Canon EOS M - Backup body?

Created by stenchlord on Dec. 9, 2013, 6:19 a.m.
  • I was browsing through my local camera shop (10 minute stroll from my place.. makes for expensive walks sometimes) and came across them having a special on the Canon EOS M + EFM Adapter.

    My main camera body is a Canon EOS 50D and as a stills camera it's great, it's a little long in the tooth now but for just taking photos it's sweet, so when I saw the EOS M on sale I thought it'd be a great opportunity to give myself access to some video recording capabilities without needing to upgrade my main body at greater cost financially and in regards to weight or bulk (EOS M without a lens attached will happily fit in my pocket).

    I've only had it less than a day so it's far too early to give any real in-depth thoughts but will state what I've found so far.

    The build quality is quite nice and it's surprising what they've been able to pack into such a small size (tripod mount, hot-shoe, touch screen).

    Having large-ish hands has made holding the body a little awkward but I guess that's to be expected. I'd have liked to have seen a better or at least slightly more pronounced grip on the front, it would make holding the device much more comfortable and considering most people will have a lens on it, it won't detrimentally increase it's footprint by any functional amount.

    As a stills camera it's alright, not bad but not great. The settings are what you'd get on an EOS DSLR which is nice and you get access to some more casual photographer filters which I'm sure someone will make use of..

    Now I can't attest to what the kit lenses are like since I didn't get any with mine but I did get the EFM adapter which allows me to attach my existing Canon DSLR lenses to it. So in saying that, I attached my Sigma AF 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM "A" lens to it and tried it out.

    The Sigma 30/1.4 "A" on the 50D, is beautifully sharp, has great contrast and colours and the AF is nice and quick. On the EOS M it's a bit of a different story, the AF is painfully slow by comparison (takes about 2 seconds to go from infinity to minimum, whereas on the 50D it's less than a second) as well as being a little inaccurate and the contrast at default settings is rather lacklustre. The contrast and colours issue was solvable by upping the contrast and colours under the "Picture Style" setting but the AF issue isn't (note: The cameras has been updated to the latest firmware that Canon stated fixed the AF issues).

    So I took my 30/1.4 off and attached my Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM and the AF problem, all of a sudden, became much less an issue but while the focusing is nice and quick it is still a tad inaccurate. The 85/1.8 is a very quick lens though, I'd go as far as to say it's faster than it's bigger brother the EF 85mm f/1.2L USM (which costs 4-5 times as much) so it's a little unsurprising that AF speed should have improved so much.

    It was a welcome change but it brought to light another issue for me, at 85mm with a less ergonomic camera body, camera shake is very apparent and much harder to compensate for. It's been a few years since I've been in practice taking photos but I can still take decently sharp images at relatively long shutter speeds but with the EOS M this is beyond my current skill and technique.

    For the time being it's something I think I'll learn to live with since I don't expect to be using this camera with telephoto lenses due to the kind of photography I'm more interested in being better suited to wider focal ranges but in future if I do decide to go with anything longer than 60mm on this body, I'll likely make sure it's something with image stabilisation. As it stands I'm thinking of picking up something like the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM as something to permanently stay on the EOS M as it's light-weight, compact and has image stabilisation but it would be a rather expensive investment seeing as I already have the Sigma 30/1.4 "A" (and part of the point of the original purchase was it's cost effectiveness...) so it's something I'll have to give a little more thought to.

    I haven't had much time to test the video capabilities considering it was the main reason I got it but I'll have a play with it over the next couple days and see what I think.

  • interesting, i have heard alot of mixxed reports from people when it comes to the eos- m's.

    From what i have read they have alot of software bugs still and hardware bugs. enough that it keeps them out of the hands of most pro photographers. Personally I have not had a chance to try one yet.

    As for stabelization you might consider getting a small table to tripod and couter weighting it to act as a steady cam. Since shooting through these types of bodys tends to naturally induce a fair amount of shake.

    btw can you post some images for us to oogle :D
  • I think the latest firmware has solved a few issues people were having.

    The camera though, I feel isn't really aimed at pro's or even enthusiasts. I'd say it's just marketed towards the average casual consumer. In terms of image quality it's about on par with the 700D considering they're using the same DIGIC 5 sensor but it's just stupidly slow focusing and then taking the shot, a lot of this can be offset by shooting in Manual with Manual Focus but a casual user isn't going to be doing this.

    Here's a quick shot of the cat with my 30/1.4 pulled straight from the memory card. EXIF is still intact - Link

    Photo was taken at night, ISO 400, f/1.8, 1/25, no flash and handheld so not a super ideal situation.

    I'll head out sometime this week and try get some proper shots if possible. Rather busy in the lead up to Christmas.

  • I've got no problem using mine outside / plenty of light (especially with my 50mm 1.4) but if it's low light UGGGHHH I usually end up using my phone.

  • @simian: From my limited experience, if I'm in a low light situation and do not want to miss a moment I'll just switch to manual focusing. Images might not be accurately focused but I'll at least be able to capture the moment and won't be too far off.

  • @stenchlord: I haven't had a problem with focusing in low light but I've found the noise on ISO 1200+ to be pretty ugly so I usually try to keep it < 800. Usually the lens I've been using either have known laggy AF (the 50mm 1.4) or quick enough (70-200mm f 2.8).

  • @simian: I've found the AF is much worse in low light situations, like unbearably so. Noise has also been an issue but noise doesn't bother me much of the time cause if I'm posting something online it usually gets resized pretty harshly to be more monitor friendly.

    I also tried my 70-200/4L IS on my EOS M, felt ridiculous to use and it's much smaller than the 2.8 lol.

    For those interested, I'll link to a shot taken at ISO 3200, it's a 1/6 handheld so excuse any blurriness. It's also just taken in JPEG not RAW since that's what most people would use. It's pretty bad but again, I think it's good enough if you intend to print (6x4) or resize for online viewing. Second link will be same image resized to 800px on the longest size -- Link 1|Link 2

    If you're going to pixel peep then yeah it's not very nice but for most people I think it's going to be more than fine.

    The thing that irks me is that the noise becomes much more apparent earlier in the ISO range. So even a shot taken at ISO 800 (indoors but during the day) can still show a quite a bit of noise -- Link

    Still having said that, I still have fun using it. I think for the most part it's the novelty of having such a light kit. When I've got my DSLR out I feel like I'm always on to look for the right moment to capture, with the EOS M it's an after-thought. Whether or not that's a bad thing is up to the user but it's meant I've had a hell of a lot more fun with my friends when we've gone out as opposed to standing outside and taking photos of my friends having fun.

  • @stenchlord: Yeah anything larger than than a 24/105 or 16-35 on the EOS-M is pretty ridiculous. When it arrived the first thing I did was put the largest lens I owned at the time (100-400 3.5/5.6 IS) and extended full extended the barrel. To keep it steady enough I had to cradle it in my forearm and even then it was tough keeping it balanced.

  • All things said, I'm still happy with the purchase.

    Best camera is the one you have on you and with the EOS M, I always have a camera on me. While my 50D only comes out on occasions I know I'll make use of it.

  • I also own an EOS M, but instead of buying the EF lens adapter, I've simply chosen to use the 22mm EF-M lens that came with it. This camera is basically a Fuji X100S for $1000 less (I bought it on sale for $299 with the lens).