Canon EOS-M, More time with the Little Camera!

So it has now been a little time since I picked up my little Canon EOS-M Mirror Less camera. So what have I thought about it?

To sum it up, I still love this little camera! It still is as fun to use today as it was the first time I pulled it out of the box. The kit is small and lightweight and I end up pretty much grabbing it every time I leave the house. There are a few things that kind of niggle at me and hopefully these will be addressed by Canon with a future version of the body but they are little things.

I don’t have a lot to add about about the image quality than I already did in my first post. It is very good, low light performance is OK but not stellar. Video performance is also very good but I do suggest using an external microphone if you need to record sound.  There are lots of reviews that talk about the image quality out there and I will let the posted photos speak for the camera and lenses. Everything on this page was shot with the 18-55 F4 – 5.6 IS STM Kit lens.

I ended up taking the camera with me on our family trip to Kauai for 3 weeks this summer and again it pretty much came everywhere with me. I also used it to put together some documentation for visitors at using our place on how to store and load our Kayaks and this also included shooting some video. The camera performed great and I was really impressed with it. My EOS-M, the lens adaptor, flash, 2 spare batteries, my IR remote, some step up filter rings, my 77mm Polarizer filter, a lens cloth and lens pen as well as one other lens (smaller than my 70-200 F4 L all fit in a small Lowe Pro Event 100 Messenger bag! For travel I took the filters and the other lenses out and carried the battery charger. When I was heading out to explore or even just go to the store, I just grabbed this bag and away I went with a kit that would work for almost everything that I wanted to do and that was light and easy to carry around.

While we were there my daughter and I went on a kayaking trip to a place called the Secret Falls. The only access is by kayak or stand up paddle board and since I have a sit on top kayak with very little dry storage we picked up a couple of dry bags for the trek. Since I had never used a dry bag before I didn’t really trust my 5D MK III and some of my L lenses in the bag so I grabbed the EOS M kit. We paddled up the river (dry bag worked flawlessly) and I was able to get some shots of the falls and some smaller falls along the hike with the travel tripod I had and the EOS-M. I am including a few of these images and was very happy with them.

So I wanted to address the few points I wasn’t happy from my first post about this camera that I wasn’t really impressed with with the EOS-M.

The strap system – Yes this still drives me nuts but the default camera straps does come off really easily and I picked up a Black Rapid Metro strap to use with it too. Based on how I am using the camera I can use either strap to carry it. While I haven’t looked into this much recently, I should be able to remove the clips from the Canon supplied strap and use them with a smaller UpstrapPro strap which are my favourites for my cameras.

IR Remote – OK not a big deal but would still love the ability to connect an intervalometer remote to the camera for things like time lapse or timed long exposures. One night while shooting the Milky Way in Kauai, I did try the EOS-M for fun and used the touch screen LCD to trigger the camera for some 30 second long exposures. It worked well and I actually got some decent images.

Milky Way Photo
Milky Way @ Hanalei Valley Lookout

Tethering – Still wish this was available especially now with devices like the Cam Ranger out there!

A little more prolonged use did bring up one thing that did make me a little crazy as well. It is sometimes too easy to activate the touch shutter on the LCD while carrying the camera on a strap turned on. I ended up with a few shots of feet, ground, back etc while carrying the camera over my shoulder on a strap. But that was really about it.

Another thing that I was a little perturbed about was on the lenses and not the camera. On the EF-M lenses there are no distance scale markings! When we were trying to shoot the Milky Way I had to use trial and error to try and find the infinity focus point on the camera instead of being able to manually set it on my other lenses. This is something that is missing from all of the EF-M lenses. It has probably been removed to keep the size of lenses down but it is a little frustrating if you are in the dark and your subject is too faint for the LCD screen (or the viewfinder on my 5D MKIII for that matter). It least with my other lenses with the scale on them I could quickly swing to close to infinity and fine tune as opposed to just guessing taking a 10 or 15 second shot then trying to adjust and then shoot again.

Also would love to have the ability to store some custom user settings in the camera. For example to set up Auto Exposure Bracketing shooting in C1 or Fast shutter speed in C2 but I guess these functions are not on the Rebel series either. It would be nice to see in a future version though.

I was able to shoot some fast moving objects without to much issue (AI Servo and continuous shooting) but I wouldn’t call this a super fast camera. I shot the kids while we were out on a zipline excursion.

Breanna Zipline
Breanna Zipline Princeville, Kauai
Jaxin Zipline
Jaxin on the Zipline, Princeville, Kauai

 

One thing that a lot of reviewers complained about was using the LCD in bright sunlight. I was often shooting on a sandy beach in Kauai during the middle of the day and found that if I turned up the LCD brightness I really didn’t have an issue. In fact I put the LCD Brightness adjustment on my custom menu so I could access it with one touch of a button on the camera. And if I had my larger camera bag with me as well I knew I also had my Hoodman Loupe in there that I could use if needed. I never needed it!

Another really cool little feature I found was that if I set up Auto Exposure Bracketing, then set the camera for 2 second self timer and used the touch shutter it would go ahead and fire all three shots without another touch! I have to try it again but I think the same thing happened if I used my IR remote. Once I discovered this though I didn’t use the IR remote as much as I normally would have. Using the camera in Bulb mode with the touch shutter allows triggering by touching the screen and closing the shutter by touching the screen a second time. A little consolation for not having the ability to connect a remote trigger.

Small Waterfalls
Some Water falls along the path to Secret Falls Kauai

So after some longer term use of the camera what do I think? I still do have fun using it! I could see myself easily taking this as my sole camera on a trip where I wanted to have a camera for photographic opportunities but wasn’t planning on getting the grand landscape shots.. like a cruise or a business trip. I would still feel comfortable using this camera as a sole body for this purpose though but the selection of lenses that are available would also dictate that I grab a couple of my larger lenses which would make the kit a little less compact and lightweight defeating the purpose. While I was at Photoshop World in early September I was able to get a slightly larger bag at a pretty big discount (the Think Tank Mirror Less Mover 30i) to carry the camera and lenses if it is going to be my sole camera when travelling because I can fit at least one of my larger EF Lenses in there..  If I am going with the intention of taking time to shoot and may require a larger selection of lenses I would likely be hauling the DSLR and Lenses with me .  I do however grab this camera virtually every time I leave the house. I am also hoping that Google will approve it for their Google Business Photos Program! This way I could use it to shoot my panoramas and not use my 7D and use up shutter actuations on it.

Recently the price for the kit dropped to 399.00 CAN making this almost a no brainer for any existing Canon Shooter that might be looking for a travel camera. This is less than some of the higher end point and shoot cameras that are out there. I recently picked one up for a family member to replace a Canon Rebel XT and with the adaptor to use their Tamron 18-270 mm Zoom. At this price though they are getting harder and harder to find!

I believe the recent price drop has something to do with the rumours that there are two new EOS-M cameras being released in the near future. There is a current rumour showing a Canon manual with a reference to the M2 on this story at Canonrumours.com

One is said to be a replacement for the current model and the other will be a more “pro” version with a add on viewfinder and more features (maybe custom user settings please). Another rumour that has recently surfaced is that with these bodies a new 55-200 IS STM will be released. If this holds true with the standard 18-55 kit lens,  the 11-22mm Wide Angle and the rumoured 55-200 this could be an awesome little travel camera package. Hopefully these rumours are true.

I am hoping to get one of the 11-22mm Lenses so that I have a wide angle for travelling and since my birthday is coming up I may have to treat myself! It has been getting some pretty good reviews online.

As I stated, I hope that the rumours are true and that Canon does not abandon the EOS-M line (I don’t think they will). They did a decent job with V 1 of the camera although I felt they did price it too high to start with. Add one of their new sensors like in the T5i or the 70D with a few more pro features (tethering and Remote capabilities) and they could have a great little camera on their hands that even Canon Pro Shooters would love to own! Right now if you can find one of the EOS-M cameras at the current pricing I wouldn’t hesitate to get one! It truly is a great fun little camera.

Some of my EOS-M Images!


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