Canon EOS M review

Price as reviewed

(with 18-55mm kit lens)

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LCD viewfinder
Tested as
Entry-level CSC
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Has Canon turned up fashionably late or has it missed the party altogether with the launch of its first compact system camera, the 18-million-pixel EOS M? Read the Canon EOS M review...

Canon EOS M front
Canon EOS M front Canon EOS M back Canon EOS M top

Canon EOS M at a glance:

  • 18-million-pixel, CMOS sensor
  • Hybrid contrast and phase-detection AF
  • 3in, 1.04-million-dot touchscreen
  • ISO 100-25,600
  • Optional EOS EF-mount adapter
  • Street price around £650 with 18-55mm kit lens


Canon EOS M review - Introduction

Canon has left it late in the day to release its first compact system camera: the EOS M. While other manufacturers have had a few years' head start, Canon has had the advantage of watching its competitors and the reactions of customers. When designing a CSC, the defining feature has to be what size sensor to use, and it is here that Canon will have undoubtedly spent some time on research. A larger sensor will generally offer improved image quality, although it will also mean having a larger camera body and larger lenses.

In the EOS M, Canon has, sensibly, decided to use an APS-C-sized CMOS sensor. It is the same 18-million-pixel unit as that found in Canon's EOS 650D and EOS 60D models. This puts Canon in line to go head-to-head with Fujifilm, Samsung and Sony, which also use APS-C-sized sensors in their X-series (Fuji), NX (Samsung) and NEX (Sony) CSCs. The reasonably high resolution, combined with the physical size of the sensor, should give Canon's first digital CSC a chance of having better image quality than that found in micro four thirds system, Pentax Q and Nikon's 1 system cameras.

However, a CSC isn't just about image quality. The main consideration for many photographers is the size, weight and handling of the camera, otherwise most would simply purchase a DSLR. The EOS M is around the same size as a large compact camera, with a reasonable number of controls. The question is whether Canon has been able to get the handling correct first time, or whether, like Sony's first NEX cameras, compromises have been made with the handling that enthusiast photographers will find cumbersome.