Holdout no more: Canon makes mirrorless debut with EOS M (previewed!)


posted Monday, July 23, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT

Canon's EOS-M compact system camera. Photo provided by Canon. Click for our hands-on Canon EOS M preview!For some time now, the rumors have swirled, and today they bear fruit. Just two weeks short of the fourth anniversary of Olympus and Panasonic's debut of their joint Micro Four Thirds system standard for compact system cameras, long-time mirrorless holdout Canon becomes the last major manufacturer to acknowledge the burgeoning market for interchangeable-lens cameras that do away with the bulky mirror box and optical viewfinder of traditional DSLRs.

The first Canon mirrorless camera is the Canon EOS M, and while it retains the EOS brandname, it debuts a brand-new lens mount, the EF-M mount. (That's not surprising; thus far Pentax's K-01 is the only mirrorless camera to retain the baggage of an existing lens mount, while ditching its advantages.) Alongside the EOS M, Canon is also debuting its first two EF-M lenses: one 22mm prime that serves as a kit lens, and one 18-55mm zoom that's initially the only other available EF-M lens. Both include Canon's essentially silent STM autofocus. There's also an adapter that allows use of around 70 current and historic EF and EF-S lens models with the EOS M.

Canon's EOS M camera kit. Photo provided by Canon. Click for a bigger picture!

Inside its compact body, the Canon EOS M retains much DNA from the Rebel T4i digital SLR. Shared features include an 18 megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor with on-chip phase detection capability, a single DIGIC 5 image processor, a hybrid autofocus system that uses phase-detect to achieve approximate focus for centrally-located subjects, then fine-tunes (or performs the whole AF operation, for subjects outside the center of the frame) using contrast detection. There's also a three-inch, 720x480 pixel Clear View II LCD panel with capacitive multi-touch display, although unlike that of the T4i, it's not articulated in the EOS M.

Like some early mirrorless models from competitors, the Canon EOS M lacks an onboard flash strobe, and offers no electronic viewfinder functionality, either built-in or as an accessory. It does, however, offer a quite capable movie mode. Resolutions up to Full HD are supported, and options include manual exposure control, internal / external stereo mics, and manual audio levels control.

The EOS M body will be available in white, but only from Canon's own web store. Photo provided by Canon. Click for a bigger picture!

Alongside the EOS M, mount adapter, and the first EF-M mount lenses, Canon has also revealed a brand-new Speedlite flash strobe with sizing conducive to use on a mirrorless camera. The Canon Speedlite 90EX flash strobe is rather less powerful than the built-in strobes commonly found on DSLRs, but that's the price you pay for a small strobe that runs on two AAA batteries. (And if it's not powerful enough, you can mount any other Speedlite model of your choosing.)

The Canon EOS M ships from October, in either black or white body colors. (The black-bodied version will be available at most retailers, while the white version will be an exclusive for Canon's own online store. Other markets may receive silver or red versions, but currently these aren't planned for US-market availability.) Pricing for the EOS M kit, which includes an EF-M 22mm STM lens, is set at around US$800. The EF-S 18-55mm STM lens will ship simultaneously for US$300. Also available at the same time will be the EF-EOS M mount adapter (US$200) and the Speedlite 90EX (US$150).

Much more detail can be found in our hands-on Canon EOS M preview!

Canon EOS M
Canon's EOS M compact system camera. Photo provided by Canon. Click for a bigger picture!
Camera Type Compact System Camera
Manufacturer North America: EOS M
Dimensions 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in.
(109 x 67 x 32 mm)
Weight 14.2 oz (403 g)
Planned Price $800
Planned Availability October 2012
Image Capture
Sensor Type Canon CMOS
APS-C (approx. 1.06 in. diagonal)
18.50 megapixels (total)
18.00 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Focal Length Multiplier 1.60
Aspect Ratio 3:2
Image Dimensions 5184 x 3456 (17.9 megapixels)
3456 x 2304 (8.0 megapixels)
2592 x 1728 (4.5 megapixels)
1920 x 1280 (2.5 megapixels)
720 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
Capture Speed Continuous: 4.3 frames per second for 17 frames
Image Quality 2 levels
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder No
LCD 3.0 in. diagonal; 1,040,000 dots
Touchscreen Yes
Image Stabilization No
Focal Length 22.0mm (actual)
35mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/2.0 - ??
Focusing System Hybrid phase-detect/contrast-detect AF on image sensor: FlexiZone - Multi (31 zones, AF at the touched Zone), Single; Face Detection + Tracking AF
Has AF assist lamp
Manual focus possible
Focusing Range Normal: 6" - infinity (15 cm - infinity)
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100-12800 in 1EV steps, expandable to H=25600
Shutter Speed 30 - 1/4000 second
Exposure Modes Program, Aperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes Evaluative metering, partial metering (center: approx. 11%), spot metering (center: approx. 2.8%), center-weighted average metering
Exposure Compensation +/- 3.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Twilight and Sunset, Tungsten, White Fluorescent, Flash, Custom
Internal Flash Modes: Auto, On, Off, Red-eye; FE Lock
Flash Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 0.3EV increments
Scene Modes Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene mode, HDR Backlight Control mode Multi-Shot Noise Reduction, 7 Creative Filters
Self Timer Yes, 10, 2 seconds
Movie Format MOV (Image data: H.264; audio: Linear PCM (Stereo)) with audio
Max. clip length: 1,799 seconds (1920x1080)
Movie Resolution / Frame Rate 1920x1080 @ 30p/25p/24p, 1280x720 @ 60p/50p, 640x480 @ 30p/25p
Recording Medium SD/MMC including SDHC, SDXC
File System Complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format .CR2 RAW, RAW+L/F JPEG, JPEG
Other Mini HDMI, External 3.5mm Stereo Mic Jack
Battery Type Lithium-ion rechargeble
Battery Form Factor Proprietary LP-E12
Product Bundle
Software EOS Digital Solutions Disc
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary LP-E12 Lithium-ion rechargeble battery and charger
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone Yes
Internal Speaker Yes
Tripod Mount Yes
Remote Control Yes, Optional IR remote
Notes Full HD movies with Movie Servo AF, manual exposure control, built-in stereo mic with manual audio level adjustment, Video Snapshot. DIGIC 5 processor, Hybrid CMOS AF, 3-inch 1.04M-dot touchscreen LCD, optional EF lens adapter. Available in black or white.
Canon's EOS M compact system camera. Photo provided by Canon. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS M compact system camera. Photo provided by Canon. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS M compact system camera. Photo provided by Canon. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS M compact system camera. Photo provided by Canon. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS M compact system camera. Photo provided by Canon. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS M compact system camera. Photo provided by Canon. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS M compact system camera. Photo provided by Canon. Click for a bigger picture!
Canon's EOS M compact system camera. Photo provided by Canon. Click for a bigger picture!

Press Release

Put Your Creativity Into Motion With The New EOS M Digital Camera

The Newest Camera in Canon’s Lineup Delivers Exceptional EOS Full HD Video Quality with Continuous Autofocus and an Expansive Selection of Lenses

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., July 23, 2012 – Combining the perfect blend of advanced video features and excellent still image quality in a convenient size, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced the EOS M Digital Camera. Canon has made significant advancements in the realm of professional-quality HD video capture, from advanced CMOS sensor technology to smooth, quiet continuous autofocus. Inspired by EOS technology, the EOS M leverages these core technologies and distills them down to provide outstanding video capture capabilities while retaining high-quality still image capture. When shooting still images, the EOS M camera’s 18-megapixel APS-C-sized CMOS image sensor provides a shallow depth of field, incredible low-light image quality and a wide dynamic range to capture rich gradation and detail. This new addition to the EOS family offers a great solution to videographers and photographers of all levels, with two new lenses designed specifically for Canon’s new camera format – the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM kit lens and the optional EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens– and the ability to use the full line of Canon EF and EF-S lenses through the optional Mount Adapter EF-EOS M.

"The EOS M includes a unique feature set making it an ideal movie-making tool while offering incredible still image quality on its APS-C-sized CMOS sensor.  The camera’s size, image quality, advanced video capabilities and the versatility of Canon’s full lineup of lenses make the EOS M another great option to help our customers record and capture their creative vision," said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A.

Product Specifications and Features:

  • EOS Full HD Movie mode with Movie Servo AF for continuous focus tracking of moving subjects also includes:

    • Manual exposure control

    • Multiple resolution frame rates

    • Built-in stereo microphone

    • Manual audio level adjustment

    • Video Snapshot mode with touch-screen editing

  • 18.0-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor

  • ISO 100–6400 (expandable to 12800 in H mode) for video recording, ISO 100 – 12800 (expandable to 25600 in H mode) for still image shooting from bright to dim light and high performance Powerful DIGIC 5 Image Processor for exceptional image quality video and photos

  • Hybrid CMOS AF delivers fast autofocus speed for video and photos

  • Touch Screen 3.0-inch Clear View LCD monitor II (approximately 1,040,000 dots) with smudge-resistant coating features multi-touch operation allowing photographers to use familiar gestures such as "pinch-to-zoom" and "swiping" to scroll between pictures and Touch AF for an easy and intuitive video capture experience

  • Scene Intelligent Auto mode delivers expertly optimized photos and scene detection for amazing results even when shooting at night

  • Advanced imaging features like Handheld Night Scene mode, HDR Backlight Control mode, and seven Creative Filters provide added versatility

  • Multi-shot Noise Reduction helps preserve precious detail in photos at high ISO speeds

  • Compatible with SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, including new Ultra High Speed (UHS-I) cards

  • Compatible with all Canon Speedlite accessories including the new Speedlite 600EX and Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT

  • Compatible with Canon’s GPS Receiver GP-E2

An Advanced Video Capture Device
The EOS M utilizes Canon’s Hybrid CMOS AF system to deliver fast autofocus speed for both video and photos. The Hybrid CMOS AF system truly shines when shooting video with EOS Full HD Movie mode including Movie Servo AF for continuous autofocus and tracking of moving subjects. The Hybrid CMOS AF system is located on the CMOS sensor itself and combines phase-difference AF and contrast AF to achieve operational stability, speed and precision. The Movie Servo AF function on the EOS M is enabled by default which keeps images on the rear screen in constant focus, even before the shutter is pressed. This continual focus makes for sharp video capture in a snap or to help reduce shutter lag due to focusing when still images want to be shot. The camera employs three AF methods for video and photos, Face Detection & Tracking AF, Multi-Point AF for automatics selection and Single-Point AF, where users select one of 31 AF points. Through the camera’s touch-panel operation, subject recognition and tracking is engaged at the touch of a finger, allowing users to track subjects accurately and focus on intended subjects with ease. In addition to subject tracking, the touch-panel LCD allows for simple, intuitive operation, menu navigation and touch features making it easy to shoot video and photos.

Thanks to Canon’s new Stepping Motor (STM) technology, when using either of the newly announced M-series lenses – the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM kit lens or the optional EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens – the AF system remains silent, helping ensure users only capture the sound of the scene being recorded. The EOS M also features manual audio level control to 64 levels, a built-in stereo microphone, which includes a wind filter and an attenuator function to reduce audio distortion in extra loud situations. The EOS M records MPEG-4 AVC H.264 video as an .MOV file in a range of NTSC and PAL professional frame rates, including 1080p Full HD video at 30p (29.97), 24p (23.976) and 25p, 720p HD video at 60p (59.94) or 50p and Standard Definition video at 30p (29.97) or 25p.

In addition to the creativity afforded by over 70 compatible lenses, the EOS M also includes Picture Style settings – including custom Picture Styles – when shooting video, allowing users to adjust color settings the same as when shooting still images. The camera also includes Canon’s Video Snapshot mode for an easy way to record and create a fun highlight reel that can be easily shared. Video Snapshot mode combines a series of short video clips into a single file, all in-camera.  Through the camera’s touch-screen controls users can delete, cut or re-order the clips in-camera for quick and easy editing.

Optical Diversity: New M-Series Lenses and Accessories
Along with the EOS M, Canon is also introducing two new M-series lenses – with new EOS M mounts –that include STM technology allowing for smooth and silent focusing when paired with Hybrid CMOS AF.

The EF-M 22mm f/2 STM kit lens is ideal for shooting video and still images. The fixed focal length lens has a great capacity for gathering light with an incredible aperture of f/2 and when combined with the camera’s APS-C image sensor, provide beautiful bright images and background blur for both video and stills. For more focal range versatility, Canon is also introducing the new EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, which provides videographers and photographers with a variable zoom range for general use with video recording or photographing. Both lenses are designed specifically for use with the EOS M digital camera.

In addition to the two lenses, any of Canon’s EF and EF-S lenses can be used with the EOS M with the optional Mount Adapter EF-EOS M. The EOS M camera’s strong magnesium and stainless steel frame provide the durability and rigidity to support the full line of EF and EF-S Lenses in a lightweight convenient design. Using the adapter allows the camera to be fully integrated into the EOS ecosystem of lenses, adding creative options and versatility to this powerful camera.

Ideal for use with the EOS Mi, Canon is also announcing a new compact and lightweight flash unit, the Speedlite 90EX, designed for the photographer on the go. The Speedlite 90EX is capable of coverage for 24mm wide angle lenses (35mm equivalent) with maximum guide numbers of 30 feet (9 meters) at ISO 100. The flash unit can be controlled wirelessly for creative multiple flash shoots and uses the standard Canon EOS hot shoe mount for compatibility with all EOS DSLR cameras and PowerShot digital cameras that include a hot shoe.

The EOS M Digital Camera bundled with the new EF-M 22mm f/2 STM kit lens will be available in October for an estimated retail price of $799.99. Also a white version of the EOS M Digital Camera bundled with the new EF-M 22mm f/2 STM kit lens will be exclusively available through the Canon Online store, shop.usa.canon.com.

The new EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, Mount Adapter EF-EOS M and Speedlite 90EX will all be available in October at an estimated retail price of $299.99, $199.99 and $149.99 respectively.

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. With approximately $45.6 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), ranks third overall in U.S. patents registered in 2011† and is one of Fortune Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies in 2012. Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyosei philosophy of social and environmental responsibility. To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company’s RSS news feed by visiting www.usa.canon.com/rss.


† Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.
All referenced product names, and other marks, are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
Availability, prices, and specifications of all products are subject to change without notice. Actual prices are set by individual dealers and may vary.

  1. A Speedlite is required for flash photography with the EOS M digital camera; this camera does not include a built-in flash.