The mirrorless Canon EOS-M camera unjustly received criticism for not being on par with the competition when it comes to focus speed, battery life, some peculiarities and the implementation of certain features.
The main complaint of most reviewers was the auto-focus (AF) speed. Indeed, with its first firmware (1.0.9) the EOS-M was relatively sluggish but not totally unusable. Eventually, Canon released a new firmware – 2.0.2 at the end of June 2013; the release notes indicate:
1. Improves focusing speed in One-Shot AF mode.
2. Now supports EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM.
3. Corrects errors in the Simplified Chinese, Hungarian, Traditional Chinese and Korean language menus.
As expected, the auto-focus speed is much better after upgrade. However, the damage was done and the EOS-M camera did not make too many waves. Sales were probably slow and the rumors are that Canon is preparing a new and improved EOS-M camera for the end of this year or the first half of 2014.
Regardless of the general perception, EOS-M is a good camera. An APS-C 18 mega-pixel sensor (similar with EOS T4i, 60D or 7D) produces a much better image quality than any tiny sensor of most compact cameras. Add the fact that the lens is eventually interchangeable and you have a lot of versatility. And a touch screen for controlling the camera can be a nice… touch! Or an annoyance!
Especially, landscape photographers will find the EOS-M a comfortable camera easy to carry and with an exceptional image quality. The EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM zoom lens (3x) is well built and relatively compact with a very good optical quality.
The price for a kit containing the EOS-M camera, the above mentioned zoom lens and a small detachable flash (Speedlite 90EX) varies a lot but eventually dropped to around $400 or below – an incredible small price for the quality of such camera (only the lens sells for around $200 or more!).
It is likely that Canon decided to liquidate the EOS-M inventories in preparation for its successor – this has become now a bargain camera that could make you happy without breaking the bank. Plus that it offers the transition from non- to interchangeable lenses cameras (we have more in store about this subject in the future).
If you can live without a flash (which I still recommend), Amazon.com has a great deal at only $336! Don’t get scared about few negative reviews – some people have really high expectations and want everything in a single (cheap if possible) package; others are professionals who definitely want more. Just try this camera and compare its results with almost any compact (small sensor) camera and you will see the results. And don’t forget to update the firmware first!
A reasonable and more complete EOS-M kit can be found at B&H Photo for $419; it contains the Speedlite 90EX External Flash that otherwise it can cost you $129 alone.
Some will probably ask about the EOS-M kits coming with the EF-M 22mm F/2 STM Lens. This is a package targeted to photographers with different needs. I will post more on this lens in a future post when talking about the importance of prime lenses.
Finally, there will be questions about more versatile zoom lenses: eventually, 10x or more. Currently, Canon does not offer such lenses in the EF-M mount. The only option is an EF-M to EF adapter allowing the usage of much larger and heavier lenses from the larger EOS cameras. I’m sure that sooner or later Canon will produce few more EF-M lenses. Watch this space…
A more detailed review of Canon EOS-M is in the works. Plus a lot of sample images. Stay tuned as always…