Canon EOS M review and analysis of Camera platforms.

Canon EOS M review: was Canon’s first mirrorless ILC worth the four-year wait? — Engadget. Well, the EOS M is a long time in coming and a long way late. I’m somewhat sad that the latest Canon release (6D, 5D3) have been relatively lackluster compared with all the exciting things happening. Here’s a review summary that shows autofocus is the biggest issue for the camera and we will have to see more reviews to make a final decision.

  • It ships October 22 for $800 for this 18 MP compact ILC with 31 autofocus points including a 22mm STM F/1.2 pancake lense  and you want it in professional black given its feel not the plastic colors 🙂
  • On the plus side is that it works full frame against any EF lenses and the image quality looks very good as does low light performance. Those are pretty important things. Also they have continuous autofocus while taking videos which is pretty cool (the biggest missing features for amateurs like ourselves when shooting video on the 5D2).
  • The big negative are the controls as it is a touchscreen without dials which a pro really likes as you don’t have to look away. As an aside, DPreview disagrees on the interface and says the touchscreen is actually pretty good.
  • And they have really slow autofocus, maybe technical but perhaps a marketing decision (not super surprising given the crippling we’ve seen in the 6D and the 5D3). Seems like they are optimizing for their own product line rather than the rest of the marketing. Sad. Fuji fixed this in firmware, the big question is, will Canon do that.

Right now the way to look at cameras is to think of platforms. That is there is the Canon EF lense, the Nikon lense, the Sony E-mount and the Micro-4/3 lenses. So this EOS M, a compact camera using EF lenses fits in this. You want to essentially bet on the lenses first as they are the long lived thing and then have the appropriate body designed for the purpose. So there is the professional level video camcorder, the professional level dSLR and then a compact camera for travel to carry everywhere.
The way to think about it stack-ranked in my humble opinion order if I were buying today as a prosumer camera guy who wants one system to cover pro-still camera, pro video and pro compact camera:

  1. Sony E-mount. Well, with Photokina over, this sure looks like the platform to beat in the long term. At the very high end, you have their SLT like of dSLRs, then for pro video, they have their NEX video line and at the compact side, the NEX-6 series. Plus Hasselbad has thrown in with them and as the biggest holder in beleaguered Olympus, you’ve got to believe there will long term be a flip there. It will take some time to mature, but if you already own Canon or Nikon, I’d be thinking about life extension of current stuff until this becomes clearer. If you have to buy now, then the new SLT-A99 looks good but wait for reviews and the NEX-6 looks terrific if you can get around the user interface. These are all full frame 35mm equivalent lenses which is terrific and 24 megapixels.
  2. Micro-4/3. Thanks to Rennie, he pointed out that right at this moment, they have the most lenses and it works great despite being a small sensor. Olympus OM-MD5 looks like a great choice for still and the Panasonice GH-3 for video. The system to get if you have to have the most selection right now.
  3. Nikon. They are doing a great job. The D800/D600 are great cameras. The D600 full frame looks to be just awesome. Their pro video and also compact offerings are definitely weaker as the 1-series isn’t really a prosumer compact.
  4. Canon. Sad, but they are falling behind with the C100 so expensive for pro video and the 5D Mark III being super expensive with little features compared with exiting 5D2 and the 6D being so primitive. The main thing here is life extension of the lenses which would fall mainly to the EOS-M for compact and the Blackmagic for pro video.
  5. Fuji. These are the wonderful dark horses. Reminds me of Saab and Volvo in the last century. Charming but they do special wonderful things. In particularly, their Foveon sensor is pretty amazing with extremely low noise and a focus on professionals. These are really just for the compact camera area, but kind of a wonderful niche offering. A good choice if you love cameras and don’t need to minimize the lenses you have. Their biggest negative in the bodes, slow autofocus looks like they may have fixed this in firmware. The X1-Pro is absolute huge by the way for a compact camera, so you want to see it in real life, the Olympus E-M5 is much smaller.

In summary, I’d say if you can wait and have Canon EF lenses, wait to see if the professional reviews from dpreview.com are the same as this quick Engadget one. If it is acceptable, then it is a good midlife kicker for Canon EF lenses. Otherwise, wait for the review of Sony’s new line, but this could be the year where it is time to migrate gradually to Sony. First get an NEX-6, get a video camera and collect some lenses and then when your old Canon dSLR gives out, sell the lenses on eBay and get a SLT.

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