Body, handling and controls

Revised handling

The M6 Mark II looks an awful lot like its predecessor, but the controls have all been tweaked slightly. There are still twin control dials on the top plate of the camera: one around the shutter button and a second on the rear right shoulder, but there's no longer a dedicated Exposure Comp button rising out of the rear one.

The top plate has been redesigned to more closely match the older EOS M5, with its Dial Func. control taking the place of a dedicated exposure compensation dial.

Instead, the center of the rear dial is now home to a 'Dial Func' button. This can be used to swap the dial's function, cycling between a selection of functions each time you press it or letting you use the front dial to scroll through them. You can limit the options down to the ones you use most often.

Dial Func options (choose up to five)
  • ISO
  • Drive mode
  • One shot <> Servo
  • White Balance
  • Flash Exp Comp.
  • Exp Comp.
  • AF area mode
  • Metering mode
  • Picture mode

The back of the camera has gained an MF/AF switch and a well-placed, unmarked AF-On button (which can be re-purposed).

The EOS M6 II retains a built-in pop-up flash that can be bounced, and there's still clearance for it with the optional EVF mounted into the camera's hotshoe.

Menus

The EOS M6 II uses the latest version of the familiar Canon menu structure. It's fairly straightforward in its layout. Like many brands' menus, it's starting to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options included in it. The top-level sections are clear enough, but it's getting to the stage where you have to remember whether a particular option lives on page 3, 7 or 9 of the 'camera' section.

The 'Custom Functions' section of the menu takes on a completely different, rather more primitive look with no clear sections or navigation tools within it. We used to refer to this behavior as being 'like dropping back into DOS' - a reference so dated that it highlights how archaic this section of the menu now appears.

There is, at least, a customizable 'My Menu' tab which lets you collect your most-used settings in a single tab, if you regularly find yourself needing access to menu-only options.

Thankfully, in use, most of those functions not accessed directly from a button can often be found in the camera's Quick Menu. It's a simple, touchscreen system with options stacked up each side of the screen.

The M6 II inherits a minor UI error from the EOS R series cameras: when you select Face / Tracking AF, a note appears on the screen saying '[Info] Eye Enable'. This looks like you need to press the 'Info' button to enable Eye AF. In fact is means Eye AF is already enabled. We've pointed out the ambiguity of what is presumably a translation glitch to Canon, but it's still there.

The M6 II offers both the settings-based and simpler, outcome-based 'Creative Assist' interfaces for its in-camera Raw conversion function. There's a menu option 'Quick Control Raw Processing' to decide which version appears in the Quick Menu.

Separate Stills and Movie button assignment

The rear panel of the M6 II has seen some updates, and you can customize your buttons separately for both stills and video shooting.

To make the most of the camera's stills and movie capabilities, given the limited number of control points, Canon lets you change the configuration of the customizable buttons separately for the two modes, if you prefer.

On the M6 II you can customize the behavior of twelve of its buttons:

Buttons whose functions can be customized on the EOS M6 II
  • Shutter button
  • Movie REC button
  • M-Fn button
  • Dial Func
  • AF-On
  • AEL
  • AF area button
  • Exp Comp. button
  • Drive mode button
  • Flash button
  • Delete button
  • SET button

Everything except the shutter button and [REC] button can be separately customized in movie mode.

Auto ISO

The EOS M6 II has a pretty sophisticated Auto ISO system. You can specify the lower and upper ISO value it can use, with different values for stills and video shooting. Auto ISO is available in manual mode with exposure compensation, in both stills and video mode.

In stills mode you can specify the shutter speed Auto ISO tries to maintain. This threshold can be a specific shutter speed or an automatic value, related to your current focal length. An auto value can be biased to a faster value (to freeze action) or a slower one (if you can keep the camera steady). The only disappointment is that the only place to adjust this value is by going into the main menu: it can't be accessed from the Q menu or assigned to a button.

Battery

The EOS M6 II uses the same LP-E17 battery as its predecessor and some of Canon's smaller DSLRs, from which it manages to squeeze a rating of 305 shots per charge. As always, these numbers won't necessarily reflect the number of shots you'll get. Depending on your shooting style and how much time you spend reviewing images, getting twice the CIPA figure isn't unusual.

However, the numbers are usually pretty comparable between cameras and we find a rating of 305 is usually sufficient for a weekend of occasional, casual shooting but you'll want to have a second battery or USB power brick if you want to focus on shooting.

On the plus side, although the camera's Type-C USB socket only supports v2.0 speeds, it does allow both charging and direct camera operation. Canon doesn't specify it, but the camera seems to prefer power sources that reach the USB-PD (Power Delivery) standard, so don't expect it to charge with older, low voltage smartphone chargers.