Hmmmm.... for two years prior to the introduction of the Eos-M, Canon's entry into the mirrorless market was a hot top on CanonRumors. Curiously, Canon ignored nearly every suggestion made, and it's turned out to be a failure. Who'd have thought?
After picking up my first mirrorless camera about two years ago, I've had a strong interest in the segment and have been watching it closely as it evolved. If I was going to relaunch it, I'd: -
1. Develop a lens roadmap, make it public and stick to it. Canon is competing against well-established systems. With only two Eos-M lenses, there is little market confidence that Canon is serious about this segment. Adopters need to know the system will be supported. Canon needs to communicate with their customers and provide timely firmware updates to fix problems and improve the camera.
2. Develop high quality "L" grade lenses. Anecdotally, I'd say a higher percentage of experienced photographers buy mirrorless cameras. They want superior, high quality lenses. With EF compatibility, there is only a need for handful of native focal lengths - 18, 35, 50, 85 and 135 would cover it, along with a couple of consumer zooms.
3. I don't think autofocus is that important (but obviously still needs to be "ok") and should be as good as a DSLR in liveview. With mirrorless cameras, the key ingredients are image quailty and portability. I detected some anti-Eos M sentiments in earlier posts. And while I'd agree that a DSLR is an optimal mix of features and image quality for most people, it isn't the right solution for all people. With an increasing number of elderly photographers, hikers, bikers, travellers, people that don't want to carry 2kg of camera gear on their shoulders all day, people that don't want to look conspicuous, people that like shooting with Infra Red filters etc etc there is rapidly growing interest in smaller and lighter gear. Many people will happily trade size for slower autofocus. But very few people will trade image quality for anything. In theory, the design of a mirrorless camera could/should be able to produce technically better images. Canon needs to put this theory into action. They need to demonstrate that full frame cmaeras aren't the only game in town.
4. The two camera strategy is a good idea. To set them apart from the competitors, the higher end camera should have substantial weather sealing. It needs to be well built, made of metal and have sufficient buttons and dials to have all main features readily accessible - ie it needs to be a "photographers" camera and not a tarted up P & S. It also needs an EVF (and maybe a viewfinder). It needs a weak infrared filter. Focus peaking with manual focus lenses would be well regarded. Both cameras need to look good. And they have to be distinctive. They have to be something that you would be proud to own. Personally, I'd go with retro Canonet styling. But modern styling can also look good - I'd just try to make it more angular than some of Canon's recent work. Battery life is also very important. These cameras aren't going to be pocketable anyway, so don't scrimp on the battery - give us something that can last all day.
While I'm not surprised that the Eos-M hasn't performed well, I am happy that Canon is in this market. It is an important market with the growing number of people seeing the benefits of high quality, but smaller and lighter gear. I'm just hoping that Canon will produce a camera that I'd like to buy.