Monday, July 23, 2012

Canon's EOS M: Strong competitor in the mirrorless market, but perhaps not for video

Digital Photography Review has one of the first analyses of the new EOS M, Canon's first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. It has an APS-C-sized 18MP sensor and a new EF-M mount for which two lenses will be available at release: An 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM zoom, and a 22mm f/2 STM pancake lens. In the U.S., the only configuration available will be a kit with the EOS M and 22mm lens for $799. (The 18-55mm lens will be sold separately for $299.) An adapter will be available for conventional EF and EF-S lenses. No flash comes with the EOS M, although a separate Canon flash can be purchased.

According to DP Review, the EOS M is designed as a step-up camera for point & shoot users who want DSLR capabilities without DSLR complexity. To that end, the EOS M's exposure mode dial has only three settings, and most of the camera's controls are available through a touchscreen menu--on a 3" 1.040M display that doesn't pivot. The EOS M doesn't have a viewfinder. Maximum shutter speed is 1/4000 second, and maximum ISO is 12,800 (25,600 with boost.) The camera can shoot 4.3 fps in continuous shooting, or 3 fps with autofocus tracking.

The EOS M has some nice video features: 1080p at 24, 25 or 30 fps for a maximum of 29 min. 59 sec. per clip, with continuous autofocus in movie mode with subject tracking. Recording can be done in full auto, full manual or anything in between. It also has built-in stereo microphones, stereo inputs and adjustable level controls. The EOS M's biggest limitations (at least on paper) are that 60 fps is limited to 1280 x 720 and 640 x 480, and the rear display is both fixed and the camera's primary control surface, making a separate video viewfinder required for professional videography.

The EOS M is a strong competitor in the mirrorless market, but videographers for whom size isn't the first consideration should probably spend a bit more for the Canon Rebel T4i/650D in order to get its more flexible display, physical controls and adapter-free support for EF and EF-S lenses.

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