The Canon EOS M – The next step from point and shoot

Canon EOS MIt’s taken a while – four years to be exact. But it’s finally on the market. Canon’s much anticipated very first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera is already on sale in Japan and will be hitting the shelves worldwide in time for Christmas.

On sale in Japanese retailers for around $1,410, the Canon EOS M model comes in either black, white or silver, with a red model expected further down the line.

The US version is expected to cost around $799 when it hits America in the next few weeks.

The canon EOS M comes with an 18-megapixel sensor and three-inch touch screen. The white, red and silver versions are all encased in glossy plastic housing but the black version comes in a matt, slightly textured finish, which makes it look more expensive than its colourful cousins.

Designed to be simple, buttons and dials are kept to a minimum, with the exposure mode dial reduced to just three positions. The camera’s rear also has a four-way controller and settings dial with just a smattering of buttons. The lack of physical controls may put some more experienced photographers off.

But The Canon EOS M is really targeted at those who are looking to upgrade their compact for a device that gives better image quality but still in an easy-to-use package.

It comes with a simple interface that is designed to be easy to use for novice photographers. Two matched lenses are available with the device, the 18-55mm and the 22mm, but it’s all part of Canon’s EOS system so if you do have some of the company’s other EF and EF-S lenses, you’ll be able to use them with Canon’s latest offering.

The Canon EOS M touchscreen is engaging and, given the lack of buttons, is definitely the preferred method of interacting with your new camera.

Canon EOS M - different coloursThe amateurs among us will definitely be happy with the gadget’s Scene Intelligent Auto technology which analyses the subject as you focus in. It checks for colour, brightness, movement and whether there are any people in your photograph, automatically choosing what it thinks are the best camera settings to give you great results.

Photography is often described as writing or painting with light but it can be difficult to get it right, particularly if you’re trying to capture an atmosphere in your photograph. But Canon has included hybrid autofocus which is designed to make sure you get pin-sharp images.

Exposure metering picks the best shutter speed and aperture for you, meaning you can shoot hand-held pictures in low-light conditions without using flash or tripod, so you subject looks closer to what you would get with the naked eye.

Canon will be hoping its new EOS M allows it to compete with some of the other big hitters in the photography market. Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-G1, which first introduced us to the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, along with the amateur-friendly model from Olympus, the Pen E-PM1, and more hi-end models like Fujifilm’s X-Pro1 will be some of those Canon now has in its sights.

It’s tough competition indeed, but Canon seems unfazed. It cites the EOS M’s “simply creative controls” and “superb low-light performance” as key selling points.