Canon enters the mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera market with the EOS M.
Many a fan of Canon have eagerly waited for the company to release the EOS M camera. It has been four years since the mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera (MILC) revolution and most major DSLR makers have released their own MILC model.
That leaves Canon as the last major camera maker to join the party with the EOS M but can it stand out in an already crowded market? Read on to find out.
Form and function
The EOS M's body looks like a bigger version of the company's PowerShot compact cameras. On the inside, it has an 18-megapixel CMOS sensor and Digic 5 processor, the same as its larger cousin, the EOS 650D.
It also has a an EF-M mount that accepts the standard 18-55mm kit lens and a 22mm f/2 prime lens.
Needless to say, the selection of EF-M lens is very limited - Canon knows this and allows the use of the EF-EOS M adaptor for mounting EF and EF-S lenses with the EOS M.
You can even use a large 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto lens with the EOS-M although it may look ridiculous.
The EOS M lacks a built-in flash but you can use an external unit via its hotshoe. You can use the standard Canon EX Speedlite or even the newer Speedlite 90EX.
The 90EX requires two separate AAA batteries to operate and can only shoot straight - sorry, you can't bounce the falsh with this unit.
But it is interesting to note that it can also act as a wireless commander for Canon's off-camera flash system.
You can also use other accessories like Canon's GPE-2 GPS receiver to geotag your photos which will make it easier to sort them by location later.
The EOS M's minimalistic design is both good and bad. We didn't like the shallow grip on the font as it doesn't provide a firm hold over the camera. A larger rubber grip would have been a welcome addition.
Some may find the EOS M lacking in dials and buttons commonly found on most DSLRs but this is because Canon has smoothly incorporated many of the basic functions and settings into the touchscreen interface.
The camera has features that will appeal to casual photographers such as the fully automated Intelligent Auto and scene modes. Intermediate users will appreciate manual creative modes (P, A, S, M) that are surprisingly easy to access via the touchscreen interface.
The 3in capacitive touchscreen is also great for accessing the camera's other modes and making changes generally.
It can also be used in combination with the Info button to make quick changes to the ISO, white balance and shooting modes when you are in a hurry.
The only physical mode dial sits beneath the shutter button, allowing users to switch between automatic creative and movie modes.
Another nice option for serious photographers is the ability to shoot in RAW which is great for editing during post processing.
There are also creative filters and effects that can be applied to photos but it can only be done if it's in JPEG format.
Photos and videos
The EOS M uses both phase and contrast detect autofocus but it isn't fast enough. The camera takes slightly over 1.5 seconds to achieve focus lock even in the best of conditions outdoors.
It gets worse when you need to shoot in low light areas - the camera constantly hunts as it tries to focus.
We found the touchscreen's tap-to-focus feature more responsive than pressing the shutter button. It is not a feature that we would normally use but it is the best way to snap photos quickly on the EOS M.
This makes the camera less than ideal for moving subjects like in a sporting event. The camera performs way better when you have the time to compose your shot with subjects that aren't moving much.
The ISO performance are well within expectations with images looking good at up to ISO 3200. We don't recommend shooting anything above ISO 3200, as images tend to appear soft and too noisy.
The EOS M also records full HD videos. The recording quality is good and is on par with higher end models such as the 650D.
Autofocus during video recording is quite speedy.
Those who want more control can use manual focus if they want to compose artistic video shots.
THE Canon EOS M is a camera that attempts to bridge the performance gap between compacts and DSLRs.
It's also a little late to the party but Canon has got a number of things right with the MILC.
The build is solid and the metallic kit lenses are nice. It is also compatible with Canon's full range of lenses via an adaptor, and an external flash can be hooked up using its hotshoe.
The EOS M's touchscreen interface is intuitive and easy to use, offering plenty of control for intermediate users.
However, the camera is let down by the slow autofocus speed which makes it difficult to take shots of fast moving subjects.
Also, the front rubber grip is just not large enough to provide a firm hold over the camera.
Having said that, if you are a Canon user and want a smaller camera that accepts your collection of lenses and accessories, you won't find a better option than the EOS M.
Pros: Accepts Canon EF and EF-S lenses via adaptor; compatible with Canon external flashes and accessories; touchscreen interface works well.
Cons: Slow autofocus speed; rubber grip not big enough.
Mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera
SENSOR: 18-megapixels (5,184 x 3,456-pixels)
VIEWFINDER: 3.0in (1,040,000-dots) LCD
LENS: EF-M mount 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS STM; 22mm f/2 STM
SHUTTER SPEED: 60 sec - 1/4,000sec
ISO RANGE: 100 to 12,800
SHOOTING MODES: Screen Intelligent Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Scene modes
VIDEO MODE FORMAT: 1080p MPEG4 at 25fps
BATTERY: Lithium-ion LP-E12
INTERFACE: USB 2.0, HDMI mini out, microphone jack, AV out
OTHER FEATURES: Hotshoe for external flash and accessories
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D): 109 x 66 x 32mm
PRICE: RM2,699 (with EF M18-55), RM2,799 (with EF M22 and adaptor), RM3,099 (with EF M18-55, M22 and 90EX Speedlite)
RATING: 3 stars
Review unit courtesy of Canon Marketing (M) Sdn Bhd, (03) 7844-6000