What's New: Canon EOS M100

August 29, 2017

Canon’s “mirrorless” interchangeable lens cameras, the EOS M-series, continue to evolve with the EOS M100 joining the existing camera line-up.  The M100 targets the entry-level customer, who primarily expects to work with automatic exposure settings — but it gives full manual exposure and other capabilities, within its sleek exterior.  It will replace the previous entry-level model, the EOS M10, in the Canon line.  The EOS M100 will be available in the US market in two colors: black, or white.

EOS M100 is an ideal entry point for users stepping-up to an interchangeable lens, “mirrorless” camera, but where the design priority is compactness, and easy operation. It’s a great transition from smartphones for video and still images.

New Features, at a Glance

  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
    This focus technology alone completely updates the M100, versus its predecessor.  Renowned for its performance in EOS digital SLRs and high-end EOS M-models (EOS M6 and M5 cameras), Dual Pixel CMOS AF is simply superb for smooth, accurate and consistent focus, with still images or video, and with moving or still subjects.
  • New imaging engine and sensor
    The CMOS image sensor is significantly updated — it’s got 24.2 million effective pixels (up from the M10’s 18.0 million).  Along with the change to Dual Pixel CMOS AF, the sensor really elevates the imaging potential of the EOS M100.  And, the DIGIC 7 processor is a leap forward in terms of shooting speed and response, focus performance, and image quality (especially at high ISO settings, in low light).
  • Wi-Fi® now includes Bluetooth technology
    Users stepping up to their first interchangeable lens camera are often coming from smartphones, and expect robust Wi-Fi capabilities.  In the EOS M100, the previous Wi-Fi system is enhanced by the addition of low-energy Bluetooth technology, which is able to maintain a steady, consistent but low-power connection to a compatible Android or iOS smartphone or tablet.  When you want to use Wi-Fi, this low-power, background connection makes viewing and transferring images quick and effective, and minimizes the need for complicated re-connection procedures.
  • Full HD video, now up to 60 fps
    Full HD, 1080p video is enhanced by two major additions:  the afore-mentioned Dual Pixel CMOS AF, which makes focusing far smoother and more consistent than prior focus technologies.   And, with the faster DIGIC 7 processor, HD video can now be recorded at up to 60 fps, for smoother rendition of movement.
  • Digital IS (Image Stabilization)
    Most of Canon’s dedicated EF-M lenses for the EOS M-series models have built-in optical Image Stabilization.  But the EOS M100 adds the extra option of Digital IS, which is performed in-camera.  Digital IS is designed to minimize the big, low-frequency “shake” movements that frequently happen when walking or jogging while recording, to follow a subject (think of “reality TV” situations where the camera moves to keep up with a subject).  Steady video makes a huge difference in giving that professional “look,” and Digital IS is a great option for vloggers, home video enthusiasts, or any other video application.

An Ideal “First Camera” with Interchangeable Lenses

In one very compact, lightweight package, the EOS M100 neatly targets first-time users who want to step up to a true camera, with lens interchangeability, and with room to grow and develop their skills.  Its LCD monitor and outstanding touchscreen interface will be very familiar to younger users who up to now have used smartphones for still and video shooting, and the benefits of a genuine, dedicated camera are numerous, versus typical mobile devices:

Here’s the heart of the EOS M100: an interchangeable lens camera (here, with lens removed), and with an image sensor — visible inside the round lens mount — that’s much larger in size than the sensors used in nearly any smartphone.
  • Significantly larger imaging sensor
    More pixels equals more detail than most smartphones, and the pixels are much larger as well — that means better detail in light and dark areas, and less noise in low-light pictures.
  • More effective focus control
    With that large sensor, it’s much easier to precisely focus on a person in a portrait, for example, and let backgrounds deliberately go out of focus.
  • Vastly superior low-light performance
    Dim lighting is a challenge for any camera, even professional models.  Compared to most smartphones, the improvements in image quality with the EOS M100 will be instantly noticeable, and make getting low-light pictures and video far easier to achieve.
  • Interchangeable lenses
    Another fundamental step forward with the M100, versus smartphones.  Canon’s refined, compact EF-M lenses are dedicated to the EOS M-series cameras, with the same exterior diameter across the line (as of August 2017), so that the operation and tactile “feel” is similar when you change from one lens to another.  The real difference is in telephoto performance, and the power the user gets with zooming capabilities in accessory lenses like the EF-M 55–200mm f/4.5–6.3 IS STM.  Interchangeable lenses are the fundamental reason many smartphone users are ready to step up to a camera like the EOS M100.
  • Easy operation
    For many step-up users, easy operation is a major factor in their buying decisions.  The EOS M100 scores well here.  Its operation is quick and intuitive — turn it on and off with one central button, on top of the camera.  An operation dial with three easy settings, highlighted by a green camera icon, sets the camera for full auto shooting, creative shooting (with options to make shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings manually, if desired), and video recording.  The M100 is quick to learn, and directly targets the user who wants some room to grow as their interests do, but who prioritizes smooth and simple operation.

Great for Vlogging

The majority of today’s online video content is in Full HD, 1080p recording size, and the M100 can shoot this at up to 60 frames per second.  The Dual Pixel CMOS AF system is one of the best in the industry, and provides sharp, consistent video to casual and demanding users alike.  The camera is excellent for today’s video “vloggers” — compact and light enough to take and use almost anywhere, and with effective lens options and capabilities.  

Especially noteworthy is the touchscreen interface, which allows full control right on the LCD monitor (many features are available and can be changed, even while video is recording).  And, for “selfies,” the flip-up screen is arguably the best solution currently available in interchangeable lens cameras.  It folds up 180 degrees, and is directly above the lens when it faces forward.  What this means is as you (and others) view the screen in a selfie situation, your eyes are nearly looking at the lens, rather than off to one side, as often happens on cameras with a different LCD monitor folding design.

Great for Selfies

This is a significant appeal point to many younger, first-time camera users.  We just spoke about how the EOS M100’s LCD monitor folds up to face forward, a good design for hand-held self-portraits.  But there’s more, once you flip the screen and get into the picture:

The LCD monitor on the Canon EOS M100 flips upward, and can face directly forward for selfies. This is actually a superior design for still-image selfies, and vlogging purposes…when the shooter looks at the LCD monitor in this position, his or her eyes deflect away from the lens much less than on monitors which angle out to the side to face forward. Along with its compact size, and the features we discuss below, the EOS M100 can be a great multi-media creation tool when selfies are a big part of the planned imagery.
  • Two icons appear on the screen’s right side.  Touch the top one, with a small camera and hand icon, and you activate the M100’s Self Portrait shooting mode.
  • This brings up three new icons, allowing you to change the foreground/background sharpness, raise or lower the overall brightness in the next picture(s) you’ll take, and activate the Smooth Skin effect — this can soften skin blemishes in five possible levels.
  • The other primary icon during selfies is the “Touch Shutter” mode, indicated by a little hand touching a screen.  Activate this, then tap the screen to tell the M100 where to focus, and it shoots a picture about a second later — enough time for you to move your hand away from the screen and out of the picture.  And, if you want, you can turn off Touch Shutter, and fire the camera via the standard shutter release button.

With these features, the EOS M100 again is ideal for many users who want to step into a genuine camera, but still take the types of pictures they could with their smartphones.

The Lens System

As of August 2017, seven dedicated Canon EF-M lenses are available for the EOS M100 camera.  An important aspect of Canon’s EOS M-system mirrorless cameras is their dedication to the concept of a small, interchangeable lens camera system — and the lenses are a big reason why.  The lenses share a common external design, and even outer barrel diameters, so video recording and picture taking with any of them will be as familiar to your fingers as it is to your mind.  The lenses are genuinely compact, compared to those from conventional digital SLR camera systems, and really enhance the concept of this new type of camera.

Even with a telephoto lens mounted, the EOS M100 is a slim, compact package. Here, the EF-M 55–200mm lens is mounted to the camera. It’s the largest lens currently in the EF-M lens line (as of August 2017), but it underscores the overall compactness of Canon’s M-system cameras and lenses.

And, any lens from Canon’s existing digital SLR system, the EF and EF-S lenses, can be used with Canon’s optional accessory Lens Adapter EF–EOS M.  Attach the adapter to the back of a Canon EF or EF-S lens, and then attach the pair to the EOS M100 (or any other EOS M-series model).  The adapter allows autofocus, your choice of automatic or manual shooting, and more.

With the optional Lens Adapter EF-EOS M, over 70 different lenses that EOS users have enjoyed can provide similar performance on the smaller, more compact EOS M-series camera models.  The Lens Adapter makes transitioning from larger DSLRs to compact EOS M-series models convenient, since the lenses those customers own and use can continue to work, once mounted to the adapter.

Canon EF-M lenses (as of August 2017) include:

  • EF-M 15–45mm f/3.5–6.3 IS STM
    For many, the standard zoom lens they’ll buy with the camera.  Very compact, it covers the range of wide-angle to modest telephoto (equivalent coverage to a 24–72mm lens, on a traditional full-frame digital camera).
  • EF-M 11–22mm f/4–5.6 IS STM
    This is a really exciting, wide-angle zoom.  Equivalent to an 18–35mm lens (35mm, full-frame equivalent), this is an easy way to bring ultra wide-angle imaging to your system.  A great travel lens, and outstanding for video and vlogging.
  • EF-M 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 IS STM
    A larger standard zoom lens, with a bit less wide-angle coverage, and more telephoto power.
  • EF-M 18–150mm f/3.5–6.3 IS STM
    One of the most versatile lenses in the Canon mirrorless system.  Wide-angle thru powerful telephoto coverage, in one compact lens — an excellent travel lens, or single lens solution when versatility and convenience are what a user is after.  Equivalent to a 29–240mm lens, on a full-frame camera.
  • EF-M 55–250mm f/4.5–6.3 IS STM
    The telephoto lens of the EF-M lens line, and a great addition to the standard 15–45mm or 18–55mm lenses.  This one is exclusively telephoto in its coverage, equivalent to a traditional 88–320mm lens, again on a full-frame camera.  Adding this lens to a standard zoom really begins to leverage the versatility of an interchangeable lens camera system.
  • EF-M 22mm f/2 STM
    Here’s a super-compact lens that’s really different from the zooms.  It is fixed focal length (no zooming), gives moderate wide-angle coverage, and lets more light in than any other current EF-M lens.  This mimics the classic, wide-angle lenses used by street photographers for decades, and combined with a small, light camera body like the EOS M100, is a great alternative to zooms for users who are a little more advanced, and who may want to do low-light and night shooting, without flash.  This one’s equivalent to 35mm lens coverage, on a full-frame camera.
  • EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM
    Another special-purpose Canon EF-M lens, which doesn’t zoom.  But in exchange for not zooming, it offers true macro focusing, to fill the frame with tiny objects.  And, this unique lens has its own built-in LED lighting, to minimize shadows or even light up small objects.  A perfect lens for crafters and other online selling, where sharp, clear depiction of a product is paramount.  And, it can be used for general-purpose shooting as well, since it focuses to infinity.  Equivalent to a 45mm “standard” lens, on a full-frame camera.

Summary

The Canon EOS M100 provides a terrific, updated option as a starter camera, or even as a 2nd camera for more experienced users, who may occasionally want a small, simple camera, but with lens interchangeability and the ability to make manual settings whenever they want.  The major change is the addition of the Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, which is a huge asset for still images and video.  

Whether the move to a compact, interchangeable lens camera is a first-time step up from a smartphone, or a new, compact alternative to an existing digital SLR system, the EOS M100 is a slim, light and very flexible camera. On the surface, it appears operationally very simple, but turn its operation dial to the white camera setting, and a multitude of options, including traditional shooting modes like Av, Tv, and M, become available on its touchscreen LCD monitor.

24.2 million pixels on a large, APS-C size image sensor (the same overall sensor size as on Canon’s higher-end EOS M-series models, as well as well-established EOS digital SLRs, like the EOS 7D Mark II, EOS 80D, and EOS Rebel models) mean great recording of fine details, excellent potential for large prints, and image quality in low light which vastly exceeds what most smartphones can deliver.  A step-up to the EOS M100 from a smartphone is indeed a major step forward in a user’s picture-taking and video recording potential, and can be a bit step into excellent imagery.

The CDLC contributors are compensated spokespersons and actual users of the Canon products that they promote.

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