Canon M6 Mark II vs SX540
The Canon EOS M6 Mark II and the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2019 and January 2016. The M6 Mark II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the SX540 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (M6 Mark II) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX540) sensor. The M6 Mark II has a resolution of 32.3 megapixels, whereas the SX540 provides 20.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M6 Mark II and the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon M6 Mark II and the Canon SX540 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX540 is notably larger (17 percent) than the Canon M6 Mark II. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M6 Mark II nor the SX540 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX540 has a lens built in, whereas the M6 Mark II is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
Concerning battery life, the M6 Mark II gets 305 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the SX540 can take 205 images on a single charge of its NB-6LH power pack. The power pack in the M6 Mark II can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon M6 Mark II||120 mm||70 mm||49 mm||408 g||305||n||Aug 2019||849|
|2.||Canon SX540||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||205||n||Jan 2016||399|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||387 g||305||n||Oct 2020||599|
|4.||Canon M200||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||299 g||315||n||Sep 2019||549|
|5.||Canon SL3||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||449 g||1070||n||Apr 2019||599|
|6.||Canon G5 X Mark II||111 mm||61 mm||46 mm||340 g||230||n||Jul 2019||899|
|7.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|8.||Canon T7||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|9.||Canon T100||129 mm||102 mm||77 mm||436 g||500||n||Feb 2018||399|
|10.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|11.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|12.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|13.||Canon T6||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||485 g||500||n||Mar 2016||449|
|14.||Canon SX720||110 mm||64 mm||36 mm||270 g||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|15.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|16.||Canon SX530||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||210||n||Jan 2015||429|
|17.||Canon SX710||113 mm||66 mm||35 mm||269 g||230||n||Jan 2015||349|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The SX540 was launched at a lower price than the M6 Mark II, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M6 Mark II features an APS-C sensor and the Canon SX540 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX540 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 5.6. The sensor in the M6 Mark II has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the SX540 offers a 4:3 aspect.
In terms of chip-set technology, the M6 Mark II uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 8) than the SX540 (DIGIC 6), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 32.3MP, the M6 Mark II offers a higher resolution than the SX540 (20.2MP), but the M6 Mark II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.23μm versus 1.18μm for the SX540) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the M6 Mark II is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 7 months) than the SX540, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX540 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon M6 Mark II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M6 Mark II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 34.8 x 23.2 inches or 88.4 x 58.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 27.8 x 18.6 inches or 70.7 x 47.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 23.2 x 15.5 inches or 58.9 x 39.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX540 are 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The M6 Mark II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS M6 Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Canon M6 Mark II||APS-C||32.3||6960||4640||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Canon G5 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the M6 Mark II provides a higher video resolution than the SX540. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the SX540 is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The M6 Mark II and the SX540 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the M6 Mark II can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon M6 Mark II and Canon SX540 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon M6 Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||14.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon G5 X Mark II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M6 Mark II has a touchscreen, while the SX540 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The M6 Mark II has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the SX540 does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the M6 Mark II is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Canon M6 Mark II has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the M6 Mark II and the SX540 write their files to SDXC cards. The M6 Mark II supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the SX540 can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS M6 Mark II and Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Canon M6 Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Canon G5 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
It is notable that the M6 Mark II has a hotshoe, while the SX540 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Both the M6 Mark II and the SX540 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The SX540 replaced the earlier Canon SX530, while the M6 Mark II followed on from the Canon M6. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon M6 Mark II and the Canon SX540? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M6 Mark II:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (32.3 vs 20.2MP) with a 29% higher linear resolution.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 8 vs DIGIC 6).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 461k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x70mm vs 120x82mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (305 versus 205) on a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 7 months of technical progress since the SX540 launch.
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the M6 Mark II necessitates an extra lens.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2016).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M6 Mark II is the clear winner of the match-up (27 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M6 Mark II and the Canon SX540 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M6 Mark II or the SX540 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon M6 Mark II||..||+||85/100||4/5||4/5||Aug 2019||849|
|2.||Canon SX540||..||..||..||..||..||Jan 2016||399|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||..||..||..||4.5/5||3.5/5||Oct 2020||599|
|4.||Canon M200||..||+||79/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2019||549|
|5.||Canon SL3||..||o||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2019||599|
|6.||Canon G5 X Mark II||4/5||+||82/100||..||4/5||Jul 2019||899|
|7.||Canon M50||..||+||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|8.||Canon T7||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|9.||Canon T100||..||o||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399|
|10.||Canon M6||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|11.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|12.||Canon M5||4/5||+||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|13.||Canon T6||4/5||o||73/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2016||449|
|14.||Canon SX720||..||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|15.||Canon M3||4/5||o||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|16.||Canon SX530||..||+ +||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||429|
|17.||Canon SX710||..||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon M6 Mark II vs Canon SX540
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon M6 Mark II||Canon SX540|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5|
|Launch Date||August 2019||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 849||USD 399|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M6 Mark II||Canon SX540|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.5 x 15.0 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||337.5 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||32.3 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6960 x 4640 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.23 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||9.57 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 51,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||DIGIC 6|
|Screen Specs||Canon M6 Mark II||Canon SX540|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||461k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M6 Mark II||Canon SX540|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||14 shutter flaps/s||5.9 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M6 Mark II||Canon SX540|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon M6 Mark II||Canon SX540|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||305 shots per charge||205 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
120 x 70 x 49 mm
(4.7 x 2.8 x 1.9 in)
120 x 82 x 92 mm
(4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
|Camera Weight||408 g (14.4 oz)||442 g (15.6 oz)|
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