Exclusive preview: Canon EOS M

After years of sitting out of the mirrorless battle, Canon has finally announced the arrival of the much-awaited EOS M, its first mirrorless camera. We had a firsthand look at the product at our office, and we give you a quick rundown of the concept it was designed with. Canon has engineered the EOS M with the intention of providing the users with the same image quality as its DSLRs, but in a compact size. The EOS M fits into the existing Canon EOS family smoothly, as all the accessories available for the other EOS DSLRs are perfectly compatible with it. Canon has kept in mind the ease-of-use its products offer, and has kept the generic body layout essentially the same as all of its EOS DSLRs.

The EOS M is equipped with an easy to operate touch screen interface and an 18MP sensor; just like the newly launched EOS 650D, Canon’s latest offering in the DSLR segment. The EOS M comes with a new, highly compact EF-M lens mount especially designed for its mirrorless products, though Canon does plan to offer an adapter along with the camera that allows users to mount any lens on the EOS M compatible with the EOS family. This means that existing Canon DSLR owners need not invest in a new set of lenses and can breathe easy!

But what makes the EOS M stand out from the rest? The camera works on a slightly different concept from the rest of the products in the market. The other brands, like Olympus and Panasonic (the original inventors of the technology) or for that matter even Sony, have concentrated on getting the Compact Camera technology up to the level of a DSLR minus the bulk. Canon has designed the EOS M in an attempt to reduce a DSLR to a more compact form, while at the same time delivering the same exact photo quality, as they have not compromised on the sensor size at all. 

Two new lenses have been introduced for the EF-M mount; an 18-55mm F/3.5-F5.6 IS and a 22mm f/2.0. The lenses are, when held, much more compact than their DSLR counterparts. The quality of the shots taken by both was at par with the 650D. A lot of Canon users have been eagerly awaiting the release of an adept mirrorless camera by the Japanese imaging giants, and the EOS M seems perfectly poised to fill that void.­

The camera is targeted at users who don’t want to bother with heavy equipment without compromising on the photo quality and ease of use, like street photographers, women, etc. The camera is equipped with a lot less buttons than its DSLRs, which combined with the firm grip makes holding it a lot easier. The 1040k dot 3:2 Clearview II LCD on the back panel of the camera is a multi touch interface that allows you to swipe through the photographs and menu functions just like a smartphone.

The camera however doesn’t feature a built-in flash, a small compromise in order to keep its size compact. But the company officials have mentioned to us that an external flash unit will be supplied in the kit with the EOS M, which can be mounted on any DSLR in the EOS range too. 

As seen in the images, the flash unit seems to be very compact, much more so than its competitors in the market. The camera’s sensor is an 18MP APS-C Hybrid CMOS, the same as the 650D; which, as we said before, is capable of delivering the same high resolution photographs and image quality as the existing Canon DSLR’s under the same price segment.

The camera’s body is an amalgam of magnesium alloy, stainless steel, and composite materials, though the final finish on each of the red, grey and black variants is done according to the colour. The EOS M is what we call the mirrorless version of the 650D; the sensor is exactly the same, which is expected to give the photos the required SLR-like quality; the touchscreen functions are also almost identical, and it enters the market at about the same time. The tentative price of the camera is expected to be somewhere around Rs. 50,000, including the 18-55 kit lens, but as it is not released here yet, the exact price will only be seen when it is. We will be doing a full performance review as soon as it arrives in the Indian markets. Considering Canon’s prowess in the imaging industry, the EOS M sure has the potential to be the next best thing in the already thriving mirrorless market.