Canon EOS M Review

Canon EOS M Review: Canon Enters the Compact System Camera Market 

With the Canon EOS M, Canon is now the last of the major camera manufacturers to enter the market for mirrorless system cameras. The Canon EOS M is compact and comes without a built-in flash, but a clip-on flash is included. Unlike Nikon, Canon relies on a 22.3 x 14.9 millimeter (APS-C) CMOS chip with 18-megapixel resolution. Easy-to-use automatic controls and a touch screen are designed to make handling easier. The Canon EOS M can also record videos, even in FullHD resolution.

The successors of the Canon EOS M are the Canon EOS M10 and the Canon EOS M3. We have also reviewed the EOS M6 Mark II and M200.

Pros And Cons Of The Canon EOS M

Pros

  • A well-engineered, smartly designed set lens with amazingly high resolution
  • Inexpensive EF adapter with full electronic support and therefore many adaptable lenses
  • Compact, well manufactured and designed housing
  • Touch screen with good control and high resolution

  • Image quality up to ISO 400 very good and up to ISO 1,600 good

Cons

  • No possibility to connect an electronic viewfinder
  • Only two lenses available
  • Very slow autofocus

 

canon eos m

 

With the EOS-M system, Canon is the last major camera manufacturer to enter the system camera market. All this with just one model, the Canon EOS M, and just two lenses: an 18-55 standard zoom and a 22 wide-angle fixed focal length. The reason for the late entry: You want to observe the market first and when you enter, then you enter with a really good camera. We have tested the Canon EOS M extensively and revealed whether it is really the promised big thing announced, and what its image quality is like.

Also to be tested there were the two lenses announced (22 millimeters fixed focal length and 18-55 millimeter standard zoom), the adapter for the existing EOS lenses, and the new small attachable flash.

 

canon eos m

The Canon EOS M doesn’t use the sensor of the PowerShot G 1 X, but the APS-C sensor of the EOS SLR models with the usual 18-megapixel resolution and a crop factor of 1.6. So the Canon EOS M promises photos in SLR quality.

The design is also not that dissimilar to the G1 X, although the Canon EOS M doesn’t have an optical viewfinder. In general, the noble-looking housing seems to be much more adapted to the users of compact cameras, for example, there is no program dial, only a few operating elements, and a touchscreen instead.

 

canon eos m

 

The Canon EOS M is equipped with hybrid autofocus. Phase sensors are integrated centrally in the image sensor to provide rough pre-focusing. The fine adjustment is then carried out by contrast measurement.

For focusing, however, the Canon EOS M needs a little more light than the EOS 650D, for example. The latter works from -0.5 to 18 LW, the Canon EOS M from 1 to 18 LW – still a very good value.

In addition, the autofocus in dark environments is supported by an LED auxiliary light. The hybrid autofocus also focuses during video recording. However, due to its central arrangement, only the contrast autofocus can work with objects outside the image center.

The Canon EOS M has a total of 31 AF fields, which can also be controlled individually or in groups. The CMOS sensor integrates both signal amplification and analog-to-digital conversion with 14 bits directly behind each individual pixel, so that the signals can hardly be distorted, resulting in low image noise. The ISO automatic works in the range from ISO 100 to 6,400, manually the standard range from ISO 100 to 12,800 can be controlled, which can be extended up to ISO 25,600.

 

canon eos m

 

The powerful signal processing processor Digic 5 takes care of image processing as well as the numerous automatic functions, focus calculation, etc. It is capable of processing continuous shooting at the Canon EOS M’s maximum of 4.3 frames per second without any problems.

The buffer is sufficient for either 17 JPEG photos or six in RAW. Memory is stored on SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards. The user has to do without a viewfinder as well as a moving screen. The resolution of the three-inch (about 7.7 centimeters) display is impressive with over one million pixels, but it has an aspect ratio of 3:2 – just like the image sensor.

Alternatively, 4:3, 16:9, and 1:1 can also be set on the Canon EOS M under a loss of resolution. The Plexiglass protective screen is mounted directly on the screen without a layer of air, which is supposed to reduce reflections. The screen is touch-sensitive and allows various picture adjustments. Focusing on a specific point and direct triggering are also possible at the touch of a finger.

The Canon EOS M also features gesture control, such as the two-finger gesture zoom. In addition, two different gridline grids can be displayed on the screen, which makes it easier to compose the correct image.

 

canon eos m

Numerous scene modes are available for taking photos, as well as an automatic function that analyses the image content in detail and adjusts the camera accordingly. This requires something like the right subject program or the right gradation curve to do justice to the bright and dark areas in the picture.

The Canon EOS M also features a multi-shot noise reduction function, an HDR function, numerous image styles, and digital effect filters. All this is intended to help users who do not want to deal with the technology. But if you wish, you can also control the Canon EOS M semi-automatically or manually. This even applies to the movie mode, where you can choose between resolutions of 1,920 x 1,080 (FullHD), 1,280 x 720 (HD), and 640 x 480 (VGA).

The videos are stored with MPEG-4 compression in MOV format, whereby the maximum recording duration is 29 minutes and 59 seconds or four gigabytes file size – depending on which limit is reached first.

With FullHD the frame rate is optionally around 30, 25, or 24 frames per second, with HD 60 or 50 frames per second and with VGA 30 or 25 frames per second. The sound is recorded via an integrated stereo microphone, which has a wind filter and, in addition to automatic sound control, also manual sound control in 64 gradations. Alternatively, an external stereo microphone can be connected via the 3.5-millimeter jack plug.

 

canon eos m

 

Although the Canon EOS M does not have an integrated flash unit, it does have the E-TTL II system hot shoe. But like some other manufacturers, Canon adds a small flash device to the mirrorless system camera.

However, the Speedlite 90EX can do more than the devices of the competition: For example, it is suitable as a master for wireless flashing. Unlike the competition, the flash is not powered by the camera. With only 230 exposures per battery charge, this would probably not be a good alternative. Instead, it is supplied with power by two AAA cells.

The flash charging time should be 5.5 seconds. A 35 mm angle of view of a 24 mm lens is illuminated, the guide number is nine at ISO 100. Functions such as long-term synchronization are a matter of course with the Canon EOS M, but the shortest synchronization time is 1/200 seconds. Flashing on the second shutter curtain is possible as well as flash power correction and even manual reduction of the flash power down to 1/64 is offered in the camera menu.

 

canon eos m

 

The EOS-M has a new lens bayonet with an 18-millimeter flange focal length. This is made possible by the camera’s rather flat construction of 32 millimeters. The bayonet diameter has been specially optimized for the APS-C image circle.

For the start of the system, Canon offers two lenses for the time being. Both use a stepper motor STM, which was recently introduced in some EOS lenses. Especially with contrast autofocus systems, which do not allow for a pre-calculation of the range and direction, stepper motors work faster and more accurately, because, with contrast autofocus, the adjustment and measurement are done in very fine steps.

But with modern cameras, the whole thing happens extremely fast, so that contrast autofocus no longer needs to hide behind a phase autofocus used in DSLRs at this speed – at least as long as the subject isn’t moving a lot.

The EF-M 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS STM serves as a standard zoom, covering a frame-equivalent focal length range from 29 to 88 millimeters at a maximum speed of F3.5 or F5.6. The shutter has seven blades. In addition, the zoom lens has an optical image stabilizer, which should allow an exposure time up to four f-stops longer than an unstabilized lens. The filter thread with a diameter of 25 millimeters allows the connection of optical filters, a lens hood is also available. The close-up limit of 25 centimeters allows a maximum magnification of 1:4 at a focal length of 55 millimeters.

 

canon eos m

canon eos m

 

The EF-M 22mm 1:2 STM, on the other hand, scores with its compactness and luminous intensity. With a 35 millimeter focal length equivalent to a small image and a speed of F2.0, it corresponds to the classic reportage lens and, with a length of 23.7 millimeters, can still be used as a pancake. However, the photographer must do without an optical image stabilizer. Canon also offers a lens hood for the 22 millimetre.

With two lenses the system would be very thin, but Canon also offers the EF-Canon EOS M lens adapter, which allows you to use the large repertoire of more than 70 EF lenses. The adapter has its own tripod thread to prevent the Canon EOS M from being overburdened with heavy lenses. The adapter transmits all electronic information as well as the aperture setting and the autofocus.

The Canon EOS M, like the accessories, are available and found to purchase online. The Canon EOS M is available in a classic black, glossy white, elegant silver and elegant red, which means that the manufacturer is showing a little more color than SLR cameras, in line with the target group. In a set with the EF-M 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS STM, the price of the Canon EOS M is just under 850 dollars.

 

canon eos m

 

As was the case with the (rather late) entry into digital photography, Canon, as the market leader in the photographic sector, has also let the competition prepare the market for “mirrorless system cameras” and is the last major manufacturer to enter this promising segment.

As an “excuse”, one may let it be said that Canon covers the SLR area well in all price ranges and of course doesn’t want to compete with this area in its own house. On the other hand, some potential buyers of a small, powerful camera with DSLR image quality might have been happy with Panasonic, Olympus, Samsung, Sony, Pentax-Ricoh, Fujifilm, or Nikon by now.

 

canon eos m

 

Nevertheless, it must be said that Canon has done a lot of things right with the “EOS system extension” now presented in the form of initially one camera (in four colors), two lenses, a lens adapter, and a flash unit. Above all, the approach has been incredibly pragmatic.

Why develop a new hot shoe and a whole new flash system when you have an established, good flash system from the EOS SLR line in your range? Consequently, the Canon EOS M simply has the proven flash shoe. Why resort to a different sensor size, when that would only mean restrictions compared to the existing SLR system?

Like Sony, Canon uses the same sensor size (APS-C with 1.6x focal length extension compared to 35mm) as has been used for years in its SLR cameras (with the exception of 35mm full format cameras). This means that all lenses developed in recent years especially for this sensor size can be used with the lens adapter as usual. The advantages of such a large sensor are the possible high resolutions (up to approx. 24 or even 30 megapixels one would still have relatively reasonable pixel sizes on the sensor) and the possible low depth of field at open aperture and the associated image impression in portrait or atmospheric material shots.

However, the large sensor is of course not completely without disadvantage. However, it always requires a certain (larger) housing size and, above all, the lenses cannot be developed much smaller than the lenses for DSLR cameras that were specially developed for APS-C sensors.

You can see the effect very well in Sony’s mirrorless system cameras: there is always a rather stately large lens hanging from a minimally small (especially flat) camera body. The only way out is optically relatively simply constructed (but therefore not bad), rather flat “pancake” fixed focal length lenses, like the 22-millimeter lens now presented by Canon (resulting 35-millimeter focal length).

But this is not really, really small and the light intensity with F2.0 is quite good, but also not spectacular. And the standard zoom with a focal length of 18 to 55 millimeters (29 to 88 millimeters 35 mm focal length) is slimmer in diameter, but not shorter than other APS-C standard zooms. However, for many users, image quality (resolution and noise behavior) and image impression (possible low depth of field) is more important than very small lenses. That’s why Canon’s choice of the APS-C sensor is wise.

 

canon eos m

 

Those who expected real innovations from Canon’s entry into the mirrorless system camera segment (the “M” of the Canon EOS M also stands for “Mirrorless”, by the way) may be disappointed. The camera is technically based on the latest Canon SLR camera, the EOS 650D, and also offers an interesting hybrid autofocus and very consistent touch operation via the large, excellent monitor.

Everything is great, but everything can already be found elsewhere. Other interesting features like GPS and compass (for recording the location and direction of the shot), WiFi (for transmitting images to the smartphone and for remote control) or a connection for a video plug-on viewfinder are available from the competition, but not from Canon.

Perhaps you looked at the sales figures for such accessories from the competition and found that very few of them are sold (we’ll come back to this later) and didn’t want to push the price and case size of the Canon EOS M any further up.

On the other hand, the fact that no conventionally designed model with a built-in video viewfinder (such as the Panasonic G5, G5X, or G5 X Mark II) has been released is understandable in view of the existing range of SLR cameras. The design of the Canon EOS M naturally had to go in the direction of a compact camera. However, many users would like to have a video viewfinder cleverly integrated into the case (as for example in the Sony NEX-7) in this price range.

 

canon eos m

 

Canon has also been very pragmatic in its choice of colors. Although the manufacturer offers the Canon EOS M’s body in four different colors, like many other manufacturers, it does not offer lenses or even flash units in several colors.

The trick here is that the EOS-M lenses are not black, as one could easily assume from the photos, but “Gun Metal Grey”, i.e. metallic dark grey. This fits the black version of the Canon EOS M as well as the silver, red or white versions.

The metal tube of both lenses looks very high quality. Especially the zoom lens with the nobly knurled grip areas on the zoom ring and focus ring is a feast for the eyes and feels excellent. Also, the mechanics turn very clean and of high quality. The lenses (and of course the camera) have a matching metal bayonet. Such a noble piece has nothing in common with a plastic kit lens, which is known as an “addition” of cheap SLR cameras. This must be taken into account when evaluating the not exactly low overall kit price of the Canon EOS M.

 

canon eos m

canon eos m

canon eos m

canon eos m

 

The flash is simply “plastic black” and somehow fits the camera or not (after all, you can find black plastic on the Canon EOS M to a small extent). Actually, you can’t really say that it somehow particularly resembles the design of the Canon EOS M. Why should I? It will rarely be on the camera anyway and will usually be in the photo bag or even in the drawer at home.

But instead, it is a normal, fully-fledged small EOS flash with its own power supply (via two pieces of AAA batteries not included) and is ideal, for example, as an inexpensive, small master flash for wireless TTL flash in the EOS system, whether on the Canon EOS M or a Canon SLR camera.

 

canon eos m

 

The lens adapter forms a seamless transition to the existing lenses of the EOS system, both functionally and optically. The adapter has no optical elements, but simply bridges the required distance from the small flange focal length of the Canon EOS M to the conventional flange focal length of Canon SLR cameras.

All electrical contacts are simply looped through 1:1. On the adapter you can also see the two diameters: The new bayonet optimized for the APS-C sensor is a good bit smaller than the established Canon EOS bayonet. From this it can be concluded that there will never be a 35mm full format sensor in a successor product of the Canon EOS M. The bayonet would be too small for that.

Very pleasing is the rather low price of about 130 dollars for the lens adapter, which Canon is aiming at; the competition likes to take twice that amount for their corresponding adapters. By the way, a great thing is the removable tripod clamp. With this, even larger EOS lenses can be mounted on a tripod and do not drag the bayonet of the petite camera together with the adapter.

If you don’t use a tripod, simply unscrew the tripod clamp and the whole thing will fit perfectly in your hand and look shapely again. By the way: The tripod thread of the Canon EOS M is made of metal and fits perfectly in the optical line with the lens.

 

canon eos m

canon eos m

canon eos m

canon eos m

 

Canon has sold 1.6 times as many lenses as cameras over the years. In other words: Only on average slightly more than half of the owners of a Canon SLR camera even buy a second lens from Canon. Of course, you have to take into account the considerable amount of lenses from other manufacturers (especially from Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina), but on the other hand, many amateur photographers have a wide range of lenses and thus push the average up considerably.

As a result, one has to say that especially in the beginner’s area, most of the times, the kit lens that was bought with the camera remains on the camera forever, a fact that is easily confirmed by everybody who looks at the photo equipment of the tourists taking pictures at the usual touristic sights.

Why am I writing this? With cameras that are also aimed primarily at beginners, you should be aware of this before calling for a “lens roadmap” and numerous other zoom lenses and fixed focal lengths. It must be possible for the manufacturer to operate all this in a way that is somehow economical. And the advantage of the mirrorless system cameras is precisely the compatibility with existing lenses from the same manufacturer by means of an adapter.

 

canon eos m

So who is the target group for the Canon EOS M? On the one hand, of course, as everywhere else, the up-and-coming compact camera segment, who want better image quality, an available light capability (taking pictures without flash in low light), and the impression of images with a shallow depth of field.

More consistently than all other manufacturers (apart from Pentax) Canon has with the Canon EOS M however the already existing EOS photographers in its sights, who get with the Canon EOS M a great second camera that fits seamlessly into the existing system. This goes so far that an existing Canon flash unit can not only be used on the Canon EOS M, but that the flash purchased with the Canon EOS M can also be used on the existing DSLR as a control flash for unleashed TTL flash. As you can hear, Canon is even considering offering a kit with the pancake lens and lens adapter (and the flash that always comes with the camera) that might appeal to existing EOS photographers.

 

canon eos m

 

Ergonomics and Workmanship

It’s a real gem, the Canon EOS M – and pleasantly compact. Its housing is made of metal, the flat box shape is pleasantly curved and rounded everywhere. Even the belt eyelets fit in well, instead of protruding ears there are two buttons on which the goods are hung.

A handle on the front is only slightly indicated and looks more like a small design element than functional. This is already the flip side of the design-oriented mirrorless system camera: You cannot hold it as securely as a full-grown model with a pronounced handle.

The set lens EF-M 18-55 mm 3.5-5.6 IS STM fits seamlessly into the upscale design with almost perfect workmanship and therefore does not look like a cheap set lens.

The dark grey metal surface with a wide zoom and focus ring in a straight-line design with corrugations instead of rubber coatings is absolutely successful. The lens is also more compact than the 18-55 DSLRs. As an alternative in the still young EOS-M system, Canon currently offers only one other lens: an F2 fast fixed focal length of 22 millimeters, converted to 35 mm, which corresponds to a classic 35-millimeter reportage lens. The 22 is just as well manufactured as the 18-55 and its compact design makes the Canon EOS M an inconspicuous reportage camera that quickly disappears inside your pocket without being too bulky. The currently narrow range of lenses can be significantly enlarged with the EF adapter, which is very inexpensive at around 50 dollars.

This means that all EF and EF-S lenses can be used with the Canon EOS M with their full range of functions without restriction. Thus it is recommended as a compact branch housing for all who have large EOS-DSLR equipment.

 

canon eos m

canon eos m

 

Despite the compact housing, Canon has managed to place the metal tripod thread on the underside of the camera in the optical axis. However, due to its compact dimensions, a tripod or a removable disk blocks the combined battery and memory card compartment, whose flap offers a feed-through for a power cable.

The SD card slot is also compatible with SDHC and SDXC. Unfortunately, the rather small lithium-ion battery is only sufficient for a meager 230 exposures according to the CIPA standard measuring procedure, thus, one should urgently buy a replacement battery. After all, an external charger is included.

The Canon EOS M does not offer an integrated flash, but the E-TTL flash shoe of the large DSLRs does with full functionality, including wireless flashes. Canon even includes a decent compact flash unit with the Canon EOS M. This has its own power supply with two AAA/micro-batteries, which saves the lean camera battery.

The flash unit is pleasantly powerful compared to mini-flash units of other system camera manufacturers, but can neither be turned nor tilted. The function control is done completely via the camera. On the left side of the housing, under a hard rubber flap, there are connections for mini-HDMI, USB, and AV combined as well as a jack microphone input with a diameter of 3.5 millimeters – a rarity among compact system cameras.

 

canon eos m

 

The Canon EOS M is rather sparsely equipped with controls. The mode selector around the shutter release button is more familiar from the PowerShot and Ixus series and switches between full auto, video mode, and normal shooting mode, which allows for significantly more settings.

The shutter release offers a very soft first pressure point that merges quite easily into the second one, which we do not find so optimal, for example, if one wants to keep the focus with the shutter release half-pressed. On the back, there is a cross rocker with a central confirmation knob as well as a surrounding rotating ring and four more buttons, one of them for calling up the menu, one for picture playback, and one as video trigger.

Nevertheless, the Canon EOS M is easy to operate. This is due to the 7.7 centimeter (3 inch) screen, which offers a format-filling live image thanks to the 3:2 aspect ratio at the highest sensor resolution. The display with its just over one million pixels is already familiar from the DSLRs of the Japanese manufacturer and offers a brilliant picture. Nevertheless, it is a pity that the Canon EOS M neither has an electronic viewfinder nor can it be equipped with one as an option.

 

canon eos m

 

The Canon EOS M’s display is touch-sensitive, just like modern smartphones with capacitive technology, so a light touch is enough to operate it. The various displays on the screen can be selected at the touch of a fingertip and can be conveniently adjusted. If you don’t want to do this, you can also use the keys to reach your destination, but this will require more clicks.

Once you get used to it, you don’t want to miss the touch screen and the successful operation anymore. A focus magnifier can also be accessed directly at the touch of a fingertip, and the focus can also be placed on a specific detail of the subject with a fingertip, and anyone who has activated the corresponding function can even trigger the Canon EOS M with their finger on the screen.

Even the normal main menu can be operated with the finger, but here the symbols or menu lines appear almost a little small – nevertheless, the hit rate is still good even users with large fingers. The menu structure is familiar to the DSLRs at Canon. Color-sorted tabs define the categories, vertical scrolling is not necessary. In addition, an individual favorites menu provides quick access to preferred menu options.

Equipment And Features

At first glance, the Canon EOS M seems to offer neither scene mode programs nor creative programs (P/A/S/M). But these are just a little hidden. If you set the mode selector to green full-automatic, the camera recognizes its subjects automatically and you practically only have to press the shutter release button. The middle position of the mode selector, on the other hand, allows extensive user adjustments.

A small icon in the upper left corner of the touch screen shows the current mode, a tap on it allows finer adjustment. This is also where the program, aperture and aperture priority, as well as the manual exposure and bulb mode, are concealed.

A superimposable grid, a live histogram, an exposure meter, and exposure preview help to adjust the camera to the subject. With manually selectable scene mode programs, on the other hand, the Canon EOS M is sparingly equipped.

The HDR mode, which automatically combines three differently exposed images into one, is particularly striking here. It’s a pity that this function is not available in the creative modes. Canon has solved it better with the filter effects: the Canon EOS M offers seven of them, ranging from grainy black-and-white film to oil paintings and miniature effects – and they can be activated in every shooting program, even with manual exposure.

The Canon EOS M shows why a function cannot be used at the moment, for example, the automatic exposure optimization, which is not available in manual mode.

 

canon eos m

canon eos m

Although the Canon is always ready to record moving image sequences with the video recording button, the special video mode still makes sense. If you activate it, you can see the 16:9 image section on the screen in advance. In this mode, the video exposure can also be set manually if desired.

Aperture, exposure time (1/30 to 1/4,000 second), and ISO sensitivity (100-12,800, one step less than photos) are adjustable, and there is also a corresponding exposure preview of the live image. Also exemplary: Instead of the integrated stereo microphone, an external one can be connected.

Even the audio level can be controlled manually, a corresponding level display is also provided. Furthermore, a wind filter can be switched on. The inaudible autofocus, however, sometimes has problems finding the focus and pumps something, especially with large focus jumps or when it can’t decide what to focus on.

Speaking of autofocus: When taking photos, it works indisputably slowly. It takes about 1.5 seconds until the releasing signal tone or triggering. And this in 2012, where system cameras from other manufacturers, which also feature a hybrid autofocus consisting of phase and contrast measurement, focus and release in 0.15 seconds. Here the Canon EOS M is ten times slower and reminds one of an Olympus Pen E-P1 from 2009, even the Olympus Pen E-P1 is a bit faster than the Canon EOS M. A big mistake here for Canon in my opinion!

In playback mode, the practical touch screen comes into play again. With wiping gestures you flip through the pictures, with the spreading of your fingers you zoom in.

Unfortunately, there are no displayed icons, so that one has to call up the image processing menu by pressing a key. Raw recordings cannot be edited, but JPEGs can. For example, you can rate the images and then select them using filters, rotating, and resizing is also possible.

Speaking of shooting: The Canon EOS M has an orientation sensor; portrait images are displayed on the screen rotated accordingly. Unfortunately, they cannot be displayed full screen in playback by turning the camera to portrait mode. The shooting creative filters are also available in playback mode, so you can decide later whether you want to have a fisheye or toy camera effect – or even an oil painting. In addition, the effects offer some adjustment possibilities, for example, the contrast in black and white mode.

 

canon eos m

Image Quality Of The Canon EOS M

In the Canon EOS M, the same image sensor in APS-C size with 1.6 crop factor and 18-megapixel resolution is used as in the EOS 650D, known in the US as the Rebel T4i. This raises hopes for an image quality similar to that of the DSLR class – at least as long as the 18-55 set lens plays along because such cheap zooms are often not exactly known for their good image quality. As usual, we measured the Canon EOS M with the test software in order to retrieve exact numbers.

In fact, the Canon EOS M’s sensor measurement data shows little difference from the EOS 650D. Very good signal-to-noise ratio at ISO 100 and 200, slightly below the critical limit of 35 dB at ISO 1,600, above it more.

At medium grain size, brightness noise becomes visible from ISO 3,200 and increases significantly up to ISO 25,600, while color noise becomes slightly visible at ISO 6,400 and more so at ISO 25,600. The Canon draws fine image details crisply sharp up to ISO 400, but also the slight losses are hardly visible up to ISO 1.600; above that, however, they are, thus, the images appear a little softer from ISO 3.200 on.

Up to ISO 1,600, the input dynamic range is over ten f-stops and is thus in the good range, at ISO 3,200 only slightly below. However, at higher sensitivities, it decreases significantly. The tone value curve is very crisply tuned, but the tonal range of almost 256 possible steps at ISO 100 falls below the limit of 160 steps already at ISO 1.600 and is therefore just about acceptable. The actual color depth is slightly better, but here too, a critical figure, namely two million color tones, is undershot from ISO 3,200.

While the manual white balance is very accurate, the Canon EOS M has a color reproduction that is open to interpretation. Especially in the range from purple to red, the color tones are visibly saturated, so if you like, the Canon provides a warm color rendition. Those who want more precise tonal values and colors or want to edit images should therefore rather fall back on the raw format, even if the sharpness artifacts of a maximum of just over ten percent do not necessarily require this.

 

canon eos m

 

The 18-55 set lens was a surprise for us, as it has an extremely high resolution, which is not only in the center of the picture but also at the edges – a rarity for a zoom and a cheap kit. Although the edge drop is up to ten line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm), this is still a respectable 40 lp/mm from a high 50.

Up to F11, one may also fade down, because even here, the lens resolves consistently above 40 lp/mm. The maximum is approximately at aperture F5.6 with just under 54 lp/mm in the center of the image. Despite the high resolution, the set lens also has a few weaknesses. While the low edge dimming is hardly worth mentioning, the distortion with almost three percent barrel shape disturbs clearly visible in wide-angle, but even the one percent cushion shape in telescopic position is hard to be overlooked.

The color fringes are even more pronounced, especially at wide-angle with the aperture open, and cannot be overlooked even in a 20 x 30-centimeter photo. Both fading and zooming offer a remedy. Fortunately, the fixed focal length of 22 millimeters is completely distortion-free. The edge dimming is low overall, but rises sharply in the outermost corners of the image, indicating a tightly calculated image circle, not unusual for a pancake mode. The color fringes are smaller than on the 18-55, but at least with open aperture, they are quite visible.

The resolution reaches a grandiose 63 lp/mm at F4 in the center of the image, but the image edge drops a little more than in the 18-55 with almost 45 lp/mm. The edge drop practically runs from open aperture up to F22, so you can’t quite get a grip on it. Nevertheless, the 22 is very good for a pancake mode.

 

canon eos m

 

Conclusion: Is The Canon EOS M Worth It?

Without a doubt, the Canon EOS M is a stylishly designed camera with high-quality workmanship; its own DSLR entry-level models are clearly outshone in these points.

As a downside, the extremely compact system camera does not lie so securely in the hand. Thanks to the excellent touch screen with good user guidance, the economical number of controls does not have a negative impact – on the contrary, the operation is very successful due to the touch screen.

Canon makes a huge mistake with the autofocus speed. The fact that a camera needs 1.5 seconds to focus despite phase-contrast hybrid AF is not acceptable. The large competitor Nikon shows that it goes ten times as fast! The image quality, which is very good up to ISO 400, drops slightly up to ISO 1.600 but is still good until then.

The set lens is surprising: Not only does it perfectly match the housing in terms of workmanship and design, but above all, it offers high resolution and clearly outshines its EF-S counterpart. However, chromatic aberrations and distortion are similarly high. Overall, the Canon EOS M makes a mixed impression. A great camera, but its slow autofocus can spoil a good part of the fun.

Specifications Of The Canon EOS M

Profile
Manufacturer Canon
Model Canon EOS M
Price approx. 690 dollars * but currently much cheaper
Sensor Resolution 18 megapixels
Max. Image resolution 5.184 x 3.456
(aspect ratio) (3:2)
Lens EF-M 18-55 mm 3.5-5.6 IS STM
Filter thread
Viewfinder
Dioptre compensation
Resolution
Enlargement
Image field coverage
LCD monitor 3″
Resolution 1.040.000
rotatable
swiveling
as Viewfinder yes
Video output AV and HDMI (each PAL/NTSC)
Automatic programming yes
Automatic aperture control yes
Automatic timer yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long time exposure yes
Scene mode programs
Portrait yes
Children/baby
Landscape yes
Macro yes
Sports/action yes
More 3 additional scene modes
Exposure metering Multi-field, center-weighted Integral, Spot
Flash Speedlite 90 EX included in delivery
Flash connection TTL system hot shoe
Remote release Infrared
Interval recording
Storage medium SD/SDHC/SDXC
Video mode
Format MOV
Codec H.264
Resolution (max.) 1.920 x 1.080
at frame rate 30 frames/s
Sensitivity
automatically ISO 100-6.400 (upper limit adjustable)
extended
manually ISO 100-25,600
White balance
Automatic yes
Sun yes
Clouds yes
Fluorescent lamp yes
Incandescent lamp yes
Miscellaneous Shadow, Flash, Fine Correction
Manually yes
Autofocus
Number of measurement fields 31
AF auxiliary light bright orange
Speed approx. 1.5 s
Languages Yes, and English is the main language
More 24 additional languages are available
Weight
(ready for operation)
295 g (housing only)
498 g (with lens*)
Zoom
Zoom adjustment manually on the lens
One-hand operation
(zoom and shutter release)
Triggering during storage possible. yes
Battery life 230 pictures according to CIPA
– = “not applicable” or “not available
* with EF-M 18-55 mm lens 3.5-5.6 IS STM

 

Brief assessment

Pros

  • A well engineered, smartly designed set lens with amazingly high resolution
  • Inexpensive EF adapter with full electronic support and therefore many adaptable lenses
  • Compact, well manufactured and designed housing
  • Touch screen with good control and high resolution
  • Image quality up to ISO 400 very good and up to ISO 1,600 good

Cons

  • No possibility to connect an electronic viewfinder
  • Only two lenses available
  • Very slow autofocus

Firmware Update 2.0.2 for the Canon EOS M: Autofocus Acceleration

Canon provides a new firmware version 2.0.2 for the mirrorless system camera Canon EOS M. This is intended to speed up autofocus and ensure compatibility with the new 11-22mm STM. There were also minor language corrections, but these did not affect the English language. The new firmware can be installed by the user himself. Manual and firmware files can be found on the Canon support website. If you don’t think you can do the update yourself, you should ask your dealer or Canon support for help.

Canon EOS M Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor APS-C 22.5 x 15.0 mm (crop factor 1.6) 18.5 megapixels (physical) and 18.0 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 4.3 µm
Photo resolution
5.184 x 3.456 pixels (3:2)
2.592 x 2.592 pixels (1:1)
2.592 x 1.728 pixels (3:2)
1.920 x 1.280 pixels (3:2)
720 x 480 pixels (3:2)
Image formats JPG, RAW
Color depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel), 42 bits (14 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.3), DCF standard (version 2.0)
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 59 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 25 p
Maximum recording time 29 min 59 sec
Video format
MOV (Codec H.264)
Audio format (video) WAV

Lens

Lens mount
Canon EF-M

Focus

Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Manual, AF Assist Light
Sharpness control Live view

Viewfinder and Display

SLR viewfinder The grille can be faded in
Display 3.0″ TFT LCD monitor with 1,040,000 pixels, with touch screen

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement, spot measurement
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 30 s (Automatic) Bulb function
Exposure control Programmed automatic, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Manual
Exposure bracketing function Exposure bracketing function with a maximum of 3 shots, 1/3 to 2 EV increments, HDR function
Exposure Compensation -5.0 to +5.0 EV with a step size of 1/3 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 100 to ISO 6,400 (automatic) ISO 100 to ISO 25,600 (manual)
Remote access Remote triggering
Scene modes Landscape, night scene, close-up, portrait, sports/action, and full auto
Picture effects B/W filter in yellow/orange/red/green, B/W tinting effects in blue/violet/green
White balance Auto, Cloudy, Sunny, White balance bracket, Fine-tuning, Shadow, Flash, Fluorescent, Tungsten, Manual
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 4.3 fps at highest resolution and max. 6 stored photos. In addition, 17 pictures can be stored in sequence in JPEG format.
Self-timer Self-timer with 2 s interval, special features: or 10 s (optional)
Recording functions Live histogram

Flashgun Of The Canon EOS M

Flash no built-in flash  – available hot shoe: Canon, standard center contact
Flash functions Auto, fill-in flash, flash on, flash off, high-speed sync, long-term sync, red-eye reduction

Equipment And Features

Image stabilizer no optical image stabilizer
Memory
SD
GPS function GPS external
Power supply unit Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x Canon LP-E12 (Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 7.2 V, 875 mAh
)230 images according to CIPA standard
Playback functions Playback histogram, image index, slide show function
Voice memo Voice memo (WAV format)
Special functions Orientation sensor, Live View
Connections Data interfaces: USB USB type: USB 2.0 High Speed
AV Connections AV output: HDMI output Micro (Type D) Audio output: yes (3.5 mm stereo microphone jack)
Supported direct printing methods Canon Direct Print, PictBridge
Tripod thread 1/4″
Special features and miscellaneous built-in low-pass filter with dust protection functionHybrid AF
for photo and video recordingDIGIC-5 signal processing engineHighlightTone PriorityAuto
Lighting Optimizer Simultaneous
JPEG and RAW recording possible AF Working range
from 1 to 18 EVSingleAutofocus and/or predictive focus (ONE-SHOT/AI FOCUS/AI SERVO)
PTP support Adjustable
image parameters (6 Picture Style presets 3 custom settings)
AE Metering memory Display of
shooting information in playback mode with highlighting of highlights Playback zoom
(1,5x to 10x magnification)
Orientation sensor for automatic image orientation7
Personalization function with 19 settings24
, 25 or 30 fps at 1080p50
or 60 fps at 720p7x
Lossless digital zoom with crop in VGA video recording Automatic
vignetting correctionMulti-shot
(four) for noise reductionNight shots without a tripod (a combination of four)

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 109 x 67 x 32 mm
Weight 298 g (ready for operation)

Miscellaneous

standard accessory Canon LC-E12 Special Battery ChargerCanon
LP-E12 Special BatteryCanon
RF-3 (housing cover)
Canon Speedlite 90EX Small Auxiliary Flash UnitVideo Connection CableUSB-Connection CableBayonet CapStrapBeltImage Editing SoftwareZoomBrowser EXImage EditingSoftwareDigital Photo ProfessionalCamera Software
EOS Utility / Remote CaptureCamera Software
Photo StitchImage Viewing
and Management Software Zoom Browser EX (PC) or Image Browser (Mac)
additional accessories Canon ACK-E12 Power SupplyCanon
EH23-CJ Camera BagCanon
LP-E12 Special Battery Removable Memory CardGPS ReceiverGP-E2 Lens Adapter
EF-EOS MC anon Speedlite EX System Flash UnitIR Remote Control
RC-6

 

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Peter Dench
I am Peter Dench. Digital Photographer, born in London 1972, currently living in Deerfield, near Chicago. I have numerous photography expositions and also working in model photography. In this website, PhotoPoint, I usually review cameras provided by local dealers in Illinois and by the manufacturers. Sometimes I, Peter Dench, review lenses too, but only when I have a suitable camera for them. Please let me know in the comments if I can improve any of these articles.