Canon EOS M10 Conclusion

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30mm equivalent (Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens at 19mm), f/4.0, 1/50s, ISO 100.
Click for full-size image.

The Canon EOS M10 is the Japanese company's first entirely new model in its mirrorless camera lineup. Rather than replace a predecessor, the M10 expands the line in a new direction. Specifically, the Canon M10 is designed as an entry-level mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.

With a more stripped-down body, the M10 is user-friendly. Is its image quality and performance a big step down from its higher-end EOS M3 sibling? Read on to find out!

The Canon M10's body is simple and intuitive

Weighing in at 10.6 ounces (301 grams) for the body only, the M10 is a lightweight interchangeable lens camera. It's slightly lighter and smaller than the simultaneously-launched Canon M3, but the biggest difference between the two bodies is the amount of controls. The M10 has no mode dial on the top of the camera and a lot fewer buttons on the camera, particularly on the rear.

The rear of the M10 includes only 'Playback' and 'Menu' buttons in addition to the directional pad. The top of the camera has a shutter release, dial, movie record button, power button and a switch to toggle between stills and video. Besides that, you will be relying heavily upon the tilting 3.0-inch touchscreen LCD monitor, which has 1.04-million dots. The camera is streamlined and fans of physical controls will be disappointed, but we found the M10's touchscreen implementation to be very good. You will also be dependent upon the touchscreen for framing shots as the M10 doesn't include a viewfinder or a means for attaching an optional one.

For beginners, we think that the M10 will be an easy camera to use because of its streamlined design. For more advanced photographers, the lack of physical controls could be problematic. Overall, the body is well-designed and feels quite solid for a camera in this class, particularly the tilting touchscreen display.

The Canon M10 offers good image quality across a wide range of situations

Although not equipped with the same 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor as the M3, the Canon M10's 18-megapixel sensor does a good job. It captures reasonably sharp images with a good level of detail. In addition to its good resolving power, the M10 captures images with very good hue accuracy.

18mm equivalent (Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens at 11mm), f/4.5, 1/60s, ISO 400.
This image has been modified. Click for original image.

It isn't all good news in the sensor department, however, as the M10's dynamic range is quite a bit lower than the M3's across the entire ISO range. The gap between the two gets slightly larger as you increase the sensitivity. When comparing the M10 to a camera like the Sony A5100, the difference is quite a bit larger at base sensitivity, where there's a difference of 1.3 EV of dynamic range.

The Canon EOS M10's high ISO performance is strong considering the context

320mm equivalent (Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM lens at 200mm), f/6.3, 1/1250s, ISO 1600.
This image has been cropped. Click for original image.

Through the range of ISO 100-400, the M10 can produce good 24 x 36 prints. At ISO 800, you could get away with a 24 x 36 print, but we are more comfortable with a 20 x 30 print as there is some slight loss of fine detail, particularly in shadow areas. ISO 1600 represents a considerable increase in visible noise which means a big decrease in the maximum acceptable print size to 11 x 14. Pumping up the ISO to 3200 leads to 8 x 10 prints being the maximum acceptable size. Beyond that, ISO 6400 and 12800 produce okay 5 x 7 and 4 x 6 prints respectively. ISO 25600 is best avoided entirely. Overall, the APS-C Canon M10 makes good high ISO prints considering its price point and entry-level status.

Canon EOS M10 user experience: A simplified, streamlined camera

Straightforward: That's how we can best describe the Canon M10. Despite being an interchangeable lens camera, which can at times be daunting to new users, the M10 does an excellent job of presenting its variety of shooting modes and options in an easy-to-understand touchscreen menu. It does not take long to become familiar with the M10's operation.

24mm equivalent (Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens at 15mm), f/3.5, 1/60s, ISO 250.
This image has been modified. Click for original image.

Metering and autofocus performance is dependable

The M10's metering performance is dependable. In most cases, the camera's evaluative metering system works well. Spot metering can also be linked to the autofocus point, which is very nice. In the event that you need to utilize exposure compensation, you can simply press up on the directional pad on the back of the camera and rotate the dial.

The M10's Hybrid CMOS AF II autofocus system is decent. It has 49 autofocus points and offers a variety of AF modes, including multi, single and face detection. Single shot autofocus works pretty well and is fairly quick in a variety of situations. Low light autofocus leaves something to be desired, but it is otherwise dependable.

Continuous autofocus is another story, however, as it is rather sluggish. The M10 does not dependably track moving subjects, particularly quick ones, and is not well-equipped to capture sharp, in-focus action shots.

DIGIC 6 image processor may help image quality, but doesn't do much for performance

The Canon EOS M10 can capture JPEG images at up to 4.6 frames per second for over 80 frames with a buffer that can clear in a mere two seconds. The speed may not be great, but the buffer depth and clearing is. When shooting raw images, the situation degrades dramatically. The camera's shooting speeds top out at 4.2 fps, but worse yet is that the buffer depth drops to only six frames, which clears in a relatively quick three seconds.

35mm equivalent (Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens at 22mm), f/5.6, 1/80s, ISO 160.
This image has been modified. Click for original image.

Single-shot cycle times are about average and the buffer clearing time is good for both JPEG and raw image capture, but the raw buffer depth is a big negative for photographers who want to shoot continuous raw files. Paired with the continuous autofocus performance, the M10 is simply not an action camera.

Video performance is good, but video features are lacking

Like Canon's other mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, the M10 doesn't record 4K video. Full HD (1,920 x 1,080-pixel) video can be recorded up at up to 30 frames per second, which is odd considering that Full HD video at 60fps is fairly standard these days. Nonetheless, video quality is quite good. Autofocus and metering performance is okay, but AF is far from fast. It is nice to be able to use the touchscreen display to quietly move the AF point around the frame.

Is the Canon EOS M10 more than a stripped down M3?

24mm equivalent (Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens at 15mm), f/3.5, 1/250s, ISO 800
This image has been modified. Click for original image.

The Canon EOS M10 is a good option for beginning photographers looking for their first interchangeable lens camera. Its mirrorless design allows it to be quite compact while also utilizing relatively small lenses. The camera's straightforward, simple design may be a negative for some photographers, but we think that it should be considered a plus for beginners who might otherwise be overwhelmed by some of the options on the market. Given the M10's excellent use of its touchscreen display, we consider it a very user-friendly camera.

Its user-friendliness and reasonably low price point do come at a cost, though. The M10 lacks the physical controls and autofocus capabilities to perform well as an action camera, especially given its poor raw buffer depth. Video features are lacking as well. But overall, the Canon EOS M10 is a good value and a viable option for beginners.

Pros & Cons

Image Quality

  • Good image quality
  • Excellent hue accuracy
  • Solid high ISO performance
  • 18-megapixel sensor is getting long-in-the-tooth with less dynamic range and lower high ISO performance than most current competitors
  • Very poor Auto white balance under tungsten lighting

Performance

  • Good JPEG buffer depth
  • Fast buffer clearing

  • Slow startup and mode switching
  • Sluggish AF speeds
  • Mediocre continuous autofocus performance
  • Mediocre burst speeds
  • Shallow buffers when shooting raw files (but that's typical for the class)

Video

  • Shoots Full HD video
  • Fairly good video quality
  • Includes an external mic jack
  • No priority-mode exposure control
  • Autofocus is a bit on the slow side
  • No high framerate video option
  • No 4K video capture
  • Nowhere on the camera itself to mount an external mic

User Experience

  • Streamlined, comfortable camera body
  • Excellent touchscreen menus
  • Durable touchscreen tilting mechanism
  • Highlight Tone Priority and Auto Lighting Optimizer features help with high-contrast scenes
  • Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC
  • Tilting 3-inch touchscreen
  • Compact
  • Affordable



  • No viewfinder or option for an external one
  • Reliance on touchscreen makes it bad for cold-weather use
  • Below average battery life

Optics

  • New kit lens is compact and goes wider than most (24-72mm equivalent)
  • Kit lens' optical performance is only fair
  • Limited native lens selection (but can work with non EF-M Canon lenses with an adapter)

Flash

  • Includes a built-in flash
  • Weak built-in flash with very narrow coverage
  • No flash hotshoe


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