Canon EOS M Review

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Although we love our Fuji X100, the Canon EOS-M caught our eye when it was announced a year ago. Initial reports made us hold off, it was plagued with a slow AF system.. something we were also dealing with on the x100.

Canon recently hit the market with a one-two punch: first, a firmware upgrade that cut the AF time in half.. SCORE.. and second, a $500 discount on the camera with the awesome 22mm f/2 lens.



canon eos M camera review photo 001
Just a heads up, we don’t do overly technical reviews with pixel peeping and testing the limits. This is a real world review on the basic usage along with a collection of example images.

Features

The LCD is bright and beautiful. Touch screen controls take some time to get used to, but are nice if you’re used to taking photos on an iPhone.

canon eos m lcd touch screen photo 001

Interchangeable lenses. They currently offer an 18-55mm zoom lens and a prime 22mm f2. We shoot all fast prime lenses so the 22mm f2 was a natural choice.

There is an adapter you can buy for Canon EF lenses. We didn’t order one. It seems like it would defeat the purpose of having a smaller camera if you add large lenses to it. At that point we would just use our DSLRs.. its also 50% the cost of the camera.

The M has nice specs for shooting video and a stereo mic. We haven’t tried out the video, but plan to use it in the future.

Ergonomics

A day into shooting the M, about the time it took to get used to the touch screen controls and menus, I fell in love. I finally have a camera that can get almost the same images as our DSLRs and it fits (awkwardly) in my pocket.. or nicely in Sara’s purse.

I found it easy to hold/shoot, but almost everyone else I let play with it thought they were going to drop it. It feels a bit heavy for its size and doesn’t offer a lot to grip.

Usability

Its touchscreen LCD display is beautiful, the photos look great and you can easily tap on the frame to activate subject tracking AF. You can also let the camera decide on focus points by itself – which it does a fairly good job with.

We used manual and aperture priority most of the time, its metering was always right what we would expect and the one dial on the back controls exposure compensation.. I found this to be superior to my results with the x100 in Av.

White balance was on point, its nice having the exact same static white balance modes as our DSLRs.

Anytime you come from a DSLR to a mirrorless or point and shoot camera, the time between frames is going to feel long. This is definitely the case here. High Speed burst is decently fast, but AF seems to have a hard time keeping up.

There is no viewfinder. I put it up to my eye on accident once or twice, hard to break the habit. People used to shooting live view often, you’ll like this camera.

I tried doing a little bit of freelensing but there isn’t much room between the lens and the sensor so the result isn’t as prominent.. but its possible.

Files

The biggest advantage of this camera for us are the canon files. All of our image processing is based on Canon, we’re used to how Canon files work.. we know what we can do with them.. and exactly how we like to shoot them.

The M has the same sensor as the 7d. This results in beautiful images that can be integrated easily into our typical workflow.

There is a fairly heavy vignette with the 22mm wide open, but it is easy to remove in lightroom.

Purely Style

It’s definitely not as attractive as the the x100’s classic style and shape. If you want a travel camera that makes you look like a hipster photographer, and  you value receiving constant compliments on what a cool camera you have, then go for the x100.

The EOS M isn’t bad looking but it definitely doesn’t belong in a Kinfolk magazine.

Price

Umm yeah. We picked this gem up for $300. Canon dropped the price on these by $500!

Because of the sudden price drop, it is likely that they are coming out with something new.

Example Photos:

Macro mode would have been a must on the x100.. not so on the M!canon eos m review photo 001canon eos m review photo 002canon eos m review photo 003Holding the camera over your head and using the full-time liveview.. rockin.canon eos m review photo 004canon eos m review photo 005canon eos m review photo 006ISO3200 photo of our cat’s fashion. noise is present..but not horrible looking.canon eos m review photo 007canon eos m review photo 008canon eos m review photo 009canon eos m review photo 010IPA’s are critical when doing a camera review.canon eos m review photo 011

Bringing the subject to the edge of the frame didn’t create too much distortion.canon eos m review photo 012canon eos m review photo 013The camera handled the backlit situation above with ease, focusing and metering were both spot on.canon eos m review photo 019Freelensing the 22/2.. not a ton of room between the lens and the sensor.. hard to notice the effect.canon eos m review photo 020canon eos m review photo 021canon eos m review photo 022

Put this camera in good light and the results are surprisingly good.canon eos m review photo 025canon eos m review photo 028canon eos m review photo 029canon eos m review photo 030

Pros: $300, beautiful LCD, Canon .cr2 files, easy to use, & small package.

Cons: About a one second delay between photos, 22mm lens is still a little bulky for pocket, EF adapter is another 50% of camera price.

We’re excited to have this as our personal camera.. I plan to take it with me on bike rides, hikes, and adventures where I’d typically be stuck with only an iPhone. The size difference is just enough between it and the x100 for me to see way more usability with it.. plus it takes gorgeous photographs.

Buy here: EOS-M w/ 22mm f/2

COMMENTS

Wow! Thanks for doing this review!!! Might have to buy one! 🙂 Did you just edit normally in Lightroom/are these images edited?

they are edited with our typical import preset, but we did not add any grain like we would typically. I’m coding the images to show SOOC on mouseover, but it will take me a while to finish 🙂

That would be great! Thanks so much!! 🙂

Nice review. I have one with the 18-55 lens and I carried it on my 500 mile track to Santiago de Compostela earlier this year. I bought it because it is one third of the weight of my 5D and on a 500 mile walk weight counts. It still offers RAW and all controls I was looking for. I recognize the ackward moment that you put the camera before your face to take a picture and you realize that there is no viewfinder 🙂
I like the camera as an excellent and light alternative to the 5D, easier to carry around in daily life and still with great shots. Autofocus was slow but doable, just this week upgraded the firmware and it looks to be faster, but have not had sufficient opportunity to test it out. The only doubt I have is if the 22mm lens would make more sense over the 18-55, from a carryable perspective as a camera on the go it certainly will, otherwise I don’t know yet.

I have been looking into a personal camera, and this one has been on my list of interest, I was hoping they would have a few more lenses avaliable, but maybe if they are bringing out a new model they might have more lens options, not that I need many, 22mm is a great everyday lens, maybe something a little longer as well, but still prime :). You have made me interested in this one.

Thanks for the review!!

Nice write up.. when I saw the price drop it definitely piqued my interest.. especially for some compact video usage for BTS stuff. Shared on my G+ for you both 🙂

Awesome little camera … Took mine to China recently … Great for light travel days when my 5D MKIII woe have been overkill … Excellent review … Echoes
my views

Thank you very much for this review. Did you make one for the x100 / x100s ?

[…] Added on 8/1/2013: http://dylandsara.com/canon-eos-m-review/ […]

Hey Sara, I was wondering what your thoughts on overall image quality are of the RAW files and how well does the sensor seem to handle noise?

I’m used to 5d3, so there is way more noise at 800/1600.. but still usable.

And I love you guys even more now that I know you drink IPA’s. Those are my fave!!!! I’ll have to try that one if I can find it.

Hi, i can’t believe you picked this up for $300… I know i am a few days late to this post but would you mind telling me were you purchased it, because i just check the website and they have an EOS M EF-M 22mm STM Kit for $599.99. I have been thinking about getting this camera for a long time but after seeing the picture quality and your review it sounds perfect for my situation. Also as a student the price is great for amateur photography.. would love to hear back for you….P.S. Great blog …TIA

I ordered from BH, they were only on sale for a few days at that price.. there is a rumored new EOS M coming out soon, I’d wait and see what is announced!

Great review, just purchased the camera and am a complete novice. Travelling to the US in Oct can’t wait to take lots of pictures.

I love this camera. I tried the Fuji X10 and regret buying it, but it’s no X100/s (which is roughly EOS M equivalent).

The camera is so small yet performs like a 650D. Often I shoot JPEG+RAW on my Eye-Fi card, transfer to my iPhone and process through VSCO for quick social media uploads (and my VSCO Grid).

The size is what makes this camera so worth it. I have both lenses but I rarely ever use the zoom. The 22mm is perfect. Much better than trying to lug around my 5D Mark III just to get some decent quality.

I took the 22mm + EOS M duo to Europe and it was all I needed.

I tried an X100s and Fuji just doesn’t feel right to me, personally. Not only that, it’s still relatively big, compared to the EOS M.

Fantastic little camera. Worth every dollar.

love the review, thanks alot! just ordered mine online, can’t wait to play with it.

but just curious, the photo you’ve taken above are they filtered or pure photo with no touching up ? thanks

The images where edited the same way we edit the rest of our photos, this set was using VSCO.. I believe a portra 400 based preset.

Beautiful photos. I think you sold me on getting this as a secondary camera. Thanks!

Your images made me go out and purchase this little gem. Can we see more pics from the EOS-M from you guys. Thanks

How would you compare eos-m to the fuji x100, IQ and speed wise?
great review by the way.

I’m going to do a full comparison soon, the x100 is quite remarkable after the last firmware update! They are in two very different price points and are very different in use, but both have a great final result.

I have 5DMKII and recently sold my trusty old 40D, so I was looking around for a second camera. When I found out I could get the EOS M for $279 with the 18-55mm and a Chinese adapter for $30, I jumped on it. I also got a pack of two extra higher capacity batteries. I have not regretted this for a minute. I recently also purchased the 22mm from B&H on sale for $99. The best surprise was that when I mounted my 24-105L lens off my 5DMKII with adapter onto this tiny camera, the lens performed incredibly well. Not only was it sharp and smooth but it seemed much quieter and faster than on the 5DMKII. I couldn’t explain why that was but I was very happy with the results. For Canon users with existing lenses or not this is the steal of the year.

[…] Bei Dylan & Sara Photography gibt es auch ein sehr schönes Review der M […]

thank you for this review you help me do decide, and i did got the camera and it is an awesome camera 🙂

Even though the autofocus is small, just the 22mm lens is more than enough reason to buy this camera.
I have shared my findings about EOS-M in my blog post in case anyone wants to check out: http://www.igurel.com/dusseldorf/

Just wanted to say autofocus is slow (instead of small) 🙂

For freelensing this is a very good camera.

Use manual SLR or a 50mm enlarger lens. I am setting mine up to use a 16mm and 20mm lens.

The distance from the back of the lens to the sensor is only 18mm. The front is flat with the grip removed. The SLR lenses are intended for a much larger distance so lots of room.

I picked up an EOS M thinking it would be a good backup camera for my 1-Ds ii. But when I came to use it I found that, with the 22mm f/2 STM Lens It gives sharper results and captures more detail than my 1-series DSLR’s ! And that is despite the handicap of an ASPS-C sized sensor compared to the Full Frame 1-DS ii.

I Never expected such a result.

On the evidence so far this Little lens resolves more and sharper detail than my 24-70 f/4L aND 35mm f/.2 Canon Lenses, and is even as good as the 35mm Summicron-M that I used to use on Leica rangefinders.

The Absolutely brilliant photos made this review really authentic and creditable.

the ice-cream photo! its fantastic i loved it.. did you take it by Eos M? if it is, which lens are those? the ice cream one^_^ thank you very much and keep up the good work

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