Canon M6 Mark II vs Sony A5100
The Canon EOS M6 Mark II and the Sony Alpha A5100 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2019 and August 2014. Both the M6 Mark II and the A5100 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 32.3 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon M6 Mark II||Sony A5100|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Canon EF-M mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|32.3 MP, APS-C Sensor||24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-25600 (100-51200)||ISO 100-25600|
|Viewfinder optional||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0" LCD, 1040k dots||3.0" LCD, 922k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Tilting touchscreen|
|14 shutter flaps per second||6 shutter flaps per second|
|305 shots per battery charge||400 shots per battery charge|
|120 x 70 x 49 mm, 408 g||110 x 63 x 36 mm, 283 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M6 Mark II and the Sony Alpha A5100? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon M6 Mark II and the Sony A5100. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The A5100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the M6 Mark II is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A5100 is notably smaller (17 percent) than the Canon M6 Mark II. Moreover, the A5100 is markedly lighter (31 percent) than the M6 Mark II. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M6 Mark II nor the A5100 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
Concerning battery life, the M6 Mark II gets 305 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the A5100 can take 400 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Canon M6 Mark II»||4.7 in||2.8 in||1.9 in||14.4 oz||305||n||Aug 2019||849||Canon M6 Mark II|
|Sony A5100«||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||10.0 oz||400||n||Aug 2014||549||Sony A5100|
|Canon T8i« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||18.2 oz||800||n||Feb 2020||749||Canon T8i|
|Canon M200« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.5 oz||315||n||Sep 2019||549||Canon M200|
|Canon SL3« »||4.8 in||3.7 in||2.8 in||15.8 oz||1070||n||Apr 2019||599||Canon SL3|
|Canon G5 X Mark II« »||4.4 in||2.4 in||1.8 in||12.0 oz||230||n||Jul 2019||899||Canon G5 X Mark II|
|Canon M50« »||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.3 in||13.8 oz||235||n||Feb 2018||779||Canon M50|
|Canon T7« »||5.1 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||16.8 oz||500||n||Feb 2018||449||Canon T7|
|Canon T100« »||5.1 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||15.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2018||399||Canon T100|
|Canon M6« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||13.8 oz||295||n||Feb 2017||779||Canon M6|
|Canon M5« »||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.4 in||15.1 oz||295||n||Sep 2016||979||Canon M5|
|Canon M3« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.7 in||12.9 oz||250||n||Feb 2015||679||Canon M3|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||280||n||Jun 2015||999||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A5000« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||420||n||Jan 2014||449||Sony A5000|
|Sony A6000« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.1 oz||360||n||Feb 2014||599||Sony A6000|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||4.3 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||480||n||Feb 2013||499||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony RX100« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||330||n||Jun 2012||649||Sony RX100|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The A5100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 35 percent) than the M6 Mark II, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A5100 is 9 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (M6 Mark II) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon M6 Mark II offers a higher resolution of 32.3 megapixels, compared with 24 MP of the Sony A5100. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.23μm versus 3.91μm for the A5100). However, it should be noted that the M6 Mark II is much more recent (by 5 years) than the A5100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
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 inch or 88.4 x 58.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 27.8 x 18.6 inch or 70.7 x 47.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 23.2 x 15.5 inch or 58.9 x 39.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony A5100 are 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
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 Sony Alpha A5100 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Canon M6 Mark II||APS-C||32.3||6960||4640||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon M6 Mark II|
|Sony A5100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||12.7||1347||80||Sony A5100|
|Canon T8i||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Canon T8i|
|Canon M200||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4k/25p||..||..||..||..||Canon M200|
|Canon SL3||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/25p||..||..||..||..||Canon SL3|
|Canon G5 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon G5 X Mark II|
|Canon M50||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Canon M50|
|Canon T7||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon T7|
|Canon T100||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.9||11.4||695||63||Canon T100|
|Canon M6||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon M6|
|Canon M5||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.4||12.4||1262||77||Canon M5|
|Canon M3||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.8||11.8||1169||72||Canon M3|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A5000||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.8||13.0||1089||79||Sony A5000|
|Sony A6000||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82||Sony A6000|
|Sony NEX-3N||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||22.8||12.5||1067||74||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony RX100||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.6||12.4||390||66||Sony RX100|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the M6 Mark II provides a higher video resolution than the A5100. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M6 Mark II and the A5100 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon M6 Mark II, the Sony A5100, and comparable cameras.
|Canon M6 Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||14.0||Y||n||Canon M6 Mark II|
|Sony A5100||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Sony A5100|
|Canon T8i||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||7.5||Y||n||Canon T8i|
|Canon M200||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1||Y||n||Canon M200|
|Canon SL3||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon SL3|
|Canon G5 X Mark II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||30||Y||Y||Canon G5 X Mark II|
|Canon M50||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Canon M50|
|Canon T7||optical||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon T7|
|Canon T100||optical||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon T100|
|Canon M6||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||n||Canon M6|
|Canon M5||2360||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||n||Canon M5|
|Canon M3||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n||Canon M3|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A5000||none||n||3.0||461||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Sony A5000|
|Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6000|
|Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony RX100||none||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100|
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.
The M6 Mark II writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A5100 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The M6 Mark II supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the A5100 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 Sony Alpha A5100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon M6 Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Canon M6 Mark II|
|Sony A5100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5100|
|Canon T8i||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Canon T8i|
|Canon M200||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Canon M200|
|Canon SL3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Canon SL3|
|Canon G5 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y||Canon G5 X Mark II|
|Canon M50||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M50|
|Canon T7||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon T7|
|Canon T100||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon T100|
|Canon M6||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M6|
|Canon M5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M5|
|Canon M3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon M3|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A5000||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5000|
|Sony A6000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6000|
|Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony RX100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX100|
It is notable that the M6 Mark II has a hotshoe, while the A5100 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 A5100 are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The A5100 replaced the earlier Sony A5000, 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 and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Canon M6 Mark II better than the Sony A5100 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M6 Mark II:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (32.3 vs 24MP) with a 16% higher linear resolution.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- 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 922k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 6 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.
- 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 5 years of technical progress since the A5100 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A5100:
- More compact: Is smaller (110x63mm vs 120x70mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 125g or 31 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 305) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (35 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2014).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M6 Mark II is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 6 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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 Sony A5100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing 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 A5100 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Panasonic LX5
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Sony NEX-5R
- Canon SX740 vs Sony A5100
- Fujifilm X100T vs Sony A5100
- Leica D-LUX Typ 109 vs Sony A5100
- Leica V-LUX Typ 114 vs Sony A5100
- Olympus E-500 vs Sony A5100
- Olympus TG-6 vs Sony A5100
- Panasonic GF6 vs Sony A5100
- Panasonic LX7 vs Sony A5100
- Panasonic ZS100 vs Sony A5100
- Sony A5100 vs Sony NEX-5
Specifications: Canon M6 Mark II vs Sony A5100
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||Sony A5100|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2019||August 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 849||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M6 Mark II||Sony A5100|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.5 x 15.0 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||337.5 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||32.3 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6960 x 4640 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.23 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||9.57 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-25600 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-51200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||80|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1347|
|Screen Specs||Canon M6 Mark II||Sony A5100|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||No viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M6 Mark II||Sony A5100|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000/s||1/4000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||14 shutter flaps/s||6 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||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M6 Mark II||Sony A5100|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro 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||Sony A5100|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||305 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
120 x 70 x 49 mm
(4.7 x 2.8 x 1.9 in)
110 x 63 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||408 g (14.4 oz)||283 g (10.0 oz)|
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