Canon EOS M Features

Here's a camera with an identity crisis.

The Canon EOS M features the same 18 megapixel sensor included in the Canon Rebel T4i 650D digital SLR as well as the same Full High Definition video mode.

This means that the EOS M is equally capable at capturing stills as it is at making high quality home movies.

Versatile is a good word to use to describe this camera: the Canon EOS M features will let you take portraits, action shots and stunning landscapes without needing 3 different cameras.

However, you will pay a premium for this versatility, so make sure you really need it before deciding the EOS M is for you.

Canon EOS M Features

Image StabilizationIn Lens
Memory CardSD / SDHC / SDXC
Max. Shutter Speed1/4000
Max. Photo Capture4.3 per second
LCD3 inch touch screen (1.04 million dots)
Flexible LCDNo
AutofocusHybrid CMOS AF
Face Detect AFYes
Aspect Ratios3:2, 16:9 and 1:1
Sensor Dimensions22.3 x 14.9mm (APS-C)
ISO Range100-25600
Movie ModesH.264: 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (60, 50 fps)
Movie SoundStereo
HDMI PortYes
Accessory PortNo
Built-in FlashNo
Compatible LensesCanon M Mount
BatteryLP-E12 LiIon
Dimensions4.29 x 2.6 x 1.26in (109 x 66 x 32mm)
Weight10.51oz (298g)

Note: this is a partial list of features, the ones that I pay the most attention to when I am comparing different camera models. You can get the complete list of Canon EOS M features from the Canon web site.

Feature Analysis

It's all well and good that the Canon EOS M features a 3 inch touch screen LCD, Full HD 1080p video capture and an ISO that goes up to 25600, but what does all this tech talk really mean?

Should you find a way to be the first on your block to be the proud owner of a new Canon EOS M, or is this more camera than you really need?

In this section, I'll break down the jargon and will explain some of the key advantages and drawbacks of the EOS M.

Sensor Size and Image Quality

The EOS M features a sensor that's the exact same size as the one in Canon digital SLR cameras, called APS-C.

Many other mirrorless cameras include sensors that are smaller than the ones in digital SLRs to reduce size and weight. However, this also can result in a loss of image quality.

The APS-C sensor means the image quality of the EOS M will be identical to a DSLR, no small feat considering its compact size.

While I don't yet have any image samples from an EOS M, the image below was captured with a Canon Rebel T4i 650D and it illustrates the type of quality you'll be able to get.

Touch Screen LCD

If you hate pushing buttons and spinning dials to get your camera set up how you like, then the EOS M is definitely for you.

With the touch-screen LCD you never have to push buttons if you don't want to. All camera settings can be handled by tapping the LCD with a finger.

And you don't have to whack it either - the touch screen is just like the one on an Apple i-device so it reponds to a light tap.

An important point needs to be made here: if you're the sort who puts a camera into full AUTO mode and rarely changes settings, then this is a LOT of functionality that you'll never use.

Full HD Movie Mode

Extensively described in the Canon EOS M press release, this is definitely one of those features that not everyone will leverage.

It all boils down to one basic question: do you want to use your mirrorless camera for stills or for video? If both, how often do you think you'll take video?

The EOS M features discreet movie settings that will only appeal to people focused on making movies. This technology is borrowed from Canon's digital SLR cameras, which are currently being used to make short independent films.

For example: if you want to adjust exposure settings, set frame rates and tweak the audio volume level for your films then the EOS M is perfect.

If you're not sure what any of these settings mean, then the movie mode on the EOS M is probably more than you need - seek out a camera that has less video options.

What's NOT Included

The EOS M does not have a built-in flash unit, so taking pictures indoors at night is out of the question unless you also get an accessory flash unit.

The good news is that the camera does have a hot shoe, making it compatible with all Canon EOS external flashes and accessories.

It's also important to point out that the LCD on the EOS M is not flexible. While not a complete deal-breaker, this does make it harder to capture video, since you'll have to ensure that the camera is always at eye level.

Finally, the EOS M does not have a viewfinder nor any optional accessory — you'll have to compose all your photos using the camera's LCD screen. Easy in shade, it's much harder to see the LCD in bright direct sunlight.

EF-M Lenses

canon ef-eos m lens adapter
Canon EF-EOS M Lens Adapter

The Canon EOS M features a new type of lens mount aptly labeled the "EOS M mount".

Since mirrorless cameras are much smaller than their DSLR counterparts, the circle where the lens attaches to the camera (called the mount) is likewise smaller in diameter.

If you happen to have a collection of lenses for Canon film or digital SLRs that bear the label EF or EF-S you can also attach them to the EOS M with an optional EF-EOS M adapter.

For those who would like to stick with EOS M lenses, two are available along with the EOS M camera body:

canon ef-m 22mm f/2 stm
Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Lens

The 22mm lens has a very shallow depth and won't add a lot of size or weight to the EOS M. Lenses like this are called "pancake" lenses.

This lens has an extremely wide maximum aperture of f/2, making it the ideal choice for photographers who want to shoot hand-held in low light conditions. Its portability also makes it a great lens if you want your camera for travel.

The 18-55mm is much bulkier and doesn't have the same wide maximum aperture. Instead, it has a variable maximum aperture: at 18mm the max is f/3.5 while at 55mm the max is f/5.6.

The zoom lens also includes Canon's Image Stabilization (IS) that helps to eliminate image blur due to camera motion when shooting in dim light.

Both lenses include Canon's new STM autofocus: these "stepping motors" ensure that when the lens focuses it is virtually silent — a good thing for videographers who don't want their audio track polluted with the sound of a lens motor adjusting focus.


canon eos m mirrorless camera
Release Date: October 2012
$800 USD (with lens)