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Canon EOS M Review

Canon EOS M.jpg

It was late on the scene but its arrival still surprised many. After all, it is four years since Panasonic appeared with the first model in this guise.

Canon’s first MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera) or CSC (Compact System Camera) magnesium alloy body model followed many other marques’ entries but differed to some by immediately offering an adaptor that accepted the mainstream Canon EF lens range. Using 35 SLR lenses the magnification factor is 1.6x, surely not a deterrent factor.

Canon EOS M_black.jpg

Canon EOS M_red_BACK.jpg

Canon EOS M_white side.jpg

At first glance, it’s a strange beast. The review camera was stark black in colour, with only the control labels picked out in off white — and few they are! It was tested with the f3.5/18-55mm lens.

I immediately looked for the exposure modes and quickly found only three on the top mode dial: intelligent auto, still photos and video. Where’s Program, aperture and shutter priority I queried?

Where? They’re accessible via a touch screen system that at first I found foreign, then quickly settled into its style.
Exposure modes.jpg

Tap the upper left corner of the LCD screen and you’re presented with an array of M, Av, Tv, P: manual, aperture and shutter priority and Program. Easy!

Next to the mode dial is the on/off button — and tass all!
Main menu.JPG

Metering modes.jpg

At the rear there is nowt else but menu and info buttons plus replay and the main dial with options for single/continuous shooting, a central Q-set button, erase and exposure lock (if your focus area differs from the main metering area).

As I mentioned, the text labels are in off white … and they are sure hard to see in dim light!
Goldfish 1.JPG

Dolphins 3.jpg

Dolls 3.JPG

Canon EOS M Features

The 18 megapixel CMOS can capture a maximum 5184×3456 pixel image, enough to make a 44x29cm image.

Movies? Full HGD MPEG4 video at 1920×1080 pixel resolution is within its capabilities and can be happily recorded to SD cards rated as Class 6. You can shoot stills mid-video but the latter is interrupted.

Interestingly, the EOS-M kit is supplied with the new Speedlite 90EX flash unit as standard. A wireless master function allows the control of multiple flash guns wirelessly.

There some factors which seem to indicate that the EOS-M is not designed to attract the pros out there: the screen-driven control is one of them; another is the provision of a range of creative filters that includes toy camera, grainy B&W, fish eye distortion etc.

Overall, the camera appeals due to its compact dimensions, light weight and (once you get used to it), simple touch screen operation.

Canon EOS M ISO Tests

Canon EOS-M ISO 100.JPG

Canon EOS-M ISO 400.JPG

Canon EOS-M ISO 800.JPG

Canon EOS-M ISO 1600.JPG

Canon EOS-M ISO 3200.JPG

Canon EOS-M ISO 6400.JPG

Canon EOS-M ISO 12800.JPG

Clean performance al the way to ISO 3200. BY ISO 6400 noise is starting to appear but not badly so. At ISO 12800 noise is obvious but certain shots will accept it.

Canon EOS M Review Verdict

Quality: above average.

Why you’d buy the Canon EOS-M: compact camera with access to Canon’s full frame lens range.

Why you wouldn’t: touch screen operation deters you; a long tele, full size lens would look silly on the EOS-M; no vari angle screen.

The Canon EOS M is available in black, silver, white, red.

Welcome to another MILC! A lightweight, compact camera. Maybe the more ambitious out there should await for the next, higher specced model to arrive.

Canon EOS M Specifications

Image Sensor: 18 million effective pixels.
Metering: Multi pattern, centre-weighted averaging, spot, partial.
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Sensor: 22.3×14.9mm CMOS.
Lens Mount: Canon EF-M, EF (with adaptor).
35 SLR Lens Factor: 1.6x.
Shutter Speed: 60 to 1/4000 second. Flashy sync: 1/200 sec.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC.
Image Sizes (pixels): 3456×2304 to 720×480. Movies: 1920×1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280×720 (60, 50 fps), 640×480 60/50 fps.
LCD Screen: 7.7cm LCD (1,040,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, RAW (14-bit), JPEG+RAW, MPEG4.
Continuous Shooting: up to 4.3 fps.
Colour Space: sRGB, Adobe RGB.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 12800; 25600 (with expansion).
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini, AV output, mic input, Eye-Fi.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 109x66x32 WHDmm.
Weight: 298 g (inc battery).
Prices: Get a price on the Canon EOS M with EF-M18-55mm IS STM Lens or the Canon EOS Mwith a EF-M 22mm STM Lensat Amazon.

Summary
Reviewer
Barrie Smith
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Canon EOS M
Author Rating
3

Read more from our Cameras & Equipment category.

Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

  • James

    What did you think of the auto-focus speed?

  • http://tuimages.co.nz Teri

    So wait, has the autofocus (apparently just on par with Canon’s normal DSLR live view, so significantly slower than any other mirrorless) been fixed? Or has this review just.. conveniently.. forgotten to mention it?

  • HB

    I applaud Canon for finally getting into the mirrorless market but they’ve sacrificed a viewfinder for more screen space. It may be aimed at point and shooters looking to get better picture quality but I think those same people would be bitterly disappointed with their blurry shots from holding it out like a PnS and having to handle the weight of the lens in front. You’ll be able to get around this by using a tripod but this defeats the purpose of COMPACT mirrorless.
    Lets hope this changes for the EOS-M markII

  • Jay

    On a Sony MILC review, a reader answered my concern (about longer telephoto use) by suggesting the use of an EVF. Hope Canon is planning EVF and tilt screen for next version.

  • JJ

    I rented the M as soon as it came out and spent an enjoyable day at the zoo with it attached to my Canon 70-200 F4L series lens. I got all my shots, it balanced very nicely on the lens and was a lot easier to hold and carry than my 7D. I think the quality was better and other than missing the view finder a few times when there was too much sun on the LCD screen I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed using it. That night I got great existing light shots with the kit 20. Did you guys actually try this?

Some older comments

  • JJ

    February 8, 2013 06:25 am

    I rented the M as soon as it came out and spent an enjoyable day at the zoo with it attached to my Canon 70-200 F4L series lens. I got all my shots, it balanced very nicely on the lens and was a lot easier to hold and carry than my 7D. I think the quality was better and other than missing the view finder a few times when there was too much sun on the LCD screen I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed using it. That night I got great existing light shots with the kit 20. Did you guys actually try this?

  • Jay

    February 8, 2013 04:34 am

    On a Sony MILC review, a reader answered my concern (about longer telephoto use) by suggesting the use of an EVF. Hope Canon is planning EVF and tilt screen for next version.

  • HB

    February 4, 2013 07:22 pm

    I applaud Canon for finally getting into the mirrorless market but they've sacrificed a viewfinder for more screen space. It may be aimed at point and shooters looking to get better picture quality but I think those same people would be bitterly disappointed with their blurry shots from holding it out like a PnS and having to handle the weight of the lens in front. You'll be able to get around this by using a tripod but this defeats the purpose of COMPACT mirrorless.
    Lets hope this changes for the EOS-M markII

  • Teri

    February 4, 2013 08:21 am

    So wait, has the autofocus (apparently just on par with Canon's normal DSLR live view, so significantly slower than any other mirrorless) been fixed? Or has this review just.. conveniently.. forgotten to mention it?

  • James

    February 4, 2013 03:59 am

    What did you think of the auto-focus speed?

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