MICRO FOUR THIRDS & MIRRORLESS CAMERA PAGE
The Canon EOS M6 II updates the M6, which is now 3 years old (in 2022).
The Canon EOS M6 Mark II is Canon's mid-range APS-C mirrorless camera, with a 32.5mp sensor, it offers the latest in sensor and processing technology, with high-speed continuous shooting, and un-cropped 4K video recording. It's the same sensor as in the Canon 90D DSLR camera.
The camera uses the Canon EF-M lens mount, which means it does not work with Canon RF lenses. You can, however, use EF and EF-S lenses with the EF-EOS M adapter.
The 32.5mp APS-C CMOS sensor features Hybrid AF, with phase-detection AF on the sensor.
There are now 143 AF points, and the camera supports both face and eye-detection auto-focus, however, if you want to use this, make sure it is switched on in the camera menus, as it's switched off on default settings.
The Dual Pixel CMOS AF (aka Phase detection focus), covers 100% vertical and 88% horizontal of the frame.
The kit lens provided with the camera is a 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens with optical Image Stabilisation (IS), which is equivalent to 24mm to 72mm in 35mm equivalent terms (due to the 1.6x APS-C sensor crop).
It's a collapsible design so that when you're not using the lens, it remains compact. You'll need to extend it before you can shoot with it. It uses a plastic lens mount, however, this shouldn't cause too many concerns as long as you're careful with your equipment. The lens weighs just 130g, which makes it a compact and lightweight companion to the M6 II.
The M6 II camera has P, Av, S(Tv), M shooting modes, giving you full manual controls, plus "Hybrid Auto", Fv, numerous scene modes, followed by digital filters and effects, as well as HDR shooting modes, and two customisable shooting modes. You can also select the picture style, with these being customisable, and up to 3 user-defined picture styles can be set up.
The camera can shoot at 14fps with AF tracking using the mechanical shutter, or up to 30fps using the Burst RAW mode, which shoots raw images. However, the camera will quite quickly run out of steam, shooting only 54 frames in JPEG, 23 frames in RAW or 36 in CRAW.
There is no built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF), but Canon will happily sell you the camera as a kit with the EVF-DC2 (Electronic Viewfinder), which features a good resolution of 2.36million dots, and 100% coverage.
There's a built-in pop-up flash that can be used as a fill-flash. On the side are a microphone and remote release socket.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are built-in letting you connect the camera to your smartphone or tablet. The Canon Camera Connect app is available for Android and iOS devices.
4K video recording has been added, with 25 and 24fps available. There's Full HD video recording, which crops in slightly into the frame. The 4K video mode crops noticeably into the frame and is something to be aware of if you need to shoot wide-angle video. High-speed video recording is available, at a reduced resolution on 720p, but with a frame rate of 120/100fps available (NTSC/PAL).
The camera features a traditional mode dial.
As well as full manual controls (P, Av, Tv, and M), there are two custom modes, multiple scene modes and creative effects, as well as the new Fv shooting mode - this is Canon's new flexible exposure shooting mode.
The M6 II offers 4K and Full HD video recording. Full HD video and 4K video recording uses the full width of the sensor and doesn't crop into the image until you switch on digital image stabilisation, or enhanced digital image stabilisation. Digital image stabilisation is available for both Full HD and 4K video recording.
The camera offers an HDR video mode at Full HD resolution and 30/25fps. High-speed video with 120/100fps available in FullHD. 4K UHD video can be recorded at 30 24 or 25fps
ISO100 to ISO12800 is available for both 4K UHD video, and Full HD video, and it can also be expanded to ISO25600 for both. You can also use ALO to expand dynamic range, as was as a "Neutral" picture style.
Unfortunately, the 4K video footage doesn't look as sharp and crisp as footage from other cameras, however, focus during video was excellent, with Canon's Dual Pixel AF system working very well.
If you are a Canon user and have a range of Canon EF lenses that you want to use, with an adapter, on the Canon EOS M6 II, then it might make more sense, and could be a way of giving old lenses a new lease of life, thanks to the 32mp sensor.
Its predecessor, the EOS M50, is arguably Canpn's most popular and best selling entry-level camera.
So, it would make sense to see them eventually want to update this model. However, on paper, the Mark II looks to be quite an insignificant upgrade over its predecessor.
It inherits the identical 24.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 8 processor from its predecessor. This particular combination, while unchanged, and remains a known strength for Canon. And the image quality is still excellent. The 14-bit C-RAW images are sharp, with plenty of contrast and pleasing colours.
It offers the same continuous shooting speeds as its predecessor. In this case, it still shoots up to 10 FPS without AF or 7.4 FPS with AF and tracking. However, the buffer depth is marginally improved. And now, the camera can shoot 10 RAW + JPEG images before slow, rather than 7-8.
For video shooters it offers the same capabilities as its predecessor. In this case, it shoots 4K UHD video at 24 FPS, 1080p Full HD video up to 60 FPS, and 720 HD up to 120 FPS. It records in the MP4 format via H.264 compression with data rates of 120 Mbps for 4K or 60 Mbps for 1080p.
Like the M50, the footage is reasonably sharp in 4K, with Canon’s pleasing colour science.
The camera still has the 29 minute and 59-second recording limit imposed for tax reasons in the EU.
However it now supports Vertical Video, which tags the metadata for proper vertical playback on smartphones - useful for thos vertical format video social media platforms like Tik-Tok.
It now offers the Movie Self Timer Function, with Touch Record Control. This allows you to set a countdown timer between 2-10 seconds, then tap the screen to start recording. It’s a helpful option to avoid some post-processing if you need time to get ready before filming!
New is the 4K Frame Grab feature, which allows you to pull still images for a 4K movie - again a very useful addition
It now offers a clean HDMI output for use with external recorders or monitors. And this now makes the camera a reliable option for live-streaming. This was the main reason that I bought this camera as a clean HDMI output was a must for my needs.
Like its predecessor, shooting in 4K has several severe limitations for some shooters. Firstly, it still has a severe crop, which is now 1.5x instead of 1.6x. This effectively reduces the camera’s 24-megapixel sensor into 8-megapixel, significantly decreasing resolution and alters the field of view. This equates to a 2.4x total crop from 1080p FHD.
With a crop of 1.5x being quite a lot when you take into account that the kit lens is a 15-45mm zoom. With the 1.6x APS-C crop that means it’s 24mm equivalent, which becomes a 36mm equivalent when shooting 4K.
That is a nice focal length for filmmaking, but less so for v-logging and filming yourself as many people will want to do.
The camera still suffers from rolling shutter, particularly in 4K. This distortion is far less in 1080p, but take caution when panning. Lastly, the quality of the 1080p and 720p footage remains particularly poor. The videos look soft, can be noisy, and suffer from aliasing.
It has the same 143-point phase-detect AF system with Dual Pixel CMOS AF as its predecessor.
This system offers both Face and Eye-detection along with AF support down to -4 EV. However, Canon has apparently made refinements to the algorithms, increasing its overall speed and responsiveness.
Canon have now enabled eye-detection during video recording, a feature missing on the original model. Nevertheless, the camera’s autofocus is excellent. And it tenaciously locks onto subjects and recognises faces further than before.
Additionally, you can now customise the AF settings via the menus. And this allows you to customise the AF transition speed to tailor the system for a faster response or a more cinematic effect. This combines well to create smooth and natural focus transitions when using the touchscreen.
It also offers focus magnification and peaking, if you prefer manually focusing.
Display & Viewfinder
It has the same 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen LCD with a resolution of 1.04M dots and Clear View II coating.
A fully articulating screen is also ideal for the flexibility it offers when composing at awkward angles. The display also supports the same touch functionality. Now, it supports touch focus, touch tracking, touch drag, and menu navigation.
The camera still has the same 2.36M dot OLED electronic viewfinder. While unchanged here, this display was already good. And it’s sharp, bright, and I find the colours are accurate.
The camera can now act as an external webcam using Canon’s EOS Webcam Utility. However, new for this particular release is live streaming. Now, using the camera’s Wi-Fi, you can stream directly to YouTube.
It features Combined Image Stabilisation (IS), which uses the camera’s digital IS alongside optically stabilised lenses to create a 5-axis system. By doing so, the camera offers better performance and shake reduction. But, as with all digital-based systems, this added performance comes at the cost of a slight additional crop when it is enabled.
It obtains the Time-lapse Movie Mode, which creates 4K time-lapse movies "in-camera".
It features the Silent Mode, which uses the electronic shutter to silence all camera sounds while shooting.
It offers several lens correction options including, Peripheral illumination, Distortion, Digital Lens Optimiser, Chromatic aberration, and Diffraction correction.
It obtains Canon’s Creative Assist mode, which is their in-camera image processing engine.
You can adjust dynamic range, HSL, white balance, add filters, and more in this mode. And it’s ideal if you want to process images in the camera.
Panasonic GX80(GX85) and GX8 Resolution
I recently found a GX80 body for sale in a second hand store at a very reasonable price so I decided to purchase it to investigate the key features that this camera from Panasonic has to offer over the GX8 that I have. As the GX8 has a 20M pixel sensor, in theory it can produce images with more pixels allowing some cropping of the image to occur if needed to create more pleasing compositions etc. However the physics of the sensor would lead you to believe that this will come at the expense of low light performance. The GX80 has only 16M pixels but importantly no anti alias filter (optical lo pass) over the sensor. By its removal it, in theory should allow sharper images as the pixels are able to resolve higher resolutions. Secondary, it is possible that the larger pixels of the GX80 will also exhibit better dynamic range thus allowing it to shoot in higher contrast situations compared to the GX8.
Time to put these assumptions to the test. Shooting the same subject with the same lens (to eliminate lens resolution variances) under the same controlled light and the images enlarged to the same degree (i.e not viewed at 100% as the GX8 would produce far bigger images) I could evaluate if any of these assumptions bear out.
From the two comparison images above you can see that the resolving power of the two cameras is almost identical. I think that this shows the 16M pixel GX80 now has the same resolving power as the 20M of the GX8 which has the anti alias filter fitted. As far as dynamic range is concerned these JPEG images have very similar looks so I'm not sure there is any change here and noise levels look very similar.
I think further tests might be needed to prove it one way or the other but this bodes well for the new G9 which also has the anti aliasing filter removed from its 20M pixel sensor!
Certainly low light pictures using ISO 3200 look very clean.
Canon EOS M5 Initial Thoughts
Some initial JPEG images from the camera all taken with the new 18-150mm f3.5-f6.3 lens - please click for larger view
The EOS M5 employs a 24 Megapixel sensor - the same resolution as the earlier EOS M3, but more importantly becomes Canon's first mirrorless camera to feature Dual Pixel CMOS AF which allows up to 80% of the sensor area to double-up as phase-detect AF points, supporting smooth and confident continuous AF for stills and movies. It will shoot up to 31 JPEGs with continuous AF at 7fps and film 1080 movies up to 60p.
The M5 does however pair the sensor with the latest DIGIC 7 processor and offers five-axis electronic (not sensor shift) stabilisation. Finally, the EOS M5 includes Wi-fi, but in a first for Canon, complements it with Bluetooth which can maintain a constant low-power connection with your phone. Bluetooth is used to initiate a Wi-fi connection without having to touch the camera, and can also be used with a new app to deliver a simple but more responsive remote shutter release.
The screen is a 3.2in touch-panel, inherited from the 5D Mark IV, and tilts 90 degrees upwards for waist-level shooting, or up to 180 degrees down for high-angles or to face the subject. The decision to angle down by 180 degrees rather than up was dictated by the presence of a central viewfinder hump, and a side-hinged screen ruled-out on thickness. The tripod mounting will obscure the screen so it will be stumbling block for video loggers however it remains suitable for handheld use.
I was also a bit disappointed that Canon has left the memory card slot the battery compartment where side access would have been ideal.
The new "Touch and Drag" function for AF point selection lets you move the AF frame by dragging a fingertip across the monitor while using the viewfinder. It's similar to functions provided in the latest Olympus an Panasonic cameras and works quite well once you've sorted out whether to use your right thumb or a finger of your left hand. You can also detail which quadrant of the screen to use and this is useful for preventing those "nose" actuated focus point shifts!
One thing I do like about Canon's software for exposure is the fact that you can set Auto ISO in Manual mode. This is great if you want to lock in a particular aperture for depth of field effects and a particular shutter speed for subject motion blur (or freezing the subject) and then the AUTO ISO takes care of the rest of the exposure - and - you can use exposure value compensation in this mix as well. You can set a MAX ISO value and the camera will warn you if the ISO exceeds this value but still will take the picture. In the other modes Aperture priority and Shutter priority Auto ISO can also be used. It would be nice if in the aperture priority mode the shutter speed was set at least 1/focal length of the lens and then adjust the ISO but it doesn't appear to work that way.
A nice touch is the self timer can be customised to provide any delay up to 30 seconds and any shots up to 10 giving infinite choices for all kinds of application.
To emulate the top plate of a DSLR Canon have added a Dial Function push button. In shooting mode if you depress this button you can cycle through/adjust things like ISO, WB. EV etc. The actual selection available will depend on the shooting mode.
Pop up flash is available but sadly it cannot be used as the master commander in a wireless flash setup. You have to install a separate flash unit on the hot shoe to perform this task. As a lot of features have been lifted from the 80D I was hoping that this would have been one of them as it seems a waste to use another flash gun to act just as the wireless commander. It could be that the little 90EX would be a great addition here.
Video Blogging Adaptor Plate for the EOS M5
The fold down LCD prevents the camera from being used on a tripod as the tripod head obscures the screen. This simple modification overcomes that and provides a clear view of the screen.
This simple adaptor plate made from 4mm thick by 25mm wide aluminium flat bar. It has a countersunk 6.5mm hole to allow the plate to be fastened to the camera and a 3/8 - 1/4x20 tripod adaptor bush ( to reduce thread wear in the aluminium plate) drilled at a position so that the tripod fixing clears the LCD when it is folded down
The detail of the countersunk fixing position for the camera mounting screw and the position of larger Arca style tripod plate position.
the bar is positioned so that the battery box/sd card slot is still accessible whilst on the tripod plate.
The countersunk hole is 23mm from the right hand edge of the bar and 10mm from the front edge of the bar.
The detail of the 3/8 to 1/4x20 tripod adaptor bush fitted into the aluminium bar to reduce thread wear.
This hole is central on the long axis of the bar and 110mm from the right hand edge of the bar.
Using Raynox Close Up Lenses with the Kit Lens 14-42mm
To get close up or macro images with the micro four thirds camera without resorting to either a dedicated macro lens or extension tubes it is possible by using supplementary lenses on the standard kit lens. Although the simple single element close up lenses do work they suffer from edge distortion and chromatic aberration. It is far better to use achromatic lenses such as the Raynox 150 or 250 models. The 150 is probably the most useful of the two, it gives good magnification and reasonable working distance to the subject.
Using the Raynox 150 lens to capture this little die cast model just 7 cms long (2.5 inches) at a working distance of 15cms (6 inches) at 33mm EFL zoom setting
This image is taken with the Raynox 250 lens at full 42mm zoom, camera set to F8.
The working distance is just 6 cms (2.5 inch) from the subject.
Depth of field is about 6mm (1/4 inch).
This page is intended to bring details of micro four thirds (M4/3) and other mirrorless systems cameras like the Canon EOS M & M3 units.
I find that the extra level of image quality improvement coupled with a realistic size to weight ratio is a great way to push your photography a little farther. Whilst not matching full frame DSLR quality, the options to purchase specific lenses for particular photographic needs or use legacy lenses via mount adaptors can make this a very attractive alternative to the larger format DSLR's.
Pictured above is my latest addition to my collection the Panasonic GX8, shown here with the excellent X series 12-35mm f2.8 lens.
I'll be doing a full review of this camera shortly.