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The Camera I Have Been Waiting For: Canon EOS M is Now In Stores

(from Canon website)

I think I have found the camera suited for my blogging and street photography needs, the new Canon EOS M!  With its compact size, excellent video features, APS-C size sensor for low noise performance, high quality photos and videos and ideal price range, it seems to be the almost perfect match for my photography requirements.

My requirements as a blogger:

  1. Compact and not a DSLR especially for venues/events that does not allow DLSRs like concert
  2. Very good image quality for both photos and videos
  3. Low light performance both on video and photos
  4. Continuous auto focusing while shooting videos
  5. External Mic connection for better audio in video interviews
  6. Exposure control during video recording 

My requirements as a street photographer:

  1. Compact so it’s not threatening to subjects on the street and to improve my “invisibility”
  2. Very good image quality for photos
  3. Low light performance since like to take photos inside malls and indoor public settings

The EOS M Camera Features

(From Canon website)

Initial impressions of the Canon EOS M from What Digital Camera

Canon EOS M preview video by Digital Camera

My Rig

Canon 40D with Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 EX lens, 580 EXII flash

  • work horse for my events photography

Canon G12 (mainly for photos, occasionally for videos)

  • compact
  • Good zoom range
  • Excellent low light photo capability in low light mode using pixel binding but limited to lower resolution and automatic exposure mode

Lumix LX-5 (for video)

  • compact
  • high quality HD movies
  • excellent f/2.0 lens low light capability
  • continuous focusing in video
  • Exposure options availability like P/A/M modes in video and exposure settings and compensation controls options during video recording
Me doing a video interview of Bianca Valerio in the Nine West 9 Most Stylist Women coverage using my Lumix LX5 mounted on a flash bracket
(photo courtesy of Seventh High)

Why Canon EOS M is Ideal for my Needs?

Aside from the obvious reason that I have invested in Canon gears like my 580 EXII flash and Canon EF-S mount Sigma lens, that I can use with the M, using their EF/EFS lens adaptor, here are the reasons I think this camera is the one-for-all solution for my blogging and street photography requirements.

1. Compact

With the small dimensions (WxHxD) of approx. 4.28 x 2.62 x 1.27 in./ 108.6 x 66.5 x 32.3mm, it is very compact compared to a DSLR with the same sensor and processor specification and weighs only 14 ounces/392g.

It’s not really the weight or the bulk that made me enumerate compactness as a requirement, it is the stigma of the DSLR being a professional camera that made compactness a prime consideration.  A lot of events like concerts does not allow audience to bring in DSLRs.  When I was covering the David Cook Live in Manila concert at the Smart Araneta last July 14, 2012, we were instructed by the organizer not bring any DSLRs but compact cameras were allowed.   Actually, the Big Dome policy is no DSLRs allowed but you can shoot as much as you want with compact cameras.

Let me put more weight in this requirement by sharing my experience.  During the same concert, the authorized photographers were allowed to bring DSLRs.  They were positioned at the photo pit in between the stage and the mosh pit separated with a barrier were allowed to shoot with their DSLRs but only during the first 3 songs. After the 3 song, they were all sent away.  I was at the barrier in the front of the stage at the mosh pit and was able to shoot photos with my G12 and videos with my LX5 throughout the duration of the concert untouched by security because I was using a compact camera!  I would have taken these photos and a complete set videos of the concert if I was using a DSLR.

Photo taken with Canon G12

Photo taken with Canon G12

David Cook with Yeng Constantino in a Duet Singing Always Be My Baby

Video taken using Panasonic Lumix LX-5
(For the complete David Cook Live in Manila Concert Coverage, please follow blog post link)

In Street Photography as well, having a compact camera helps you to be more “invisible” and it’s less “threatening” to your subjects in the street.  They will just think of you as someone not too serious or just like a tourist who will not publish their photos for commercial gain or for the media.

2. Very Good Image Quality (IQ)

DSLR are equated with very good IQ because of their use of larger sensors like the APS-C.  While the compacts have reasonably good IQ almost comparable to DSLRs especially in very good lighting conditions, it still falls short.  This is due to the smaller sensors they use which does not performs as good as the bigger ones used in DSLRs especially in low light conditions.

The Canon EOS M is a mirror-less compact camera with same large APS-C 18 megapixel censor and same Digic 5 processor found in its bigger DSLR sibling, the Canon t4i/650D.  With the same sensor size in a compact body, the M can deliver the same quality as the Canon t4i/650D theoretically.

3. Low light performance both on video and photos

The camera’s low light performance depends heavily on it’s sensor size and processor.  Since the M uses the larger APS-C sensor and the latest sophisticated Digic-5 processor, the low light performance ot the M is very impressive as it’s DSLR sibling.  ISO can be set to 100-6400 (expandable to 12800 in H mode) for video recording, ISO 100-12800 (expandable to 25600 in H mode) for still images.

In addition, the standard lens provided is a 22 mm f/2.0 fast lens. With it’s f/2.0 fast wide aperture capability which will allow more light to come in combined with the above specs, it stretches your limits when it comes to shooting without flash in low light situations.  This is very important when covering events in poorer lighting and shooting street style photographs indoors.

4. Continuous Auto Focusing while Shooting Videos

The M is equipped with Movie Servo AF for continuous focus tracking of moving subjects.  It uses Hybrid CMOS AF that uses both phase and contrast detection to deliver faster autofocus speed for video.  In addition, with the new STM (stepping motor) focus technology, focusing is silent so it does not interfere with your audio in the video recordings.

5. External Mic Connection for Better Audio in Video Interviews

In addition to its built-in stereo mics, the M has a input jack for an external microphone.  This is very important if you want to use an external microphone like a unidirectional mic or lapel to improve the quality of the audio in interviews during video coverages.

6. Exposure control during video recording

Adjusting / overriding the automatic exposure before and/or during video recording is critical for proper exposure.  The M has manual exposure control or exposure compensation depending on the mode you.
It has even manual audio level adjustment.

The reasons above are my main consideration in concluding that the Canon EOS M will be a perfect match for my requirement at the target price range of around P 35,000 pesos.

Other Negative Factors and Considerations

Nothing is perfect of course.  With its scaled down size comes compromises.

The battery is smaller so it would not last longer. Coupled with no optical viewfinder, the dependence on the usage of the LCD for framing and as interface control, wlll definitely reduce battery life.  I have to consider buying an extra batter to counter this issue similar to the one I have with the Lumix LX-5 as well.

Slower Focusing for Photos
The M’s new sensor-based AF system to focus, while this system is great for video it’s not nearly as powerful it’s DSLR sibling’s 9-point optical autofocus sensor.  Focusing will be slower and could be a concern in events photography and street photography.  I have to really try it out in actual to be able to judge if it’s fast enough.

The search continues (and the search of funding as well) for my ideal blogging and street photograpy camera.

What do you think?  Do you think the other models like Olympus Pen, or other mirrorless camera will suit my requirement?  Please leave your comments and suggestions in the comment section.  I would really love to hear your valued opinion.


The Canon EOS M is now available in stores in the Philippines. Here are the kits you can choose from:

  • w/ EF-M18-55mm STM, EF-M22mm STM lenses, and Speedlite 90EX flash (Black, White): Php47,998.00
  • w/ EF-M22mm STM kit lens and EF-Mount adaptor (Black, White): Php40,998.00
  • w/ EF-M18-55mm STM kit lens (Black, Silver, White, Red): Php35,998.00

All come with 3-year warranty and 8GB SD card.

Stay tuned for my hands-on review and road test.  Hopefully I can get a demo unit from Canon.


Canon Website: http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/slr_cameras/eos_m_ef_m_22mm_stm_kit#Overview

Gizmodo: http://gizmodo.com/5928129/canon-eos-m-finally-a-tiny-camera-designed-to-slurp-hd-video-that-slays

Digital Review: http://www.dpreview.com/previews/canon-eos-m

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