July 20th 2012 8:12 am

Heads up! A newer version of this product is out!

final rating

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purchased on
this review has been viewed 805 times

Criteria Comments Rating
  • Image quality Properly processed RAW images can be quite stunning from this camera. great!
  • Video quality Overall video performance is fantastic for a $300 camera. I am not a big video person, but it's great to have that as a solid option. great!
  • Battery life Unlike most digital cameras I've owned, I have to think about whether or not I have charged the battery before I head out for the day. so-so
  • Design and form factor Size is fantastic, but the ergonomics are pretty bad. One-handed use is hard, two-handed use is so-so. For manual focus, you'll wish for a third hand. so-so
  • Durability No issues so far. It feels solid, so I have no concerns. great!
  • Speed (start-up time, lag) It's slower than I'd like between frames, but not terrible for how I use it. Auto-focus speed is manageable with firmware upgrade. good
  • Ease of use Again, ergonomics are pretty bad. The touchscreen menu system for controls works well, but it would be nice to have more button/knob controls. so-so
Detailed review
My *big* caveat for this review is that I purchased the EOS-M with 22mm lens (35mm focal length equivalent on full frame) for $300. As a $300 camera, it is a STELLAR purchase. I was looking for a 35mm full frame equivalent lens for my Nikon DSLR, but purchased this camera plus lens for less than a good 35mm equivalent lens. The EOS-M has some significant limitations (auto-focus performance is just okay, screen blackout between images is longer than it should be, very few buttons/knobs for quick adjustments, annoying ergonomics), but the image quality with the 22mm lens is very, very good. I haven't done exhaustive tests, but the lens is useable wide open (f2.0), with what I would consider acceptable blurring/vignetting toward the edges. It focuses down to about 6" so it's a flexible lens. Low light performance on this camera is very good -- any amount of normal, nighttime room light is sufficient for a good hand-held shot. ISOs up to 6400 are easily useable for web (I haven't tried 12800, so I can't vouch for that).

Be mindful of the camera's limitations though if you are considering purchasing it. If you're looking to shoot sports, this is probably not the camera you're looking for. If money is no object, there are much better cameras (better ergonomics, easier/quicker to use, faster auto-focus, faster frame-to-frame time) to be had that are comparable in size to this camera. But if you're looking for an inexpensive camera that's capable of producing stunning images in more controlled environments, then this is definitely one to consider.

A further word on the auto-focus performance. I have only worked with the firmware-updated auto-focus, and I will say that it's mostly useable. In highly demanding autofocus scenarios (e.g. photographing an amped up, crawling baby), it will fail more often than it succeeds, and it will weirdly enter into a hunting mode in some scenarios (high contrast scenes) where you'd expect the autofocus performance to be good. For a $300 camera, I'm willing to accept these limitations.