Canon EOS M Mirrorless Camera – Review

eos m mirrorless

Introduced in 2012, the EOS M was Canon’s first foray into the world of interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras. It’s 6 years old now, but the technology holds up well and used prices are very low, making it a great option for testing the mirrorless waters. 

EOS M Mirrorless Camera – Quick Specs

  • Resolution: 18 Megapixels
  • Sensor size: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6mm)
  • Viewfinder: None – Touchscreen Display Only
  • ISO Range: 100 – 12,800 (extended: 25,600)
  • Shutter Speeds: 1/4000 – 30 seconds + BULB
  • Continuous Shooing: 4.3 Frames Per Second
  • Lens Mount: EF-M (EF and EF-S with adapter)
  • Size: 2.62 x 4.28 x 1.27 inches (67 x 109 x 32mm)
  • Weight: 9.1 oz (258g)

EOS M Mirrorless Camera – Overview

There are a lot of thorough reviews of the EOS M out there, so I won’t reinvent the wheel here. But I will point out what I think makes it a great camera and a good purchase even years after it was released.

The EOS M is basically a Canon T4i in a small mirrorless format. It shares the same 18MP sensor and DIGIC 5 processor, and it has a very similar UI to the whole family of TXi cameras. The biggest difference (in my opinion) between the EOS M and T4i is that the M has fewer dedicated function buttons for selecting modes, etc. More of settings must be done via the touchscreen and through menus. It’s a little slower than having dedicated buttons, but all the functionality is there. Shooting speed is a little slower on the EOS M as well, topping out at 4.3 FPS (vs 5 FPS on the T4i).eos m mirrorless

Video capture is typical of the 18MP / DIGIC5 family of cameras, and maxes out at 1080p @ 30 FPS and also offers 720p @ 60 or 30 FPS.

There is no built-in flash on the EOS M mirrorless, but it does have a full-fledged hot shoe for mounting any Canon-compatible speedlight.

EOS M – The Negatives

Autofocus on the EOS M is both slow and relatively unreliable. It “hunts” quite a bit in all but very bright lighting conditions. This is helped by wider-aperture lenses, but even with fast glass, it’s not a very fast AF system. I would not recommend it for anything action-related (including trying to keep up with small children). But for portraits, still life, product shots, landscapes, architectural, and similar photography that is composed, it works just fine.

I also find the ergonomics a little uncomfortable. It’s the size of larger point-and-shoot, but has heavy lenses mounted on it, making it very unbalanced with most lenses. There is only the most minimal rubberized gripping on the front/right of the body, and it’s small enough overall that anyone with medium or larger hands is going to cover a big portion the touchscreen just by holding it.

You Should Consider Buying One

I just talked a lot of trash about the EOS M, but here’s why I think you should seriously consider adding one to your arsenal:

  • For its small size and weight, it packs the image/video quality of a much larger camera, making it perfect for travel photography
  • With interchangeable lenses, hot shoe, and full manual control, it far outpaces point-and-shoot cameras in the same footprinteos m mirrorless
  • It’s been on the market since 2012, so used prices are very attractive (~$130-$150).
  • And probably the biggest reason this camera is so useful:

EOS M Can Use All Canon Lenses

With an inexpensive adapter, the EOS M can mount any EF or EF-S lens and retain full functionality. This includes metering, autofocusing, and image stabilization functions. There are some cool lenses in the EF-M line, but not much beats being able to use your L glass on this tiny little camera. The Canon brand EF-M > EF adapter is about $200, but third-party versions are available for about $40.

The used EOS M I bought came with a MEKE EF adapter ($30), and it works very well. I also picked up a PhotoDiox brand adapter ($40), and it also worked just fine. I’ll do a review of both soon, but the main difference is that the PhotoDiox is entirely metal and feels a lot more substantial.

The Verdict

The Canon EOS M Mirrorless Camera packs a lot of quality and features into a very small package. And it’s ability to use Canon EF and EF-S lenses and speedlight flashes expands it’s utility considerably. And, it’s cheap! What’s not to like other than the painfully slow autofocus? Travel photographers on a budget would do well to consider this camera.