Canon M6 vs Pentax 645Z
The Canon EOS M6 and the Pentax 645Z are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2017 and April 2014. The M6 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the 645Z is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (M6) and a medium format (645Z) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 51.1 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 Pentax 645Z? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon M6 and the Pentax 645Z is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 M6 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the 645Z 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 Pentax 645Z is considerably larger (140 percent) than the Canon M6. Moreover, the 645Z is substantially heavier (297 percent) than the M6. It is noteworthy in this context that the 645Z is splash and dust-proof, while the M6 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
|1.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|2.||Pentax 645Z||156 mm||117 mm||123 mm||1550 g||650||Y||Apr 2014||8,499|
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||120 mm||70 mm||49 mm||408 g||305||n||Aug 2019||849|
|4.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|6.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|7.||Canon G7 X Mark II||106 mm||61 mm||42 mm||319 g||265||n||Feb 2016||699|
|8.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|9.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|10.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|11.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|12.||Fujifilm X-E3||121 mm||74 mm||43 mm||337 g||350||n||Sep 2017||899|
|13.||Fujifilm X-T20||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||383 g||350||n||Jan 2017||899|
|14.||Hasselblad X1D||150 mm||98 mm||71 mm||725 g||..||Y||Jun 2016||8,995|
|15.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|16.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|17.||Pentax 645D||156 mm||117 mm||119 mm||1480 g||800||Y||Mar 2010||9,995|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The M6 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 91 percent) than the 645Z, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M6 features an APS-C sensor and the Pentax 645Z a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the 645Z is 333 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 0.79. The sensor in the M6 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the 645Z offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 51.1MP, the 645Z offers a higher resolution than the M6 (24MP), but the 645Z nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.30μm versus 3.72μm for the M6) due to its larger sensor. However, the M6 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 10 months) than the 645Z, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the 645Z has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax 645Z implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 645Z for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 41.3 x 31 inches or 104.9 x 78.6 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 33 x 24.8 inches or 83.9 x 62.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 27.5 x 20.6 inches or 69.9 x 52.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon M6 are 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 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 Pentax 645Z are ISO 100 to ISO 204800 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Pentax 645Z||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/60i||26.0||14.7||4505||101|
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||APS-C||32.3||6960||4640||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|7.||Canon G7 X Mark II||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|10.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|14.||Hasselblad X1D||Medium Format||51.3||8272||6200||1080/25p||26.2||14.8||4489||102|
|15.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|17.||Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the M6 provides a higher frame rate than the 645Z. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the Pentax is limited to 1080/60i.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 645Z has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the M6 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the M6 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, the Pentax 645Z, and comparable cameras.
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||14.0||Y||n|
|7.||Canon G7 X Mark II||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The M6 has one, while the 645Z does not. While the built-in flash of the M6 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.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 645Z does not have a selfie-screen.
The Canon M6 and the Pentax 645Z both have 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 645Z write their files to SDXC cards. The 645Z features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M6 only has one slot. 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 Pentax 645Z and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Canon G7 X Mark II||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the M6 offers wifi support, while the 645Z does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax 645Z (unlike the M6) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The 645Z is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Pentax. 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 and Pentax websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon M6 and the Pentax 645Z? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M6:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- 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 burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x68mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 1160g or 75 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (91 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 10 months of technical progress since the 645Z launch.
Arguments in favor of the Pentax 645Z:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (51.1 vs 24MP), which boosts linear resolution by 43%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 versus 295) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in April 2014).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (15 points each). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 Pentax 645Z place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the M6 or the 645Z 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779|
|2.||Pentax 645Z||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||8,499|
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||..||+||85/100||4/5||4/5||Aug 2019||849|
|4.||Canon M50||..||+||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|5.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|6.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|7.||Canon G7 X Mark II||4.5/5||+ +||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||699|
|8.||Canon M5||4/5||+||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|9.||Canon 5DS||..||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|10.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|11.||Canon M3||4/5||o||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|12.||Fujifilm X-E3||4.5/5||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2017||899|
|13.||Fujifilm X-T20||5/5||+ +||82/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||899|
|14.||Hasselblad X1D||..||o||81/100||..||4/5||Jun 2016||8,995|
|15.||Leica SL||4/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|16.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|17.||Pentax 645D||5/5||..||..||..||..||Mar 2010||9,995|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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 Pentax 645Z
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||Pentax 645Z|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Pentax 645 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2017||April 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 779||USD 8,499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M6||Pentax 645Z|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||43.8 x 32.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||1436.64 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||54.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||51.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||8256 x 6192 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||5.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||3.56 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 7||PRIME III|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||101|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||26.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||4505|
|Screen Specs||Canon M6||Pentax 645Z|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M6||Pentax 645Z|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M6||Pentax 645Z|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Canon M6||Pentax 645Z|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||295 shots per charge||650 shots per charge|
112 x 68 x 45 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.8 in)
156 x 117 x 123 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 4.8 in)
|Camera Weight||390 g (13.8 oz)||1550 g (54.7 oz)|
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