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Canon EOS M

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Canon EOS M Performance

Updated 07/24/2013 with autofocus-related timing using firmware version 2.0.2.

Timing and Performance

Generally poor performance for a CSC these days.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~2.7 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~0.2 second

How long it takes camera to turn off.

Buffer clearing time
3 seconds
after 13 large/fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
4 seconds
after 6 RAW files*
4 seconds
after 3 RAW+L/F JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

The Canon EOS M turned in a very slow startup time of about 2.7 seconds with version 2.0.2 firmware, though shutdown was very fast. The Canon M's buffer clearing times were quick with a fast UHS-I card., though buffers are shallow.

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~1.4 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~1.5 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.4 second

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

The Canon EOS M's mode switching times were quite slow in our tests, though displaying a previously recorded image was quick.

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single-point AF
18-55mm IS STM lens

0.742 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Full Autofocus
Auto Selection AF
18-55mm IS STM lens

0.878 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Full Autofocus
Single-point AF
22mm STM lens

0.894 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Full Autofocus
Auto Selection AF
22mm STM lens

1.074 seconds

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Continuous AF
18-55mm STM lens
0.969 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual Focus
0.173 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.051 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Although version 2.0.2 firmware did speed up single-shot autofocus times noticeably by about 0.5 second compared to the original firmware shipped with our sample (v1.0.6), the EOS M's autofocus performance was still much slower than average for a CSC, and even slower than the majority of point and shoots these days.

In our standard single-point AF test with the 18-55mm IS STM kit lens, full autofocus shutter lag was about 0.74 second. Switching to Auto Selection AF and allowing the camera to choose the focus point increased shutter lag to about 0.88 second. Interestingly, the 22mm f/2 STM kit lens was even slower than the zoom, at about 0.89 and 1.07 seconds respectively, perhaps the result of a weaker AF motor.

Shutter lag with Manual focus was much faster, though, at 0.173 second. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure resulted in a lag time of only 0.051 second, which is quite fast. You'll definitely want to prefocus if you want to minimize shutter lag with the EOS M.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.

Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

1.94 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW

2.02 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW + Large/Fine JPEG
2.33 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.24 second (4.24 frames per second);
13 frames total;
3 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 13 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.35 second or 2.86 frames per second when buffer was full.

Continuous mode
RAW

0.24 second (4.24 frames per second);
6 frames total;
4 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 6 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.74 seconds or 1.35 frames per second when buffer was full.

Continuous mode
RAW + Large/Fine
JPEG

0.25 second (4.08 frames per second);
3 frames total;
4 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 3 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 1.17 seconds or 0.86 frames per second when buffer was full.

Flash recycling

N/A

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times in the Canon EOS M's single-shot mode were quite slow for an interchangeable lens camera, at 1.94 seconds for Large/Fine JPEGs, 2.02 seconds for RAW mode and 2.33 seconds for RAW + L/F JPEGs.

Continuous mode speeds were on the slow side these days for a CSC, at about 4.2 frames-per-second for large/fine JPEGs, 4.2 fps for RAWs, and 4.1 fps for RAW + L/F JPEGs.

Buffer depths in continuous mode were fairly shallow in our tests at only 13 large/fine JPEGs frames, 6 RAW frames or 3 RAW +L/F JPEGs before the frame rate slowed. (Note that in our cycle time testing we shoot a target consisting of a fine-grained digital noise pattern, designed to be very hard to compress. This gives us worst-case buffer capacity numbers for compressed files: You're likely to see greater buffer capacity when shooting more normal subjects.) Buffer clearing was quick with a fast card, however there aren't many files to clear because of the shallow buffer.

Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

10,854 KBytes/sec*

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, the Canon M's download speeds were quite fast.

Bottom line, the Canon EOS M's performance was generally quite disappointing, with slow startup, mode switching, cycle times and autofocus speeds. Burst mode speeds were reasonable but still below average for a CSC, with a fairly shallow buffer. Only shutdown, prefocused shutter lag and USB transfer speeds were fast in our tests.

Battery

Battery Life
Well below average battery life for a CSC.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard)
230

The Canon EOS M uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Battery life is well below average even for a Compact System Camera, so we strongly recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the Canon EOS M is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))