Canon M100 Field Test Part II

The M100 delivers impressive video for an entry-level camera

by Jeremy Gray | Posted 01/10/2018

Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM: 15mm (24mm equiv.), f/5.6, 1/400s, ISO 100.
Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

Recap of Field Test Part I

In my first M100 Field Test, I focused on the camera body itself, the image sensor and image quality, autofocus and performance. I was impressed by the M100 and found it offered a good amount of versatility in a compact form factor.

In this second Field Test, the focus will be on video and other features. I will also discuss the shooting experience more generally before wrapping up my Field Test and giving an overall view on the camera's performance in real-world shooting.

Video

The M100 follows suit with many recent Canon cameras in that its resolution tops out at Full HD. The camera can record 1920 x 1080 video at up to 60 progressive frames per second, which is competitive with other EOS M cameras, but the lack of 4K recording continues with this model. With that said, the M100 is an affordable camera, so 4K inclusion would be somewhat surprising, irrespective of Canon's previous cameras.

Videos are recorded as .MP4 files (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 encoding with AAC-LC stereo audio) with a maximum duration of 29 minutes and 59 seconds, and a maximum file size of 4GB. Resolution and framerate options include Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 60 (59.94), 50, 30 (29.97), 25, or 24 (23.98) fps; HD (1280 x 720) at 60 or 50 fps; and VGA (640 x 480) at 30 or 25 fps.

Full HD 60p Video
1920 x 1080 at 60p with Fine Detail Picture Control using Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens.
Download Original (89.6 MB .MP4 File)

There is also a time-lapse movie mode which captures stills at preset intervals and combines them into a Full HD 30p (or 25p for PAL) time-lapse video in-camera. You can choose from 3 Scene types (for moving subjects, slowly changing subjects or slowly changing scenes) which pre-selects the number of shots and interval which you can tweak, or you can select Custom and set the number of frames from 30 to 900 and interval from 2 to 30 seconds. You can also select whether exposure is fixed at the first frame or varies with each shot, and whether to review each image or not, to monitor progress or save battery life.

Time-lapse Video
1920 x 1080 at 30p Time-lapse Movie mode, Scene 2 option (150 shots at 5 second intervals) with Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens.
Download Original (15.2 MB .MP4 File)

The M100 has 3-axis digital image stabilization for videos, which works quite well. In the video below, I was steadying the camera a bit, but to be able to move the camera while shooting at 200mm (more like 400mm when considering the combined APS-C and digital IS crop factors) and not have terribly shaky video is impressive.

Image Stabilization Video
1920 x 1080 at 30p recorded with Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM lens
at 200mm with digital image stabilization enabled.
Download Original (68 MB .MP4 File)

Speaking of the crop, the camera does crop in from the sides and top when recording video, so you won't have the full width of the camera sensor for video recording, provided you are using the impressive digital image stabilization. If you turn image stabilization off, the width of the frame is the same for video as it is for stills, as you can see in the comparison below.

As you can see, enabling digital image stabilization does crop the video frame in from the sides, which makes sense. It's nice that you can record full-width video without the digital stabilization enabled for times when you want the greater field of view.

The M100 offers full manual video recording in addition to auto, which is great for a camera at this price point. Further, its autofocus performance proved pretty impressive during my testing, provided you have good light. If you are shooting in low light, focus can be rather sluggish. However it doesn't hunt very often once focus is locked in thanks to its Dual Pixel AF, which is very nice.

When looking at how the EOS M100 performs across different ISO settings, we see that the video quality varies quite a lot throughout the native ISO range of 100 to 6400. With that said, even at ISO 100, the video quality is not spectacular. The Full HD video is a bit soft, although the colors are quite pleasing, particularly in the Fine Detail Picture Style, which is my personal favorite with Canon cameras due to the good color reproduction and nice tone curve.

In the video below, I took the M100 through its entire ISO range in a scene with some highlight detail and shadow detail plus some very rich colors to see how the camera performed. At ISO 100 through 1600, the colors are quite nice. At ISO 3200 and 6400, the colors get a bit washed out. Noise becomes noticeable around ISO 800 and the contrast decreases, and as you increase the ISO further, the overall image becomes a bit flat. Very fine details become noticeably softer at ISO 800 and above. If you can shoot at ISO 400 or below, I highly recommend that you do.

ISO Test Video Compilation
1920 x 1080 at 24p recorded at different ISOs (ISO setting is labelled for each segment) with Fine Detail Picture Control using EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM.
Download Original Compilation (35.6 MB .MP4 File)

Overall

Overall, the EOS M100 is a decent video camera. Being able to set manual exposure settings is very nice but the M100 also does well with automatic settings across a wide variety of lighting conditions. It can shoot high ISO video with decent quality, but the Full HD video really shines at low ISOs. While I wish Canon would incorporate 4K recording into more of their cameras, I'm not holding my breath and I certainly wouldn't have expected the M100 to break the mold in their current EOS M lineup.

Full HD 24p Video
1920 x 1080 at 24p with automatic settings using Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens.
Download Original (49.3 MB .MP4 File)

Shooting Experience

I spent a lot of time discussing the M100's autofocus and performance in my first Field Test, so I don't want to retread too much territory. With that said, I want to reiterate how good the camera is at allowing you to simply capture nice-looking images without any fuss. If you want to leave the camera on an automatic or semi-automatic setting and fire away, that's fine and the camera will work well. I will suggest switching the Picture Style to Fine Detail, or at the very least avoiding "Auto," because you will get much better color reproduction if you stay away from "Auto" Picture Style.

Metering

The Canon EOS M100 offers evaluative, partial, spot and center-weighted average metering modes. Unfortunately, the spot metering mode is not tied to the active autofocus point but is rather is locked to the center of the frame. The exposure metering itself does quite well in many different lighting conditions, although its low-light performance comes up a bit short, particularly with respect to white balance.

Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM: 15mm (24mm equiv.), f/8, 1/5s, ISO 125, Auto White Balance. Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

As you can see, when metering an image in low light outdoors, the camera tends to deliver slightly dark, bluish images. This can be dealt with by using exposure compensation and a manual white balance, although that takes experience to correctly handle in the camera. It's easier to simply shoot RAW and fix the white balance after the fact.

Wireless Shooting

With its dedicated wireless communication button on the rear of the M100, you can easily connect the camera to your smartphone via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The on-screen instructions are easy to follow and the process is pretty straightforward. Once connected, you can remotely control the camera and transfer images from the M100 to your smartphone, making it a quick and easy way to share your photos with friends and family.

One aspect that is particularly neat is that you can determine which images are viewable to the smartphone. Suppose you wanted to share only images captured on a specific day with someone else on their phone, it's a breeze.

The app also offers remote control shooting, which works pretty well and offers similar functionality as is found on other similar Canon cameras. You can use your smartphone to move the autofocus point around the frame, change some camera settings including drive mode and autofocus mode. The video feed quality is pretty good and the connection proved stable during my testing.

Overall, while you cannot control every aspect of the camera, including the shooting mode, which is an unfortunate omission, the remote control shooting and overall connectivity features work well and should serve many users quite well.

The M100 delivers pretty good wireless functionality with built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth. It also has a dedicated wireless function button on the rear of the camera.

Field Test Part II Summary

Compact entry-level camera delivers pretty good video features and performance

What I like:

  • Good video quality at low ISO
  • Supports fully manual video recording
  • Easy to use wireless shooting modes

What I dislike:

  • No 4K video
  • Metering, while good, falters in low light
  • Remote control shooting doesn't have many features

The Canon EOS M100 is an entry-level camera and as we saw in the first Field Test, it performs well as a compact stills camera. I looked at video performance in this second Field Test and the M100 performed well here too. The M100 may top out at Full HD resolutions, but the video quality is good and the camera is very easy to use with its dedicated video shooting mode and movie record button.

Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM: 22mm (35mm equiv.), f/5.6, 1/15s, ISO 100.
Click for full-size image. Click here for RAW image.

Overall, the Canon EOS M100 is an easy camera to pick up and use and it offers a comfortable compact form factor. It lacks many physical controls, but it doesn't lack good image and video quality and delivers good overall value. If you're new to the EOS M system or simply want to upgrade from an older entry-level model, the M100 is a great option.

 

Buy the Canon EOS M100