Canon EOS M review

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SENSOR AND ISO PERFORMANCE

EOS M has an 18 megapixel APS-C sized sensor very similar to those found in 600D, 650D, 60D and 7D. Image quality is good, but I got a feeling it lacks a bit behind the modern offerings from Sony and Olympus, especially in OOC JPEG’s which turn out underexposed quite often. As far as high ISO is concerned, EOS M images can be used up to ISO 3200 without a problem and ISO 6400 is mostly usable with good exposure technique.

Auto ISO has a selectable upper value from 400 to 6400, but there is no control over shutter speed at which the change to higher ISO takes effect.

Four of the most important image ratios are available, 3:2: 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1. They work just as well with RAW, and you can recover “cropped” space in post process.

EOS M has the ability to remove sensor dust with software correction. This option might be very useful if you find yourself in situation with a lot of dust but no blower or cleaner at hand.

CANON EOS M LENSES

There are only two native M mount lenses for Canon EOS M right now. The first in 22mm f/2 pancake(35mm in 35mm equivalent) and the second beeing 18-55 F/3.5-5.6 IS which is the one I had with my review sample. At first sight it reminded me very much of Sony E 18-55mm… they are of almost identical size, shape, design and both have image stabilization. Build quality is excellent; EOS M 18-55 looks and feels way better than standard EF-S 18-55 for Canon DSLR’s.

Optics are not perfect though (neither is already mentioned Sony 18-55), but built-in lens correction corrects all the imperfections. If you’re a RAW shooter, fear not. Adobe has a profile for both 18-55 and 22mm lenses in Lightroom or ACR.

CANON EOS M BATTERY

Battery used is a Li-Ion unit capable of producing juice enough for around 200 or 250 shots. That’s a bit below average which is 300 shots for most competitors. The battery is charged via external charger.

EOS M has a bug very well known to some Canon users. The camera doesn’t work with battery compartment door open or broken. Therefore, if you accidentally drop the camera and brake the battery door at the first day of a weeklong Kenya safari you saved your money half a year for, simply forget about taking pictures. Or maybe a giraffe can fix it for you?

CANON EOS M AUTOFOCUS AND CONTINUOUS SHOOTING

Snails in my garden evolve faster than EOS M focuses. I’m shitting you not. This camera simply refuses to focus. It’s slow in daylight, but gets impossibly slow in low light. It takes literally seconds to acquire focus in situations which other cameras like NEX or PEN focus with just a slight delay of second or two. And I’m talking about usual indoor tungsten lighting, real street low light scenarious are beyond the reach of EOS M.

One detail I liked very much though – excellent touch screen makes it possible to select focus point very precisely anywhere in the frame.

Continuous shooting is available at 4 frames per second, but the JPEG buffer fills after those 4 frames and falls to something like 2fps. RAW is a bit better and can hold 6 frames after which the shooting speed is reduced down to very slow pace of a frame every second and a half. EOS M is definitely not a sports camera. Both AF speed and burst rates are way too slow for fast action.

CONCLUSION 

Canon EOS M left me with somewhat mixed feelings. It has excellent build quality, sexy looks and the superb touch LCD makes it really easy to use (if you like controlling devices with touch screens). Overall image quality is comparable to competitors although it produces underexposed images quite often and requires constant histogram monitoring (something that “green-auto” users probably will not understand). Canon EOS M can be recommended if you primarily shoot static objects in daylight (portraits, landscape…) or are willing to focus manually in low light conditions. On the other hand, battery performance is worse than expected and the auto focus is a disaster. It focuses like a cheap compact camera, cycling through the focus range on and on… If you shoot any action, sports, wildlife or anything requiring fast camera response (AF and burst) forget about EOS M. It is still a nice camera, but Canon is simply late to mirrorless market and it will take some time to catch up with Sony and Olympus.

CANON EOS M PRO:

  • Build quality and looks
  • Superb touch-LCD experience
  • Strong external flash with own power suply
  • Wireless Speedlite control
  • Sensor quality

CANON EOS M CONS:

  • Extremely slow AF performance
  • Slow continuous shooting
  • Battery performance
  • Underexposes to often
  • Not working with open or broken battery compartment

PHOTO EXAMPLES

JPEG:

RAW via CS6 (processed to taste):

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2 thoughts on “Canon EOS M review

  1. Pingback: Canon EOS 100D & 700D preview | Camerahoarders.com

  2. Pingback: A new review of Canon EOS M - Blog for micro four third and competing cameras

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