Canon EOS M With Wonderful Touchscreen Interface (Part 1)

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Canon’s first CSC came under the name of EOS M. Was it really worth the wait?

After almost all of the big manufacturers joined the Compact System Camera market, Canon finally announced its very first product of this type at the beginning of 2012. With the arrival of the EOS M, this new model isn’t aiming at traditional EOS owners but in fact leading new clients to using the EOS system, with the camera mainly focused on inexperienced customers as a target.

With opponents who have established market shares and supplied the same user-orientated models as it does, is it a little bit too late for Canon to release the EOS M or is the product good enough to stay on the top of the market over its rivals?

Canon EOS M

Canon EOS M


While there were rumors that Canon would use the 4:3 format, 18.7x14mm 14.3MP sensor that was present in PowerShot G1 X, Canon has chosen to borrow many internals from its EOS DSLRs. This brought to the EOS M a huge APS-C sensor, which shares the similar 18MP resolution with that of most Canon DSLR cameras, whereas the ISO range is the same with that of the EOS 650D, running from 100 to 12,800 and can be expanded to an ISO equivalent of 25,600. There is also Canon’s 14bit DIGIC 5 image processor working in the background to provide processing power for the EOS M.

The EOS M can use the same image sensor format as Canon’s APS-C sized DSLR cameras; however, the lens mount is not the same. The new EF-M Mount has a diameter of 58mm and the flange distance (the distance measured from the image of an object created at the rear of the lens to the lens mount) is 18mm. What come along with the EOS M are two separate EF-M mount lenses - the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom (the default kit option) and the EF-M f/2 STM 22mm pancake lens which provides a moderately wide viewing angle with a swift aperture. While it may seem a little bit limited with only two lenses when it was introduced, Canon has assured the compatibility with its large EF/EF-S lens set through an EF-EOS M mount adaptor.

The EOS M also stops using the built-in flash, with the camera packed with a very compact Speedlite 90EX unit that is placed on the hotshoe, while it’s fully compatible with Canon’s all types of digital EX Speedlite flashguns. There’s no integrated electronic viewfinder or any facility to attach an external one; instead, the EOS M solely depends on a 3-inch 1040k-dot 3:2 ClearView II LCD touchscreen for the images.

The EOS M improves a 31-point Hybrid AF system, which provides a combination of contrast and phase detection AF. The idea behind this is that the faster phase-detect AF points are used at the beginning to get the focus, before the more accurate contrast-detect system takes up the place for adjustment. There are plenty of AF modes available, including Face Detection, AF tracking, FlexiZone-Multi and Flexizone-Single, and thanks to the touchscreen, there’s Touch AF as well. Therefore, you can tap on the back screen where you want the camera to focus on, as well as at the same time start the shutter.

For those inexperienced users who are looking for the way to upgrade from a compact, there are many automated modes to make the transition easier. Scene Intelligent Auto adjusts the camera settings according to the subject and shooting conditions, trsnaforming the EOS M into a very high-ranking point-and-shoot camera, while there are also lots of Scene mode. If you have more experience, you will then be able to use many creative manual modes including shutter priority and aperture priority and completely manual shooting. In order to add a creative change to the images, the EOS M consists of seven Creative filters that you can apply to your images; but this is maybe a little bit surprising for a camera of this type like this, and also unlike some of its rivals, it doesn’t have the Wi-Fi function on it.

Image quality

Tone and Exposure

The EOS M’s metering system can be trusted under almost all the conditions, bringing very interesting results. There will be many times when shooting high-contrast scenes that the EOS M may underexpose just a little bit, which requires a tiny exposure conpensation to correct it.

The EOS M also has Canon’s Auto Lighting Optimizer, which is found in all current Canon DSLRs. The processing in this camera is designed to balance highlight and shadow areas, with Low, Standard and High settings along with a disabled option. It’s particularly suitable for fairly high-contrast scenes, but when the highest strength setting is used, it may possibly lead to a subtly HDR-style effect.

White balance and color

In the tests at our lab, the EOS M’s Auto White Balance offered interesting neutral results, which was reflected by an outstanding performance in natural light. However, it could possibly, in some situations, be considered a little cool. Skin tones are amazing, though, and while there are a variety of Picture Styles to choose from, the differences between them can just be subtle.

Sharpness and detail

Thanks to the 18MP APS-C sized sensor, the camera provided great levels of details, with our resolution test chart revealing that the EOS M was capable of expressing excellent detail at the base ISO and some others above it, which diminishes slightly as the the sensitivity is increased. The 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens functions rather well, though it might be a little dim at the edges. Some color fringing may be found in images.

Image noise

The EOS M offers some very good results for a camera of the class, with noise that can be controlled very well. The results are almost noise-free from the base ISO to the ISO 800, at which point it starts to cover more and more the image. Beyond that, image noise becomes more obvious, with ISO 6400 which is just acceptable.

The EOS M offers some very good results for a camera of the class, with noise that can be controlled very well

The EOS M offers some very good results for a camera of the class, with noise that can be controlled very well.


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