Canon EOS M, boring is perfectly fine

Canon EOS M

Canon EOS M

In a post last week, I called the new Canon EOS M camera, boring. I compared it to the Fujifilm X100 which I found exciting. But it occurred to me that this was my equipment side of my brain talking. When I shift into my photographer perspective, the EOS M is a perfectly fine camera. It is easy and fun to talk about the equipment. My photographer friends and I entertain ourselves at times by talking about the latest gear. But for me it’s ultimately about the images that I create.

If you come right down to it, most modern (non-point and shoot) digital cameras have a similar image quality; especially when viewed on the web. Sure the resolutions may be different, some models may have more dynamic range and some will have better high ISO quality. But when shot under normal conditions or on a tripod, you will be hard pressed to find a difference. It’s only when you stress the camera, shoot under low light hand-held or you need fast action or use the camera under bad weather, you’ll start to see the differences between the camera models. Which means for most people, any modern camera will do the job, especially if you are willing to learn a bit about photography.

So what is this humble EOS M good for? I don’t use my 7D as much anymore, primarily because of its bulk. But I have a nice super wide-angle lens for it. I can use this Sigma 10-20mm zoom lens (16mm to 32mm equivalent) on the little EOS M and leave that bulky 7D at home. Take a look at the size difference between the two cameras at I would use the EOS M + EF-S adapter + Sigma on a tripod and at lower ISOs so both will have the same image quality. I also shoot my urban landscapes at f13 so focusing would not an issue either. Much of the downsides of the EOS M become non-issues for nature and urban landscape photographers. If fact its small size becomes a strong plus. Yup, if I wanted a small kit for capturing my favorite subjects, cities and architecture, this little EOS may be interesting after all.

But, my Sony NEX-5 and Olympus PENs with their wide-angles are working well for me. So considering the EOS M was more of an intellectual exercise. Something I did while I drove home the other day. For Canon users without a mirrorless system camera, however, the EOS M might be compelling, especially for the above mentioned tripod shooters. Remember, the gear is there to solve a problem. It is an enabler of your ideas and the hardware should ultimately become transparent. Having exciting photos is the important thing, not exciting gear. It’s OK to have a boring camera. Just don’t have boring pictures. Something to remember because much of equipment talk is just posturing. It’s also something that I need to remember too because ultimately, I rather be judged by the photographs that I make and not the equipment that I carry.

Update: Another post related to the EOS M, Canon quantifies creativity with the EOS M.

10 thoughts on “Canon EOS M, boring is perfectly fine

  1. Andy, you might be onto something here. I’m still enjoying my Olympus E-M5, and not looking to add any new gear for a while. However, I do have 8 Canon EF lenses (no EF-S lenses), as well as a full handful of 580EX II speedlites, so I could see myself getting interested in the EOS M line after a couple of generations of improvements.

    I believe that the effective “crop factor” of the EOS M camera with the EF-M lens is 1.6. What I am not sure of is what is the effective crop factor of the EOS M camera with an EF lens when using the adapter ring. I haven’t seen that anywhere yet, so until I see it specified otherwise, I’ll have to assume that it is also 1.6.

    1. Gregg, the crop factor should be 1.6 for EF-M, EF-S and EF lenses I believe. The crop is determined by the sensor size which is APS-C, the same size as the 7D, 60D and the Rebel line..

  2. “I’d rather be judged by the photographs that I make and not the equipment that I carry.”

    In an ideal world, that’s the way it would be. The reality is though that I constantly see stuff like “I would get the Fuji X100, or the new XYZ small camera, but I could never shoot a wedding with it because I wouldn’t look professional.”

    What a load of crap and we all need to get over that. I did a long time ago.

    Boring is fine, ugly is fine. The question is – What can you do with it?

    1. The pressure to fit in is a strong force. Few can escape its strong grasp. I understand somewhat for Pros to try to look the part but what excuses do amateurs have? A rhetorical question. I know it is human nature to try to fit in or out do each other with more stuff. It is the basis of our consumer culture.

  3. Of course, the driving force behind this camera is going to be the owners of expensive Canon lenses. But which ones?

    – I am assuming that owners of only a few low cost lenses (typical rebel owner, say, the kit lens plus maybe a 50 mm 1.8) will not find a huge advantage to buy an overpriced camera requiring a $200 adaptor to fit a couple of $100-200 lenses. Better buy a new system which would anyway be able to fit those lenses with a much much cheaper adaptor (agree, loosing the AF and IS)

    – I am also assuming that most “serious” Canon shooters owning several “L” lenses might find frustrating to step down from full frame to APS-C size, in addition to the (possibly) slower AF. Plus those lenses are relatively big and heavy anyway, so the gain in weight and size would probably not be that great. And some of them might own a spare rebel body anyway

    This leave the typical 60D and 7D shooter who already owns a few good lenses. Quite an important part of the Canon customer base for sure, but still, only a fraction of those. I wonder how many of those might be willing to downsize to OM-D.

    As for the P&S upgrader like me, OM-D seems too expensive, too risky. For now, at least.

    1. Interesting analysis, Laurent. I think you are right about most Rebel owners. I think there will be interest from the higher end “L” owners, not necessarily to use their big lenses but to have a high quality everyday camera with them, especially with the 22mm f2. They might be attracted to the camera because, in an emergency, they can use their bigger EF lenses, but this will not being their primary purpose.

      I also think there is resistance for anyone loyal to a particular brand to shell out $1000+ to buy an OM-D, for example. Once, you’ve bought into the possibility of using multiple brands of cameras like me, then the resistance lowers and something like the OM-D becomes more of a possibility.

    1. There are several wide and super wide-angle alternatives. It’s just some of the lenses are pricey. First there is the 12mm f2. There are two super-wide zooms. The 9-18mm from Olympus and the 7-14mm Panasonic.

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