Archive for the ‘Cameras’ Category


EOS M6 Mark II body

This could be the final prosumer EF-M mount camera. Canon may just wipe the whole system out if the rumor sites are correct. As someone who has both an EOS R5 and a EOS M6 Mk II, I don’t want to see the M cameras die. They are super small and since the lens mount is only 2/3 the size of the RF mount the lenses are MUCH smaller.

Rumors have it that Canon will be launching an RF mount crop sensor camera. I believe them, the RF system is outstanding. But no amount of voodoo techno wizardry is likely to make the camera as compact and ‘travel friendly’ as the M cameras.

The EOS M6 Mk II is a tad bigger than its predecessor but still much smaller than any crop sensor RF camera can reasonably be expected. And again even if they did make an RF mount camera with an APS-C sensor as small as the M6 Mk II the lenses will be at least 40% larger. Ok that’s my pitch for the M system!

This Mk II M6 is a great little camera. I waited for over a YEAR after this model was announced by Canon hoping they would also announce an M5 Mk II. That announcement never came. The primary difference between the original M5 and M6 was that the M5 had a built in EVF and was a bit more still image focused with an extra customizable dial missing on the M6. The M6 had an optional EVF that attaches to the hot shoe. This is problematic and convenient. Problems occur if you want to use both the EVF and another hot shoe accessory, no can do on the M6 or the Mk II. It is convenient because the camera without the EVF is slimmer and fits in a smaller space in the camera bag.

The M6 Mk II is the best M series camera hands down. The camera has the best fit and finish of any Canon EF-M mount body. Canon dipped into their bag of magic and made the more pixel dense 32.5 megapixel sensor actually better at dynamic range than the previous 24 mp sensor in both the M5 and M6. The beefed up processor allows the Mk II to fire off at 14 fps with AF tracking! The M6 can also utilize the eye detection AF tracking as well. This camera does not do the animal eye AF as does the R5 and R6. That lack of animal eye AF is the only reason I’m using my R5 to shoot all my dog photos.

M6 Mk II with EF-M 11-22 (18-35) compared to R5 with 16-35 L

I use this camera much like I did my M5 as my goto travel camera. You can see my travel kit I have posted on this site and mentioned in numerous posts. This M6 Mk II simply replaced the M5 body in that kit. But the M6 Mk II also does really good video. It is now my goto to YouTube video camera for my PhotoFair videos. Even though the R5 is a much better video machine with their crazy 4k downsampled from 8k, the M6 is again super small and I can use my Metabones Speed Booster on all my L series EF glass!

The M6 Mk II is also good for shooting small vintage rangefinder lenses such as the Leica Summarit 50/1.5 I wrote up a few months ago and all the many rangefinder lenses I have written up over the last eight years on this site. The compact size is far more suitable to rangefinder lenses than the larger R series bodies. The only downside of course is the 1.6x crop factor.

Another great use of the M6 Mk II is sports and wildlife photography. The 1.6x crop factor allows the use of EF mount full frame tele-photo lenses with 60% more reach. Or you can use the Metabones speed booster to increase the speed in exchange for most of the extra reach. What does that look like? Well a Canon EF 200/2.8 L lens is fairly compact and when mounted on the M6 Mk II the 1.6 crop factor yields an angle of view like a 320mm lens. So you effectively have a 320/2.8 L 🙂 If you use the Speed Booster you reduce the effective focal length from 200mm to 142mm. The crop factor still applies so this effective 142/2.0 L will shoot like a 227/2.0. These crop sensor mirrorless bodies give photographers more options than their SLR counter parts. You can’t use a Metabones Speed Booster on the 90D. With that crazy 14 fps this is an hobby sports and wildlife photographer’s dream come true!

All of this is basically true for Sony cameras as well. Sony has the a7, a9, and a1 series of cameras in full frames and their a6000 series bodies can use the full frame e mount lenses and there are several Metabones adapters to take full frame SLR lenses and speed boost them on the smaller crop sensor Sony cameras.

Mirrorless cameras are the PhotoFair’s best friend, they allow you to shoot modern gear and vintage gear as well. I can recommend the M6 Mk II for any Canon shooter that has a lot of EF glass. Due to the possibility of Canon lowering the ‘boom’ on the M line non-Canon shooters should look at the excellent line of Sony a6000 series cameras, particularly the a6400, a6500, a6600 to achieve similar results to the M6 Mk II.

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I know I usually write about classic lenses and old school gear but this time round I figured I would let you know how my two most modern cameras do with tracking moving subjects and keeping them in focus with the latest gear. There is technically a classic or near vintage angle to this story, after all Canon and Nikon both have AF lenses dating back to the 1980s!

I wrote up the Canon EOS-M6 Mk II last month and you all know I have an EOS R5 as well. I have been shooting pictures of my lovely dog Mindy lately and decided to discuss how well the AF works tracking her as she tends to move about in a rather fidgety manner.

The M6 Mk II does a great job tracking moving subjects. It does offer eye detect and tracking but only for human eyes. Occasionally it will pick up my dog’s eye(s) but tends not to track them well. It does lock on to her head pretty well even as she runs towards the camera. If you have an older M6 Mk II you may need to get a firmware update to unlock the eye detect tracking, I can’t remember whether or not the M6 Mk II shipped from day one with the feature active. I had about a 70% hit rate with about 40% spot on. The M6 also managed to keep the shooting speeds up pretty high although I only used the 14fps once to test it.

The R5 is a more powerful and sophisticated camera, four times as expensive so it ought to be, right? It has eye detect focus that can identify animals including dogs, cats, birds and other species… even humans 😉 The R5 locks on to human eyes extremely well, especially if you set it to ‘favor’ humans. When shooting animals you can set it to ‘favor’ animal eyes as well. The subject can turn away and then turn back and the camera effortlessly switches between head tracking and eye tracking. For Sony users the modern a7R-IV, a9-II, and a1 also offer this feature and in fact were ahead of Canon with this tech by a year or two. Most reviewers seem to feel Canon and Sony are now at parity as far as focus tracking is concerned. Nikon is a tad behind on this with tracking that is a little less consistent. The R5 hit almost every time. I had roughly 90% hit rate with 70-80% spot on even at fast drive speeds. I did not use the electronic shutter and push to 20 fps, but it held its own at mechanical 12fps. Generally I shoot a little slower for the people and dog shots. For hummingbirds and flying insects the faster speeds are nice.

My great friend Graham and co-owner of the PhotoFair likes to shoot with manual focus lenses, in particular vintage Leica and Zeiss. I do too, but for spastic dogs… I’ll bring out the modern gear 🙂 He gets some brilliant images of his many pets using classic techniques of finding a point of focus and waiting for the dog to come into range. Just before begin shooting and until past. Motor drive speed is important with that technique. These new cameras including his Sony a7R-IV and my EOS R5 are undeniably amazing at tracking fast moving subjects with amazing precision.

I had the EOS R before I bought the R5 and the R seemed to work about the same as the M6 Mk II but only after the firmware update for eye control was released a year or so after the camera came out. I presume the RP is similar as well. Sony updated the firmware on a7R-III and a7-III as well as several other models to bring them into the eye tracking universe. The older cameras will not work as well as the newer models due mostly to the more powerful and faster processing of the latest designs.

If you are thinking about buying one of these cameras either the latest Sony models or Canon models the eye tracking and tracking in general works extremely well.

Below are a few photos using the tracking system in both the EOS M6 Mk II, EOS R, and EOS R5:

Mindy trots towards camera, EOS R5 with EF 70-300 L IS animal eye detect
Mindy briefly stops, EOS R5 with EF 70-300 L IS animal eye detect

I had six shots taken in sequence here at the slowest drive speed (3fps?) as Mindy trotted right up to the camera at a modest speed. The R5 nailed the focus on the eyes every time. The last frame where she came to a stop I had to zoom back a bit. The shots had a variety of framing issues, but all were sharp.

Bumblebee taken with EOS M6 Mk II with EF 100/2.8 L Macro IS using the tracking it is cropped in about 15-20%
Bumblebee in flight to next flower. EOS M6 Mk II with 100/2.8 L IS Macro Cropped in about 15-20%

These shots of the bees had a lesser hit rate, but these little bastards were buzzing all over and I was trying to follow them, my fault more than camera. In flight shot seems to be a little off. Thought it was camera shake but lens has IS and shutter speed was 1/2000th so that one was a slight miss but still salvageable.

third shot ( first two awkward looking partial yawns) of sequence R5 with 100/2.8 L IS Macro animal eye detect
fifth shot (fourth shot was awkward half yawn) R5 100/2.8 L Macro animal eye detect
sixth shot R5 100/2.8 L macro animal eye detect

The cat was not moving but the yawn in the middle of the sequence tested the tracking and it immediately snapped back to the eyes after the yawn. I deliberately blew out the background highlights as the background was distracting.

Hummingbird approaches feeder EOS R with 70-300 L
Hummingbird about to land EOS R with 70-300 L
Hummingbird feeds EOS R with 70-300 L
Hummingbird thinking about another sip EOS R with 70-300 L

The hummingbird sequence hit nearly every time with only a couple misses out of dozens and dozens of shots. Most of the shots I didn’t use were more about the position of the bird. These shots need a little more post work, but that EOS R did well tracking a fast moving subject. The R5 is notably better at tracking but the reasonably priced EOS R which is HALF the cost does well too.

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