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back to article Canon debuts EOS M compact system camera

Seemingly bowing to peer pressure, Canon has finally unveiled its own compact system camera, the EOS M. A mirrorless interchangeable-lens snapper that features its new EF-M lens mount and an 18Mp APS-C CMOS sensor. Rather than try a new imaging format, Canon is playing it safe with DSLR tech in a small body and competing with …

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Lens-compatible with Panasonic, Olympus etc?

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No.

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Why would they be compatible? if you adopt a rival system of lenses you are constrained to their design parameters.

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Four thirds

I guess you're thinking about four thirds format? tbh, it was a great idea, multiple manufacturers producing different lenses, starting from scratch rather than existng tech, trouble is it was a compromise from the start (small sensor) and Canon never bought into it, I'm guessing that neither Canon nor Nikon bought in because they considered it weakening their positions in the market.

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Stop

Micro four-thirds and four-thirds lenses are interchangeable between cameras of different makes that follow those standards.

Very surprised to see a lack of dials on the Canon mirrorless. A built-in or supplied EVF would have been nice too. Hard to see why someone would pick this over a Sony NEX-5 or Olympus OM-D EM-5.

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Why not Sony or Oly?

You'd pick this over the Sony because the Sony lenses are nothing to write home about - I'm expecting a lot better from Canon.

You'd pick this over the Olympus (or any m4/3 body) because the sensor is physically bigger (and therefore better)

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WTF?

Re: Why not Sony or Oly?

"You'd pick this over the Olympus (or any m4/3 body) because the sensor is physically bigger (and therefore better)"

The self-confidence of utterly ignorant people never ceases to amaze me...

...you have no clue about sensors, do you?

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Re: Levente Szileszky

Larger sensors are, all other things being equal, better. They collect more light for the same f-number.

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Re: Why not Sony or Oly?

Bigger sensors provide a larger light gathering area and a better signal to noise ratio for a given light level.

Bigger sensors allow for longer focal length lenses for a given angle of view and so provide the photographer with better control over depth of field.

If they wer'n't any better then why would "professional" cameras have significantly larger sensors than even "enthusiast" DSLRs let alone consumer compacts?

Sorry, but I think you'll find that it is in fact your own ignorance which is looking just a little over exposed. (pun intended)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not Sony or Oly?

@Purple Fringing. Technology moves on so although full frame continues to have appeal for professional use because of what is in the shops, a state of the art 4/3 sensor combined with good optics could outperform ff 35mm, its not the technical aspects that keep Canon and Nikon on traditional formats.

Smaller sensors allow for shorter lenses for a given angle of view while maintaining the same control over depth of field etc. Shorter lenses make for easier portability and carry less weight so we are spared the ungainly excesses of current pro cameras. At some point the camera manufacturers are going to have to tackle the issue of unnecessary bulk in the pro market but progress is slow.

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Re: Why not Sony or Oly?

@Anonymous Coward,

No, Shorter focal length lenses on a smaller sensor do not give the same control over depth of field that an "equivalent" focal length will give on a larger sensor camera.

For an extensive discussion on the pros and cons of various sensor sizes see this...

http://www.sansmirror.com/articles/pick-a-size.html

I do agree with your comments about portability. I would love everything in a small, pocketable package. However, I can't agree that the image quality achievable from a m4/3 in any way rivals a full frame sensor. I'd love to see a FF sensor in a more compact body - I suppose the Leica M9 is currently the smallest option but, as you say, progress is slow.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not Sony or Oly?

Afraid we will just have to disgree.

I do agree with your article stating the 4/3 sensors are lagging behind APS but my point was a state of the art 4/3 sensor/software/lens combination would yield excellent DoF properties and compete so long as noise and sensitivity are addressed. The facts that Pansonic are slow to enhance sensors and Canon and Nikon remain committed to their current systems APS, FF don't change the maths of optics and vision.

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Re: Why not Sony or Oly?

"APS, FF don't change the maths of optics and vision"

If you'd care to read the article again, I think you'll find that is exactly what they do.

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Re: AC

The maths of optics and vision...

To have the same light-gathering capability and control over depth of field on 4/3 as FF, you have to maintain the physical size of the aperture as you halve the focal length, i.e. the f-number has to he halved as well. The reason for this is that halving the f-number lets in two stops more light, while the 4/3 sensor is approximately one quarter the area of a FF sensor. Four times the illuminance over one quarter of the area and the same number of photons are collected by both systems. Noise and field depth are now equal.

To do this as the image format gets smaller you have to jump through increasingly more hoops. To get the same performance as Canon's 70-200 f4L lens on a FF camera, the lens Olympus had to build, the 35-100 f2, weighs more than twice as much and costs more than three times as much. It even weighs and costs more than Nikon or Canon 70-200 f2.8 lenses, which enjoy a one stop performance advantage over it. A simple FF lens like a 100mm f2 cannot be replicated on a sensor less than half the size of 4/3, because it hits the theoretical f-number limit of 0.5.

To match a 50mm f1.4 on FF, you need a non-existent 25mm f0.7 on 4/3. Have a look at the Voigtlander 25mm f0.95, it costs almost ten times as much as basic 50mm f1.8 lenses for FF systems. It has better build quality, which accounts for some of the three times greater weight.

There are good arguments for size, weight and cost in smaller format systems, which is why APS-C and 4/3 are so popular, but it unavoidably requires compromises in performance. That is fine, I use one of these "sub-frame" systems myself. As the examples above demonstrate, if you try to match performance with FF, a smaller format system ends up costing and weighing more.

This is not simply about bashing 4/3; the same facts are true for APS-C, or any other "sub-frame" format. Time was that FF was also behind some medium format systems in terms of light gathering capability, but MF is a dying market segment and most of the MF lenses that outperformed FF lenses in this respect are no longer manufactured. Paradoxically, as a result of this, today FF outperforms systems both larger and smaller than it (one reason for the death of MF).

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WTF?

EF-M? Why?

Not sure why they bothered making a totally different lens system, only to then include an adapter as an optional accessory. Given that the overwhelming advantage is this backwards compatibility, it is disappointing that they didn't just bake it into the camera as standard.

(at a guess, there is a more than healthy markup on the adapter and EF-M lenses)

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Re: EF-M? Why?

Probably because full blown SLR lenses are heavy, bulky and probably much better than is needed for such a camera. Why buy a small camera then have a gigantic heavy L series weather-sealed lens hanging off it?

The adaptor is for someone who happens to have some lenses already.

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Re: EF-M? Why?

They bothered because the removal of the reflex mirror allows a much shorter lens registration distance, which in turn allows the design of smaller, lighter, simpler, cheaper, and better quality wide angle lenses than are possible on a DSLR.

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Boffin

Re: EF-M? Why?

Optics.

There's a different flange-to-sensor distance in mirrorless cameras, and lenses are designed around one specific distance. Slap on a lens designed for a different distance, and you end up with a blurry mess (try taking normal photos with a macro extension tube fitted to see what I mean).

The adapter isn't just there to force you to buy a new range of lenses, it is there to replicate the exact lens mount configuration of an EF camera.

If you have a look at an EF-S lens mount, you'll see it protrudes further into the mirror box than a normal EF lens does. This is why you can't just mount em onto a full frame camera, because the mirror would smash into the end of the lens. Canon's APS-C dSLR cameras are actually bigger than they really need to be in order to let you use their older EF lenses. A mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, on the other hand, has 'small size' being one of its major selling points, and there would be little point bloating the whole thing up to accept normal lenses.

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Re: EF-M? Why?

The technical reasons are already covered by other posters, but the financial reason is that compact camera sales have been dropping off for some time for all the big camera manufacturers due to the combination of mobile phones and more competition.

Mirrorless systems are a way of providing higher quality system in a similar form factor to compacts in the hope of retaining the consumer camera market.

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Boffin

Re: EF-M? Why?

The adaptor with a 50 F1.2 could well be a perfect HD video setup (more so with the focus tracking in the new EF-M body, potentially better than 600D/7D video), most of the standard lenses for compact system cameras are restricted by F-stop (the smaller number=more light), as a rule of thumb, the bigger the glass at the front the better quality image you get, which means you can use lower ISO (better IQ as it's not as enhanced by the processor), faster shutter or smaller aperture (sharper/more depth of field), conversely, a larger aperture (small number) means better bokeh, either way lenses with a wider aperture give you more flexibility (five stop HDR for example, which requires same aperture at different speeds or iso).

I think the adaptor is more than just people who "happen to have the lens already", I'll probably get get one of these, so that I can have it as a spare "cheap" body instead of another 7D, it can fit in my bag, nice and small, if I need it it could earn it's keep very quickly.

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Boffin

Re: EF-M? Why?

smaller - check

lighter - check

simpler - potentially, but not usually and the reverse can be true

better quality - not really

In reality, it's just easier to produce a wide angle image when you have a shorter last element to sensor, but there is a trade-off between this and sensor size, ideally larger sensors are better, which means vignetting is more pronounced when the sensor is near the last element, imagine a "cone" of light, near the middle the distance is less and the light hits the sensor at 90 degrees, on the edge (more so corners) the distance is further and the angle is shallower (and more so with a close sensor), this can obviously be corrected to some extent by lens construction (more complex to correct the closer you are) and sortware can also help, but it's not ideal, using EF lenses on an EF-S body gets you the "sweet spot" of good quality lenses (but increases the effective lens length).

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Re: EF-M? Why?

Actually you can mount some EF-S lenses into EF bodies, but you *might* get some clipping for lenses that don't throw to full frame, and you get noticible vignetting for those that do, most EF-S lenses would hit the mirror in an EF body (the very short 10-22mm would, but the 55-250mm EF-S wouldn't), that said Canon (quite rightly) have made it difficult, there's a plastic protector ring you'd need to remove, plus the bayonet needs to be EF compatible (a wee bit of grinding is required, - I've done this for a 10D (APS-C sensor, only takes EF lenses - go figure) the electronics line up OK), this is why EF-S bodies have a white lens alignment marker (EF-S) and a red lens alignment marker (EF)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: EF-M? Why?

huh... huh... huh... you said flange....

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Warehouse Express have pre-order prices up: http://www.wexphotographic.com/search/?q=canon%20eos-m

£130 for the adapter alone...

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£130 - that's cheap

The equivalent Nikon "1" FT1 adapter to allow DSLR Nikkors lenses to be used on the J1 or V1 compacts is £229 quids. Ouch.

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Re: £130 - that's cheap

B&H have the price at $200 which I guess would be list, so £130 is probably list (and unusually not £=$), the body with standard (22mm) is listing at $799, once they have them in stock I'll almost certainly get one.

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"Canon is playing it safe with DSLR tech in a small body and competing with Fujifilm's X-Pro1, Sony's NEX and Samsung's NX CSCs"

- how's this competing with X-Pro1 or NEX-7?

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It isn't when you think they've not given it the ability to have an EVF. Imagine trying to shoot at arms length with one of your EF lenses on the adaptor! Shaky as hell.

Don't know why, but Canon always seem to be able to slip an epic fail into products with great potential - 5D MKII has substandard focussing (9 points, 6 assist) that was remedied with the MKIII, the G1X is just slow, and this has no EVF.

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TS

No custom settings?

No custom settings? I realize they don't want it cluttering the dial of consumer DSLRs... but if it's all software, and most people never leave the automatic... why not put in a few custom slots? It would be nice to carry one of these as a second body on trips... but setting everything via touchscreen, and not be able to save the changes... I'd probably just get frustrated working with it. Oh well, it would have been nice.

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Re: No custom settings?

With Digic 5, 31 focus points and MSNR it's smart out of the box, appropriate use of the AP/SP modes and exposure comp (which it will remember) will be 99% of the usage, in fact I only use one of my custom settings on my 7D (as HDR settings), I agree it would have been nice, but it's not a dealbreaker for me, and I suspect less so for the general "consumer".

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Re: No custom settings?

I assume there's no custom settings as it's one of the differentiators between the 650D and the 60D (which has 1, iirc) and they're trying to make it a 650D equivalent.

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Re: No custom settings?

Canon will probably release another CSC camera body more aimed at 'DSLR owners wanting a more compact backup camera' in due course... this would appear to be their 'Compact camera owner wishing to upgrade' offering.

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VP8 codec ??? 800€ and no opersource video codec? Shame on you Canon.

Even the mov container s__ks.

Btw, in tthe next version could you offer WebP, or not, or maybe for 2020. :P

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Joke

I'm trying to work out what two letters you could put between "s" and "ks" that would make it offensive.

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Trollface

> 2012

> Still banging on about open sores support in a camera.

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No VF?

Really, no VF or EVF at this price? Hopeless.

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