Today, Canon released two cameras with very similar specifications – except one is a DSLR, and one is mirrorless. The EOS 90D and EOS M6 Mark II share a number of impressive specifications, whether you’re a stills-only photography or a dedicated video user. Here’s how they compare to one another.
Before examining the 90D and M6 Mark II specifications, I’ll mention first that the two cameras don’t cost the same at the moment. The 90D is currently selling for $1349 (including kit lens), while the M6 Mark II is just $1099 instead (including kit lens and EVF attachment).
Given what you’ll see in a moment – that these are equally capable cameras with similar feature sets – a first-time camera buyer has good reason to go the mirrorless route. However, existing Canon DSLR users with a wide array of lenses would probably be happier with the 90D, which doesn’t require a separate adapter to use Canon EF-mount lenses.
Without further ado, here are the main specification differences between the Canon EOS 90D and the Canon EOS M6 Mark II:
|Camera Feature||Canon EOS 90D||Canon EOS M6 Mark II|
|Sensor Resolution||32.5 megapixels||32.5 megapixels|
|Sensor Size||22.3 × 14.8 mm||22.3 × 14.8 mm|
|Sensor Pixel Size||3.2 µm||3.2 µm|
|Low Pass Filter||Yes||Yes|
|Low Pass Filter Dust Reduction||Yes||Yes|
|Image Size||6960 × 4640 pixels||6960 × 4640 pixels|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||DIGIC 8|
|Viewfinder Type||Pentaprism||None; compatible with separate EVF-DC2 electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Coverage||100%||EVF-DC2 has 100% coverage|
|Viewfinder Magnification||0.95× magnification (0.59× 35mm equivalent)||EVF-DC2 has 1× magnification (0.63× 35mm equivalent)|
|Built-in Flash||Yes, with flash commander mode||Yes, no flash commander mode|
|Storage Media||1× SD, UHS II Compatible||1× SD, UHS II Compatible|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||10 FPS (11 FPS with focus locked)||14 FPS (30 FPS RAW burst with electronic shutter, locked exposure, locked focus)|
|Buffer Size (RAW)||24 (UHS I card); 25 (UHS II card)||23|
|Shutter Speed Range||1/16,000 to 30 sec (electronic); 1/8000 to 30 sec (mechanical)||1/16,000 to 30 sec (electronic); 1/4000 to 30 sec (mechanical)|
|Exposure Metering Sensor||216-zone, 220,000-pixel RGB+IR||N/A|
|Live View Exposure Meter||384-zone sensor output metering||384-zone sensor output metering|
|Base ISO||ISO 100||ISO 100|
|Native ISO Sensitivity||ISO 100-25,600||ISO 100-25,600|
|Boosted ISO Sensitivity||Up to ISO 51,200||Up to ISO 51,200|
|Focus Points||45-point, all cross-type (OVF)||5,481 manually selectable positions; 143 automatically selected positions|
|On Sensor Phase Detection (Dual Pixel AF)||Yes||Yes|
|Live View Eye AF||Yes||Yes|
|Video Maximum Resolution||4K at 30 fps; 1920 × 1080 up to 120 fps||4K at 30 fps; 1920 × 1080 up to 120 fps|
|LCD Size||3″ diagonal LCD||3″ diagonal LCD|
|LCD Resolution||1,040,000 dots||1,040,000 dots|
|Tilt-Flip LCD||Yes||No; tilt only|
|Built-in Wi-Fi / NFC||Yes||Yes|
|Battery Life||1300 shots||305 shots (rear LCD only); 250 shots (EVF-DC2 electronic viewfinder only); 410 shots (ECO mode on, rear LCD only)|
|Weather Sealed Body||Yes||No|
|USB Version||2.0 Micro-B||2.0 USB-C|
|Weight (Body Only, Includes Battery and Card)||701 g (24.7 oz)||408 g (14.4 oz)|
|Dimensions||140.7 × 104.8 × 76.8 mm (5.5 × 4.1 × 3.0 in)||119.6 × 70.0 × 49.2 mm (4.7 × 2.8 × 1.9 in)|
|Announced||August 2019||August 2019|
|Current Price (Body Only)||$1199||$849|
|Current Price (With Kit Lens)||$1349||$1099 (includes EFV-DC2 viewfinder)|
The table above clearly shows that these cameras have a lot of similarities. By a slight margin, the 90D comes out ahead, thanks to features like popup flash commander mode, weather sealing, a tilt-flip LCD (rather than just tilt), and a longer battery life. It also has the more advanced control layout thanks to its joystick and additional buttons.
However, the M6 Mark II is no slouch. It shoots at 14 FPS with full autofocus and auto exposure, compared to 10 FPS on the 90D. That’s increased to a whopping 30 FPS in the M6 Mark II’s specialized “RAW burst mode,” which requires the electronic shutter and locks focus and exposure. The mirrorless camera is also – by virtue of being mirrorless – much smaller and lighter than the 90D.
For the money – $250 savings if you buy the kit for each – the M6 Mark II is arguably the better deal.
Next, let’s take a look at the controls and size of both cameras. You might be surprised just how much smaller the mirrorless camera really is.
Camera Layout and Size Comparison
First, take a look at the back of the 90D versus the M6 Mark II. The images below are to scale:
As you can see, the cameras are wildly different in size and controls.
To start, the 90D has a joystick to control autofocus, while the M6 Mark II does not. Even attempting to list the other changes is futile; looking at the cameras will give you a better sense than anything I can describe. Suffice to say that there are some major changes. Some buttons have been shuffled around from camera to camera, while others have been eliminated completely (especially on the M6 Mark II). Essentially none of the settings are in the same place on both cameras.
Next, let’s take a look at the top of the 90D and M6 Mark II. Here they are, also to scale:
It’s hard to even compare the button layouts because the sheer size difference of the cameras is overwhelming!
If you try to do so anyway, you’ll notice that the M6 II has two command dials on top – one around the shutter button, and one near where your thumb sits (labeled “Dial Func”). By comparison, the 90D has one command dial on top. Both cameras have a dial in the back controls, too, so this is a definite win for the M6 Mark II.
As for other differences, the biggest is that the 90D has a monitor on top to show your camera settings, as well as a row of several custom buttons above it. The M6 Mark II, by comparison, only has a single Function button on top of the camera.
Although there are some other, smaller differences in camera layout, the bottom line is that the 90D and M6 Mark II handle very differently. If you’re a fan of larger, sturdier cameras with a deep grip, the 90D will feel better in-hand to you. And if you’re after light weight and minimalism, the M6 II’s compact design will be a better fit for your needs.
Which Camera Should You Get?
Photographers of any genre should rest assured that image quality in the Canon EOS 90D and Canon EOS M6 Mark II will be exactly the same. Instead, the differences between them include things like camera weight, price, weatherproofing, frame rate, and control layout. Also, of course, each one uses different lenses; the M6 Mark II uses Canon’s mirrorless EF-M lenses, while the 90D uses Canon’s EF and EF-S DSLR lenses.
Personally, I recommend the M6 Mark II to first-time camera buyers because of its lower price and impressive portability. For the same reason, landscape and travel photographers who need to carry their camera for long distances will thoroughly appreciate the mirrorless camera’s weight.
However, for existing DSLR users and more advanced photographers, the 90D might tick more of the boxes you require. First, it has a much larger lineup of native lenses, allowing you to reach perspectives that the M6 Mark II’s EF-M lenses cannot (though you can always use Canon’s adapter to mount EF and EF-S lenses on the M6 II).
On top of that, the 90D’s weatherproofing, more extensive control layout, longer battery life, command flash capabilities, and tilt-flip LCD may be enough to convince someone who is on the fence to go the DSLR route. The 90D also has an optical viewfinder with Canon’s 45-point autofocus system, an improvement for tracking fast-moving subjects compared to the M6’s live view-based focusing.
That said, you can’t go wrong either way. As a landscape photographer, the M6 Mark II would be my top choice, although I’ve got nothing against the 90D; I really enjoyed using its predecessor, the 80D, when testing that camera for our review.
At the end of the day, both of these cameras – and pretty much any camera on the market – will work well for any reasonable photographic applications. Choose either one, get a good lens or two, and go out to take some great photos.
Actually M6II has three dials :-) two on top as you noted, but also one around the SET/Q button (different from the 90D’s one, but still a dial); and you can menu configure that rear dial to handle ISO.
So actually using an M6II is way faster then 90D, because in 90D you only can change two exposure parameters (aperture & shutter) directly with the dials, but you have to push the ISO button before changing them; with M6II you change the full triad iso/shutter/aperture with dials, without touching buttons, menu and/or the touchscreen ;-)
You’re right, thank you, Marco! I just updated that note in the article.
Just some of my thoughts after shooting DSLRs for 34yrs (Canon for 32yrs) and buying the M6 Mark 2 (also own the M50, M5, 760D and 80D):
I own an 80D and the dial/button layout on my M6 Mark 2 is vastly superior. Not only can you access more things from the body, but everything can be adjusted without taking your eye away from the viewfinder. The 80D/90D annoyingly have features which do not appear in the EVF when adjusting them.
The touch ‘n’ drag is also vastly superior to a joystick.
The autofocus through the EVF is nothing short of phenomenonal (bursts of 20+ images of birds, in flight or cyclists, joggers, skateboarders coming straight at the camera with ‘every’ shot in focus compared to the unreliable hit and miss results of the 90D). Talking of bursts, you get anything from 44 to 68 craw images in a burst, depending on the SD card used. The battery life is also several times higher than the CIPA ratings. My record when shooting birds in flight is 2019 shots on a single battery charge. I generally get around 1600 (interestingly, almost identical to what I get on the M50).
I cannot see any reason to buy a 90D over an M6 Mark 2 for photography. WSYIWYG EVF with histogram and focus peaking, much faster burst rate of 14fps with AF that easily keeps up with that burst rate. Such a good dial/button layout you rarely need a menu. Possibly slightly sharper images due to focusing directly onto the sensor and not to an off-sensor separate AF sensor. One big favourite of mine is having 3 control dials where you get dedicated shutter speed, aperture and ISO controls at the ready, without reaching up to an awkwardly placed ISO button on the top panel of a 90D before you can then adjust ISO.
It’s just a matter of preference i think :-) I agree with the author, i do prefer joystick over touch and drag, simply because i don’t like to use touch screen on cameras; i have R6 and M6II and both touchscreen were instantly disabled as soon as i got them out of the box. I hate fingertips and dirt on the screen, i want it clean :-)
Other preference is “WSYIWYG EVF”; i personally use both my mirrorless with exposure sim disabled, so both VF (the one from R6 at least; i didn’t buy the evf for M6II, it’s a secondary camera and I’m fine with the display use) act like an OVF. Part of this is because i mainly work with studio strobes, so using exp sim 1/250s 100iso f8 in a dim light studio is not workable, but also when i’m in natural light i frankly don’t need exp sim, i’m a 15y professional and i know what i’m doing, there’s exposure meter on camera and i can review pics from the display, i like my VF to be always “balanced” and show me a constant average lighting that doesn’t change with exposure, so i can see clearly the scene even if i’m shooting something low-key (which i do a lot) with a dark exposure that won’t get reflected in the VF during the shoot.
So it’s not that i’m right and you’re wrong, i just that different habitude lead to different conclusions by different people :-)
Need some advice. Another peep on the fence. I want to take close ups of nature and enlarge to wallpaper size (with some photoshopping) and shoot my artwork (oil paintings) for possible reproduction. So, Canon RP or the new Canon M6 Mark 11. I don’t do much video, kids school projects primarily. I would love to go high end and have no worries but being an artist budget is important. Also, the super good lenses are out of reach as well. I will probable get 24 -105 F4 or 18 -40 thats on special at the moment? Thanks
Eos m6 mark 2 is eos M mount? Or RF mount?
Spencer wrote: “Also, of course, each one uses different lenses; the M6 Mark II uses Canon’s mirrorless EF-M lenses, while the 90D uses Canon’s EF and EF-S DSLR lenses.”
Well done comparison. However, since the 90D leans to the sport and wildlife crowd, how does it compare to the 7D MK II – is it worth “downgrading” for the better resolution and other “minor” bells and whistles at the expense of 2 card slots, GPS and better weather sealing, etc? Consider that some of us bird and wildlife guys may never use the fancy video features on either camera so, at least to me, those features are redundant and I will use my mirrorless RP for video!!
If these images are in scale Canon just introduced a new hot-shoe standard!
You’re right, Canon introduced a new hotshoe standard! It’s called “Spencer didn’t do the math right” :)
Nice catch, I’ve fixed the article (and thumbnail on the homepage). Should all be to scale now.