • Autofocusing: 7.9
      • Still image quality JPEG: 8.4
      • Still image quality RAW: 8.8
      • Video quality: 8.8