Canon EOS M review

First Look

Late last week What Digital Camera took delivery of Canon's first compact system camera - the EOS M. The product sample we used was a pre-production model meaning we weren't able to assess the image quality produced by the 18MP CMOS sensor and we'd have to wait for our full production sample to arrive before we could post our image sample gallery online. In the meantime we used the pre-production EOS M to get a better understanding of how it operates and handles in a real-life shooting environment.

The EOS-M was supplied with Canon's EF-M 22mm f/2 STM lens that's equivalent to 33mm in film terms. This is one of two lenses that have been developed for the EOS-M system. The other is Canon's EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom. 

Trying out the EOS M in a busy city environment uncovered a few interesting points.

Firstly, being such a small camera it's easy to use the EOS M inconspicuously without drawing too much attention from those around you. Setting up the camera for a series of portrait shots revealed how quick and easy the camera is to navigate and use. The combination of large onscreen icons and an extremely responsive touch screen lets you find what you want and select it in a matter of seconds and though there's no mode dial we had no complaints hitting the info button to quickly load the quick menu from which you could choose between manual, Shutter priority, aperture priority or program mode.

At first we thought the size of the control dial at the rear of the camera was rather small. In operation this wasn't a huge concern however and just like the touch screen it's incredible responsive, making it quick to scroll through the ISO settings for example.

Rather than manually repositioning the AF target with the d-pad we relied on using the touch screen with the AF mode set to single. Touching the display would instantly move the AF point but we did notice a slight hesitation and some signs of hunting on occasions before the green square confirmed correct focus. Again we can't read too much into this side of the performance as it was a pre-production sample and not a full production sample, which we're expecting to arrive for our full review this week.

For Canon users, the EOS M is a camera you can pick up get familiar with very quickly. The menu system is colour coded much like Canon DSLR's and everything is found where you expect it to be.

As for the build, the EOS M feels solid and very well constructed. The high gloss finish to our white EOS-M won't be to everyone's taste and there's not much of a handgrip to wrap your fingers around. There has clearly been some inspiration from Canon's Power Shot models in the design and creation of the EOS M but our first impressions of the performance makes it seem like you're operating a camera that's faster and more akin to an APS-C DSLR.

We'll bring you the full review of the EOS M and an image sample gallery as soon as our full production sample arrives.

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(with 18-55mm kit lens)


Features 18/20
Design 18/20
Image Quality 18/20
Performance 19/20
Value 17/20
Overall Score 90%

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