July 20th 2012 8:12 am

61
8.0
final rating

reviewed on
this review has been viewed 464 times

Criteria Comments Rating
  • Image quality No comments great!
  • Video quality No comments good
  • Battery life No comments so-so
  • Design and form factor No comments good
  • Durability No comments good
  • Speed (start-up time, lag) No comments so-so
  • Ease of use No comments good
Detailed review
I bought my 1st DC (Nikon 990) in early 2000 and I started to use DSLR since 2004. After I made the switch, I never thought about a DC again as I prefer the picture quality and operation speed of a DSLR. However, I always dream of a DC type of camera, with DSLR quality. I tried the mirror-less in the market, they are OK, but not as good as I expected. The size is still not small enough. RX100 is an interesting camera but relatively small sensor and higher price stopped me. G1X is not small but spec is good enough. However, sluggish AF makes me to think about it again.

Recently I find more use of a phone as a camera. This makes me to think about a DC substitute again. I would like to get a RX1 but price is way too high. Well, at the right time, Canon released a new firmware to improve the AF and priced down the EOS-M. For just 299 bucks, I did not hesitate to get a 22mm kit.

After one week use, I think I can make some comment.

Firstly, who should buy this camera: Those moved from DC and would like to get better picture quality. They don't want to sacrifice the portability, and don't mind a prime lens (35/2 effectively). Or DSLR users who want a small DC with DSLR quality and don't mind sluggish performance.

What you get: a tiny (compare to DSLR) metal body with a APS-C sensor (very large, compare to DC), very good touch screen, camera, and a fast and surprisingly good 35/2 lens.

What you can expect: easy to use interface with touch screen DSLR level picture quality, better bokeh with f2 prime lens (compare to DC).

What are missing: view finder (some people might care, but I DON'T), no internal flash (should not be a deal breaker for 22mm f2 lens, but sometimes it could be annoying).

Now it is the deal breaker, for many people, including myself. If you are a DSLR user and looking for a DSLR substitute, don't expect too much. The performance is kind of between a 5D2 and old school 990. It takes more than a seconds to start, it takes 0.5 second to focus (it should be faster with 18-55 though). And shoot to shoot time is close to 2 seconds. So this is not a camera for sports. And it is not a camera for faster moving objects.

Video is on par with other DSLR's, easy to use, but AF sometimes hunts even with face lock (I really miss manual focus). I am still trying to find out how to control focus and I don't know how to use manual AF yet (I will update this review once I find out).

Touch screen is superb. I used Panasonic GF2 and the touch screen made me don't want to use it. But the touch screen on EOS-M is much like a 2 years old Android smart phone (not as responsive as a HTC One) but still very responsive. It is easy to use, you can control everything (Aperture, shutter speed, ISO, AF, picture quailty, P/A/T/M mode etc.). You can easily zoom in/out a picture with 2 fingers just like a smart phone. Kudos Canon.

The 22mm lens is also good. I have quite a few Canon primes including the 50L. the 22mm one has better build quality than 50/1.8. The center is really sharp at f2. Corner softness and purple fringe is not bad. F2 is very usable. The aperture has 7 blades, compare to the 5 blade 50/1.8, it has better bokeh, no annoying pentagon shaped dots anymore. The color is OK, typical prime lens, of course. IMO this lens worth at least $150.

My wish list: Please make AF as fast as a Nikon 1 or Sony NEX. Make manual AF easier and enable complete AF for video shooting. Reduce the start up time and shoot to shoot time. Add an internal flash. This would be a killer DC.

Bottom line: The camera is as good as I expected. I just wish it would be better. But, it is very capable as a back up camera for DSLR user. I can bring it with me when I hike with kids, go to parks with kids. I don't need to bring a large camera bag (5D2 with 35L is not small). It meets my expectation and price is superb. i cannot complain anything with it. So I give it 5 start. I only hope Canon can make EOS-M Mark II a killer mirror-less, but I guess you would have to pay 3x the price I paid.

P.S. see best price for the Canon EOS M at: digitalcameras2k.wordpress.com­/canon­-eos­-m/

Hope it helpful.