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Review: Canon M6

What I was after? After lugging around a 5D Mark III and all the gear that goes with it, I started to find carrying around all this gear tiresome. The want, to have my camera where I go was counteracted by the weight of carrying it all. After all, to capture the 'moment', its also about timing and being prepared for that. So to answer the question, I was after a light weight camera, easy to carry and low in cost, which brings me to the Canon M6.

Why the M6? The simple but not the only reason, is the weight and size, coming at around 390g. When've you've got a day job, working between different offices, trying to carry around your DSLR with its gear, alongside your laptop, makes it a chore. The M6 allows me to carry my camera around to more locations outside of photo trips.

Controls & Ergonomics The camera has four dials at the top, all in good proximity to each other. In reality, you'll mainly need to adjust 3 of those dials on a regular basis. Three of those dials allows you to control the ISO, aperture, shutter speed and the exposure compensation. I said three, but I've highlighted four controls. What the dials control depends on the shooting mode you select. In general, all the dials at the top, feel solid and easy to use, just not always easy to remember, depending on whether you change your shooting mode often.

The controls on the back of the camera feel familiar to my 5D. It's good that Canon have been consistent with this. It's usually these sorts of things that for me, would leave me feeling slightly disappointed by a camera. Unlike the M5, the M6 touchscreen flips upwards, rather than down, making it easier for vlogging or selfies.

Overall, the M6 feels solid, not that i'd like to test that by dropping it. The one downside for me is the camera isn't weather sealed. However, mine's been out in the rain, including a deluge and has so far survived (a slight disclaimer, each time it started to bucket down, I usually had it put away, but the odd bit of rain hasn't done it any harm).

Focusing The camera comes with Dual Pixel CMOS AF. It provides 3 modes of focusing, 1-point AF, Smooth Zone AF and Tracking. 1-point AF and Smooth Zone were fairly reliable and easy enough to use, particularly with static subjects. When it came to capturing more dynamic subjects, such as sport, I noticed a slight delay in focusing, resulting in missed shots. At the moment, I haven't tested the focusing with regards video, so I can't comment on that.

Lens Once you've invested in one system, one brand, it's difficult, not impossible mind, to move elsewhere. So when I thought about buying a new camera, despite the position of Sony and Fuji in the mirrorless market, I always kept the above in mind. Canon provides an official lens mount adapter that allows you to attach EF & EF-S lens to EOS M cameras, so if you're worried about the lack of lens, then worry not. If you think the price is too much, you can get a non-Canon cheaper adapter elsewhere (this is what I use). The adapter provides full electronic control over the aperture and has so far been fine.

Battery life Before I go any further, I would always recommend having a backup battery, regardless of the current battery's performance. In my experience, the battery lasts me for the majority of the day, but this is variable depending on the shoot, how you use your camera, whether you've enabled some power saving settings, which is why I don't subscribe to the number of shots taken as the barometer for battery performance. I don't keep my camera switched on, whilst I'm looking for a composition, I also don't use the flash or use the connectivity tools on every shoot, which is why I think the battery lasts me for the majority of the day.

No EVF In comparison to the M5, this doesn't have an EVF built in the camera. When I first looked at buying this, I was rather unsure how i'd handle using the screen instead of some sort of viewfinder. Initially, it was odd switching back from using the viewfinder on my 5D to the LCD on my M6, but it's something you get use to. If you don't want to, there's the option to purchase a viewfinder, which you can attach to the hot-shoe. Now that leads me on to the downside.

Flash If you have the EVF attached, then you can't have an external flash attached. I imagine that's a reason they've added an on-camera flash, which is okay, but a built in camera flash, can't do the job of a for example, speedlite, for bouncing the flash off walls or ceilings. However, this didn't put me off, for one, I'm not using an EVF at the moment and secondly, I don't normally use a flash system too often.

Connectivity The M6 comes with WIFI, Bluetooth  & NFC enabled. This allows you to do away with the remote control triggers or wired triggers and instead, in combination with the app, you can trigger the camera's shutter with your smartphone. It's a small benefit but it's one that doesn't get mentioned a lot, the reduction of carrying gear. In my experience, the wifi and bluetooth has been fairly reliable, allowing me to get long exposure shots. Arranging the connection between devices, does consume a slight amount of time. So it's always better to get connectivity arranged for the first time, before your shoot. With the Canon Irista app, you can upload to Canon's cloud storage, where you can get 15GB of space, as a starter package, followed by a priced tiering. You can read more about Irista at https://www.irista.com/

Touchscreen The touchscreen has been fairly responsive and I've not noticed any sort of sluggishness. The touchscreen has been fairly useful for finding photos and just general use of the camera. For the majority of time, I use the dials, but when you want to check out things like the histogram, etc, it's been fine. If you're as protective over your kit as I am, give the touchscreen a cover. 

Conclusion So far so good is what I think, based on my experience over the last 2-3 months. It's excellent, especially as a secondary camera and can be good as a primary camera, depending on what your needs are. Yes, it does have a few things, that I would have liked, viewfinder, 4K video and weather proofing. But these things I can live without. It's not about getting the camera with every feature, it's about getting the camera that meets your needs.  If you're having thoughts about which to get, either the M6 or the M5, get yourself into a store and get your hands on one. If you've got questions over the camera, just drop me a message in the comments, or email me at photography@priteshtailor.co.uk.