Canon EOS M Review: Genius Idea

I was in a quandary. I needed a new video camera because my Sony Handycam videos weren’t turning out very good. There were no manual controls and I couldn’t get the picture to look the way I wanted without doing hours of heavy editing on the computer and it still didn’t look professional enough. My turn around time from shooting a video to uploading it to YouTube was taking too long. I also needed a new still picture camera. My Canon EOS digital Rebel was starting to act up. But I had a lot of Canon lenses. I needed a solution. The Canon EOS M knocked me upside the head and I fell in love. It solved all my problems in a tiny little package!

When I realized my video camera and still photo camera weren’t going to cut it, I started doing some serious research. I never purchase anything without doing serious research. I have an older Rebel and it doesn’t shoot video. I wanted one device that could do both. A new Canon Rebel would probably fit perfectly. All the new Rebels shoot amazing video and pictures. Except that the latest and greatest Canon EOS 70D was running around $1300 or more and I didn’t feel like spending that much money. Even the T5i cost $900 and I couldn’t justify the expense. I’d rather stick to my current long, laborious workflow.

I started looking into other options. Panasonic had come out with a new spectacular camera that takes stunning pictures and video called the Lumix GH3. But it cost $1700. That wasn’t going to work either. The Panasonic is a new type of camera called mirrorless. It’s a new concept. They took out the mirror that flips up in digital single reflex lens cameras. That “reflex” is the mirror that flips up and allows the sensor to capture the image. Otherwise, there is always a mirror in the way of the sensor that has to flip up at the last second. Cumbersome. Panasonic came out with an ingenious idea and eliminated the mirror. So now, the sensor is always “seeing” through the lens. The viewfinder on the back was always “live”. Like a camcorder. Canon DSLRs could never do that before. You always had to switch them into a clumsy “live view” mode and it was awkward.

I began researching this new genre of mirrorless cameras, and it looked amazing. It solved all of my problems. The only problems was that they were very, very expensive. Nearly all manufacturers now had mirrorless cameras, and they were all pretty expensive. But they could do everything I wanted. Amazing video with great manual settings for amazing shallow depth of field and great effects. They could also take great pictures, as all cameras normally do. I realized this was not going to happen due to price.

Then I stumbled upon a $350 mirrorless camera by Canon called the EOS M. Why so cheap? What’s wrong with it?

I researched this camera for weeks. I watched video reviews, looked at sample images, sample videos, and read every article online. The camera was a fine camera and it had all the manual controls. It shot great video and great pictures. It has the same APS-C sensor as the professional $3000-6000 cameras from Canon. It even has two special lenses that are top quality and top rated. So what gives?

It turns, out when the camera was first released, there was a glitch in the software that made it exceptionally slow at focusing. It got horrible reviews. Everyone was dumping inventory as fast as they can. They started out at the usual $999 but the price was quickly slashed to $350 and $400 at most retailers due to the negative reviews and bad press. It was called a “flop”.

Canon then released an updated software (called firmware) and the focusing problems vanished. It was too late, and the prices remained rock bottom. But now anyone could pick up this amazing camera for jst a few hundred bucks. So, I snatched one up and the rest is history.

Initial Impressions

This is a really well built, all metal, very heavy duty camera. It’s not a toy. It’s heavy. It’s much smaller than my big DSLR, but it’s better built. All metal body. The lenses that come with it are also well built. All metal construction and have been independently tested by labs and they have no flaws, vignetting, or aberrations. They are perfect lenses. The whole thing easily slides into your pocket. It’s the size of your palm. It looks like those little point and shoots, but weighs a lot more.

The manual controls are awesome! Of course, there are simple point & shoot modes for basic shooting. But you don’t buy a camera like this to just point and shoot. You could have bought a Canon powershot or something much cheaper. You can set everything and anything; aperture, white balance, ISO, shutter speed, picture quality, video quality and much more. Excellent for videography and photography.

The touchscreen interface is awesome. Editing can be done through the touchscreen and menus as well. The touchscreen is capacitative and reacts to your touch like a smartphone screen. Pinch zoom, slide, tap, it does it all. Very intuitive and easy. I didn’t have to open the manual and I already know how to set everything. Everything is set through the touchscreen, there are very few dials and buttons. Which is actually really nice.

The focus is fast. If the intial reviews were based on this firmware, the camera would still be priced at $1000 new.

You can use all of your old canon lenses. You can use the ones from the digital SLRs as well as older 35mm film lenses. An adapter allows you to use whatever you already have. No need to buy new lenses or a new lens system. I highly recommed the 22mm lens and 18-55mm zoom lens that come with it. They have the new STM motors for focusing and are silent. They are heavy duty, all metal, perfect lenses and take amazing pictures and video. See below.

Huge APS-C sensor. The new Panasonic and other mirrorless camera all use a smaller micro 4/3rds sized sensor. The Canon EOS M comes with an APS-C sensor which is bigger and takes nicer pictures on more pixels. It’s the same sensor the the Canon 70D, T5i, 1DX and other professional level camera that cost $3000-6000. You aren’t getting shorted there. The bigger sensor allows you to take better low light pictures as well as shallower depth of field (which is what makes the background look blurry). It’s much harder to get that shallow depth of field with smaller sensors. Canon’s color reproduction and picture quality, even in their small point and shoot cameras, is amazing.

Bottom Line

Learn how to use this camera and enjoy it. You may never go back to those big bulky DSLRs. And the picture quality from this is the same, in a smaller package.

Here are some sample pictures:

eos m sample pictures

You can see the nice shallow depth of field using the 22mm lens. Zane is completely in focus, Razan more out of focus, and the background even more blurred. Just imagine these type of images in video mode.

Razan in focus with the background blurred with nice bokeh.

Above a cute baby in focus with blurred background. No flash. Still the f2.0 22mm lens.

Baby and crib in focus, background blurred. Same lens.

A fun pose with red light behind her aimed at the wall.

My favorite Ginger Ale. Again you see the amazing bokeh with this lens and camera.

A really fun picture. Zane was functioning as our lighting guy. 22mm lens at full f2.0 open aperature. In a poorly lit room. Turned out amazing with 3-4 levels of focus and bokeh.

None of the picture were edited in post production. All straight from the camera. I try to have everything come out perfectly in pre so I don’t have to do any post.  Same for my videos!

You can see sample videos and quality on my YouTube channel at:

Take a look at the more recent videos with me as a talking head. There has been post production editing, but you’ll get the idea.