Canon M6 vs Sony A5100
The Canon EOS M6 and the Sony Alpha A5100 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2017 and August 2014. Both the M6 and the A5100 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.
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 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 and the Sony A5100. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear 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 A5100 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, white).
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 (9 percent) than the Canon M6. Moreover, the A5100 is markedly lighter (27 percent) than the M6. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the M6 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 gets 295 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 power pack in the A5100 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony A5100||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||120 mm||70 mm||49 mm||408 g||305||n||Aug 2019||849||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon T6i||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon T6s||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|13.||Sony A5000||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-3||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||599||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A5100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 30 percent) than the M6, 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. 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. 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.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A5100 is 11 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (M6) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Even though the A5100 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the A5100 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.72μm for the M6), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the M6 is much more recent (by 2 years and 5 months) than the A5100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The Canon EOS M6 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The Sony Alpha A5100 offers exactly the same ISO settings.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||APS-C||32.3||6960||4640||4K/30p||24.0||13.5||1848||83|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
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, 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 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 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 Sony A5100, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon M6||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Sony A5100||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||14.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon M50||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon M5||2360||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon T6i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon T6s||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Sony A5000||none||n||3.0 / 461||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||n|
|14.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Sony A3000||202||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Sony NEX-3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
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.
The M6 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A5100 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo 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 Sony Alpha A5100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon M6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony A5100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon M50||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Canon M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon SL2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon M5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon M3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Canon T6i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Canon T6s||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Nikon D5600||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony A5000||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony A3000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony NEX-3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the M6 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 and the A5100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The M6 was replaced by the Canon M6 Mark II, while the A5100 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the M6 and A5100 can be found, respectively, in the Canon M6 Manual (free pdf) or the online Sony A5100 Manual.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon M6 and the Sony A5100? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M6:
- 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 (9 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- 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.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 5 months of technical progress since the A5100 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A5100:
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 107g or 27 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 295) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (30 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2014).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M6 emerges as the winner of the contest (8 : 5 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 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 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 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 A5100 perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony A5100||4.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon M6 Mark II||..||+||4.5/5||85/100||4/5||4/5||Aug 2019||849||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon M50||..||+||4/5||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon M5||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon M3||4/5||o||..||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon T6i||5/5||..||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon T6s||5/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699||amazon.com|
|13.||Sony A5000||3/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||449||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A3000||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony NEX-3||..||..||..||70/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||599||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon M6 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||Sony A5100|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2017||August 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 779||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M6||Sony A5100|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 7||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||78||80|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.4||23.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.6||12.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1317||1347|
|Screen Specs||Canon M6||Sony A5100|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||no viewfinder|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M6||Sony A5100|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M6||Sony A5100|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro 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||Sony A5100|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||295 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
112 x 68 x 45 mm
(4.4 x 2.7 x 1.8 in)
110 x 63 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||390 g (13.8 oz)||283 g (10.0 oz)|
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