Canon has announced the launch of the Canon EOS M, the company's entry into the world of compact system cameras.

There was little doubt of what would be coming, after a run of leaks of the new mirrorless model, confirming the specs that we detailed yesterday, which all read true.

The new Canon EOS M camera is described as a "take-anywhere partner", designed to be compact, without sacrificing on all-important imaging quality. 

Core to this image quality is the 18-megapixel APS-C hybrid CMOS sensor, the likes of which we saw in the Canon EOS 650D recently. The sensor size means the EOS M sits alongside the Sony NEX cameras, with a larger sensor than Panasonic or Olympus's Micro-Four Thirds models, and considerably larger than the Nikon 1 system.

Supporting this sensor is the DIGIC 5 processor, with impressive DSLR stats in support, like an ISO range that runs from 100-12,800, expandable up to 25,600. 

The EOS M offers a 3-inch touch display to its rear which - in lieu of a model dial - is the main method of control. Physical controls are fairly minimal around the camera, with a mode selector on the top and quick menu access and some shortcuts on the rear. 

Canon's decision to keep controls to moderate level means it lacks some of the appeal of the Sony NEX-7 or Olympus OM-D, both of which offer much greater direct control, along with a range of functions that the EOS M doesn't appear to have. 

The EOS M does offer creative filters on and Full HD video capture. There is no built-in flash, but to appease the naysayers, Canon is including the new Speedlite 90EX flash unit with the camera. There will also be an adapter ring so you can use your existing EF lenses, but this optional extra will cost you £129.99.

The Canon EOS M lenses include a 22mm f/2.0 pancake lens and a fairly standard f/3.5-5.6 18-55mm IS. There is no indication of in-body stabilisation, which is offered by a range of rival CSC models.

Canon is yet to confirm all the nitty-gritty specs of the camera, but we'll be sure to find out more as detailed information is released.

Unfortunately you'll have to wait for a while to get your hands on one, as the Canon EOS M availability is listed as October 2012. One for your Christmas list, perhaps. 

The Canon EOS M prices break down as follows: the EOS M with 18-55mm zoom is £769.99; with 22mm and lens adapter ring is £879.99; and with both lenses it will set you back £949.99. 

Individually the initial lenses are under £250 each; the EF-M 18-55mm IS lens is £269.99, the EF-M 22mm lens is £229.99, and we anticipate further lens announcements for future system expansion.

The pricing places the Canon EOS M at around the same as the Canon EOS 650D, so you'll be able to get an entry-level Canon DSLR for less. The price this more or less sits in the middle of the compact system camera pack.  

As ever, we're eager to get our hands on the new model, and we'll bring you a full Canon EOS M review as soon as we can.

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.

Canon EOS M: Canon's first pictures reveal DSLR-like quality