Canon Unveils EOS M Compact System Camera; We Get a Hands-on Look
Canon became the last of the major imaging manufacturers to enter the “mirrorless” compact system camera category this morning by introducing the new EOS M, a portable camera with a digital SLR-size imaging sensor that uses small interchangeable lenses.
According to officials from Canon USA who we met with last week, the Canon EOS M uses the same 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor as the one in the recently released Canon T4i digital SLR.
Those officials emphasized, however, that the Canon EOS M is aimed at a different customer than the Canon T4i. Where the quick-on-the-draw T4i with its five frames per second shooting speed is for aspiring prosumers who might use it to capture amateur sports, the EOS M is designed for “the creative videographer.”
Here are some of the EOS M specs.
• EOS Full HD Movie mode with Movie Servo AF for continuous focus tracking of moving subjects also includes:
- Manual exposure control
- Multiple resolution frame rates
- Built-in stereo microphone
- Manual audio level adjustment
- Video Snapshot mode with touch-screen editing
• 18.0-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
• ISO 100–6400 (expandable to 12800 in H mode) for video recording, ISO 100 – 12800 (expandable to 25600 in H mode)
• DIGIC 5 image processor
• Hybrid CMOS AF for video and photos
• Touch Screen 3.0-inch Clear View LCD monitor II (approximately 1,040,000 dots) with smudge-resistant coating features multi-touch operation allowing “pinch-to-zoom” and “swiping” to scroll between pictures and Touch AF for an easy and intuitive video capture experience
• Scene Intelligent Auto mode
• Handheld Night Scene mode, HDR Backlight Control mode, and seven Creative Filters provide added versatility
• Multi-shot Noise Reduction at high ISO speeds
• Compatible with SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, including new Ultra High Speed (UHS-I) cards
• Compatible with all Canon Speedlite accessories including the new Speedlite 600EX and Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT
• Compatible with Canon’s GPS Receiver GP-E2
The EOS M will go on sale in October bundled with the new EF-M 22mm f/2.0 STM kit lens for $799. It will be available in black in photo specialty stores and in a Star Wars-style “Stormtrooper” white version, direct from the Canon store.
Where the compact system camera (CSC) category — i.e. interchangeable lens-based small cameras that forgo the traditional mirror box of a DSLR so they can be more compact — are popular in Asia, CSCs have struggled to gain marketshare in North America.
According to some recent estimates, CSCs comprise 40% of the market in Asia but only 13% here in the United States. While that’s part of the reason Canon is targeting the EOS M towards a specific niche — i.e. family videographers — the other reason is performance based.
In a nutshell, the EOS M and its Hybrid CMOS AF system is simply much slower to focus and capture images than even Canon’s entry-level DSLRs.
That was evident during our meeting with Canon last week where we got to try out an early prototype of the Canon EOS M. While the EOS M we shot with was far from a finished, production camera (and it was powered by a battery that was running out of juice), it definitely became clear to us that this was not a camera for serious photographers, let alone professionals.
We were not permitted to take photos of the EOS M prototype because of its early-generation status.
Read the rest of this story and see more photos of the Canon EOS M camera here.