Canon M6 vs Sony A9
The Canon EOS M6 and the Sony Alpha A9 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2017 and April 2017. Both the M6 and the A9 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (M6) and a full frame (A9) 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 A9? 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 Sony A9 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M6 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the A9 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 A9 is considerably larger (60 percent) than the Canon M6. Moreover, the A9 is substantially heavier (73 percent) than the M6. It is noteworthy in this context that the A9 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.
Concerning battery life, the M6 gets 295 shots out of its LP-E17 battery, while the A9 can take 650 images on a single charge of its NP-FZ100 power pack. The power pack in the A9 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. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779|
|2.||Sony A9||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||387 g||305||n||Oct 2020||599|
|4.||Canon M6 Mark II||120 mm||70 mm||49 mm||408 g||305||n||Aug 2019||849|
|5.||Canon M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779|
|6.||Canon T7||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449|
|7.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|8.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|9.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549|
|10.||Canon T7i||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|11.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|12.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|13.||Sony A9 II||129 mm||96 mm||76 mm||678 g||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499|
|14.||Sony A7 III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|15.||Sony A7R II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
|16.||Sony A7S II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|17.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The M6 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 83 percent) than the A9, 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. 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 Sony A9 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A9 is 155 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Even though the A9 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the A9 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 3.72μm for the M6), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. The two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.
The Canon EOS M6 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A9 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Canon M6 Mark II||APS-C||32.3||6960||4640||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|13.||Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93|
|14.||Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|15.||Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|16.||Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
|17.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
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 A9 provides a better video resolution than the M6. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A9 has an electronic viewfinder (3686k dots), which can be very helpful 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon M6 and Sony A9 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon M6||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||n|
|2.||Sony A9||3686||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||Y|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon M6 Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||14.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon M50||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon T7||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 77D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|8.||Canon M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1||Y||n|
|9.||Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon T7i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|11.||Canon M5||2360||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||Y||n|
|12.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n|
|13.||Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||Y|
|14.||Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|15.||Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|16.||Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|17.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The M6 has one, while the A9 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 A9 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 A9 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 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 A9 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A9 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M6 only has one slot. The A9 supports UHS-II cards (on its first slot), while the M6 can use UHS-I cards.
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 A9 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 A9||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon M6 Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Canon M50||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Canon T7||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon 77D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SL2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon T7i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon M5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|12.||Canon M3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Sony A9 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony A7 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A7R II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A7S II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A9 has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The M6 lacks such a headphone port.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A9 (unlike the M6) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the M6 and the A9 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M6 was replaced by the Canon M6 Mark II, while the A9 was followed by the Sony A9 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 Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon M6 better than the Sony A9 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 selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (112x68mm vs 127x96mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 283g or 42 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (83 percent cheaper at launch).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A9:
- 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.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 1040k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 versus 295) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A9 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 A9 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the M6 and the A9 in practical situations. 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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|
|2.||Sony A9||5/5||+ +||4.8/5||89/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||3.5/5||Oct 2020||599|
|4.||Canon M6 Mark II||..||+||4.5/5||85/100||4/5||4/5||Aug 2019||849|
|5.||Canon M50||..||+||4/5||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779|
|6.||Canon T7||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449|
|7.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|8.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|9.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549|
|10.||Canon T7i||4.5/5||..||3.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|11.||Canon M5||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|12.||Canon M3||4/5||o||..||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|13.||Sony A9 II||..||..||5/5||90/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499|
|14.||Sony A7 III||..||+ +||4.5/5||89/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|15.||Sony A7R II||5/5||+ +||5/5||90/100||5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|16.||Sony A7S II||5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|17.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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. 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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon M6 vs Sony A9
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 A9|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2017||April 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 779||USD 4,499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M6||Sony A9|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||35.6 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||847.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||42.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 7||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||92|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||3517|
|Screen Specs||Canon M6||Sony A9|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3686k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1440k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M6||Sony A9|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s||20 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||500 000 actuations|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/32000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||Single UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M6||Sony A9|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon M6||Sony A9|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||295 shots per charge||650 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)
127 x 96 x 63 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||390 g (13.8 oz)||673 g (23.7 oz)|
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