Canon EOS M, Buy Now or Wait?

August 3, 2012

So we’ve seen the Canon EOS M camera and read its specs. However, I am wondering how many people might prefer getting the Canon EOS M over other competing models. Right now Canon announced only the EOS-M, which kind of an entry-level ILC camera model. It certainly cannot compete against more advanced mirrorless, like the Olympus OM-D E-M5, Panasonic Lumix G5, and it wasn’t meant to compete against those higher-level models. There is time until the EOS M becomes available (October 2012), even so, I wonder whether it will worth buying on October, or go with other Mirrorless system instead.

Canon EOS M mirrorless camera image

Of course you need to see the whole picture before making a decision. Canon will most certainly add another model this year (hopefully), a more advanced model that will sits above the EOS-M.  If I had to chose right now, I would probably bought the E-M5.  However, when you purchase an ILC camera, you are buying a system, not just a camera. You will find yourself investing in two or more lenses in the near future and maybe buy some optional accessories. If you buy a Micro Four Thirds camera, you have a large selection of lenses to choose from, and you can always upgrade to another body from either Olympus or Panasonic. Because both utilize the same mount, you won’t need to sell you lenses, and you can use any Micro Four Thirds lenses that you already have. That’s a huge advantage that you get with Micro Four Thirds.

Let me give you an example. Let’s assume that you bought the Panasonic G2 a few years ago. Now you’ve read how good the E-M5 is and you want that camera so much. You already have 4 Micro Four Thirds Panasonic lenses, maybe an expensive Leica M43 lens. The great thing is that you can upgrade to the Olympus E-M5 and keep your lenses. You are still working within the same System. If you decide to buy a Canon EOS M camera, you are “stuck” with Canon EF-M lenses. If Olympus introduce a camera in the future that you really want to buy, you won’t be able to use your Canon lenses with it.

So as for the time being, Canon offering doesn’t look that attractive. The EOS-M looks nice and has some decent features, but it lacks EVF, articulating screen, in-camera image stabilization and no built-in flash.  Canon EOS M can compete against Olympus PEN cameras though. I won’t open an Olympus PEN vs EOS M discussion here, but even if the EOS M was better (I’m not saying it isn’t), still when looking at the overall package, the Micro Four Thirds system or the Sony NEX still are more attractive than what Canon has to offer.

The lens selection is very limited, only two lenses. This will change of course, but it will take time. Canon already gotten pretty late to the party, and people just don’t want to wait any longer. We’ve already waited such a long time until we could enjoy such a large selection of Micro Four Thirds lenses, so why wait more. I think that Canon mirrorless system is still half baked.  We haven’t seen any unique innovation, just a well featured ILC camera more or less. The good thing is that you can mound EF and EF lenses using the EF-EOS M mount adapter. However, this adapter doesn’t come cheap.

The question that remains is whether Canon will introduce a new advanced model and more lenses in Photokia 2012. The clock is ticking and the time is running our for Canon. In a year from now, I’m sure that Canon will have a nice selection of lenses. The price of the EOS-M isn’t cheap as many have wanted, but that will change too in time.

I can tell you that I was a Canon fan for a long time, but in my opinion, Canon has failed to innovate. Just look at Olympus and Panasonic achievements in the last couple of years. They improved the AF speed, Olympus created the 5-axis stabilization system and make a weather-sealed Micro Four Thirds camera (dust and splash proof). Image quality as improved by a large margin and who would believe that we would see such a big improvement in sensor performance.

Sony also put its mark in the Mirrorless market. NEX cameras are very popular, especially in Asia.  It seems that Panasonic, Olympus and Sony push the boundaries of what can be achieved with a Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens camera. I also think that analysts were right, day after day I am less convinced that I should pick a DSLR camera over ILC, at least when entry-level DSLR cameras are concerned.  Time passes by so fast and we aren’t getting any younger. We want to enjoy the latest technology and we want to enjoy it now. There are so many usable features that you get with ILC camera, but that are separated in DSLR camera. For example, I want an articulating high-res screen, built-in flash, viewfinder, fast AF, water-sealing magnesium-alloy body, etc – I can get all of that buy purchasing the E-M5. In order to enjoy all of those features, or even part of them, I would have to buy a high-end DSLR, even at that price I wouldn’t enjoy all of those features.

I am holding hands for Canon and hope that we’ll see unique and innovative products soon. Some of you might want to wait a bit until Photokina to make up your mind. I’ve recommended the Olympus E-M5 to many of my friends, a few bought it and they are very happy with it. I’m selling my Nikon D3100 (+18-55mm, 70-300mm VR) to get the Oly instead. Of course you don’t need to make the same decision. There are many parameters that are involved. For example, some of you might want to buy a Nikon DSLR because of the lens selection, flashes ,etc. You won’t find any 70-200mm f/2.8 lens for any ILC camera. You don’t need to be a pro to appreciate the performance and results that come from such lenses.

For the casual, beginner and enthusiast photographer, I recommended checking out what ILC cameras have to offer. Canon mirrorless system doesn’t seem like a great choice right now, but int time I do believe that Canon will be not less attractive than Olympus or Panasonic. It just takes time..

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