Well I Finally got my EOS-M a few days ago
Why did I get an EOS-M? I hear you ask. (Especially considering the loathing I have for the poorly performing 18MP APS-C sensors)
Well quite simply this. I had a Fuji X10 that went back to Fuji about 5 times with them either not fixing the problems and or breaking other stuff in the process in the end the store I bought it from said put it back in the box and bring it back and we'll give you a new one so I said "I'm done with crap Fuji service just put the value towards a preorder on the EOS-M (AT least Canon have good service!)
I just had to pay the difference. I went with the whole shebang and got the full kit EOS-M, 22mm, 18-55, EX90 and the EF adapter
So what do I think of it?
Well to be honest I have very mixed feelings about the little guy I'll go through a few things
I've taken a bunch of test images which I may post if I can be bothered I've been quite busy of late
First I will address the AF that seems to be getting hammered in reviews
Is it really slower than the average politician’s brain? Well yes... yes it is
However that is if you use the shutter button it... is... pain... fully... dog... slow and focuses on random S___ you had no intention of focusing on. The shutter button on this camera is nearly close to useless.
Wow that’s a pretty big smack down you say?
Yeah sure is, however then I discovered the touch operated shutter mode and face recognition and tracking
Quite frankly this is seriously good it makes the AF maybe 10 times faster than the ponderous shutter button with wierd crappy focus selection mode.
How to describe the touch to shoot?
It’s kind of like spot focus... so you tap the screen on the thing you want to shoot and bam the camera focuses on that thing and takes the shot at the same time. Fast. Not as fast as say a 1D, 5Dmk3 or probably even a 7D
But it's quick, and a very usable quick at that. Now the face tracking thing if you have the continuous AF enabled with the face tracky gizmo then it’s even faster since it’s already tracking faces and is basically nearly there you simply tap the face its already tracking and it shoots even if you tap something else it’s still faster. Kind of like a servo but better, I haven’t tried out the Servo function on this camera yet and to be honest the face tracking and touch to shoot is probably quite adequate in this regard.
The 22mm f2 is really nice, it’s very compact 43mm filter thread smaller than even the 40mm pancake well built, and really quite sharp even wide open (sharp relative to the APS-C sensor that is) I can see this lens spending the most time on this thing it’s pretty damn good and very compact.
The 18-55 its well-made too same build quality as the 22mm, quite compact with a smooth zoom extension and smooth manual focus ring no zoom creep that I noticed but it weighs next to nothing so I would not expect creep in this lens. But it’s slow, uninspiring and well, it’s a kit lens. Stopped down it seems sharp enough but we are talking f8 and be there kind of stuff. Next to the 22mm it looks bad I’m just not used to using lenses with a max aperture of 3.5-5.6 anymore so I particularly coupled with the poor iso performance I can’t see this lens getting a lot of use.
Since its STM though, its continuous AF is quite smooth and silent compared to USM lenses with the adaptor which make a lot of noise and the sound gives me a bad feeling about putting un needed wear on the lens so I turned off the continuous AF when using the EF adapter and all the other lenses. I would recommend turning off continuous focus when USM lenses are attached and leave continuous focus on if using an STM lens.
On this point I’ll add that a 15-85 IS STM EF-M lens would probably be a pretty decent lens on this camera if it was optically as good as the EF-S one.
What other lenses did I try out?
Well after having a brief go with the 18-55 and feeling very underwhelmed I thought I would throw on the 16-35 f2.8L II once I turned off the continuous AF I no longer felt like my poor L lens was going to explode and it was a reasonable snappy focuser and super sharp. The balance was actually pretty reasonable holding the lens in my left hand using my left thumb to zoom and shooting with my right fore finger on the touch screen. And its corner to corner sharp even at f2.8
I’ll add here that the USM lenses seem to focus quite a bit slower when they have to rack from end to end if you try to focus on something near and something far I would put the AF speed in a similar range to the 85f1.2L II on a 5Dmk2 say for AF speed using the 16-35 f2.8L II so pretty sluggish but useable.
On real DSLRs this lens has very fast AF , but I can definitely see myself using the 16-35 f2.8L II on the eos-M when I want a zoom rather than the 18-55 kit. With an equivalent focal range of 25.6mm – 56mm it’s not too bad at focusing and delivers superior IQ
The next lens I whacked on was the 70-200 f2.8L IS II… it was, well not very comfortable to hold, I would say you would need to use a monopod for this to be remotely effective.
However the AF was very quick (remembering that I’ve basically given up on ever using that silly shutter button ever again an I’m doing everything by the touch screen) AF speed increases too if you use the focus limiter switch on the lens and shot farther away than 2.5m, again continuous AF does not make sounds that I want to hear from such an expensive lens so it went off.
Then I couldn’t resist it any longer I wanted to see what it was like on the 600 f4.5 FD so I popped it on and well since this is a manual lens I ran into my first massive disappointment with this camera… aside from the useless shutter button (at least that has a work around)
No live view magnification = weak sauce. Seriously Canon give yourselves an upper cut for that one… Jackasses
Hopefully this can be fixed by the wonderful people at magic lantern but in real life since you are shooting in live view all the time not having the magnification ability is just dumb. I’ll have to try tethered shooting using the android chainfire app, and see if it will work with the control over HDMI
(that’s a mission for another day)
Anyway I focused the 600 as best I could and it produces some pretty decent images, I was reasonably impressed, next I grabbed a 12mm extension tube (since I still have the aperture lever on the lens I needed to space it away so I could use my teleconverters) since I was shooting at near minimum focus distance I did not miss losing infinity focus for the purpose of messing about with this.
Popped on the kenko 1.4 300DGX and it worked perfectly. by the way the AF confirm chip from the edmika adapter worked perfectly on the EF- EOS-M took a few shots wide open and then stopped down and yeah stopped down IQ didn’t degrade too badly at all. NICE!
Next up the Canon 2x mk III and well it didn’t play nice and refused to work so I thought I’d try stacking them and what da ya know with the kenko between the 2x and the EF adapter the camera worked for a total equivalent full frame focal length of 2688mm YAY! Ok yeah there was a fair bit of image degradation doing this but you didn’t really expect anything else did you? Still it’s probably better optically than most telescopes anyway.
Even though I was shooting on a tripod on solid floor with solid gimbal and using the 10 second timer It was taking a long time for the shake just from taking the shot to die down probably an IR trigger would work best.
I also popped on the sigma 50mm f1.4 and its AF sounded like it was going to have an epileptic fit so it didn’t stay on for very long. The Sigma 85 f1.4 went on and worked pretty well though it was much slower to achieve focus than the 70-200 was but still not too bad
NEXT UP was playing with the flashes
The little ex90 is not a bad little guy and provides enough light for on camera flash in doors at a reasonable distance even though it’s not massively powerful. It’s very compact, takes 2 AAA batteries, plastic hot shoe mount, has an on off button and a lock (quite disappointed they didn’t make it articulated so you could bounce with it though… again bad Canon bad dog) while I was playing with the ex90 I found in the custom options you can program the rubbish bin button while in shooting mode to bring up the flash exposure compensation this is excellent as it makes it very accessible very quickly (good Canon… good dog) so in AV mode the right d pad controls normal EC and the down d pad controls flash exposure compensation. Not bad at all so it’s just as fast as dialing in flash exposure on the back of a 580.
Next on went an Odin controller and popped a 580 on a receiver and it all worked perfectly no issues, I was very happy to see the odins work well with no issues
Mind you the odin controller is almost the same size as the camera!
The Sensor FWIW
Now onto the sensor, well It is 18 MP APS-C.
At iso 100 has about the same noise as the 5Dmk3 at ISO 800 but given its super compact size its ok, as in average and with some NR from lightroom it cleans up ok but having to add NR to an ISO 100 image is not good in the first place. After playing with some high ISO samples in lightroom I feel that at iso 1600 this sensor needs / takes the same level of lightroom 4.2 Noise reduction that a 5Dmk3 file takes at ISO 16,000. No exaggeration either. ISO 3200 is probably the upper limit, it does not hold up even as well as the 1Dmk3 holds up at 3200 so for real use 1600 about my tolerance level, maybe a little more especially if converting to black and white. Where I have 3200 on the 1Dmk3, 3200 to 6400 at a pinch on the 5Dmk2 and 16,000 on the 5Dmk3. I’ll have to borrow a 600D to compare the new to older 18MP APS-C sensors to see if there is much difference however vs APS-H and Full frame sensors its simply not in the game.
Pattern noise shows up very early on the eos-m sensor and gets real aggressive real quick even straight out of camera with no pushing of exposure or of shadows the dark areas already exhibit pattern noise straight up. (I will never understand why APS-C fans still defend this format so vigorously)
I felt the camera metered consistently underexposing by a stop or more in AV mode or using auto ISO not really surprising given auto ISO on all the other cameras is somewhat lacking anyway. It would still be nice to be able to be in M mode and have EC apply to the iso but in M mode the EC button has no effect (I’ll be honest I wasn’t expecting any earth shattering kabooms here but it would be nice if Canon one day decided to make their cameras function this way with a firmware update )
I did not try out and most like never will try any creative modes and lame stuff like in camera HDR etc
AV is about at automated as I like to get and even then it does my head in sometimes.
I did play with the video a little it looks ok, the STM auto focus in video would be better if it stopped hunting after it locked onto its subject however it just hunts in and out of focus constantly and never gets settled down, not sure if this can be fixed with firmware. One would think if the face detection was enabled once it had acquired the selected subject it would stay acquired but it still hunts. My feeling is that this must be able to be fixed in firmware, whether or not it actually does get fixed is another story.
So My Brief summary
• Very compact size
• Nice build quality
• Great screen
• Touch interface works well
• Interface is really quite intuitive and works well with reasonably easy access to most settings
• Touch to shoot saves the AF despite the lame shutter button at ruining the camera
• Touch to shoot is REALLY good so it gets mentioned twice
• 22mm Lens is awesome and very sharp wide open
• EF adapter is great and works well ability to use stunning EF lenses and retain autofocus no other mirrorless can match this
• Big sensor for such a little camera
• OK Image quality at low ISO coming from low end DSLR or point and shoot some might say awesome IQ however coming from far superior sensors you see the weak spots instantly. Its all relative.
• AF using shutter button is a total joke (must have been developed on April 1st)
• No zoom in live view shooting given you only have live view shooting as an option this is stupid
• Some lenses perform significantly better than others using the EF adapter and not necessarily the same as they would on a DSLR
• Underexposure when you trust the camera to meter for you I found the best way to use this camera is in AV with +1 EC dialed in and auto ISO unless you specifically want iso 100 or it will select iso 400 as a minimum for some weird reason. Then if using flash you can dial in some flash EC too as needed after configuring the rubbish bin to be flash EC in custom settings
• No chance of using this camera for street photography or shooting from the hip with the shutter button. To have it focus properly any subject is definitely gonna know they are having their picture taken
• Not many custom options
• AEM only 3 shots like on a rebel
• Limited iso step selections (full stops only up on high)
• Video auto focus is not very good and could do with a fix to improve consistency.
• Expensive for what it is. I feel the price is high for what it is many will probably agree here too if the prices came down 25 or 30% I would say it’s getting more reasonable
Would I get it as my only camera?
I would have to say for me definitely not. Its lacking too much flexibility and too many features.
As an additional second, third? Or sixteenth camera?
Yes it is good in this regard due to its light weight and tiny size so for something like travel to accompany a 5Dmk3 I would say the EOS-M with 22mm and the EF adapter will be great forget the 18-55 and use better EF lenses. Or handy to take to a party where you know you’ll just be taking some happy snaps.
My wife already likes the compact size and the 22mm lens as well as the tiny size and weight.
I've added some high iso samples with the 70-200 f2.8 II+ 2x TC mkIII and the 22mm just converted from LR Raw with no processing