Canon EOS M Compact System Camera Announced

On July 23, London, UK, Canon has finally announced its mirrorless system to compete with Nikon 1, Sony NEX, Samsung NX and other brand offerings. Having neglected this market share for about 4 years now since the introduction of the first Micro Four Thirds camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 (which may not have been the first camera to lack a moving mirror and an optical viewfinder, but offer interchangeable lens mount, but it sure was the first to really spark an interest in such a design), Canon seems to have finally admitted the potential behind affordable, small, interchangeable lens, high image quality cameras, and stepped up to the challenge. Lets see what the last DSLR manufacturer to enter this segment has to offer.

Canon EOS M front view

Specifications and Features

Although Canon seems to position its first EOS M camera as a simple, affordable, small and high image quality alternative for those looking to upgrade from point-and-shoot offerings, but not looking for a professional mirrorless offering, some of the specifications are very impressive. It uses the same 18 megapixel APS-C sized sensor found in the recently announced 650D/T4i (the comparably expensive Nikon 1 V1, for example, offers a much smaller CX sized, 10 megapixel sensor in a similarly small body) as well as 14-bit RAW file format. Interestingly, like the Nikon 1 system, EOS M offers a hybrid AF approach – it can focus using both Contrast and Phase detect (31 focus points) AF systems, which should mean, if Nikon 1 is of any indication, a very fast AF performance even with subject tracking.

One notable feature is the touch-screen control first used by Canon in their 650D/T4i DSL camera. While at first regular, button-centered operation might seem preferable, in this case, when talking about a camera intended to be used as a simple, high quality point-and-shoot with interchangeable lenses, touch-screen interface leaves the EOS M uncluttered with buttons, yet easy and fast enough to navigate through and adjust whichever settings you choose. It has made into a few cameras before, like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3, and may someday make it to higher-end DSLRs, too, to an extent.

Canon EOS M top view

Here are the official specifications:

  1. Body type: Rangefinder-style mirrorless
  2. Max resolution: 5184 x 3456
  3. Other resolutions: 3456 x 2304, 2592 x 1728, 1920 x 1280, 720 x 480
  4. Effective pixels: 18.0 megapixels
  5. Sensor: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm) CMOS
  6. Processor: Digic V
  7. ISO settings: Auto, 100-12800 (25600 with boost)
  8. White balance presets: 6, Custom white balance
  9. Image stabilization: Lens-based
  10. Image format: RAW, JPEG (Fine, Normal)
  11. Autofocus: Contrast Detect (sensor), Phase Detect
  12. Focus modes: Multi-area AF, Selective single-point AF, Single AF, Continuous AF, Face Detection, Manual focus
  13. Number of focus points: 31
  14. Lens mount: Canon EF-M mount (Canon EF through optional adapter)
  15. Screen size: 3″ touch-screen
  16. Screen dots: 1,040,000
  17. Shutter speed: 60-1/4000
  18. Shooting modes: Av, Tv, M, Scene modes
  19. Flash: External via Hot-shoe
  20. Continuous drive: 4.3 fps/3 fps with AF tracking
  21. Exposure compensation: ±3 EV (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
  22. Video: MPEG-4 (H.264) with stereo sound recording and 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (60, 50 fps) resolution
  23. Storage types: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  24. Battery description: Lithium-Ion LP-E12 rechargeable battery good for up to 230 shots (CIPA)
  25. Weight (inc. batteries): 298 g (0.66 lb / 10.51 oz)
  26. Dimensions: 109 x 66 x 32 mm (4.29 x 2.6 x 1.26″)

Lenses and Accessories

As of today, the Canon EOS M is offered with a fast EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake lens and kit EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM zoom lens. Both lenses offer new STM focus motors, which should work very well with both Canon Phase and Contrast detect AF systems.

Canon is also offering a compact Speedlite 90EX flash unit, which should fit the EOS M well without making it too hefty.

EF-M lenses

Official Press Release

DSLR-quality images at your fingertips: Canon launches the small and simple EOS M

London, UK, 23 July 2012 – Canon today expands its award-winning EOS range with the launch of the new EOS M. The company’s first ever compact system camera (CSC), the EOS M is designed for those who use photography to share their everyday passions – from food, to fashion and culture, music and art. Offering DSLR-quality imaging, creative features and Full HD movie creation in a compact and easy-to-use model, the EOS M is the perfect, take-anywhere partner for a new breed of enthusiasts who chronicle their lives through images, without necessarily considering themselves to be ‘photographers’.

The EOS M is available in sleek black, glossy white, stylish silver or bold red colours, and condenses Canon’s renowned EOS imaging heritage into a stylish, compact design. The model launches alongside two new lenses, the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake and the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom, as well as a new compact EX Speedlite – the Speedlite 90EX – providing everything you need to capture stunning images every day. For those who want to push their images even further, the EOS M can also utilise Canon’s extensive range of EF lenses with the new Mount Adapter EF-EOS M, for even more creative freedom.

The quality of a Canon DSLR

Print your favourite moments in poster-size or crop your image for maximum impact – whether shooting the atmosphere of your favourite club or the intricate stitching of the latest must-have handbag – thanks to the EOS M’s high-resolution, 18 megapixel APS-C hybrid CMOS sensor. The large sensor also allows you to artistically blur the background for beautiful portraits, or for close-ups with impact.

With the inclusion of Canon’s DIGIC 5 processor, colours ‘pop’ and skin tones are beautifully natural, whilst a super-fast shutter allows you to capture split-second action. The atmosphere of evening shoots and challenging night-time scenes are also easily recorded in stunning detail thanks to the EOS M’s sensitive native ISO range of 100- 12,800 (extendable to 25,600).

For pin-sharp shots and professional-looking footage, this new design features a Hybrid AF System that supports super-fast, accurate AF when shooting stills and movies – allowing you to record any moment with confidence.

Canon EOS M back view

Shoot what you see and easily express your creative vision

Every aspect of the EOS M has been designed to make it simple to capture beautiful, creative, high-quality images. From the very first swipe across the bright, high- resolution, 7.7cm (3.0”), Clear View LCD II Touch screen, the EOS M gives you as much or as little control over your photos as desired. Simply select different shooting modes and settings via the on-screen icons, or let Scene Intelligent Auto adjust the camera settings according to the subject and shooting conditions, leaving you free to focus on composition and selecting the perfect moment to hit the shutter release button.

EOS M users can shoot with the confidence that comes from having the world’s most comprehensive photographic system behind them. Whether you want to capture every detail of a close-up or zoom in to frame a subject in the far distance, any one of Canon’s extensive range of EF lenses can be connected via the new Mount Adapter EF-EOS M for photographic flexibility.

With one of Canon’s Speedlite flash units, you can also explore creative lighting techniques to add an extra level of interest to your shots. Alternatively, create unique images with a range of Creative Filters like Toy Camera effect, Grainy B&W or even a filter that mimics the distortion of a fish-eye lens. The filters can be applied before the shot is captured, with the result previewed in Live View, allowing you to experiment with different effects before selecting the perfect treatment for your final image.

Turn film-maker with EOS Movie and Video Snapshot

When a moment calls for more than a still image, the EOS M lets you switch easily to Full HD video with stereo sound for superb results. Video Snapshot mode also helps family and friends avoid long home movie viewing sessions, guiding you to create exciting movies in-camera, with a professionally edited feel.

Extending the EOS System with dedicated accessories

In addition to compatibility with Canon’s existing EF lenses1, accessories and Speedlites, the EOS M launches with its own bespoke range of compact accessories. Two new EF-M lenses offer portability and high performance when using the new model – the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom and the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake lens. Both feature new Stepper Motor technology for exceptionally smooth AF performance, as well as precision Canon optics, while their compact designs offer the perfect form-factor to complement the camera’s pocket-sized body.

Additionally, the EOS M will ship with the new Speedlite 90EX flash unit as standard. Lightweight and highly-compact, it offers a maximum guide number of nine and supports wide-angle lenses, making it an ideal general-purpose flash for everyday use. A wireless master function also allows the control of multiple flash guns wirelessly, allowing more advanced users to experiment with a range of creative lighting effects.

EOS M – key features

The quality of a digital SLR in a compact body

Scene Intelligent Auto

Be versatile with interchangeable lenses

Create out-of-focus backgrounds for high impact

Easy-to-use touch-screen

Atmospheric photos in low light

Full-HD video with Video Snapshot Mode

Pre-order Information

You can pre-order the EOS M from B&H: black EOS M with EF-M 22mm f/2 STM lens ($799.99).
You can also buy the Speedlite 90EX separately for $149.99.

More kit choices should be available shortly.


  1. 1) sade
    July 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Is “manual focus” an autofocus mode?!

    • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin 1.1) Romanas Naryškin
      July 24, 2012 at 9:43 am

      It was supposed to be “Focus modes”, sorry for that, fixed!

  2. 2) Vince
    July 24, 2012 at 9:41 am

    No viewfinder, no buy. This is something the OM-5 finally got right.

    • Profile photo of Romanas Naryškin 2.1) Romanas Naryškin
      July 24, 2012 at 9:45 am

      I guess one can expect a higher-end EOS M with a viewfinder later on, this one’s targeted at a rather different audience than the OM-5, and yet you are right – for many, a viewfinder is a must. :)

    • 2.2) sade
      July 24, 2012 at 10:38 am

      A more serious problem is its autofocus speed. Nowhere near as fast as OM-D.

    • 2.3) Rohan
      July 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      Exactly, its already outdated before its release.

  3. July 24, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Totally inferior fps compared to Nikon 1, but guess noise will be lower at higher ISO’s due to APS-C sensor. I wonder if it has Nikon 1 silent drive at high fps. The Canon EOS M kit only offers a single lens for around the same price as the Nikon. I am actually looking at a compact camera system and been thinking of the Nikon V1. It also takes the same batteries as the D7000 and D800 and is already established as having the ability to mount AF-S lenses, not that I would want to, but other have very successfully. I do like the idea of the larger sensor as it will allow the Canon extra flexibility over Nikon. Decisions, decisions!

  4. 4) moos
    July 24, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Disappointed… was hoping for a retro/enthusiasts like the concept even in APS-C format. This is the best Canon’s got two years after Sony’s NEX series?!!

    • 4.1) Luis C.
      July 24, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      Yes, even David himself doubted it “…this camera represents more of a fantasy rather than vision. Personally, I don’t actually see Canon going this route since it will probably be quite expensive.”

      In other news Nikon V1 is an amazing little camera, the AF is darn near clairvoyant and the feel is solid. I am debating it against the OM-D for a compact system.

  5. 5) Neil
    July 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    This looks more like Canon’s answer to the NEX than to Nikon’s approach. They’ll get good image quality with the sensor but the lenses will hold back the compactness. The Nikon 1 is a compromise design, too, but the big advantage is much smaller lenses. If the next 1 package fixes the issues of the first generation and adds more image quality then it may end up the ideal enthusiast mirrorless system.

  6. 6) Martin G
    July 25, 2012 at 3:13 am

    It all comes down to image quality vs flexibility. I have Nikon lenses and would like Nikon 1 in the camera bag as something I can grab. The issue is price. It is too expensive. I can see how this offering from Canon will appeal to some Canon users. Will it attract new buyers to the Canon brand? I think it would if it is around $150 to $200 less than an entry level Apsc DSLR. It isn’t. You can get a T3 for $549.
    I think Nikon has the same issue. They will definitely sell but who exaclty doesit appeal to? Some DSLR buyers, not many point and shoot people, and no super zoom buyers. How does it stack up against Digital compacts? Me too?

    I’d like to see a 16 to 9 ratio sensor – a streched version of an APSC size with around 18megapixels. I think that would open new interest in digital compacts. It would slot straight in to HDTV viewing and video, especially if you could make it stream direct to the TV.

    The Canon M compact still has no optical viewfinder and this will probably make it useless in bright sunshine. II see it as “filling a gap” in the line up rather than any kind of innovation. At least the Olympus at least looks like a real camera.

  7. 7) Rohan
    July 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Its already outdated before its release.

    No EVF or any EVF options means Canon seriously intends this series for P&S graduates.

  8. 8) Adnan Khan
    July 25, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Welcome Canon :)
    Game is on ! at least they put a bigger sensor but I can’t shoot without a viewfinder ,all my PnS cams are collecting dust (only good as “spy” cams)
    There is a huge market out there for lighter ,cheaper and better cams and I think many pros will switch from S95 or S100 to this cutie :)
    This cam is good for discreet street photography with the cam not being held to eye level and with bigger sensor will work better in low light.
    A little slow on the FPS side, should have traded pixels ,e.g 6FPS at 12MP ,maybe it’s faster at 1920 x 1280 …

    Thanks for the news and thoughts Roman ,cheers!

  9. July 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    This is NOT the article that I received in my mail box! Bad, bad camera???

    • 9.1) Martin G
      July 27, 2012 at 8:22 pm

      I got the same email. It appears someone has been sending out fake links then. The email intro said:
      “Many expected the first Canon mirrorless to be something truly special – partly because of how popular the brand is, and partly because Canon is the last of the big boys to enter this segment, ……”
      It is NOT the same article.
      I wonder what is happening?

    • July 27, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      Paul and Martin, I pulled the article that was posted this morning (the one you are referring to), because it had some issues in it. The title of the article was misleading, but the article itself praised the Canon M system. We decided to pull the article until a detailed review is done. We do not want to publish anything prematurely, that one went out by accident.

      • 9.2.1) Frank
        July 28, 2012 at 10:44 pm

        I’m sorry, but the quality of your site has gone down in recent months. I find myself coming here less often.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          July 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm

          Frank, please remember that we have several people that post on this website (versus just me like before) – their style of writing, background, knowledge is different and hence the articles are also different. I apologize if there has been any content that you dislike, but give it some time and the content will improve substantially. We are working hard on adding more stuff on the site every day…

  10. 10) Martin G
    July 27, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    I don’t think it sounds like a Bad Bad Camera at all. If I were a Canon DSLR user I think a body like this, one that could use Canon Lenses, would be of some interest. Just like the Nikon 1. It has appeal because it can become part of the system. I have read some nice things about the V1. The idea of compatiblity must surely have some appeal. Maybe not as a first camera but you don’t always want or need you DSLR with you.

    • July 27, 2012 at 10:53 pm

      Martin, the EOS M is probably going to be a popular camera – in no way we wanted to say that it is bad. The title was a little misleading, but the article itself praised the camera. Either way, we had to pull it out, because we decided to wait on our opinion until we fully review it.

      • 10.1.1) Martin G
        July 28, 2012 at 1:59 am

        Thanks Nasim. I appreciate the reply.
        I think we will all eventually start to carry an additional body in the camera bag which isn’t a DSLR. It would be great if it could also use some of the high quality lenses DSLR users collect. Nikon have the V1 and this Canon offering is logical.
        That said I would love to see a proper view-finder on ANY camera.

  11. July 28, 2012 at 2:28 am

    LOL! I thought that in modern kid’s lingo “bad” means “good”, anyway it was confusing, but what thew me was that it wasn’t on the site. :)

    I agree with Martin, that I think serious DSLR users will often get a mirrorless camera for carrying around with them. Canon, with their vast experience and user base can’t fail, but get a good market share.

    Look forward to your full review, even though for me it will only be of academic interest, as I had thrown my wallet firmly in the Fuji X camp.

  12. 12) Manish
    September 4, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    For some reason, I am very very convinced about the Olympus OM-D. The more I look at it and play with it, the more I happen to like it. The only downside I could figure out with it compared to a Sony NEX or EOS M is its Micro Four Thirds Sensor. Otherwise, in terms of features, capabilities, controls and build, its seems just the right compact to have for me, along with my D800. D800 for planned and more structured events where carrying loads and the complete system should not be an issue. And for everything else the OM-D. Even the choice of lenses and accessories is already good, and seems to be growing by the day.

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