Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Canon goes mirrorless with the EOS M

Canon just announced its new mirrorless camera, the EOS M. If you thought the G1X was their answer to the rising popularity of mirrorless systems (I sure did), the EOS-M will come as a pleasant surprise. Does this camera look like a winner? Or do they have a lot of catching up to do with the Micro Four Thirds gang and Sony? Here are more details:

• Unlike the G1X, the EOS M has an APS-C sized sensor (the G1X has a sensor almost the same size as Micro Four Thirds).

• The size of the body is close to the Panasonic GF5 or E-PM1. That's pretty small!

• The EOS-M has a new lens mount, the EF-M mount, and a new line of lenses is also being created for the camera. The camera will be able to use Canon EF lenses with an adaptor, but, as it goes with adaptors, don't expect lightning fast AF speeds. 

• There's no built-in flash or viewfinder. An external flash will be bundled with the kit.

EOS M Price is reported to be $800.

Third World Nerd Predictions:
This camera will probably be a success. Any holdovers wanting to buy a mirrorless camera but waiting for Canon to release their version will jump all over the EOS M. Also, those who are heavily invested in Canon glass will appreciate the ability to use their lenses with this new system even though AF speeds will likely disappoint. 

Image quality will be ace. The EOS M  is basically an EOS 650D without a mirror. 

Lenses will be honking huge compared to Micro Four Thirds lenses, or Nikon 1 lenses.

I'll be greatly surprised if control of the camera is anywhere near pleasing. Photographers love dedicated buttons for a reason. They just work better. Placing all controls on a touchscreen -- even a nice capacitive one -- has its challenges.

There is some confusion as to who this camera is for, and this will hold it back. The $800 pricetag says it's for more serious photographers but there's no viewfinder, and for many "serious" photographers, that's a dealbreaker. Likewise, the touchscreen controls won't please the enthusiast gang. 

The real enemy of this system is the wealth of choice that's available in this camera segment. For $800 you can buy an entry-level SLR, or a mid-range mirrorless camera from Sony or the Micro Four Thirds barkada. These competitors offer, in some cases, flippy rotating screens and built-in electronic viewfinders, as well as a more robust native lens system.

Sony's NEX system is the real competitor of the EOS M. They have the same size sensor and similar all-touchscreen philosophy. However, there is so much confusion and ignorance about mirrorless cameras that Canon's EOS M might gobble up "serious" and "not serious" photographers alike. That's what you get when you're Canon.

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