Hands-on with Canon's entry-level mirrorless camera, the Canon EOS M100
Canon has livened things up a bit in what’s been a quiet few months for camera releases, unveiling a replacement for the Canon EOS M10 in the form of the Canon EOS M100.
This latest model in the company’s mirrorless lineup sits below the EOS M6 and EOS M3. It’s a beginner-friendly option for those looking to buy their first interchangeable lens camera and pursue photography beyond a basic compact camera or smartphone.
The Canon EOS M100 accepts Canon EF-M lenses – as well as EF and EF-S lenses via an adapter – and is available in black, silver or grey, with a choice of nine jacket colours to customise it to your taste.
The price of the camera with the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens will be £569.99, whereas a twin lens kit comprising the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM and EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM lenses will cost £769.99.
Before the camera was officially announced, I had the opportunity to get hands-on with the EOS M100 alongside the older EOS M10 to form some first impressions.
Canon EOS M100 – Features
With the EOS M100, Canon has advanced where the EOS M10 left off. The biggest change is found behind the lens mount, where a new 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor replaces the 18-megapixel sensor of old. Canon has also taken the opportunity to upgrade the image processor from DIGIC 6 to DIGIC 7.
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Compared to its predecessor, which offered a sensitivity range of 100-12,800 (expandable to ISO 25,600), the EOS M100 shoots natively between ISO 100-25,600. The introduction of the new DIGIC 7 processor also allows the camera to shoot faster action sequences at up to 6.1fps. This is 1.5fps faster than the Canon EOS M10.
Like we’ve seen on many Canon cameras of late, the EOS M100 inherits the manufacturers excellent Dual Pixel CMOS AF system, which is known for delivering fast and responsive focusing. The layout of 49 points remains, and like before you get the option to manually select the position of the AF point in 1-point AF mode, as well as AF Zone mode using the 3in, 1,040k-dot tilting touchscreen.
For those times when it’s really dark you can employ the camera’s bright orange AF assist beam, or use the built-in pop-up flash to offer some additional illumination on a subject.
Unlike the Canon EOS M5, the EOS M100 isn’t equipped with a viewfinder, nor is there the option to attach a removable EVF to the top of the camera as you can with the EOS M6. Users will find themselves relying on the screen to compose images and change many of the camera’s settings. Just like a smartphone or tablet screen, you can swipe through your images and even zoom in and out in playback mode with a simple pinching action.
Tilting the screen by 180 degrees automatically enters a self-portrait mode to undertake high-quality selfies, which can then be shared easily with mobile devices using the EOS M100’s Wi-Fi, NFC or Bluetooth connectivity options. Download the Canon Connect app – free for iOS and Android devices – and you’ll also be able to take control of the camera and its settings remotely.
Full HD video (1920 x 1080) is recorded at 60, 50, 30 ,25 and 24fps for a maximum duration of 29mins 59secs. There’s no 3.5mm stereo jack for those wishing to plug in an external microphone to improve the quality of audio recording. If this is a must-have feature for you you’ll want to bypass the Canon EOS M100 and look at the EOS M5 or EOS M6 instead.
In most other respects, the EOS M100 is very similar to the EOS M10. Users will find a good number of beginner aids to help navigate the camera. In addition to the full suite of auto and scene modes, there’s a wide number of creative filters to explore too, not forgetting Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE and manual exposure modes.
The Canon EOS M100 accepts a rechargeable Li-ion LP-E12 battery, which provides enough power to shoot approximately 295 shots, or 125 minutes of movie-recording time.
Canon EOS M100 – Build and handling
The design of the EOS M100 is about as basic as mirrorless cameras get. It has far fewer buttons than the EOS M5, EOS M6 and EOS M3 models, and a quick glance at the top reveals there’s no hotshoe, mode dial or exposure compensation dial in sight.
Controls are kept simple as in the EOS M10. The camera is turned on from the top plate using an On/Off button, which is located within a switch that offers access to the camera’s automatic, stills and video modes.
The Canon EOS M100 does differ a little to the EOS M10, with the top plate having a curved, rounded profile. The command dial that encircles the shutter button is also slightly different. On the EOS M10 it was flat; it’s now slanted to help improve comfort when your index finger rests on the shutter. You’ll find the dedicated movie-record button offset to the right, with eyelets either side of the body to attach the camera strap.
At the rear the EOS M100 inherits the same 3in, 1,040k-dot tilting touchscreen from the EOS M10. Just to the right of this are identical buttons, with the addition of a new wireless button that can be used to initiate a connection with a mobile device slightly faster. As for the menu, it’s clearly laid out and won’t be too intimidating for newcomers.
The thumb rest at the rear benefits from a small rubberised area to improve grip when using the camera single-handedly. The same rubberised material extends to the front of the body, giving it a much more secure and tactile feel in the hand than the slippery, smooth finish of the EOS M10.
The pop-up flash is manually raised from the side of the body, and just below the release button you’ll find a door to insert an SD, SDHC or SDXC (UHS-I compatible) memory card.
The Canon EOS M100 is a mirrorless camera aimed at beginners who like the idea of being able to interchange lenses and produce superior results to those from a basic compact or smartphone. From my brief time with the camera I found it quick to focus in gloomy conditions, and the implementation of Canon’s Dual Pixel AF technology has improved the focus-acquisition speed when recording HD video.
The camera doesn’t feel as solid as models higher up in Canon’s mirrorless lineup, but it’s constructed to a high standard. Small refinements to the command dial and the grip have improved the feel of the camera in the hand for the better.
The EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens offers a focal length that’s equivalent to 24-72mm in 35mm terms and its collapsible design will appeal to those who like to travel. I didn’t get the opportunity to attach any Canon EF or EF-S lenses to the camera using the EF-EOS M mount adapter, but being as petite as it, it goes without saying that it’s best paired with the smallest and lightest EF-M lenses available.
With no shortage of excellent entry-level mirrorless cameras available for under £500, the EOS M100 does have its work cut out to stand out from the crowd. Its launch price of £569.99 with the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens is a touch on the high side when you start looking around at the alternatives. By way of comparison, the Panasonic Lumix GX80 and Fujifilm X-A3 can both be picked up for £100 less with their respective kit lenses.
Having been impressed by the image quality produced by the EOS M5 and EOS M6, I expect the same to be true of the Canon EOS M100 based on the fact that it uses the same sensor and processor. This, combined with its super-responsive touchscreen and fast focusing system, should see it deliver a respectable performance in its entry-level mirrorless class.
A working sample of the camera is expected to arrive within the next few weeks, so watch this space for the full review.