Canon EOS M Review
|Full model name:||Canon EOS M|
(22.3mm x 14.9mm)
|Viewfinder:||No / LCD|
|Native ISO:||100 - 12,800|
|Extended ISO:||100 - 25,600|
|Shutter:||1/4000 - 30 seconds|
|Max Aperture:||3.5 (kit lens)|
4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in.
(109 x 67 x 32 mm)
includes batteries, kit lens
|Full specs:||Canon EOS M specifications|
EOS M Summary
The Canon EOS M, the manufacturer's long-awaited entry into the mirrorless camera market, is a much better camera now than it was when it was launched nearly a year ago. Thanks to a recent firmware update from Canon, the EOS M's sluggish autofocusing capabilities have been markedly improved, though it's still not as fast as many competing models. And since the AF flaw weakened early demand for the camera, it now readily sells in a kit for under US$400 -- which makes it a lot more attractive than its initial US$800 pricetag. At that cost, and boasting image quality and photographic skills similar to the Rebel T4i, the Canon EOS M is no longer a bad investment for Canon DSLR owners looking for a small, spare body, nor for beginners wanting to step up from a point-and-shoot.Pros
Excellent image quality similar to Rebel T4i, T5i and SL1 DSLRs, with 18-megapixel APS-C-type sensor delivering considerable resolution for a mirrorless camera; Solid build and sleek design; Bright, high-resolution 3-inch LCD touchscreen monitor; Full 1080p HD video recording that's virtually silent with an STM lens.Cons
Barely acceptable autofocus speed still lags far behind most mirrorless cameras despite firmware update fix; Limited physical controls and buttons, including no Program, Priority, or Manual on Mode dial; Lacks built-in flash or electronic viewfinder option; Only two compact EF-M mount lenses currently available.Price and availability
Launched in October 2012, the Canon EOS M compact system camera originally sold for US$800 in two kits, either with the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM prime lens or the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM zoom lens. List pricing has since been lowered to US$600. However, both kits are widely available at prices starting as low as $350. The EOS M is available in black, white, silver or red, though the latter three colors are only available at a limited number of retailers. An EF-M lens adapter kit is also currently available for around US$190, as well as the compact Canon Speedlite 90EX for about US$150.Imaging Resource rating
3.5 out of 5.0
Canon EOS M Review
By Tim Barribeau, Shawn Barnett and Mike Tomkins
Preview posted: July 23, 2012
Review posted: August 1, 2013
Canon finally entered the mirrorless camera market last year with a simple, consumer-targeted model dubbed the Canon EOS M. Named after the new EF-M mount, the Canon EOS M is best described as the Canon T4i whittled down to a compact system camera. From its Hybrid AF system to the stepper-motor-driven STM lenses, the menus to the touchscreen and most of the special capture modes, Canon T4i owners will feel right at home with the EOS M. Naturally, the Canon EOS M's resolution is the standard 18-megapixels in an APS-C format that has propagated across most of Canon's consumer DSLRs.
Design and build. With a look and feel reminiscent of the Canon S100 premium pocket camera, the EOS M is sized a little larger, more on the scale of an enthusiast compact such as the Panasonic LX7 or Olympus E-PM2. But it's the camera's overall heft that's impressive. The EOS M really does feel like an EOS: Solid as a rock. The camera has a small rubber grip in the front, and an AF-assist lamp shines out from above the infrared remote sensor, both nice features to have.
Imaging. The EOS M's use of an APS-C sensor will draw the attention of those wanting DSLR quality in a small camera. The new EF-M mount supports shorter back-focus lens designs, like Canon's EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, which is available in a kit with the EOS M. If you add on the EF-EOS M mount adapter, the EOS M is also compatible with Canon EF-S and EF lenses up to 800mm -- which looks somewhat comical with all that glass attached to a relatively small body, but it's a viable pairing.
Controls. With an equivalent focal length of 35.2mm, the 22mm f/2 pancake kit lens is perfectly aimed at the recently reborn street photographer, a smart choice that nonetheless feels incongruous alongside the EOS M's lack of physical controls for aperture and shutter speed. The M relies instead on the touchscreen and a rear control ring, which may be more appealing and familiar to consumer shooters, rather than serious photographers. For a mode dial, the EOS M features a three-position ring surrounding the Shutter Release button. It's three positions are Scene Intelligent Auto, Still Photo and Movie. Program, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, and Manual exposure modes are available in the Auto mode via the touchscreen. The EOS M has no built-in flash, but includes a full hot shoe, compatible with Canon's EX flashes and wireless flash system. A small accessory flash was also introduced with the EOS M, dubbed the Speedlite 90EX.
Stereo microphones also appear on the top deck of the EOS M, marked by seven holes each; a stereo microphone jack is also built in, available on the camera's left side. A simple power button is well-placed as the top deck begins to slope toward the rear of the camera, making it easily visible and easy to press from the rear. A small LED lies behind the button. Though the EOS M's front grip is scant, it's bolstered by the nice plastic thumbgrip on the back. A small record button, marked with the traditional red dot, appears in the upper right corner and starts or stops Movie recording.
Touchscreen. Here's where things get unusual, relying more on the touchscreen. The Menu button obviously brings up the traditional Canon DSLR menu, and the INFO button changes among available displays. Pressing the center button, which on PowerShot-series cameras brings up the Function menu, now brings up the Quick Menu on the EOS M, just as the Quick Menu button does on the Rebel T4i. The Quick Menu looks almost identical to that on the T4i, making changes very easy either with a touch, or via navigation with the wheel or four-way navigator. Nothing about the interface was re-invented for the EOS M, just repurposed, mostly with a very good end result. The EOS team is said to have worked with the PowerShot team to refine the design, and the melding of thoughts is evident, if more heavily influenced by the PowerShot side.
Who it's for. In some ways the Canon EOS M seems aimed clearly at the low-light, street-shooting photographer who wants something small and high quality, and who wants more than the tiny flash that can be wedged into a such a compact camera body. Features like Handheld Night Scene and HDR Backlight Control also target the savvy shooter. On the other hand, the Canon EOS M's lack of physical controls and emphasis on the touchscreen are indeed designed more for the full-auto shooter who just wants to get the shot quickly and without a lot of fuss. The camera also features a Creative Auto Mode that simplifies advanced concepts -- including depth of field -- for entry-level photographers.
Canon EOS M Field Test
Too little, too late?
The Canon EOS M is a decidedly late arrival in the already packed world of mirrorless compact system cameras. But so am I, having spent the bulk of my digital photography experience using primarily pocket cameras and DSLRs. I thought that would make us a perfect match, and I was eager to see if Canon's prowess in both interchangeable lens cameras and point-and-shoots would translate to their first CSC. Of course, I knew about the bad buzz surrounding the EOS M, but I wanted to approach my review with an open mind.
Canon EOS M Technical Insights
Let's have a look under the hood
Like most of the company's recent consumer and mid-range DSLRs, the Canon EOS M features at its heart an 17.9-megapixel, APS-C sized CMOS image sensor.
The EOS M's image sensor offers the same 3:2 aspect ratio and maximum image dimensions of 5,184 x 3,456 pixels as that seen in its sibling, the EOS Rebel T4i digital DSLR.
The 18 megapixel sensor is coupled with a DIGIC 5 image processor, a designation seen previously in the EOS-1D X and Rebel T4i. (Note that while the EOS-1Dx had twin DIGIC 5 processors plus a tertiary DIGIC 4 processor, the EOS M only includes one DIGIC 5 chip, as did the Rebel T4i.)
Canon EOS M Image Quality Comparison
Let's see how image quality compares to competitors
Here we present crops comparing the Canon EOS M with the Canon SL1, Nikon J3, Olympus E-PL5, Panasonic G6, and the Sony NEX-3N.
We're starting with the base ISO to show the best each camera can do, then moving onto ISO 1600, 3200, and then finer details with ISO 6400 below.
NOTE: These images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction.
Canon EOS M Print Quality
But how does it look on paper?
The Canon EOS M holds its own in the print quality department alongside its newer cousin the Canon SL1, as well as the enthusiast DSLRs T4i and T5i. If you are comparing the M to the SL1, image quality is virtually identical, so you'd do best to choose a model based on other criteria such as size, feel, features and performance. If you are considering getting one as a back-up or sidekick to your T4i or T5i, you can expect similar printed results with no loss in quality due to its smaller size. Its print sizes are also right in step with the Olympus E-PM2 and E-PL5.
Canon EOS M Conclusion
Late to the mirrorless camera game, the Canon EOS M wasn't a big hit at launch -- primarily due to reports of its glacial autofocus speeds. (Something we discovered here at IR immediately.) Due to what was considered a fatal flaw, the camera was mostly ignored until recently when Canon finally addressed the AF issue with a much-anticipated firmware update. We're happy to report that this update did in fact markedly improve the EOS M's speed, shaving an average of a half a second off its single-shot autofocusing times. While it's still not as fast as many other compact system cameras, it brought the Canon EOS M back to the acceptable range -- and back to life in the minds of photographers.
In the Box
The Canon EOS M retail kit contains:
- Canon EOS M digital camera body
- EF-M 22mm f/2 STM lens or EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens (depending on the kit)
- Neck strap EM-100DB
- Battery pack LP-E12
- Battery charger LC-E12
- USB interface cable IFC-130U
- EOS Digital Solution disc, camera instruction manual, software instructional manual CD
- EF-M 22mm f/2 STM lens or EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens
- Extra battery pack (LP-E12) for extended outings
- Large capacity SDHC/SDXC memory card. These days, 16GB is a good tradeoff between cost and capacity. Canon recommends Speed Class 6 or faster to record HD video.
- Canon Speedlite 90EX accessory flash
- EF-M lens adapter kit for Canon EF / EF-S lenses
- AC adapter kit (ACK-E12)
- Medium-size camera bag