NEWS UPDATE from Canon Europe: 'We can confirm that the M [in EOS M] stands for "Mini".'
Boasting DSLR-quality images from a ‘pocket-sized' body, the mirrorless EOS M features an 18-million-pixel APS-C size CMOS imaging sensor borrowed from the Canon EOS 650D DSLR.
The EOS M will debut alongside two new Canon lenses: a 22mm f/2 STM ‘pancake' and an EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, described as a standard zoom.
Also unveiled is a dedicated flashgun, the Speedlite 90EX (£119.99), which will be bundled with the camera.
Canon is also set to launch the EF-EOS M lens adapter, which should allow the EOS M to be used with more than 70 Canon EOS lenses.
Due to go sale in September, the long-awaited EOS M will be available in a kit with an 18-55mm lens and flashgun, at a confirmed price of £769.99.
An outfit including the 22mm lens and the EF lens adapter (plus the 90EX flash,) will carry an £879.99 pricetag.
Canon says the EOS M is aimed ‘at a new breed of enthusiasts who chronicle their lives through images, without necessarily considering themselves "photographers"'.
Measuring 108.6x66.5x32.3mm, and weighing 298g (body-only, including battery), firepower includes an equivalent ISO sensitivity of 100-12,800, extendable to 25,600.
The Digic 5 processor equipped-newcomer sports a 3in (1.04-million-dot) Clear View LCD II Touch screen.
The Live View mode allows photographers to preview their images on the screen, which features a nine or 24 area-grid option.
Users can select from 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratios, displayed to help framing.
The touchscreen monitor can also be used to control the AF and fire the shutter.
Creative filter effects include Art bold, Toy Camera, Water Painting, Grainy B&w and Fisheye.
In a statement, Canon said: ‘The filters can be applied before the shot is captured, with the result previewed in Live View, allowing you to experiment with different effects before selecting the perfect treatment for your final image.'
Armoury includes raw file shooting, Full HD (1920x1080 pixels) video, built-in stereo microphone and a rechargeable battery claimed to provide up to 230 shots.
Also on board is a Video Snapshot option designed to enable the user to capture short video clips of two, four or eight seconds in length.
‘These short snapshots are then stitched together into one file as a Video Snapshot Album, creating a dynamic, fast-paced movie sequence.'
The EOS M's Hybrid AF system - which combines Phase Difference AF with Contrast AF - incorporates 31 AF points.
Focus adjustment is possible after using AF - in a similar way to full-time manual focus on Canon DSLRs, explained the firm.
Photographers will be able to add their copyright details to the image data file, in-camera, according to Canon.
The EOS M is designed to capture a maximum burst rate of 4.3 frames per second (fps) for up to 17 JPEG images or up to six raw files.
Rumours that Canon was poised to enter the CSC market have circulated ever since Olympus and Panasonic first announced the Micro Four Thirds System standard in August 2008.
Speculation intensified when Canon's biggest rival, Nikon, launched the Nikon 1 system last year.
The EOS M will be out in a choice of black, white, silver and red.
Canon has confirmed to Amateur Photographer that the lens adapter will also be available separately, priced £129.99.