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The EOS M is Canon's first mirrorless camera, introduced in 2012. Canon are one of the last big camera companies to enter the mirrorless camera market, a market that has been seeing an increased growth in popularity since first introduced in 2008. With it, Canon has introduced a new lens mount called EOS EF-M which allows the lens to be much closer to the APS-C sized sensor, and therefore gives a much more compact camera, particularly with the 22mm f/2 pancake lens.
In addition to the 22mm f/2 lens, Canon has also introduced a standard kit zoom lens, the 18-55mm with optical image stabilisation, and STM motor. The compact body doesn't feature a built in flash, and instead Canon has provided a flash that fits the top flash hot-shoe, although as it's quite large this adds to the overall size of the camera if you need to bring the flash with you.
The top of the camera features a shutter release surrounded by a small mode dial with options for video, photo mode and Scene Intelligent Auto mode. Additional modes such as Program, Scene modes, and manual settings can be selected on the rear touch screen. Although the camera has a touch screen, there are a number of buttons on the back that can be used for quick access to settings.
- 18 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
- Canon EOS EF-M Mount
- 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens, equivalent to 29-88mm (in 35mm equivalent terms)
- 22mm f/2 STM lens, equivalent to 35mm (in 35mm equivalent terms)
- 3inch touch screen, 1040k dots
- Flash hot-shoe
- Full HD video, stereo sound, mic socket
- ISO100 - ISO12800, expands to ISO25600
- Hybrid CMOS AF system
- 4.3fps continuous shooting
- Available in black, silver, red and white
Handling - Despite the small size, the handling is quite good with a front and rear rubber grip and the camera feels well built with a solid metal body. The zoom lens feels good with a textured grip surrounding the zoom and focus rings. Manual Focus improves performance as you don't have to wait for focus, and there are 5x and 10x views available to aid focus, however there isn't focus peaking. The provided flash uses 2 x AAA batteries, and adds considerable bulk to the camera.
Menus – The touch screen provides quick access to options, in combination with the Q button. The menu system is the familiar Canon EOS menus, with colour coded areas for photo, playback, setup etc. making it easy to navigate for anyone who's used Canon EOS cameras previously. There are custom options available, to enable additional settings such as expanding the ISO, however, these options are quite well hidden.
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 230 shots according to Canon / CIPA test results, we were able to take just over 230 shots, as well as a number of videos before the battery went flat. There was very little warning that the battery was almost flat, with the on screen display going quickly from being full to showing a red (near empty) battery.
Canon EOS M EF Lens Adapter
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
|Canon EOS M||Sony RX100|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||1.6 / 1.2*||0.3|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||1.65 / 1.6*||0.3|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||4.1||2.2|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||1.8 (MF)||0.9|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||2.9 (MF)||2.1|
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
|4fps (9 shots)||7fps (speed priority mode, 15 shots)|
|Continuous Shooting - Flash||0.6s||1.6s|
|Continuous Shooting - RAW||4fps (6 shots)||4fps (13 shots)|
Focus can be hit and miss, with the camera sometimes spending a long time hunting for focus, only for it to fail to focus on anything. It can then get stuck doing this every time you try and take a shot, with correct focus being acheived when you use the touch-focus by pressing the screen. Once focus is successful the shutter response speed is excalled, and continuous shooting is also quick at 4fps.
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Canon EOS-M Sample Photos
Speedlite 90EX Flash | 1/60 sec | f/5.0 | 41.0 mm | ISO 400
Sample Photos - The camera has excellent colour as you would expect from a Canon EOS camera, and with the same APS-C sized CMOS sensor as the Canon EOS 650D results and colours are very similar to the 650D and other Canon EOS cameras. Skin tones are excellent, and detail is very good in the portrait shots taken in our studio. Using the camera in auto mode or program mode also produces excellent photos with reliable colour, white balance and exposure.
Canon EOS-M Lens test images
Lens Performance - The camera produces images with plenty of detail with either lens, with good dynamic range and reliable exposure. Images are detailed to the corners, although chromatic aberation becomes visible nearer the edges. Distortion was not a noticeable problem in the majority of shots, although the camera does feature built in correction if required. Macro performance is average from the kit lens, and similar from the 22mm. We used manual focus as auto focus struggled to focus on subjects too close to the camera.
Canon EOS-M ISO test images
1/8 sec | f/5.6 | 49.0 mm | ISO 100
1/15 sec | f/5.6 | 49.0 mm | ISO 200
1/30 sec | f/5.6 | 49.0 mm | ISO 400
1/60 sec | f/5.6 | 49.0 mm | ISO 800
1/125 sec | f/5.6 | 49.0 mm | ISO 1600
1/250 sec | f/5.6 | 49.0 mm | ISO 3200
1/500 sec | f/5.6 | 49.0 mm | ISO 6400
1/1000 sec | f/5.6 | 49.0 mm | ISO 12800
1/2000 sec | f/5.6 | 49.0 mm | ISO 25600
ISO Noise Performance - The camera features ISO100-12800, which is expandable to ISO50-25600. ISO100 results, as expected, are very smooth, with very low levels of noise. ISO800 results are good although slight grain becomes visible. ISO1600 is when noise becomes slightly more noticeable. At ISO3200 the noise increases. ISO6400 noise becomes more dominant with more noticeable colour loss, although the camera gives usable results. Above this, at ISO12800 noise increases again, however images may still be usable with further processing as detail is still reasonable. As expected ISO25600 images contain the most noise, and due to the loss of detail this setting is best avoided.
Canon EOS-M White-balance test images
AWB Tungsten | 1/15 sec | f/5.6 | 31.0 mm | ISO 200
Tungsten Preset | 1/15 sec | f/5.6 | 31.0 mm | ISO 200
AWB Fluorescent | 1/4 sec | f/5.6 | 31.0 mm | ISO 200
Fluorescent Preset | 1/5 sec | f/5.6 | 31.0 mm | ISO 200
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs reasonably well under tungsten lighting with a slightly warm result, and using the tungsten preset gives very similar performance. AWB performs better under fluorescent lighting with much more neutral colours and using the fluorescent preset gives very similar results.
Canon EOS-M Other sample images
Canon's Auto Lighting Optimiser (ALO) promises to helps to boost detail in dark areas of the image, without causing clipping in the highlights. Four strength levels can be set in-camera, from off to strong.
Canon EOS-M Digital filters
Art Bold | 1/200 sec | f/10.0 | 22.0 mm | ISO 100
Fisheye | 1/200 sec | f/9.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Grainy Bnw | 1/200 sec | f/9.0 | 20.0 mm | ISO 100
Miniature | 1/200 sec | f/9.0 | 22.0 mm | ISO 100
Soft Focus | 1/250 sec | f/9.0 | 20.0 mm | ISO 100
Toycam | 1/200 sec | f/10.0 | 22.0 mm | ISO 100
Water Painting | 1/200 sec | f/10.0 | 22.0 mm | ISO 100
Picture Style Portrait IMG 1163 | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 22.0 mm | ISO 100
Picture Style Landscape IMG 1164 | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 22.0 mm | ISO 100
Picture Style Nuetral IMG 1165 | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 22.0 mm | ISO 100
Picture Style Faithful IMG 1166 | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 22.0 mm | ISO 100
Digital Filters - Creative Auto (CA) lets you choose a number of different effects as shown above, as well as set the background blur easily. The effects are available in playback mode as well. HDR Backlight mode is available.
Video - The Canon EOS M features a full HD video mode, with a dedicated video record button on the body. Manual exposure is possible and ISO can be set up to ISO6400, or ISO12800 with expansion enabled. Quality is good and focus during videos seemed better than expected, additional videos can be viewed on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel.
Value For MoneyThe Canon EOS M is available for £519 with 18-55mm lens and 90EX flash. The 22mm lens is available for £174, and the EOS lens adapter is available for £104.
Alternatives include, from the Micro Four Thirds system, the following models, with the most extensive range of lenses: Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 - available for £475, Panasonic Lumix GX1 - available for £444 with lens. The Nikon 1 series has a growing number of lenses and models, with the Nikon 1 J2 - available for £459 with lens. The Samsung NX210 features a 20.3 megapixel APS-C sensor and Wi-Fi, available for £500 with lens, with a number of lenses available. From Sony, you have the choice of a number of lenses and bodies, with the Sony NEX-5R with Wi-Fi, the most similar in price to the Canon, available for £459 with lens.
|Olympus PEN E-PM2||Panasonic GX1||Nikon 1 J2||Samsung NX210||Sony NEX-5R|
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
The Canon EOS M has a small well designed body with an easy to use 3 inch touch screen, however the limited number of lenses, as well as the extremely slow focus and short battery life are rather frustrating limitations holding the camera system back. It would be nice to see some of these issues resolved either with a firmware update or a following model and releases, however, until then, other mirrorless cameras offer a much better range of lenses, focus speeds, as well as generally better battery life. However, if you can bear with some of these weaknesses, then the camera has good noise performance, and is cable of taking excellent photos.
The Canon EOS M is capable of taking pleasing photos with an extremely compact body, although there are some issues worth noting.
Canon EOS M ProsExcellent noise performance up to ISO3200+
Excellent image quality
Excellent colour reproduction
Excellent touch screen
Solid body with good handling, despite size
Canon EOS M ConsLittle warning that the battery is going flat
Struggles to focus in low light
Extremely Slow focus
No built in Panoramic mode
Limited number of lenses
Short battery life
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Canon EOS-M Specifications
|CCD pixels||18Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size (width)||22.3mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||14.9mm|
|Screen resolution||1,040,000 dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/4000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||30sec|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 25600|
|Viewfinder Resolution||No Data|
|Video FPS||30, 25,24|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||LP-E12 Lithium Ion|
|Box Contents||No Data|