After a long wait, considering that Canon announced their first CSC camera a long time ago, we’ve received Canon EOS M for testing. Considering that all of the big names in the world of camera production presented their own visions of CSC cameras, Canon had a lot of time to get to know their competition and to place a unique product on the market.
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Not wanting to experiment with new sensor form, Canon decided to use the proven APS-C format sensor, which in this case was taken from the new EOS 650 camera. It’s precisely the sensor size that’s possibly Canon’s best ace in the sleeve in this class of cameras, because the competition decided to have their CSC representatives made with smaller sensors than APS-C’s. That type of sensor ensures good quality of photos with higher ISO values and opens up the possibility to use the lens of classic dSLR models with an adapter, on an EOS M camera. That gives EOS M a distinct advantage right from the start, because it can use a large number of existing objectives, without the need to quickly publish new lenses made solely for EOS M line. Also, EOS M uses the new EF-M bayonet and along with the camera, two EF-M lenses were presented. The first one is a standard EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS “Kit” lens, and the other one is a lens with fixed focal length, the so-called “Pancake” EF-M 22mm f/2.

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The first tome you use EOS M camera, you'll see that compromises weren't made in terms of build quality. The chassis is made out of magnesium alloy of solid thickness, with a thumb rest on the back side and rest for other fingers on the front side, so it rests comfortably in your hand, unlike Nikon 1 series. The lack of some buttons and wheels for parameter changes indicates that EOS M is intended for less-demanding photographers. The users who have previously used some of the Canon's compact cameras will feel at home with EOS M, because the button layout is similar. Some of the commands are available via touchscreen. There's a switch that enables you to change one of three modes (automatic, sceen selection and video), so at first it appears that you can't choose some of the more advanced modes (P, AV, TV, M). Luckily, that is not the case, because in sceen selection mode, you can choose between the aforementioned modes, via touchscreen.

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EOS M doesn't have an integrated flash, but along with the camera comes a small SpeedLite 90EX flash, which connects to the camera over external flash port and whose power is greater than those of integrated flashes (the leading number is 9). SpeedLite 90EX is powered by AAA batteries. Of course, the camera is compatible with other Canon SpeedLite flashes. Viewfinder is also lacking, which can disappoint professional photographers.

Canon EOS M 
Effective resolution 18 MP
Processor DIGIC V
Picture size 5184 x 3456 pix
Display 3"/1040k pix
Sensor 22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS, CX format
Exposition 1/4000 - 30 s, Bulb
ISO Auto, 100-12800
Video 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps), 1280 x 720 (59.94, 50fps)
Dimensions 108.6 x 66.5 x 32.3 mm
Weight 298 g with battery and SD card
Price 400 €

Even though it looks perfect on paper, we should look at how the camera works in practice. The first thing we'll mention is the quality of the touchscreen. It has great sensitivity and resolution (1040k pixels), so using it was a pleasant experience visually, but it's also practical, without any latency. Some functions that are lacking in main menu can be accessed over touchscreen, and you can focus on a specific part of the shot just by touching it. Design of the settings menu is taken from EOS 650D camera and it's almost completely identical.

Integrated APS-C sensor enables this small camera to make some rather good photos. The amount of detail and color display is without fault. The grain is expertly handled, so in higher amounts decreases the quality of the photo only from ISO 3200 and higher. When we looked closer, we noticed that grain was noticeable starting from sensitivity of ISO 800. These kinds of results are excellent for a CSC camera, so that makes Canon EOS M top of the line when it comes to the quality of photos. It’s a lot better than Nikon 1’s system, which has a much smaller sensor. However, the focal system is flawed. In theory, Canon has hybrid auto-focus system, capable of achieving maximum results, but in practice, that doesn’t work as fast as it should be. Focal speed is terribly slow, even with good lighting conditions. It often takes more than a second for camera to focus. That’s the biggest flaw of this camera and it gives off a sense of incompleteness. In case you want to take pictures of objects that are moving even slightly, you’ll have trouble with focus, because it’s slower compared to regular cameras. Simply put, EOS M is intended for static scenery, and we hope that its successor will rectify this oversight (there are rumors that there will be a firmware update that should correct AF problems). On the other hand, filming of videos works perfectly, which has become a trademark of Canon’s dSLR cameras. You can film both in automatic, as well as in manual mode, and have control over all needed parameters. The length of a video clip isn’t limited by file size of 4 GB, because filming continues to the new file, which the camera creates on its own, but it’s limited to 30 minutes.

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It’s a real shame that Canon EOS M didn’t fulfill the expectations when it comes to auto-focus speed. The camera has potential, especially because, aside from dedicated lenses with “EF-M” bayonet, you can also use other Canon’s SLR lenses. If things were different, we would have had one of the best CSC cameras on the market. This way, a hope remains that the next model will correct the flaws and become one of the most advanced cameras that give the maximum when it comes to photo quality.