Canon EOS-M camera review by Ken Rockwell: The world's first serious mirrorless camera. (Ed: Thank you, i'll throw my E-M5 and X-E1 away now)

Canon EOS-M camera review by Ken Rockwell: The world's first serious mirrorless camera. (Ed: Thank you, i'll throw my E-M5 and X-E1 away now)
Canon EOS-M camera review by Ken Rockwell: The world's first serious mirrorless camera. (Ed: Thank you, i'll throw my E-M5 and X-E1 away now)
Canon EOS-M camera review by Ken Rockwell: The world's first serious mirrorless camera. (Ed: Thank you, i'll throw my E-M5 and X-E1 away now)
Canon EOS-M camera review by Ken Rockwell: The world's first serious mirrorless camera. (Ed: Thank you, i'll throw my E-M5 and X-E1 away now)
Canon EOS-M camera review by Ken Rockwell: The world's first serious mirrorless camera. (Ed: Thank you, i'll throw my E-M5 and X-E1 away now)
Canon EOS-M camera review by Ken Rockwell: The world's first serious mirrorless camera. (Ed: Thank you, i'll throw my E-M5 and X-E1 away now)

Straddling the border between sober reporting and being the Fox News of photography is a hard thing to do, and this time Ken leans towards the latter:

"The Canon EOS M is the world's first serious mirrorless camera that actually gives good images, and by good images, I mean images with fantastic color as shot. Other brands like Sony, Fuji and LEICA don't give me the colors I demand unless I fiddle with them afterwards, and doing this for a living, I can't afford to fix something afterwards that shouldn't have been broken in the first place. I love the colors I get from Canon right out of the camera as JPGs.


By "mirrorless" I mean modern digital cameras with DSLR image quality, live through-the-lens (TTL) viewing and interchangeable lenses, just without the flipping mirror. Obviously 4x5" cameras have no mirrors, but I'm not referring to them.

By "serious," I mean professional grade. Sony, Samsung, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic and other third-tier brands offer lots of mirrorless cameras, but then aren't pro grade; they are just consumer electronics products and usually only with smaller 4/3 sensors (or smaller) and/or lens mounts often with few advanced lenses available. (First tier is LEICA, classic Hasselblad, Contax and others. Second tier is Nikon and Canon. THird tier is Panasonic, Samsung, Fuji, Olympus etc., and fourth tier is Vivitar, Sunpak, Coby and so forth.)

While a serious camera with a big sensor and no mirror; the LEICA M9 doesn't count: it has no TTL viewing, so you never really know what's in your picture until after it's taken!

The Fuji X-Pro1 is the next best thing to the EOS M, but again limited by too few lenses and a weird custom mount and only so-so color rendition. It's a great start, but lacks Canon's color savvy and system breadth. The limited lens selection is OK since it has everything I need, but the sloppy colors are almost as bad as the LEICA M9's

Up until now, there have been no serious professional mirrorless camera systems.

Compared to the solid mostly metal EOS-M, the Sony NEX-5R feels like a toy.

The Nikon 1

The Nikon 1 is a toy with a tiny 8.8 x 13.3mm (2.7x) sensor only half the area of 110 film, and only about one-third the area of the 22.2 x 14.8 mm (1.6x) sensor of the EOS M.

The Nikon 1 offers an F-Mount adapter, but it is only partially compatible with AF-S lenses and won't autofocus at all with traditional Nikon AF lenses.

Even if you could use all of your Nikon lenses on it, because of the tiny sensor of the Nikon 1 system, there are no very wide angle lenses available. The widest lens available is equivalent only to 28mm on full-frame. Pull out an unobtainable 13mm f/5.6 NIKKOR ultra-ultrawide (118º undistorted on FX), and you get only the equivalent of a 35mm lens on the Nikon 1!

Contrast this all to the EOS M, with which your existing EF-S 10-22mm works great when you use the adapter and covers the equivalent of a 16-35mm lens, and so do all of your teles, fast primes, macros and other Canon lenses.

You don't have to go buying more lenses with the EOS M; if you shoot Canon, you probably already have exactly what you need. The EOS M is part of your pro system already."

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Company Canon Fujifilm Olympus
Model EOS M X-E1 OM-D / E-M5
Fujifilm X-E1 silver Front View Olympus OM-D / E-M5 front view
Release Date 07/2012 09/2012 02/2012
Initial Price $800 $1000 $1000
DXO Color Depth 22.1bits 22.8bits
DXO Dynamic Range 11.2Ev 12.3Ev
DXO Low Light Performance 827 ISO 826 ISO
Lens Mount Canon M mount Fujifilm XF bayonet Micro Four Thirds Mount
Type APS-C Micro Four Thirds
Effective Pixels 18.0 Megapixels 16.3 Megapixels 16.1 Megapixels
Sensor Dust Removal EOS integrated cleaning system Ultra Sonic Vibration Supersonic Wave Filter (dust reduction system for image sensor)
Stabilization details No No Built-in (Image sensor shift type for movie & still, 5-axis image stabilization) -> yaw/pitch/vertical shift/horizontal shift/rolling. Effective compensation range maximum 5 EV steps
ISO Sensitivity AUTO(100-6400), 100-12800 in 1-stop increments
ISO can be expandable to H: 25600)
Equivalent to ISO 200 - 6400 (Standard Output Sensitivity)
AUTO mode: AUTO (400) / AUTO (800) / AUTO (1600) / AUTO (3200) / AUTO(6400)
Extended output sensitivity equivalent ISO 100, 12800 and 25600
AUTO: ISO 200 - 25600 (customizable, Default 200-1600)
Manual ISO 200 - 25600, 1/3 or 1 EV steps selectable
Image Processor Type DIGIC 5 EXR Processor Pro TruePic VI
Memory Card Type SDXC SDHC
Metering Mode Real-time metering from the image sensor
(1) Evaluative metering
(2) Partial metering at center
(3) Spot metering
(4) Center weighted average metering
TTL 256-zones metering
Digital ESP metering (324-area multi pattern metering),
Center weighted average metering,
Spot metering,
Spot metering with highlight control,
Spot metering with shadow control
Metering range 0.0 - 20.0 EV
Shooting Modes Scene Intelligent Auto mode
Still mode (Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up,
Sports, Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene,
HDR Backlight Control, Program AE , Shutter
priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual)Movie mode
(Auto exposure mode, Manual exposure mode)
Programmed AE
Shutter priority AE
Aperture priority AE
Manual exposure
Motion panorama
Multiple exposure
i Auto,
P: Program AE (Program shift can be performed),
A: Aperture priority AE,
S: Shutter priority AE,
M: Manual, Bulb,
Time, Scene select AE,
Art Filter, Underwater wide / macro*
* Selectable from menu as a function on Fn-1/Rec button
Exposure Compensation Braketing 3 shots +/- 2 EV, 1/2 or 1/3-stop increments AE Bracketing (±1/3 EV, ±2/3 EV, ±1 EV) Film Simulation Bracketing (Any 3 type of film simulation selectable) Dynamic Range Bracketing (100%, 200%, 400%) ISO sensitivity Bracketing (±1/3 EV, ±2/3 EV, ±1 EV) 2, 3 or 5 frames in 0.3/0.7/1.0EV steps
Shutter Type Electronic first curtain and mechanical second curtain shutter Focal Plane Shutter Computerized focal-plane shutter
Shutter Speed 30-1/4000 sec (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments), Bulb (Total shutter speed range. Available range varies by shooting mode) (P mode) 1/4 sec. to 1/4000 sec., (All other modes) 30 sec. to 1/4000 sec. Bulb (max. 60 min.) Shutter speed 1/4000 - 60 sec. (1/3, 1/2, or 1EV steps selectable.) Bulb: default setting 8min. (1/2/4/8/15/20/25/30 min. selectable.)
Drive Modes Single,
Self timer
Single, Continuous Single, Continuous
Continuous Shooting Details Max. Approx. 4.3fps for approx. 17 JPEG images¹, 6 images RAW Max 6 / 3 fps selectable maximum speed [Sequential shooting H mode] 9.0 fps
[Sequential shooting L mode] 3.5 fps / 4.2fps  
in case of "I.S. OFF". Max. recordable pictures on sequential shooting [RAW] Max. 17 frames (in seq. shooting L),
Max. 11 frames (in seq. shooting H) [JPEG] Up to full extent of data strage capacity (in seq. shooting L),
Max. 17 frames ( in seq. shooting H)
Self Timer 2s, 10s+remote, 10s + continuous shots 2-10 Time 1/2 to 30 sec. 12 sec., 2 sec.
Focusing Type Contrast detect Contrast detect
AF Modes One-Shot AF and Servo AF Single AF / Continuous AF / MF Distance Indicator / Face Detection Full-time AF Available Maginified frame AF Selectable from over 800 AF points Enlarged view check by magnify button Magnification x5, x7, x10(Default), x14 selectable Face detection AF
Eye detection AF Available
Available Eye Detection AF mode : OFF
Nearer-eye priority
Right-eye priority
Left-eye priority
AF Working Range
AF System Points 31 points 49 points 35 points
AF Assist Beam Yes LED Yes Yes
AE Lock Auto: In One-shot AF mode with evaluative metering exposure is locked when focus is achieved.
Manual: By AE lock button in creative zone modes.
Yes AE lock Locked at 1st release of shutter button (can be set to Fn1/Rec button)
AF Fine Adjustment
Closest Focusing Distance
Depth of Field Preview Yes
Flash Hotshoe Yes Yes Yes
Built in Flash Yes Yes No
Guide Number Guide number: approx 7 (ISO200 · m)
Flash Modes E-TTL II with EX series Speedlites, wireless multi-flash support Red-eye removal OFF:
Auto, Forced Flash,
Suppressed Flash,
Slow Synchro.
Rear-curtain Synchro,

Red-eye removal ON:
Red-eye Reduction Auto,
Red-eye Reduction & Forced Flash,
Suppressed Flash,
Red-eye Reduction & Slow Synchro.
Red-eye Reduction & Rear-curtain Synchro,

Auto, Redeye
Flash Off
Red-eye Slow sync.(1st curtain)
Slow sync.(1st curtain)
Slow sync.(2nd curtain)
Flash Xsync 1/200sec 1/180 sec or slower 1/250sec. or less* (using the bundled flash)
External Flash Wireless Sync
Viewfinder Type Electronic Electronic
Viewfinder Coverage ~100.0% ~100.0%
Viewfinder Eyepoint 23.0mm 18.0mm
Viewfinder Magnification ~0.6% ~0.9%
Rear Screen Details Touch screen 7.7cm (3.0") 3:2 Clear View LCD II with Anti smudge Coating 2.8-in, approx. TFT color LCD monitor 3.0-inch tilting OLED monitor Touch control in electrostatic capacitance Type Touch control Touch shutter release, Touch enlargement<br> Touch Live Guide, AF area selection, AF area enlargement, Frame advance/backward, Enlargement playback, Touch Super Control Panel Tilting angle Upward tilting angle : up to 80 degrees / Downward tilting angle : up to 50 degrees
Resolution 460000 dots 610000 dots
Live View Autofocus
Live View Frame Rate
Live View Metering
Liveview Details Yes,
(1) Liveview image no information (2) Liveview image full info (3) Liveview image basic info
Yes Yes
Image Sizes RAW:
(RAW) 5184x3456

JPEG 3:2:
(L) 5184x3456,
(M) 3456x2304,
(S1) 2592x1728,
(S2) 1920x1280,
(S3) 720x480

JPEG 4:3:
(L) 4608x3456,
(M) 3072x2304,
(S1) 2304x1728,
(S2) 1696x1280,
(S3) 640x480

JPEG 16:9:
(L) 5184x2912,
(M) 3456x1944,
(S1) 2592x1456
(S2) 1920x1080,
(S3) 720x400
JPEG 1:1:

(L) 3456x3456,
(M) 2304x2304,
(S1) 1728x1728,
(S2) 1280x1280,
(S3) 480x480

L : (3:2) 4896 x 3264 / (16:9) 4896 x 2760 / (1:1) 3264 x 3264
M : (3:2) 3456 x 2304 / (16:9) 3456 x 1944 / (1:1) 2304 x 2304
S : (3:2) 2496 x 1664 / (16:9) 2496 x 1408 / (1:1) 1664 x 1664

L Vertical: 7680 x 2160 Horizontal: 7680 x 1440
M Vertical: 5120 x 2160 Horizontal: 5120 x 1440

[RAW] 4608 x 3456 pixels
[JPEG] 4608 x 3456 pixels - 640 x 480 pixels

File sizes
RAW: 4608(H)x3456(V) (approx. 1/1.5 lossless compressed) Approx. 17MB
Set1(LF): 4608(H)x3456(V) (1/4 compressed) Approx. 7.5MB
Set2(LN): 4608(H)x3456(V) (1/8 compressed) Approx. 3.5MB
Set3(MN): 2560(H)x1920(V) (1/8 compressed) Approx. 1.1MB
Set4(SN): 1024(H)x768(V) (1/8 compressed) Approx. 0.3MB

Still Image Format JPEG: Fine, Normal (Exif 2.30 compliant) / Design rule for Camera
File system (2.0),
RAW: RAW (14bit, Canon original RAW 2nd edition),
Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant RAW+JPEG Simultaneous Recording
JPEG (Exif Ver 2.3)*2, RAW (RAF format), RAW+JPEG
(Design rule for Camera File system compliant / DPOF-compatible)
RAW (12-bit lossless compression), JPEG, RAW+JPEG, MPO(3D still)
Movie 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps)
1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps)
640 x 480 (30, 25 fps)
1920 x 1080 pixels,
1280 x 720 pixels (24 frames/sec.) with stereo sound
Full HD:
1920(H)x1080(V), 59.94i Recording *3
20Mbps(Fine) *4 / 17Mbps(Normal) *4 : Aspect 16:9

HD: 1280(H)x720(V), 59.94i Recording *3,
13Mbps(Fine) *4 / 10Mbps(Normal) *4 : Aspect 16:9

*3 : Sensor output 30fps
*4 : bitrate

[AVI Motion JPEG]
HD: 1280(H)x720(V), 30fps *4, Aspect 16:9
SD: 640(H)x480(V), 30fps *4, Aspect 4:3
*4 : Except for some of the Art Filters

Movie Length Max duration 29min 59sec, Max file size 4GB Individual movies cannot exceed 29 minutes in length. Full HD : Approx. 29min(Fine) / Approx. 22min(Normal)
HD : Approx. 29min(Fine) / Approx. 29min(Normal)
Movie Format MOV (Video: H.264, Sound: Linear PCM, recording level can be manually adjusted by user) H.264 (MOV) with Stereo sound MOV(MPEG-4AVC/H.264), AVI(Motion JPEG) with audio
Power Source 1 x Rechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E12 NP-W126 Li-ion battery (included) BLN-1 Lithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Life Approx. 230 (at 23°C, AE 50%, FE 50%)
Approx. 200 (at 0°C, AE 50%, FE 50%)
approx 350 frames (When XF35mmF1.4 R is set) Approx. 360 shots [IS ON, CIPA test standard] (with BLN-1 and TOSHIBA super high-speed Class 6 SDHC 4GB card)
Width 108mm 129mm 122mm
Height 66mm 75mm 89mm
Depth 32mm 38mm 43mm
Weight Approx. 298g (CIPA testing standard, including battery and memory card) Approx. 350g / 12.3 oz. (including battery and memory card) Approx. 300 g / 10.6 oz. (excluding accessories, battery and memory card) 425 g
Weather Sealing Details No No Dust-Proof & Splash- Proof Construction
Body Materials Stainless Steel, magnesium alloy, polycarbonate resin with glass fiber Magnesium alloy Magnesium alloy
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