There’s a lot of deals out there but is it truly a deal? I shoot enough photographs and use enough cameras to get a sense of what works and doesn’t in the real world. I like to pass these little tidbits of knowledge or opinions to you.
I was temped for a few minutes until reality set in. I did a mini-review of this camera, when it was introduced and I basically predicted its demise. I was being charitable in the review. Basically the camera is a turd. But stop the presses! There is hope. A couple of things are different now which actually makes this camera worth considering, for some people.
First there is the extremely discounted price. You get a very well-built but boring camera with great image quality for a really low price. The image quality will run circles around any point and shoot. And the size of the camera is not much larger in some cases. The main knock against the camera is the extremely slow focusing speed. It’s like watching paint dry. However, Canon just came out with a firmware update that improved things, a lot!
That’s the second bit of news. The new firmware makes the previously, mostly unusable camera into something decent. It’s not the fastest mirrorless out there but it appears to be usable in practice. Take a look at these before and after videos. The first video is the one without the new firmware.
Here’s the thing. I realized after a bit of checking the the Olympus E-PM2 that I already have is a much better camera. It has better image quality, focuses faster, even with the firmware update and it’s smaller. The Olympus is part of the micro 4/3 standard which has a huge lens selection. The EOS M only has 3 lenses. So overall, in my book, the E-PM2 is a better camera all around.
A brand new Olympus E-PM2 costs $424 at Amazon right now. You can get a factory refurbished E-PM2 for $369 at Cameta Camera. So for a little bit more, I think most people will be happier with the Olympus. The Olympus comes with a standard kit zoom that is equivalent to the EOS M with the 18 – 55mm lens which costs $349. So the price differential is even smaller.
So who should consider the Canon EOS M?
If you are a Canon DSLR owner who wants to use their EOS (both EF and EFS) lens with autofocus, consider the EOS M. You’ll need to get the EOS M Mount Adapter but this will allow you to use all the Canon lenses. It could make for a really small kit and for a landscape photographer, it might be all you need.
For people who like prime (non zooming) lenses, like me, the 22mm f2 lens is the better option. So if you squint hard enough, and perhaps take some mind altering substances (strictly legal ones) you can compare the Canon EOS M to the Fujifilm X100. After all they both have APS-C size sensors and 35mm f2 equivalent lenses. Yes, I know the interfaces are quite different and one looks a helluva a lot better. Yes, you will need to squint hard. But, a used X100 runs $700 or more and a X100S is $1300. It makes $300 a helluva nice price. For the record, I know the X100 has better image quality too but you can’t change lenses on it or use your Canon EF lenses either.
Is anyone surprised that Canon is dumping the EOS M? Introduced about a year ago for $800, the actual discount is more like 62.5% discount. The slow focus doomed it. But perhaps with the firmware update and the spectacular price, it can be salvaged. I’m a price performance guy and may be you are too. If the price is good enough and there is a need, it might be worth considering.
Canon’s pain is your gain I guess. Let’s hope the next version will use the sensor from the 70D. Now that might be something.