I was over at Precision Camera picking up a few supplies and I played with the Canon EOS M again yesterday. I’ve used the camera and blogged about it before but I wanted to see how it felt again. Even though I said I wasn’t going to get the camera, the $299 price for this formally $800 camera was nagging me a little. Yeah it doesn’t make any sense for me to get it, but I have to admit that I get tempted by these deals. If it weren’t the fact that I bought 3 news cameras over the last couple of months, I probably would jump on it. I guess even I have my limits.
The EOS M at Precision still didn’t have the firmware upgrade, which speeds up the focus, so I didn’t get a feel for well it works. Holding the camera though, got me imagining how it would feel out in the real world. What if the focus is 2 or 3 times faster? Would it be cool camera? The EOS M has its good points. It a solid camera and makes the Olympus E-PM2, that I own, flimsy in comparison. It’s a little bigger than the E-PM2 but smaller than the new Olympus E-P5.
It’s the kind of no-nonsense design that I could imagine the Russians would have built. Whenever I think of Russian machinery, I think of chunky, functional and robust tools but without the finesse of design and styling. My perceptions are probably dead wrong, colored by years of Hollywood visuals but it remains, never the less. This EOS M is in stark comparison to the stylish Olympus Pens. Even the pedestrian Panasonics please more with its conventional design.
But for people without a mirrorless camera or want a gadget to play with, the EOS M is certainly a screaming deal. I can’t give you a first hand account of the increased speed but the image quality and the Canon DSLR lens compatibility makes it something to consider. Should you get one? Read my analysis to decide. My friend Peter bought one and I think it makes sense for him. First, he is a Canon DSLR user so there’s the lens compatibility angle. Also as he rightly pointed out, a 35mm equivalent lens for micro 4/3 costs $499 so you can get an entire 35mm equivalent camera for $200 less. Yes, it’s a screaming deal for the right kind of person.
Talking about Olympus, the new E-P5 is finally in. Jon at Precision tempted me unfairly. I’ve played with the pre-production model during a camera show a month ago. Every Olympus micro 4/3 I use seems to get more refined with the succeeding iteration. The E-P5 feels great in hand, much better than the cramped OM-D E-M5. The E-P5’s grip is larger, even though the camera is smaller. The flip up screen has slimmed down to better integrate. The two control dials are placed logically and easily accessible on the right side.
Yes, the E-P5 is a sweet camera. It’s all the things that the EOS M is not. And it makes sense. Olympus is one of the first companies to come up with the mirrorless interchangeable lens format. They’ve had many years to refine. And refined they have. The tweaks and design changes have made this such a polished camera. Of course you can’t get a the E-P5 for $300. But here’s the thing. Despite all the new cameras that I’ve bought recently and not needing another camera, I would buy the E-P5 for $300 in a heart beat. There in lies the difference between the E-P5 and the EOS M. One is just a good deal on paper, the other one pulls on the emotions.
All logic aside, ultimately for me the EOS M fails the desirability test. It’s like a functional PC. It may be cheap but it ain’t no Macintosh.