Canon EOS-M: Worth the wait

STILL TALKING - Enrico Miguel T. Subido - The Philippine Star

It’s been just about five years since the first mirror-less compact camera system was made available in the market. In tech-terms, that’s eons ago. Back then we were still calling these cameras “hybrids,” marveling at how DSLR imaging quality was coming out with things the size of a point-and-shoot — all without the standard single-lens reflex action and mechanism.

While DSLRs are still somewhat of an industry standard for professional photography, CSCs have come up in the market. Many are easily obtainable and pegged at an affordable price, featuring an assortment of features for users to enjoy. Furthermore, the CSC is the camera you want to get if you don’t want the bulk and heft of a DSLR, without having to sacrifice great imaging.

All the major camera manufacturers have gotten on the CSC bandwagon and it is certainly a growing segment in the digital camera market. So it came as a surprise that Canon, one of the largest camera makers in the world, came pretty late in the game with their own CSC. Only released roughly half a year ago, the EOS-M is Canon’s first mirror-less CSC. While other manufacturers have been solidifying their position in the CSC market, Canon is still experiencing its first foray into it.

Was the delay intentional because Canon may have lacked the technology to create such a device? Highly doubtful — this is Canon we’re talking about here. Is it because the CSC market became over-saturated by rival brands? Possibly. Was it so that the EOS-M wouldn’t eat into the sales of other newly released Canon products? Perhaps. Or was it some sort of marketing tactic to keep all Canon-heads waiting and wondering? Very likely. The point, however, is not that the EOS-M entered the game late. The point is that it’s here.

From what the EOS-M offers out of the bag, the wait was definitely worth it. Unlike other cameras in the same segment, the EOS-M features a much larger APS-C sized sensor — the very same one used in Canon’s popular EOS 650D DSLR. Another key similarity with the EOS 650D is the DIGIC-5 processor, providing photographers with speedy photo-processing. This potentially sets the EOS-M well ahead of the competition.

In essence, every camera is designed to take good photos. The idea is to make a camera that overcomes certain photographic limitations through technological advances. As far as taking a good photo goes, the EOS-M does so with ease. Noise levels on low ISO are low, and the camera performs quite well in low light. In daylight, images are crisp and the colors aren’t washed out. Even shooting on full HD is a very nice. But while the sensor, the processor, and the overall photographic output of the EOS-M are easily highlighted as positives, it’s the other little things that make it stand out.

The EOS-M uses a three-inch touchscreen for navigating through various menus and settings. It takes some time to get used to, but the interface is responsive, intuitive, and easy to learn. The feeling of being able to choose the focal point in the frame simply by touching the screen is perhaps the niftiest thing about it. Aside from the LCD touchscreen the EOS-M is also very Canon-friendly, as other EF and EF-S lenses can be mounted on the body using a simple mount adapter. For Canon users who have a lot of lenses to play with, this is very cool.

The EOS-M does have some things going against it, though. First of all, it’s a bit pricey – upwards of PHP 50,000 in the local market. The package does come with a lens, either an f/2 22mm “pancake” or an f/3.5-5.6 18-55mm EF-M, but the price still does make one reconsider. Aside from that, it doesn’t have a built in flash, which some people may find a bit weird. Also, since there is no optional viewfinder and the camera relies on the LCD for all applications, the battery life takes a considerable hit. Lastly, the AF system is a bit slow, but not snail-like. Just needs a bit of tweaking.

In conclusion, however, the pros do outweigh the cons with regards to the EOS-M system. Great imaging is all that matters when it comes to choosing a camera, and this little thing really won’t disappoint. It’s a good choice for semi-pro photographers and enthusiasts. And all in all, the EOS-M was worth the wait.

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For more information about Canon and their products, visit www.canon.com.ph

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E-mail me at [email protected]

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