Fujifilm FinePix X100 vs. Canon EOS M
New Flash: Canon EOS M with the 22mm pancake lens for $299. Is it worth it? Here is my analysis.
After reading some online reactions to the Canon EOS M, it seems like many people think Canon made the safe choice. The problem is safe usually means boring. And in may ways, the EOS M is a boring camera. Look at the specs and it occurred to me that this little EOS resembles another camera, which is far from boring, the Fuji X100. Yes, I know the Fuji has a neat hybrid view finder and the Canon has none and yes while the Fuji is mirrorless, it does not have interchangeable lenses. But think about this. Both cameras have APS-C sensors. And with Canon’s prime lens, both have a 35mm equivalent f2.0 optic. In theory, user interface issues aside, the two cameras should be capable of similar image quality. The Fujifilm X100, after nearly 2 years, still sells at $1200. The brand new Canon at $800. So why am I more interested in a 2-year-old camera that costs $400 more but has the same basic imaging specs? (yes, I do know that the Canon is 18MP vs 12MP for the Fuji) Simply, Fujifilm took a risk and Canon didn’t.
Here is my analysis of the EOS M and how it compares to the other mirrorless system cameras
I’m not saying taking risks is always advisable but what I am saying is that to win big, you probably need to take risks and get out of your comfort zone. Think about Fujifim for a bit. Before the X100, Fujifilm was known mainly for low-end, unremarkable point and shoot digital cameras (I’m excluding their film business for this discussion). Their sensor technology was different and they tried to stuff them in Nikon DSLR bodies but they never succeeded. With one bold stroke the X100 put them on the radar for enthusiast digital camera buffs. The X100 spawned the X10 and now the X Pro-1. In once sense, Fuji’s bold stoke reinvigorated the company and put them on a different path. The X100 is not for everyone but they certainly took a risk creating it and their bet paid off.
Let’s compare this with Canon. From the looks of it, the EOS M does not appear to excel at anything, at least on paper. Its only real advantage, it works with the EOS lenses and speedlites. Their safe choice, not taking risks, has basically created a me too product. Perhaps Canon may sell a bunch of these but most likely it will be to their existing base. I sincerely doubt it would elicit the passionate responses that the Fuji X100 receives. And because of this passion the camera still sells at the $1200 introductory price almost 2 years later.
I knock the Nikon 1 because I think it was an opportunity lost. With their reputation and technology, Nikon could have really busted the doors wide open on this mirrorless system camera market. However, to Nikon’s credit, they did come out with new technology and capability specific to their Nikon 1 series. They worked on this camera for years and made real advances in hybrid focusing technologies. Canon, by contrast, slapped existing technology taken from their Rebel T4i and put it into a compact body. It seems like Canon is not taking this market seriously. Some have suggested that they are testing the waters and will come out with a better camera if things look good. This all makes sense from a logical, bean counterish perspective but it hardly makes for an exciting product.
Comparing Fujifilm to Canon is a bit like comparing Apple to HP or Dell. The X100 looks like it came from the mind of one strong leader that was willing to make the bold choices. The EOS M, on the other hand, looks like it was designed by a committee. Apple is a company that takes design and product risks. Compare that with HP or Dell that continues to produce logical but uninspired derivative products. The PC industry has been in decline for the last couple of years and only Apple is gaining market share. Will this play out the same in the camera industry? Who knows, but I appreciate what Fujifilm is trying to do and I’m ho-hum on Canon. That’s why I’m more interested in the Fuji X100 than the EOS M.