Canon M6 vs SX540
The Canon EOS M6 and the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2017 and January 2016. The M6 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the SX540 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (M6) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX540) sensor. The M6 has a resolution of 24 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 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon M6 and the Canon SX540. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M6 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the SX540 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 Canon SX540 is notably larger (29 percent) than the Canon M6. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M6 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 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|Canon M6||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||13.8 oz||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|Canon SX540||4.7 in||3.2 in||3.6 in||15.6 oz||205||n||Jan 2016||399|
|Canon M50 Mark II||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.3 in||13.7 oz||305||n||Oct 2020||599|
|Canon M6 Mark II||4.7 in||2.8 in||1.9 in||14.4 oz||305||n||Aug 2019||849|
|Canon M50||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.3 in||13.8 oz||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|Canon T7||5.1 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||16.8 oz||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|Canon 77D||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||19.0 oz||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|Canon M100||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.7 oz||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon SL2||4.8 in||3.7 in||2.8 in||16.0 oz||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|Canon SX730||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.6 oz||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon T7i||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||18.8 oz||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|Canon M5||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.4 in||15.1 oz||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon T6||5.1 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||17.1 oz||500||n||Mar 2016||449|
|Canon SX720||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||250||n||Feb 2016||379|
|Canon M3||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.7 in||12.9 oz||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|Canon SX530||4.7 in||3.2 in||3.6 in||15.6 oz||210||n||Jan 2015||429|
|Canon SX710||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||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, despite having a lens built in. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 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 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 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 7) than the SX540 (DIGIC 6), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 24MP, the M6 offers a higher resolution than the SX540 (20.2MP), but the M6 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 1.18μm for the SX540) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the M6 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the SX540, and its sensor might 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 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M6 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS M6 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|Canon M50 Mark II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon M6 Mark II||APS-C||32.3||6960||4640||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The M6 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 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon M6 and Canon SX540 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon M50 Mark II||2360||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n|
|Canon M6 Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||14.0||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The M6 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 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 Canon M6 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 and the SX540 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of 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 and Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|Canon M50 Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|Canon M6 Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
It is notable that the M6 has a hotshoe, while the SX540 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The SX540 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the M6 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M6 was succeeded by the Canon M6 Mark II. 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 what is the bottom line? Is the Canon M6 better than the Canon SX540 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M6:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 20.2MP) with a 11% 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 7 vs DIGIC 6).
- 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 (9 vs 5.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- 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 (112x68mm vs 120x82mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (295 versus 205) on a single battery charge.
- 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.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 1 month after the SX540).
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 necessitates an extra lens.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2016).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M6 is the clear winner of the match-up (23 : 5 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the M6 or the SX540. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
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.
|Canon M6||..||80/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|Canon SX540||..||..||..||..||..||Jan 2016||399|
|Canon M50 Mark II||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2020||599|
|Canon M6 Mark II||+||85/100||4/5||..||4/5||Aug 2019||849|
|Canon M50||+||79/100||..||4/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|Canon T7||o||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|Canon 77D||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|Canon M100||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|Canon SL2||+ +||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|Canon SX730||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|Canon T7i||..||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|Canon M5||+||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon T6||o||73/100||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||Mar 2016||449|
|Canon SX720||+||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Feb 2016||379|
|Canon M3||o||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|Canon SX530||+ +||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jan 2015||429|
|Canon SX710||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Jan 2015||349|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon M6 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||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||February 2017||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 779||USD 399|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M6||Canon SX540|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 7||DIGIC 6|
|Screen Specs||Canon M6||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||Canon SX540|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s||5.9 shutter flaps/s|
|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-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M6||Canon SX540|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon M6||Canon SX540|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||295 shots per charge||205 shots per charge|
112 x 68 x 45 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.8 in)
120 x 82 x 92 mm
(4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
|Camera Weight||390 g (13.8 oz)||442 g (15.6 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.