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Canon EOS M Review For Amateurs
There's a wide range of reasons why anyone would look toward the Canon EOS M: most of which revolve around its uniqueness for taking RAW images like your standard uber-expensive SLR, while being pocket-sized and costing as much as an inferior point-and-shoot camera that winds up going obsolete in a year or two...while creating a lot of buyer's remorse.
Hardcore photographers and techies might pick away at the EOS M, but it is simply a diamond in the rough for any amateur looking to get their start in photography. It will give you the opportunity to take RAW images (open up and edit a RAW image in Photoshop as opposed to a JPG, PNG or anything else, and you'll be opened up to a whole new world that you never knew existed).
In fact, you'd be out of your mind to consider a point-and-shoot over the EOS M -- they simply are the wrong way to go for any budding photographer, due to their extreme limitations and tendency to go obsolete within a half year. Canon's EOS M is an exception: it takes 18 MPX RAW images, ready for intricate manipulation and post-production in Photoshop. When you've gathered up the courage to use it -- the EOS M has a robust manual mode, allowing you to fine-tune all aspects of your camera's capabilities from focus to exposure. Last but definitely not least -- this is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Unlike any P&S, this camera will allow you to attach and detach lenses, greatly expanding its usability. It will accommodate any Canon EF and EF-S lens -- otherwise, you can use an adapter to fit other types.
It's an awesome, low-cost alternative to buying a heftily priced DSLR body + lens. It's also a great option for graphic designers looking to shoot their own stock photos for web or print design.
Your first use of the Canon EOS M will probably not be much different than mine: playing around with the camera's stock settings, testing out the auto-focus and pre-sets is a great way to begin, but you'll want much more. That's where manual mode comes in, and it's something you'll really want to master. Any real photographer should have a mastery level understanding of ISO, shutter speed and aperture -- as well as how they all affect each other. You can fine-tune these attributes with the EOS M, it very much so has the "feel" of a DSLR.
The operation manual that comes with the Canon EOS M is, more or less, too basic and practically worthless for anything other than basic, automatic-mode usage: it doesn't describe any of the fine details that this camera has to offer. The good news is that a full manual for the EOS M can be found directly on Canon's site (here's the actual 350-page PDF manual), which will explain every single option in detail. You'll find that accessing manual mode itself is downright difficult to figure out -- automatic mode nullifies many of the camera's menu options, which will only "unlock" in manual mode.
When it was first released in November 2012, Canon bundled the EOS M in three different kits: one featured the camera body + 18–55mm lens, another featured the camera body + 22mm lens (known as the 'macro' lens), and the third was a twin kit featuring both lenses. The EOS M body and 22mm lens originally retailed for $800, but it's common to find the camera body and a lens for under $350, new-in-package. Lenses attach the same way as they do on an SLR, and there are *many* of them on the market that are compatible with this camera.
The EOS M's Biggest Selling Points
- Overall, the Canon EOS M is an idea starter camera for an amateur photographer or graphic designer -- it fits snugly in your hands, isn't too heavy, can use one of 60+ EF mount interchangeable lenses, shoots RAW images and has an excellent manual mode that will allow you to have the freedom you want to tweak away before you shoot.
- As mentioned before, this is the ultimate point-and-shoot killer, it simply makes no sense to consider a P&S over a camera like the EOS M. The main difference is that you'll enjoy this camera for years to come, especially with the many great aftermarket lenses that will extend its capabilities (learn more about choosing camera lenses in my other guide).
- This is the closest thing you'll ever come across in regard to a pocket-size DSLR. Once again, this isn't an SLR, but takes images at a comparable level to one. Without the bigger 18-55mm lens attached, you'll see that the camera body is extremely tiny. Attach a 22mm lens, and it will still fit in a jean pocket.
Other stuff you'll need for your EOS M on day one:
Cameras never come with memory cards, so you'll have to get an aftermarket one. This is an amply-sized high speed card that will handle the EOS M's large RAW images.
While your EOS M comes with a battery, it is *always* a good idea for any photographer to always carry a spare charged battery on any shoot. This is a cost-effective but reliable pair, with a charger.
This thin little piece of plastic will protect your very scratchable viewfinder from constant usage -- for under $7, it's more than a worthy investment that you'll want to apply before your first use!