The Sweet Spot

Started 1 month ago | User reviews thread
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RLight Senior Member • Posts: 1,593
The Sweet Spot
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When I first gambled on the EOS M series many moons ago (selling off other gear), Canon had just released the EOS M2 for Japan/Select Countries-only which at the time I imported in addition to the EOS M and 22mm I grabbed on an eBay firesale. I had to do workarounds such as turret viewfinders, customized aftermarket grips, and had to shoot continuous drive and "spray and pray" to compensate for the lackluster AF of the EOS M's at the time and provided ergonomics. Things have come a long ways in 6 years. Fast forward to the EOS M6 Mark II, the successor to both the EOS M5 and EOS M6 both of which I've owned.

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The EOS M6 Mark II is the 2nd EOS M camera to have autofocus capable of hitting highly demanding circumstances, the 1st being the EOS M50. However, the EOS M6 Mark II takes it another level with 14FPS, deeper buffer and UHS-II support for fast clearing of buffer (relatively speaking) and even better autofocus. The EOS M6 Mark II also is a return to the M3 form factor where you can add or remove the electronic viewfinder (if you have or get one) for ultra-compact outings where the famed EF-M 22mm f/2 STM can be solely mounted without the EVF for a pocket-able (coat or cargo) solution for the popular 35mm focal length (22mm on APS-C) which many other offerings out there ala Fuji X100 series offer.

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The first thing that strikes you about the M6 Mark II is the ergonomics. It's very well built. A pleasure to handle and shoot with. Plenty of buttons, dials and even full time manual focus override with dedicated (and programable) back button focus, button. Having a camera that can take good images is half the battle, the other half is having one that's fun to use. The EOS M6 Mark II is fun. I would actually have to give the M50 the platinum award in fun with it's fully articulating screen and DSLR form factor, but the M6 Mark II is 2nd only to it.

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The EOS M6 Mark II is also the first APS-C (crop sensor camera) I've shot with that approaches full frame offerings in terms of image quality between it's impressive handling of high ISOs, 32MP of resolution, and WYSIWYG colors and tones. The original EOS M with the 22mm pancake won me over as an alternative to carrying my 5D Mark III around with 24-105L all the time, and the M6 Mark II with it's more impressive EF-M catalogue does it further with my EOS R and 28-70 f/2L getting left home most days with the exception being special events or if I feel like it and the M6 Mark II and it's EF-M offerings supplanting it for day-to-day use to have something more powerful on me than a smartphone but is lightweight and low profile.

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Video is excellent between Canon's class leading DPAF technology for smooth cinema-like focus, uncropped 4K with class leading rolling shutter (a big deal for 4K) and famed Canon colors. The two gripes with video I have is AWB-W, which is a WB setting that renders white as white under artificial lighting instead of an amber (default AWB) which is more pleasing but less true to life, AWB-W is not an option on the dial when programmed for fast switching to it (you still can, just not through the programmable dial). The 2nd is in order to get 4K, you have to turn the dial to Movie; pressing the record button in any other mode ends up with 1080P. Both of these can be fixed with firmware and I hope they will when Canon brings 24P support to the M6 Mark II later this year.

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Speaking of AWB, the other gripe I have with the M6 Mark II is on less common circumstances the AWB can select something just off enough to skew skin tones, thankfully if you shoot RAW (you should with a camera this advanced to make the most of it) you can correct this with your favorite post-processor of choice.

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Battery life is excellent with it going full days worth of demanding shooting (I've shot more than 1,000 shots, easy) on a full charge without needing to switch the battery.

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I do recommend a Sony Tough UHS-II card of some kind to keep up with the sheer amount of data this can kick out as it's the fastest card on the market that I've tested for the camera. 14FPS RAWs fill your buffer, fast. C-RAW is another option I highly recommend you take advantage of as the only penalty it suffers from what I can tell, is the lack of ability to apply Canon's DLO corrections, that only work if using Canon's own, free, DPP4 post-processor. Most folks don't use the software so I'd skip RAW and do C-RAW. I'm picky and do RAW and in fact use DPP4 as I don't care to rent software ala Adobe Creative suite. Canon's DPP4 also preserves Canon's famed colors which the latest Adobe LR CC still doesn't support a color match for at the time of this writing, which is a big deal and a big fail on behalf of Adobe in my book.

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The other obvious gotcha, the lack of built-in viewfinder precludes the ability to both mount a viewfinder, and external flash at the same time. It's a double edged sword. You have the option to go ultra-compact, sans EVF, but, you can't go ultra-powerful with an EVF and speedlite. I personally agree with Canon's approach, but, wish there was some third option like pop-up EVF so I could have it all. That didn't happen this round.

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The one thing Canon lacks for the M system at this junction, a "party lens" that is a faster equivalence zoom. Granted the 32mm and 22mm primes can do that duty, and do it ultra-compact which is the point of the M system (to have something powerful, but small and light and doesn't break the bank), but lens swaps during special events is not desirable. That's where I still reach for my EOS R and RF 28-70 f/2L where I never swap lenses, period as it's 5 primes in a single zoom essentially. Be nice to see an f/2.8 zoom of some kind as I personally even though I enjoy the image quality of the EOS R, would like to see something although won't match my EOS R and RF 28-70 f/2L aka Goliath, I'd like David aka my EOS M setup, have a smooth stone to slay Goliath with, filling the single lens gap that presently exists.

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Overall I think Canon has a sweet spot here. It doesn't have IBIS which would be immensely useful for video with the 22mm and 32mm (no OIS on those lenses), but, 32MP with fast 4K readout, is hard to beat as more resolution is more resolution and what's the point of 4K if you have rolling shutter? Even my 18-150 superzoom lens, looks better at 32MP than 24MP and even with it's class-leading rolling shutter, there's times you can still notice it under the right conditions. For most folks I recommend the EOS M50, it's cheaper, and has a built-in EVF and doesn't have occasional AWB hiccups and is a more refined beast in my book. But, the M6 Mark II has much more teeth with more advanced AF, better low light performance and uncropped 4K with class leading rolling shutter. For the discerning pro wanting a personal option, or an advanced amateur, it should be on your short list as the EOS M series is a truly compact APS-C offering where the competition is pushing towards bigger, heavier and more expensive offerings. In a market where Full Frame offerings like the EOS RP, A7III are offering compelling FF offerings and smartphone manufactures are offering compelling take everywhere and now decent low light performance, the EOS M6 mark II offers are much smaller, lighter and cheaper alternative to the FF heavyweights for the average Joe as lets face it, folks don't want to drag their DSLR (or even Mirrorless FF) everywhere, but, they want high quality stills and video to throw on Facebook, Instagram, print and send to relatives and want something they can throw in a pocket, or not get in the way of life. The EOS M6 Mark II and it's cheaper M50 brother tick those boxes as simple as those boxes may be, without breaking the bank, or the back.

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Kids and pets gets 5/5 as the AF is really good, and this is very portable. Action sports gets 5/5 due to class leading crop sensor resolution married with 14FPS and crop duty to multiply the focal length on a FF adapted lens which this is arguably better than the 90D for that, ironically. Landscape gets 5/5 with 32MP resolution for a crop sensor. Portraits only gets 3/5 because Canon lacks native glass options particularly a fast zoom, granted Sigma is a good alternative with it's f/1.4 primes, but there should be a native fast zoom by now for the M so it falls short here where I might recommend a Fuji or Sony with their fast primes and fast zooms, natively, but, big but, those options are much larger and much more expensive which defeats the purpose of the EOS M's of their go-everywhere mantra and not break the bank so it goes with the turf perhaps. Low light scores 4/5 only because this isn't Full frame and I'm picky. It's REALLY good for crop and destroys a smartphone, don't hear what I'm not saying. Flash is unrated because you have to choose between a flash and an EVF on which to put in the hotshoe which I like my EVFs, but, it does have a bounce-able pop-up flash (bounce part is important, and built-in at that). Studio/still life gets 5/5 due to sheer resolution and availability of cheap light small 32mm and 28mm lenses for macro duty. Not fair to rate a camera on its lenses, I know, but it comes down to glass; pick a system for its glass, price, image quality and fun. The M6 Mark II scores top marks on most things, except, if it's lacking glass you want. Hopefully Canon will address this in the future even if that means it'll compete with their precious cash-cow EOS R and RF offerings... Or you can do what I do, have a system for take everywhere (EOS M system) and one for heavy duty (EOS R), but the latter is becoming a pro-only affair lately with it's price point and size which the EOS M series and the M6 Mark II is a very welcome respite for those who wield a FF pro offerings like myself, but want the same or near level of image quality, but much more portable.

 RLight's gear list:RLight's gear list
Canon EOS R Canon EOS M6 II Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Samyang 21mm F1.4 +3 more
Canon EOS M6 Mark II
33 megapixels • 3 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: Aug 28, 2019
RLight's score
4.5
Average community score
4.8
bad for good for
Kids / pets
excellent
Action / sports
excellent
Landscapes / scenery
excellent
Portraits
good
Low light (without flash)
great
Flash photography (social)
unrated
Studio / still life
excellent
= community average
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS M3 Canon EOS M50 (EOS Kiss M) Canon EOS M6 Canon EOS M6 II Fujifilm FinePix X100
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