Canon is in an interesting spot with its mirrorless cameras: despite the two-year-old EOS M10 being a best-seller, it's an uninspiring point-and-shoot take on the interchangeable lens market, as we said when we first saw the camera in 2015.
Time for a refresh then. But blink and you might miss it, because the new EOS M100 is externally almost identical to the M10. The front thumbwheel of the newer camera is on a slightly steeper angle, while the Wi-Fi button has been moved to the rear (and Bluetooth added) but, otherwise, that's about it. Is that enough to see it succeed?
Well, it just might be. With Nikon barely making a murmer at present and no other camera makers offering an interchangeable lens camera with point-and-shoot compact-like appeal, Canon has this corner of the market locked up.
Canon EOS M100 review: Design
- EOS M-mount lenses
- 24.2MP APS-C sensor
- Black and silver finishes
That's the thing with a best-seller: if the figures say it ain't broke, why change it? The M100 does up the image quality ante to match its EOS M5 and EOS M6 bigger brothers, each camera featuring a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor and Digic 7 processor. That's image quality assured, then - which is Canon's forte.
The process of using the M100 is very different to other EOS cameras, too. The camera has a top dial with three settings - intelligent auto, creative assist, movie - so it's very much a point-and-shoot affair. Which, if you're looking for decent image quality with minimal fuss, makes perfectly good sense. It's uncomplicated and unfussy.
If you know the ins and outs of of other Canon cameras, however, that can be somewhat infuriating. We don't think it's crystal clear what all the modes represent by looking at them either.
The autofocus setup of the M100 works ok - it's a touchscreen with single or continuous tracking options - but isn't nearly as advanced as the pinpoint focus modes of, say, a Panasonic G80.
The general lack of EOS M-series lenses also doesn't see the M100 as especially versatile to grow into. But that might be besides the point: if you're looking for an easy-to-use camera then you might not be buying into more than a couple of lenses anyway.
Canon EOS M100 review: Finding its niche
- iAuto, Creative Assist and Movie shooting modes
- 3-inch, tilt-angle LCD with touchscreen control
- No viewfinder provision
As pocketable mirrorless cameras go, however, there are few similar ones that compare. Nikon seems all but done with its J-series line - which is a similar concept, with the J5 being the last in that line, released back in 2015 - which leaves the market wide open for Canon.
However, with the lower-resolution M10 being available for sub-£300 on Canon's own website (at the time of writing), the £280 premium to pay for the added resolution of the M100 appears somewhat steep. It's not as if the other features and build quality set it that far apart from its predecessor.
Then there's the sheer breadth of what else is available elsewhere in Canon's own market. If you're looking for something more comprehensive then the small-body EOS 200D DSLR is an extra £100, at £679 with a kit lens. Or go the other way: the Canon PowerShot G9X II is a smaller-scale pocketable compact with 1-inch sensor that's just as usable (the image quality isn't going to be quite as good, but it's still decent).
It's about finding what suits your needs: if you want compact-style and screen-only use then the M100 fits the bill, but there's a lot more varied choice out there too.