In the world of photography, there’s really two options, small, light and limited, or big, bulky and powerful. Well that is changing with the introduction of cameras like the Canon EOS M.
While providing the portability of a point and shoot, it also offers interchangeable lenses and great in-camera controls. Frankly its impressive Canon and other competing manufacturers can stuff this DSLR-level functionality into a form factor that’s so much smaller and weighs just 265 grams (before battery).
The EOS M was developed alongside the 650D and shares many components, including the 18 megapixel APS-C sensor with continuous Auto Focus and the DiG!C 5 image processor. The end result is stunning photos in a compact camera, the 1080p video also looks great.
The Canon EOS M ships as a bundle which includes the body, an EF-M 18-55mm and a 22mm pancake lens along with a baby 90EX speedlight flash. On the back you won’t find a viewfinder, instead a very welcome 3.0” touchscreen LCD, complete with touch shutter option.
The touchscreen also provides access to all your standard photo modes, including DSLR level settings like aperture and shutter priority and complete exposure control. The HDR mode and handheld night scene both take multiple shots and stich them together in-camera to create the best shot.
As you’d expect with a quality built camera like this, it feels solid in your hand and well made. The similarities to the 650D continue with HDMI out and microphone. While the photo above of the Rode video mic on the EOS M, may look ridiculous, it’s awesome that it works. The camera also stores its photos (including RAW files) are stored on a SD card, the most widely supported portable storage for cameras.
Fans of Canon will quickly arrive at the question of using existing lenses. There’s some good news on that front, Canon have a adapter mount that allows the connection of EF lenses, making use of your existing investment in glass.
On the downsides, there’s not many but some things you should know. The biggest issue is the cost of the EOS M, apparently miniaturization is still expensive. At A$949.00 you can find decent full-sized DSLR’s under that price. If you take into account the 2 lenses and flash you get with the EOS M, the price can see reasonable for what you get, just depends on your point of view. Also if you are comfortable with grey imports, Kogan have it for just $749.00.
At times when the EOS M was frustrating as the auto-focus system either took so long that I missed the shot, or couldn’t focus and the shutter wouldn’t fire. I didn’t feel in control of the focus. About my only other complaint is something true of all Canon cameras, their inability to deliver clean HDMI out. You can see in the photo below, the dirty big white square in the centre of the frame. This needs to change, there’s really no reason for this.
Price & Availability
While we discussed price earlier, there are more options that just the bundle for $949. You can pickup the Canon EOS M Body only for $798.
Availability of additional lenses may be slim right now, so the solution really is to get the converter to use other Canon lenses. In the future, Canon will deliver more lenses for the mirror-less cameras, but the two included in this kit actually gets me by in most conditions.
One of the best ways to explain this camera happened at Christmas. As I was packing the bags to head back to my parents place, I stopped for a second and thought, I have a choice. Take the best camera I own, the 650D, or take the smaller, lighter EOS M that can do 90% of the same job. I went with the EOS M and I think that speaks volumes.
The ability to see how changes to the exposure settings live is amazing and something that should be available on all Canon cameras. This feature will eliminate a lot of the guess work in setting the correct aperture and shutter speed to land that perfect shot.
If you’re looking for a camera that’s both powerful and compact, the EOS M should definitely be on your short list.