The Canon EOS M is Canon’s first entry into the Mirrorless Interchangeable lens camera segment. Its late entry into the segment finally brings all the major digital camera manufactures on to the MILC market as the other major manufacturers have already released one or more models in this segment.
Many features of the Canon EOS M are taken directly from the Canon EOS 650D or the Rebel T4i. It has the same APS-C sized 18 megapixel CMOS sensor and the latest 14 bit DIGIC 5 image processing system. Additionally the camera features a new auto focusing system on video mode.
Canon has introduced a new lens mount with the EOS M. It features a fully electronic bayonet type mount which has 9 contact points between the lens and the camera. Just like any other interchangeable lens camera there is an aligning dot on the camera body which indicates the position where the corresponding dot on the lens should align to. Some users may flinch at the prospect of seeing their camera shutter remaining open even when the camera is switched off. This is what happens in all MILCs and even in some of the DSLR cameras with a live view feature. However there is nothing to worry about. Canon has transferred the same technology that is used to tackle the problem in its live-view equipped DSLRs. There is a secondary electronic curtain that activates the exposure process and then when the final shutter is pressed the image is captured and processed. It also has a secondary advantage, making the camera very quiet.
Lens compatibility and availability of dedicated lenses
The M mount will come with two lenses built specifically for it. One is the EF-M 18-55 mm lens with an aperture range of f/3.5-5.6 with image stabilization system and the new STM zoom. The other one is the EF-M 22 mm prime lens with an aperture of f/2 also known as STM prime pancake lens. Overall Canon has decided that this camera system will remain very much a subsystem of the EOS range and thus allows the entire range of EF and EF-S lenses to be used on this camera with the help of the mount adapter EF-EOS M which was also announced with it.
Let’s take a look at what the STM technology is going to bring to the table. STM stands for stepper motor for auto-focus and is what gives the user almost silent quality auto-focusing during video mode. Manual focusing is also provided however with a catch. There are no switches to shift back and forth between auto and manual focusing modes. Options are available from inside the camera only.
The sensor of the Canon EOS M is one of the largest in the MILC category. It features an 18 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor the same as the Canon 650 D. Compared to it some of the other popular MILCs have smaller sensors such as the Panasonic Lumix GF 3 and the Olympus PEN E-PM 1 (four-thirds) and the Nikon 1 series (1″). However the Sony NEX 7 and the Fujifilm X – Pro 1 has the same sized sensors as the EOS M.
The Canon EOS M functions in the standard ISO range of 100 – 12800. However it can be expanded to 25600. Usability at such high resolution is a question though and since the camera will enter the market later in October this year more can be inferred only then. The ISO range is pretty much in the same range as other cameras in the MILC category has. The Olympus PEN E – PM 1 having a 100 – 12800, the Sony NEX 7 having 100-1600 in Auto mode and expanded to 16000, the Fujifilm X-Pro1 has a range of 100 – 25600 when expanded.
The Canon EOS M comes with a 3″ 1040k dot LCD screen that produces the view in 3:2 aspect ratio. It is a non-articulated touchscreen supporting multi-touch and gestures such as pinch to zoom, swiping and taping. The capacitative screen is very smooth to use, although the pre-production models are being referred to here. The ClearView II feature provides sharp images even in bright sunlight. Non-articulation means it loses out to the Sony NEX 7. It however is in the same class as the Olympus PEN E – PM 1, Fujifilm X Pro 1 and the Nikon 1 series, all of which have non articulated screens.
The Canon EOS M loses out on the Sony NEX 7 for the lack of a built in electronic viewfinder or even the ability to plug an external one. The Olympus PEN E – PM 1 also has the option for an external viewfinder.
Built in shutter and horse-shoe
For some reason Canon did not think that the EOS M should have a built in pop-up flash. It is too bad as some of its rivals such as the Sony NEX 7 have a built in flash for countering all those tricky lighting conditions. For users who are migrating from a point and shoot with a built in flash system, this feature could just be a damper. For DSLR users looking for a smaller body APS-C sensor based camera, they would not mind this as long as they can use the EOS hot-shoe for fitting an external flash. Incidentally Canon has also announced the Speedlite 90EX which is powered with a set of AAA batteries for this camera.
This model may not offer you what you are looking for in a fast action camera. Although it has the latest DIGIC 5 processor the continuous shooting speeds are a meager 4.3 fps without continuous focusing on. With continuous focusing on it gives a modest 3 fps.
The EOS M shoots videos in full HD 1080p with stereo sound via the built in microphone. There is also an option to plug in an external microphone jacket with optional volume level controller. Comparatively the Olympus PEN E – PM 1 also captures videos at 1080p in 60fps. The Sony NEX 7 captures videos in AVCHD Progressive modes in 1080p.
So far four colors have been announced and the prototypes seen are red, black, white and silver. Although four different colors have been announced not all of them may be available in a single market.
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