Canon EOS M is the first mirrorless digital camera from Canon. This camera has an 18.0MP CMOS Sensor and Canon’s DIGIC 5 Image Processor for high performance and outstanding image quality for both photo and video. With the Hybrid CMOS AF system, it is able to focus much faster. Canon EOS M’s ISO sensitivity ranges from 100-12800 and up to 25600 for quality details when shooting in low light and high zoom.
You know mirrorless cameras are a blend of consumer point-and-shoot form factor and features with an upgraded sensor, changeable lenses, and some pro controls. This design has been around a couple of years and even though Canon wasn’t one of the first out of the gate. Their first mirrorless camera the Canon EOS M makes them a serious competitor.
Overview: Canon EOS M Review
When you buy a Canon EOS M mirrorless digital camera, the items in the box are as follows:
- EOS M Digital Camera Body (black)
- EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Lens (kit only)
- Neck Strap EM-100DB
- Battery Pack LP-E12
- Battery Charger LC-E12
- USB Interface Cable IFC-130U
- EOS Digital Solution Disk, Camera Instruction Manual and Software Instruction Manual CD
The first thing I noticed about this camera is that there aren’t lots of buttons and dials to adjust settings. The design is sleek, small, and simple. The apparent simplicity is probably a good design idea because it keeps the Canon EOS M from being intimidating to novices. But the good news for people like me is that all those controls that you want are still there. You just have to use the touchscreen to get to them. I’m already familiar with Canon’s DSLR menu system and pretty much everything that you might be used to is right there in the Canon EOS M menus too.
The Canon EOS M has an impressive high-resolution 18.0 MP CMOS APS-C (1.6x clipping factor) sensor that’s the same one that’s inside the Canon Rebel T4i (EOS 650D). So it’s bigger and better quality than most point-and-shoots. It also has a high-performance DIGIC 5 Image Processor. With this sensor and processor, the camera is capable of taking pictures both quickly and functionally at the same time, with outstanding image quality and sharp details.
The LCD is just over a million dots and it’s great indoors, at night or in the shade. But just like other cameras in this class when it’s really bright out you may find yourself distracted by reflections and unable to see those little details while you’re shooting. There’s no optical or electronic viewfinder option so you have to use the LCD for that reason just be ready to do a little guessing when you’re shooting in direct sunshine. Now, normally with this kind of situation, I would attach some sort of lens shade to create a makeshift viewfinder but because so many controls on the Canon EOS M require the touch screen access it’s not really that practical.
If you’re used to using a smartphone you’ll really enjoy with the Canon EOS M’s touch screen. It really seems like it’s more responsive than most camera touch screens I’ve ever used.
Another benefit of having a camera with a touch screen is easy focusing. You can simply tap the screen to tell the camera where you want to focus and then if you turn on touch shutter tapping the screen focuses and snaps a shot without you having to even press the shutter button. It may not be how pros are used to shoot but I bet it makes them smile when they start shooting like this.
Of course, there are a few other features designed to appeal to consumers like creative filters. There’s a Grainy Black and White, Soft Focus, Fisheye Effect just to name a few. Of course, you don’t have to use these features but they are great if you want to have some fun on the camera.
I realized that most people won’t be buying a camera like this just for special effects alone. Beyond these post-processing effects if you want an easy-to-use point-and-shoot camera with features that can help you grow as you master photography but still offer simple controls until you’re ready the Canon EOS M is a great camera.
By default, the photography mode is set to Creative Auto. So a beginner photographer picks up the camera and starts shooting they’re gonna get the best possible results Canon’s automated systems can deliver. If you’re an enthusiast or a pro and you are looking for more control you’ll be able to find aperture priority, shutter priority, program, and manual modes pretty quickly. The manual mode of the Canon EOS M is really pretty intuitive.
Creative Auto Mode
Now let me mention here that while I enjoy all the control the traditional pro shooting modes afford me, I really appreciate Canon’s Creative Auto Mode. A lot of people who have only been exposed to point-and-shoot cameras or maybe a smartphone camera are now making the switch to an enthusiast model because they want to take pictures that are either blurry in the background or maybe they have everything in focus. Unless they’ve taken a photography class to learn the techniques for the depth of field control they aren’t sure what to do. Creative Auto Mode automates everything about taking the shot but it still gives a touch screen slider so you can take control over that background blur and make everything blurry or sharp. It’s just a great idea.
Low Light Performance of The Canon EOS M
The low-light performance is quite good and the ISO goes up to 12800 native or 25600 when it’s boosted. But I probably wouldn’t go much above 6400 ISO myself. Keep in mind that Canon EOS M doesn’t have a flash so if you’re in a low light environment you’ll either have to use an external flash or increase your ISO.
So what does all this mean for image quality? My experience was that I got great image quality and low noise in low-light. As you would expect the JPEG processing results in a smoother area where there were noise and slightly boosted colors and final images were pleasing. Remember, this is the same image sensor as the Canon Rebel T4i (EOS 650D) and since the 18-55mm lens is really good quality you’ll get images there every bit as good as what the T4i captures.
I felt like the images were both well balanced and accurate. If you have a particular preference for how you’d rather have your JPEGs processed just change the picture style from the default auto to one that favors portraits or landscapes or one that’s neutral or you can even create your own JPEG processing settings if you like.
Canon EOS M Sample Images
Because Canon has introduced a new EF-M mount type with this camera there are only two native lenses so far for the Canon EOS M and they’re both really quite good quality. The available sizes are a 22mm f/2 Pancake Lens which makes the camera especially pocketable and a nice 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Image Stabilized Zoom Lens. Because there’s a 1.6x crop factor the 22mm lens would be like having a 35mm lens on a full-frame camera and the 18-55mm lens would be like if you had a 28-80mm lens. So it covers a good zoom range.
The two EF-M lenses both feature Canon’s STM technology which means that they integrate an ultra quiet, smooth autofocusing motor. This kind of autofocus is crucial for high-quality video shooting. If you have other EF mount Canon lenses there is an optional adapter available so that you can use those as well.
Now in case, you didn’t know Canon has a top-of-the-line reputation when it comes to DSLR video. So not surprisingly the video is very good quality and the camera, as well as the 18-55mm zoom, is for a good video capture experience. Canon EOS M has a jack for an external mic and it shoots 1080p HD video.
The STM zoom motor that I mentioned about earlier is really nice because it focuses so quietly that even if you’re using the onboard stereo microphones for your audio in a really quiet environment you probably won’t hear the motor at all. The Image Stabilization (IS) is good enough to make handheld video without too much handshake at all.
Additionally, Canon has integrated a new autofocus mode for use when recording video Movie Servo AF. This mode provides continuous auto focusing while shooting video as well as subject tracking to help ensure sharpness.
Canon EOS M quick specs.
|Body type||Rangefinder-style mirrorless|
|Max resolution||5184 x 3456|
|Effective pixels||18 megapixels|
|Sensor size||APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)|
|ISO||Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800 (25600 with boost)|
|Lens mount||Canon EF-M|
|Focal length mult.||1.6×|
|Max shutter speed||1/4000 sec|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||298 g (0.66 lb / 10.51 oz)|
|Dimensions||109 x 66 x 32 mm (4.29 x 2.6 x 1.26″)|
So Canon EOS M is a great camera with great still and video capabilities. But there are always a few little things that you may or may not find a little bit annoying. In comparison to other cameras in this class, the Canon EOS M isn’t especially fast. Now I’m talking about startup and capturing focus, it’s not bad it’s just not fast.
The Canon EOS M is a bit of a heavy camera and it feels like it’s built sturdy. Now that’s normally good but the grips are a little less grippy than I prefer for something of this weight so I made sure that I always use the camera strap. And speaking of the grip my natural grip tendency blocked the focus assist illuminator light so I had to be aware of that. The camera does have a hot shoe so it’s ready for any Canon or even off-brand speed light. Just be aware there’s no built-in pop-up flash.
Most mirrorless cameras are a great option for photography enthusiasts and even pros because of all the control and quality that they offer in a smaller package like this. The Canon EOS M is a great camera that captures great stills and video. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this camera to a friend who’s upgrading from a point-and-shoot but who wants to keep things smaller than a big DSLR or even a pro who wants the smaller size versatility and convenience with pro controls a great lens and pro quality.
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