September 2012


Canon's first mirrorless camera delivers the same renowned high resolution as the digital SLR EOS camera series in a significantly more compact and lighter body.

Photo 1: EOS M (black) (Pictured with the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens)

Photo 1: EOS M (black)
(Pictured with the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens)

This month's technical report brings you the latest information on the Canon EOS M.

Development objectives

The EOS M (Photo 1) was developed to be an easy-to-use, entry-level interchangeable-lens digital camera that delivers the fun of an EOS camera anytime. This was achieved by packing the comfortable operability, high resolution, high precision, and fast performance of the EOS Kiss X6i into a cutting-edge compact, lightweight mirrorless body.

Extraordinary compact, lightweight body
  • New EF-M mount
  • Compact: approx. 108.6 x 66.5 x 32.3 mm (w x h x d)
  • Lightweight: approx. 298 grams (body + battery + SD card)
Excellent image fidelity, picture quality, and ISO range
  • Approx. 18.00-megapixel CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 5 imaging processor
  • Full-time ISO range of 100 to 12800 (with an extended ISO speed of 25600)
Advanced imaging functions
  • Creative filters can be applied while shooting
  • Handheld Night Scene and HDR Backlight Control modes
  • Multi-shot noise reduction
  • EOS scene detection system
High-performance AF
  • Hybrid CMOS AF system
  • Continuous AF
  • Movie Servo AF
Faster, more comfortable operation
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed of approximately 4.3 fps
  • Release time lag of just approximately 0.05 seconds
  • LCD monitor touch panel for intuitive, convenient touch control

The sections below outline the attraction and benefits of the EOS M, Canon's first mirrorless camera, while providing some technical background as well.

Extraordinary compact, lightweight body

1. EF-M mount

Taking full advantage of the benefits of the mirrorless configuration, the new EF-M mount shortens by about 1/2.4 the distance between the mount surface and the imaging sensor (the flange focal length) and reduces the mount diameter as well.

Figure 1: Size comparison (left), Weight comparison (right)

Figure 1: Size comparison (left),
Weight comparison (right)

Photo 2: Magnesium alloy chassis

Photo 2: Magnesium alloy chassis

2. Compact and lightweight

As Figure 1 illustrates, the EOS M is much smaller and lighter than the EOS Kiss X6i, which carries the same large-size CMOS sensor. The body's chassis is made from a lightweight, robust magnesium alloy (Photo 2). Figure 2 illustrates the camera's internal construction.

3. Stylish design

The sculpted surface around the shutter button is symbolic because it suggests the EOS legacy. The aluminum front and rear covers are available in four color variations.

Figure 2: Internal construction

Figure 2: Internal construction

EF-M mount compatibility

Photo 3: EF-M lenses

Photo 3: EF-M lenses

1. EF-M lenses

There will be two EF-M lenses available for the EOS M when it is released: the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom lens and the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake lens (Photo 3). Both lenses deliver high image quality and are finished with an exquisite metallic texture.

2. Compatibility with EF and EF-S lenses

All EF and EF-S lenses can be used with the camera, including their AF functions, with the use of the EF-EOS M mount adaptor (sold separately).

Digital functions for fine detail and top picture quality

Photo 4: CMOS sensor

Photo 4: CMOS sensor
(size comparison with the sensors on
other manufacturers' mirrorless models)

1. APS-C sized, approx. 18.00-megapixel CMOS sensor

The EOS M comes with a high-sensitivity CMOS sensor (Photo 4) with approximately 18.00 effective megapixels and an effective sensor size of approximately 22.3 x 14.9 mm.

2. DIGIC 5 provides high image quality and high-speed image processing

The new DIGIC 5 imaging processor is essential for the camera's digital image processing functions, enabling fast, low-noise image processing and a maximum continuous shooting speed of approximately 4.3 fps.

3. Wide ISO 100 to 12800 range creates more shooting opportunities

Like the EOS Kiss X6i, the EOS M takes advantage of the DIGIC 5's low-noise image processing to deliver a full-time 100 to 12800 ISO range.

4. Lens optical correction

The EOS M corrects both the peripheral illumination and the chromatic aberrations of lenses while shooting.

Imaging and processing features

The EOS M comes with the same advanced imaging and processing features of the EOS Kiss X6i (see the July 2012 Technical Report), but in a much more compact body. The new model also allows creative filters to be applied while shooting.

Live View shooting functions

1. Hybrid CMOS AF system

The hybrid CMOS AF system takes full advantage of the camera's mirrorless system. The hybrid CMOS AF system uses the CMOS imaging sensor for contrast AF*1 and phase-difference AF.*2 Using these two types of AF detection together makes it possible to reach focus quickly, just like on the Kiss X6i, while displaying the Live View image. The user does not need to be particularly aware of the hybrid CMOS AF system when shooting because the system operates automatically.

It should be noted that the hybrid CMOS AF system focuses only in the center area of the frame.

*1. This AF method locates the point of best focus by moving the lens to find the peak contrast.
*2. This AF method uses the same principle for autofocusing with viewfinder shooting. It locates the point of best focus by dividing the light passing through the lens into two images and measuring the image distance and overlap (the phase difference) between the two images.

2. Continuous AF

Continuous AF is a function that keeps the subject in continual focus while the Live View image is displayed even when the shutter button is not pressed. Continuous AF reduces the lag time because the camera can move directly from the focused state to exposure at shutter press.

3. Subject tracking AF and FlexiZone - Multi AF
Subject tracking AF

Selecting Face + tracking AF has the camera detect and focus on a person's face. When the face moves, the camera moves the AF frame to track the face. And if the user touches a subject on the LCD monitor, the camera will keep the AF frame on the touched subject.

FlexiZone - Multi AF

Selecting FlexiZone - Multi AF has the camera divide a large area of the frame into 31 zones for autofocusing. The user can also select by touching the zone to autofocus on from nine zones in the area.

4. Live View shooting metering modes

Evaluative metering divides the frame into 315 zones. Partial metering uses approximately 8.8 percent of the frame for exposure measurements and Spot metering approximately 2.8 percent. Center-weighted average metering is also available during Live View shooting.

Movie shooting functions

1. Movie Servo AF

Movie Servo AF allows the user to record a movie while continually focusing on a moving subject. Hybrid CMOS AF also functions while recording movies with autofocus.

Note that Movie Servo AF works even more quietly and smoothly when the newly developed EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens or EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens is attached to the camera.

2. Built-in stereo microphone

The built-in stereo microphone makes it easy to record highly realistic sounds. The camera includes an attenuator function that reduces clipping when loud sounds are input.

3. Exposure control and ISO speeds

Movies can be recorded with either Program AE dedicated for movie shooting or manual exposure. The ISO speed can be set up to an equivalent of ISO 12800 when manually exposing the movie.

4. Elimination of the 4 GB file size limit

On previous models, movie recording ended once the file size for one continuous shot reached 4 GB. This restriction has been removed, allowing continuous recordings as long as 29 minutes and 59 seconds regardless of the file size.

Faster, more comfortable operation

Figure 3: Feature guide for shooting modes

Figure 3: Feature guide for
shooting modes

1. Maximum continuous shooting speed of approximately 4.3 fps

The EOS M reaches a maximum continuous shooting speed of approximately 4.3 fps with any lens when in One-Shot AF mode.

2. Release time lag of just approximately 0.05 seconds

The minimum shutter release time lag from the in-focus ready state rivals the 0.036 seconds of the EOS-1D X.

3. LCD monitor touch panel for intuitive, convenient touch operation

The LCD monitor includes a capacitive touch panel, which allows users to do most operations with their fingertips while viewing the monitor. Touch operations include menu operations, shooting function settings, and scrolling through photos and magnifying/reducing photos in playback mode.

During Live View shooting, it is possible to select where to focus and to automatically shoot after focusing by touching the screen. Users can also select shooting modes while reading the feature guide displayed on the monitor (Figure 3).

4. Clear View LCD II monitor

The EOS M comes with a wide 3.0-type high-resolution LCD monitor with about 1.04 million dots. The monitor has a solid construction that eliminates the gap (air layer) between the surface layer and the liquid crystals to stop reflections.

System accessories

Photo 5: Speedlite 90EX

Photo 5: Speedlite 90EX

1. New power supply system

The new compact, high-capacity LP-E12 battery pack was developed for the EOS M. The camera can take approximately 230 shots (at room temperature) on a full charge.

2. Speedlite 90EX

The Speedlite 90EX (Photo 5) is a newly developed compact, slim flash unit with a guide number of about 9. It takes two AAA batteries.

3. Compatibility with EOS system accessories

The EOS M supports all EX series Speedlite flash units. It can also be used with the RC-1, RC-5, and RC-6 wireless remote controllers. And by pairing the camera with the GP-E2 GPS receiver, users can add shooting location information to their photos.

Function EOS M EOS Kiss X6i
Number of effective pixels approx. 18.00 megapixels approx. 18.00 megapixels
Imaging processor DIGIC 5 DIGIC 5
Recording media SD, SDHC, SDXC - UHS-I compatible SD, SDHC, SDXC - UHS-I compatible
Lens mount EF-M mount EF mount
Viewfinder No Yes
Autofocus Live View shooting and movie shooting Hybrid CMOS AF Hybrid CMOS AF
Viewfinder shooting n/a TTL secondary imaging phase-difference detection method
Exposure control Creative Zone shooting modes P, Av, Tv, M P, Av, Tv, M
Basic Zone shooting modes Nine modes (does not have the No Flash mode because there is no built-in flash) 10 modes
Movie shooting modes Two types Two types
ISO speeds 100 - 12800 (H: 25600) 100 - 12800 (H: 25600)
Wireless flash photography No Yes
Continuous shooting speed [max. fps, approx.] 4.3 5
Max. burst with Large, Fine setting [frames] 15 (with an UHS-I compatible card: 17) 22 (with an UHS-I compatible card: 30)
Built-in flash No Yes
Imaging and processing functions Creative filters
(while shooting / during playback)
7 (yes / yes) 7 (no / yes)
Live View shooting AF methods Face + tracking AF
FlexiZone - Multi AF
FlexiZone - Single AF
Face + tracking AF
FlexiZone - Multi AF
FlexiZone - Single AF
Quick AF
Continuous AF Yes Yes
Touch shutter release Yes Yes
Movie recording Built-in stereo microphone Yes Yes
Attenuator Yes Yes
No 4 GB file size limit Yes Yes
AF methods Face + tracking AF
FlexiZone - Multi AF
FlexiZone - Single AF
Face + tracking AF
FlexiZone - Multi AF
FlexiZone - Single AF
Movie Servo AF Yes Yes
ISO speeds 100 - 6400 (H: 12800) 100 - 6400 (H: 12800)
LCD monitor Clear View LCD II Yes Yes
Touch panel Yes Yes
Vari-angle No Yes
Display-off sensor No Yes
Remote switch No Yes
Shooting capacity when Live View shooting
[room temperature, no flash usage]
230 200
[w x h x d, millimeters, approx., CIPA standard]
108.6 x 66.5 x 32.3 133.1 x 99.8 x 78.8
Weight [grams, approx., CIPA standard] 298 575

Table 1: Comparison of EOS M and EOS Kiss X6i specifications