Canon has unveiled the EOS M, its first entry into the compact system camera market. An entirely new system demands a closer look, especially when it comes from Canon. What might look like a shrunken down 650D on the specs sheet looks altogether different by design and has plenty more hidden behind the scenes.
So what exactly is the EOS M? We are sure most of you have plenty of questions. So without further hesitation, here is everything you need to know about Canon's EOS M.
In terms of design, the EOS M is much like a compact camera with an interchangeable lens mount slapped on the front of it. This epitomises what a compact system camera (CSC) should be, offering up the size and weight of a compact but the flexibility of a DSLR.
The EOS M uses a brand new lens mount from Canon called EF-M. This means that to mount Canon DSLR lenses you will need Canon's Mount Adapter EF-EOS M. Confusing enough? Other than that, the front of the EOS M is pretty clean, bar the AF assist lamp, lens release and a rubberised grip. There is no built-in flash, but a hotshoe-mountable one - the Speedlite 90EX - is included in the box.
On top of the EOS M is a stereo mic, flash mount, on and off button and mode select dial. On the back things get more exciting. The EOS-M has a 3-inch Clear View LCD II touch screen display with which most of the camera's controls are carried out, as opposed to conventional physical controls. A menu button, playback key and a quick record button complete the rear of the EOS-M, alongside a four-way control button.
Inside the EOS-M is an 18-megapixel APS-C hybrid CMOS sensor that's combined with Canon's DIGIC 5 processor, the result of which is an ISO range that runs from 100 to 12,800 and is expandable up to 25,600. On top of that you get full-HD video with stereo sound recording, and there's even a 3.5mm microphone jack input tucked away round the side.
What is really exciting about the sensor in the EOS M is that it matches that found in the Canon 650D. This means that you should get DSLR-like image quality performance in a more compact-sized camera. Think of it more like the Sony NEX series cameras than Panasonic's micro-four thirds setup.
Accessories and lenses
Lens-wise the announcement included info about a 22mm f/2.0 pancake lens and an 18-55mm IS f/3.5-5.6, although we expect plenty more lenses to appear in the coming years.
Price-wise, the Speedlite EX90 flash - even though one is, according to the press release, included in the box - will cost £119, the 18-55mm will be £269 and the 22mm f/2.0 pancake will set you back £229. The EF-EOS M adapter mentioned earlier is priced in at £129.
When can I get it?
Those hoping to capture some of the Olympics or grab a few summer snaps are going to be disappointed, because the EOS M looks like it isn't going to arrive until October this year.
It will ship in three different packages, either with the 18-55mm for £769, with the 22mm and lens adapter for £879, or with both lenses but no adapter for £949. Things should cost around the same as a 650D, meaning a few difficult decision when it comes to buying time.
Is the Canon EOS M any good?
Read our Hands-on: Canon EOS M review and see what we had to say on the new camera when we had a quick play at Canon's UK headquarters. And yes, we really did try it out with a £15,260 800m lens.