Canon EOS M6 Review

May 11, 2017 | Tim Coleman | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 24 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 8Mb.

The Canon EOS M6 features the same 24.2-million pixel APS-C sensor as found in the EOS M5, EOS 760D and EOS M6, with a ISO 100-25,600 range.

I had plenty of time with the camera, using it in a wide range of scenarios - for example shooting landscapes in bright sunshine and cloud, being under tungsten light inside, wandering the streets at night and so on. During this time, I have used the whole range of ISO settings. 

To comment on the Canon EOS M6’s handling of noise, I have examined the large 6000x4000 pixel images at 100% magnification. Downscaling images to, say, 16-million-pixels, reduces critical observations.

Raw files that have not had any lens correction and noise reduction applied start to show signs of luminance noise at ISO 800. All images taken at this setting or below are crisp and vibrant. Noise brings a gradual albeit small loss in sharpness and saturation from this point (ISO 1600 and ISO 3200) and once at ISO 6400, noise is more prominent and images are tonally flatter. Certainly the top two settings of ISO 12,800 and ISO 25,600 are less useable. 

Noise reduction applied to JPEG images at ISO 1600 and higher render edge detail softer and smoothed over. Again, JPEG images at ISO 100 through to ISO 800 are crisp and pack a punch. 

There is a slight loss of detail in dark shadow and bright highlight areas that is otherwise found in the matching raw file, as one would expect, so it is worth it to shoot in raw format in scenes when the Canon EOS M6’s dynamic range is really tested. 

For images at ISO 1600 and above, best results can be achieved by applying lens corrections to raw files manually, to make sure images are crisp and the maximum possible shadow and highlight detail maintained. 

I’ve tested several Canon EOS digital cameras down the years and consistently the quality of JPEGs is a strong point. The EOS M6 does not disappoint, with faithful colour rendition, saturation and lens corrections applied. 

By default, the EOS M6 uses an auto colour mode, which for the best part renders accurate colours. I did find on one or two occasions that the auto colour mode missed the mark, such as when shooting an outside area carpeted with bluebells among long green grass, where the vivd colour setting seemed to be applied with garish results. 

If one is likely to edit images post shooting, then it is well worth choosing the natural colour mode or at least the standard colour mode to ensure a subtler colour rendition, from which one can then increase the saturation and so on to taste.
 
All in all, the Canon EOS M6 delivers really good quality images that are sure to please enthusiast photographers. 

Noise

ISO sensitivity can be set between ISO 100 and ISO 25600 in full-stop increments. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with JPEG on the left and the RAW equivalent on the right.

JPEG

RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg
   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg
   

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg

File Quality

The Canon EOS M6 has 2 different JPEG file quality settings available, including Fine and Normal, with Fine being the higher quality option. Here are two 100% crops which show the quality of the two options.

Fine (7.57Mb) (100% Crop) Normal (4.87Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg
   
RAW (31.1Mb) (100% Crop)  
quality_raw.jpg  

Flash

The flash settings on the Canon EOS M6 are Auto, Manual Flash On/Off, and Red-Eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle

Flash On - Wide Angle

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto

Flash On - Telephoto

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On setting nor the Red-Eye Reduction option caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash Off

flash_off.jpg
 

Flash On

flash_on.jpg
 

Flash Red-eye Reduction

flash_redeye.jpg

Night

The Canon EOS M6's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds and there's a Bulb mode for even longer exposures, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds, aperture of f/8 at ISO 100.

Night

night.jpg

Picture Styles

Canon's Picture Styles are preset combinations of different sharpness, contrast, saturation and colour tone settings. The available Picture Styles are shown below in the following series, which demonstrates the differences. You can tweak these Picture Styles to your liking, and there are also User Defined styles so that you can create your own look.

Standard

Portrait

picture_style_01.jpg picture_style_02.jpg
   
Landscape

Fine Detail

picture_style_03.jpg picture_style_04.jpg
   
Neutral

Faithful

picture_style_05.jpg picture_style_06.jpg
   
Monochrome  
picture_style_07.jpg  

Creative Filters

Essentially a more extreme version of the well-established Picture Styles, Creative Filters offers 10 options, all of which can be interactively tweaked to suit your taste.

Grainy B/W

Soft Focus

creative_filter_01.jpg creative_filter_02.jpg
   
Fish-eye Effect

Toy Camera Effect

creative_filter_03.jpg creative_filter_04.jpg
   
Miniature Effect

Water Painting Effect

creative_filter_05.jpg creative_filter_06.jpg
   
HDR Art Standard HDR Art Vivid
creative_filter_07.jpg creative_filter_08.jpg
   
HDR Art Bold HDR Art Embossed
creative_filter_09.jpg creative_filter_10.jpg

Auto Lighting Optimizer

Auto Lighting Optimizer performs in-camera processing to even out the contrast and correct brightness. There are 4 different settings - Off, Low, Standard and Strong.

Off

Low

auto_lighting_optimizer_01.jpg auto_lighting_optimizer_02.jpg
   
Standard

High

auto_lighting_optimizer_03.jpg auto_lighting_optimizer_04.jpg

Highlight Tone Priority

Highlight Tone Priority is a custom function which can be enabled from the menu. Use of this custom function improves highlight detail by expanding the camera's dynamic range in the highlights. As you can see from these examples, Highlight Tone Priority reduced the extent of highlight blow-out considerably.

Off

On
highlight_tone_01.jpg highlight_tone_02.jpg