I finally had a chance to test the long-awaited EOS M for two days. In fact, I looked at it at Photokina, but couldn't try it because the booth was so crowded. I felt it like a compact camera because of the size. In other words, it appeared light and even somewhat unreliable to me and I think it was because of my unconscious preconception formed by the gap between what I had expected from the name "EOS" and the actual style of product far from SLR. However, when I tried it this time, the body felt solid and dense even without the lens. And, the compact body made me feel the massiveness even more. Yet, it's not overly compact to the degree it sacrifices operability and I felt it truly reliable. No wonder it has the EOS name. When I have a good first impression on a camera, I tend to use it all the time and the EOS M was such a camera.

( Photography & Text : K )

The real EOS image quality realized by APS-C sensor

Even though it's compact, the image quality is very high thanks to the APS-C sensor. The rich tonal gradation allows more freedom in exposure. While many cameras are tolerant of underexposing, there're still many cameras whose image quality is affected by overexposing. The EOS M, on the other hand, did a wonderful job in reproducing rich gradation both with low-key and high-key, and this is a big advantage in actual shooting. I felt the same way with the EOS 1DX and the 5D Mark III, and I think it's because these three models are of the same generation sharing the improved image quality at pixel level. In other words, the fine drawing line has no ambiguity and the image quality is higher than ever. Because the images shot with older cameras were not as clear as the ones shot with the new generation cameras, we had to avoid using strong unsharp masking because it would make the entire image look jaggy degrading perspective feeling and 3D quality. But, the images shot with the new generation cameras, including the EOS M, don't need such adjustments. When I viewed the shots on the PC monitor, I was shocked by the image quality realized by such a compact camera.

It rendered the great detail of the skin of the chipped brick. The image looks so natural without becoming flat. This because of the improved image quality at pixel level, don't you think?

Shot at Lake Ashinoko. It looks oily, but let me say this is exactly what I saw. I shot one-step under from the suggested exposure. I feel digital cameras are good at rendering water since early times and the recent cameras including this one do an even better job. Or, they take "sweet" images rather than just "good" images and this makes me feel so happy. You know, it's becoming harder to find fault with recent cameras.

I blackened the shadow by adding contrast when I processed the RAW data. But, the shadow tone of the trees reflected in the wall isn't lost. This was impossible in the past and explains why the number of shipments of films is decreasing.

Rich tonal gradation to deal with a wide range of luminance

Shot relatively against the sun using the exposure 1.3-steps over than what the camera suggested. The image doesn't look shallow and has a good contrast. The EOS M takes great pictures even with flat lighting, let alone high-key and low-key. And, it must be because of the gradation characteristics of the camera.

This is a shot of Kujukuri Beach with a dull flat lighting. I wide-opened and focused on the power pole. Even though the max aperture is F2, the actual focal length is 22mm. So, I expected more flat rendition. But, the camera clearly separated the background, focal peak, and foreground. I believe this basic reproduction ability realizes so-called "atmosphere" of the scene. The falloff is visible because it was shot wide open, but you can always fix it using "lens correction" in the menu. By the way, when we test a camera, we usually cancel all the "convenient settings" provided by the manufacturer. We want to know the camera's native potential. If they are active, we can't identify which one is effective to what extent.

I tested if it could render the soft lighting even at a smaller aperture. At wide open, it's hard to tell the body's image quality because of the big bokeh.

Not a star player, but a very strong player

Canon has finally entered into the mirrorless market, following Nikon. To be honest, the system felt like a "makeshift" because there're only two lenses and a mount adapter for EF lenses. But, my impression changed after the testing. If you have a chance to go to Yodobashi Camera, do touch and try it. Even though my hands are bigger than most people, I still feel the body balance is great and I believe it's because of the match between how heavy it feels and the size. So, it feels very comfortable for use. You may worry about the performance of AF with a large APS-C sensor. Yes, it may struggle in some tough situations like lowlight condition just like other cameras. And, I think it's technically difficult for a camera that only has a LCD for composition to follow fast-moving subjects. But with such a camera, we take different approaches because we know it's best to use an eye-level optical viewfinder when shooting moving subjects. I wish if it were a little faster, but I'm satisfied with the speed. And, let me add that it supports direct manual focus overriding by turning the focus ring after autofocusing and you can do it from the custom menu.

Image quality is, as you see, wonderful and exactly of SLR quality even with the small body. I wish they had made more dedicated lenses before the mount-adapter. We want a system to be smaller, but not too small. With a long lens, it makes a perfect system for travelling. With more lenses, we don't have to mount EF lenses via the adapter and this camera with the high image quality deserves it. I know we can shoot most subjects with a fixed-focal lens and a standard zoom lens, but I hope they will add a wide zoom lens and a telephoto zoom lens to the lineup. Once again, touch and try the body. You'll feel the pride of Canon who decided to enter into the market when the time is ripe.