The Canon EOS M100 is the entry-level model in Canon’s EOS M mirrorless range of cameras. It’s designed for smartphone upgraders or ‘storytellers’, with ultra-simple exterior controls and a smartphone-style touchscreen interface with a 180-degree flip-up selfie pivot.
It’s designed for simple sharing of images on social networks, with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC and an always-on Bluetooth LE connection for automatic image transfer from your camera to your smartphone. If you think Instagram rather than Lightroom, you won’t be far wrong. Inside, though, the EOS M100 has Canon’s latest 24MP APS-C Dual Pixel CMOS sensor, the same technology that features in many of Canon’s DSLRs and mirrorless models much further up the product range. It delivers fast autofocus and great picture quality.
Canon EOS M100 (Specs)
- Sensor: APS-C CMOS, 24.2MP
- Kit lens: 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3
- Screen: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,040k dots
- Viewfinder: No
- Continuous shooting: 6.1fps
- Movies: 1080p
- Battery life: 295 shots
- User level: Beginner/intermediate
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- Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Phase detection
- 24.2 Megapixel CMOS (APS C) Sensor
- Built in Wi Fi, NFC and Bluetooth
Canon EOS M100: Design
Canon isn’t targeting experts with the EOS M100. The controls have been kept deliberately simple so that photographers whose only other camera has been their smartphone won’t feel too daunted. At the same time, Canon has incorporated its latest 24MP Dual CMOS AF sensor, as found in its top APS-C DSLRs; the only way to get a better sensor than this in the Canon range is to step all the way up to a full-frame DSLR.
24 megapixels is about as good as it gets for cameras of this size, and the Dual Pixel system on the sensor gives the Canon the same phase-detection autofocus as DSLRs. Compared to older, simpler mirrorless cameras the M100 should focus faster and more smoothly, both for stills photography and when you’re shooting video.
Interestingly, the M100 doesn’t shoot 4K video but sticks to 1920 x 1080 Full HD. Canon told us it wanted to concentrate on movie quality and overall sharpness, using a combination of the optical image stabilizer in compatible lenses and the 3-axis Digital IS program in the camera.
We tested the EOS M100 with Canon’s EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.5 retracting kit lens, which is the one most likely to be supplied with the camera. This has optical picture stabilization built-in, and Canon’s latest stepping motor STM autofocus for quicker, smoother and quieter operation.
Other EOS-M lenses are available, but there’s not such a wide range for Canon’s EOS M mirrorless models as for its DSLRs, although Canon does offer an adaptor for mounting its DSLR lenses.
You need to push a button and twist the lens to extend it for shooting, but it does retract to a more compact shape than a regular zoom lens for carrying around. This is Canon’s new entry-level EOS M camera, which means it’s cheaper than others in the range but also pretty basic. In particular, there’s no electronic viewfinder, so you can just use the tilting rear screen for composing your pictures.
Canon EOS M100: Image Quality
Canon’s 24.2MP sensor delivers really clean, sharp images. The quality will depend on the lens you’ve got fitted, but even with the 15-45mm kit zoom lens our test shots were clear and full of detail.
The lens’s built-in IS works well (Canon doesn’t use in-body stabilization systems), though it’s a good idea to set the camera to auto ISO or increase the ISO manually in low light to reduce the risk of camera shake, as the 15-45mm kit lens has a fairly restricted maximum aperture at longer zoom settings, which results in slower shutter speeds and increased risk of shake.
The sensor does offer good low-light performance, with well-controlled noise even at higher ISO settings. Other factors creep in to affect sharpness, though, including camera shake and zoom lens softness.
This isn’t an especially easy camera to hold because the small body doesn’t leave much space either side of the lens for your fingers to grip, so it’s a good idea to brace yourself against a tabletop or doorway in dim lighting.
And in dim lighting the lens is likely to be wide open at its optimum aperture, and while the 15-45mm kit lens is a good performer in normal lighting, its sharpness drops off if it’s used widely open at longer zoom settings and close focusing distances.
The autofocus system’s increased hunting in low light is a third factor that can make it challenging to get good results in dim lighting with the EOS M100 and its 15-45mm.
The M100’s dynamic range is very good, however. This refers to the camera’s ability to capture detail in both the brightest and darkest parts of the scene, and some older Canons have fallen just a little short in this area compared to rivals. The EOS M100, however, is up there with the best.
The EOS M100 has been designed to be simple and unintimidating for novices and smartphone photographers, and it succeeds at that really well – but if you’re looking for a camera that can grow with your technical skills you could soon find it frustrating.
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Last update on 2020-10-29 / We may earn an affiliate commission