Canon EOS M - An Attempt to Keep Up With Competition



The Canon EOS M is a promising product that feels like it was released before it was finished. Most of it is certainly excellent: The camera body is a solid work of art, with a clean-cut look and rich paint job. The touch-screen is the best we've seen in a mirrorless system camera, both in terms of UI design as well as responsiveness. The 1 million-dot 3" screen is a delight to use, and being able to touch any control, as well as use familiar gestures like pinch-to-zoom, make the EOS M a friendly camera.

Sure, there's a lack of manual controls for the enthusiast photographer, but this is an entry-level model made to be used in automatic most of the time. Image quality is superb, and what you'd expect out of a entry-level DSLR camera.

But then, there's its sluggish auto-focus.

Usually, we'd still recommend a camera if it does most things well with a few caveats. But in the EOS M's case, the caveat is a mission-critical one. Photography is about capturing the decisive moment, and the EOS M's slow auto-focus made us miss the decisive moments many times over. It's made all the more perplexing by the fact that slow auto-focus was the problem that the hybrid AF was meant to solve. It's certainly not a problem with the concept; witness the Nikon 1 series' hybrid AF's astonishingly fast speeds. Compared against its peers, it's disappointing how the EOS M's hybrid AF doesn't compare to the speeds of contrast-detect AF only cameras, like the present generation of NEX or Micro Four Thirds cameras.

The EOS M also suffers from paltry battery life. At only 230 images per charge, it's not going to last you long. Compare that to the Samsung NX1000, which will give you 320 images, or the Sony NEX-F3 with 470 images per charge. And we still think it's a crime that the external Speedlite flash does not come standard with every EOS M kit, you'll have to fork out S$1,349 for the most expensive kit in order to get it. Neither the Olympus E-PL5 nor the Samsung NX1000 have built-in flashes, but their external flashes come in the standard kits.

With these negatives in mind, we just can't recommend the EOS M. For your money, there are more mature mirrorless selections from its competitors that will serve you better. In the meantime, despite having already waited four years, it looks like we still to wait a while more for Canon to catch up.

The Good
Superb DSLR-like image quality.
Beautiful & solid product design.
Responsive touch-screen.
The Bad
Sluggish auto-focus speeds.
Low battery life.
External flash is not standard.

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