Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Canon EOS M - first thoughts - more to come...

Recently, I splurged and bought myself two cameras. I don't usually spend this kind of money on myself in one go like this, and I suspect that I bought on impulse because I needed cheering up. It was a Sunday, I'd had a long, tiring week, I was feeling irritable and grumpy, and the thought of my upcoming birthday was not helping matters. Hmm, I digress.

One of the cameras that I bought is the Canon EOS M. I've been growing fond of mirrorless cameras since I first bought a Samsung NX100 when it was on sale. By the way, the Samsung NX100 is a lovely little camera, and if you can get one cheaply, I doubt you'll be sorry - it is attractive, and while the image quality is not as good as the Canon EOS M in my opinion, it is not bad either.)

The battery life on the EOS M does not seem good compared to my Samsung NX100 but it is possibly still too early to say for sure. Some sites state it has a battery life of 200-230 shots, which is about half that of the NX100. I would suggest turning down the brightness of the LCD and turning the camera off quickly between shots, or buying one or two extra batteries. The image quality is superb, I think. It has a solid feel and also has image stabilisation which the Samsung does not have. But the EOS M does not have the attractive retro look of the NX100.

One of the things that I feel one wants a mirrorless for, is low light shots - like at a party or evening function. I was impressed by the quality of the images at ISO 3200 and 6400; while they are obviously not as good as images taken at ISO 100, they are pretty darn good for high ISO images, and would be quite usable for most purposes (the photo of my cat you see below was shot hand-held at ISO 3200 with a shutter speed of 1/10th sec,and is unedited except for resizing - the sepia effect is one of the camera's built-in effects).

Photo - Sphinx the Siamese
Sphinx, the Siamese catching 40 winks next to me on the couch
I won't explore all of the features of this camera right here (you can go to Camera Labs for an in-depth review), but it has all the features the average user would need in a mirrorless camera. The recent version 2.02 firmware update has addressed some issues, chiefly focusing speed, but note that focusing is still rather slow. As I've stated above, I think the camera's low light shots are pretty good, and camera is small and easy to carry.

The EOS M has a touch screen LCD on which it relies heavily for most settings. It has no view finder, and no built-in flash. I have yet to test the LCD under full sunlight. The touch screen is responsive, and while touch screens are not my favourite, it works well and I had no problems with it. The lack of built-in flash is not a drawback for me, as I seldom use a flash - I feel it destroys the nuances of an image. The 18-55 mm kit leans is sharp. I have a minimalist view when it comes to photography (less is more) and I don't like to carry lots of lenses - the 18-55 mm kit lens is enough. After all, if you have a mirrorless camera you want to travel light.

The camera comes with a data cable and battery charger, but regrettably the data cable doesn't charge the camera. This means you have to carry more stuff with you if you are travelling.

My first impression of this camera is that I like it. It is easy to use, takes great photo's, and would be a great family camera, first camera or extra backup camera. I'm seriously impressed with the clarity and sharpness of the images, and with the build quality of the camera.

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