Canon EOS M100 Review – Best For the newcomers

The EOS M100 is the newest entry-level mirrorless interchangeable lens camera model from Canon. It comes with the same 24-megapixel APS-C sensor that is equipped with outstanding Dual Pixel focusing, despite the fact that it is noticeably smaller (and more affordable) than its more high-end brothers, the M5 and M6. Additionally, it is equipped with the most recent DIGIC 7 processor from Canon, along with Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth for communication.

The M100 is explicitly intended for smartphone photographers who are interested in getting their first “real” camera, and its refined touch-centric operating system matches this target audience perfectly. Because of the big APS-C sensor, it is incredibly portable, and despite its little size, it is virtually always capable of producing photographs of a higher quality than any smartphone.

There is also a dedicated ‘Wireless’ button to make it as easy as possible to send your photographs from the M100 to the wilds of Facebook and Instagram, which is appropriate considering the target audience.

Key Specs

  • 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Dual Pixel autofocus for stills and video
  • DIGIC 7 processor
  • 3″ tilting LCD
  • rapid fire at 6 frames per second (4 fps with continuous AF)
  • 1080p video with digital intraframe scaling
  • Bluetooth, in addition to Wi-Fi and NFC
  • 295 shots may be taken on a single charging of the battery (via CIPA)

The small camera market has been mostly destroyed by smartphones, but the EOS M100 still faces competition from other interchangeable lens cameras. These cameras all provide image quality that is superior to that of the usual smartphone camera. Users who are seeking a camera primarily on pricing are likely to also examine the Panasonic Lumix GX850, Olympus PEN E-PL8, Fujifilm X-A3, and even the tried-and-true Sony a6000.

For first-time users, the EOS M100 is one of the cameras in this group that presents the least amount of difficulty. It has the fewest physical controls and tapping to focus and modify settings on-screen in Auto mode is likely to come naturally to almost anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock since the original iPhone came out. This is because it has the fewest physical buttons.

Body, handling, and features

When compared to other interchangeable lens cameras, the size of the EOS M100 is rather remarkable. It weighs less than a pound even when equipped with the 22mm F2 pancake primary lens, and its size makes it easy to conceal in a jacket pocket or stow away in a bag without causing a fuss.

The M100’s exterior controls are extremely minimal, consisting of a single adjustment dial and a streamlined mode dial. Fewer controls are likely to be off-putting to more experienced users, but this should be excellent news for novice photographers since this will make them feel less overwhelmed.

The touchscreen interface is intuitive, well-polished, and snappy is definitely a plus. Tap-to-focus works equally as well on the M100 as it would on a high-end smartphone, and once you get used to the way the M100 performs, it can be used very quickly.

Because of its diminutive size, the M100 does not offer much in the way of a grip; but, the textured strip that runs down the front of the camera enables it to feel a bit more stable in your hand. When you’re out and about with the kit lens and the light starts to become dim, the pop-up flash is a wonderful added convenience. There is a dedicated wireless button that pulls up your previously linked devices, but the NFC feature is even slicker for rapid and automatic connection with Android devices.

The M100 has a somewhat plasticky feel, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering that it is marketed as an entry-level model, but despite this, it has a sturdy sense of construction. The screen mechanism in particular has a pleasant and solid feel to it, but we do wish that it could tilt in both directions (like Canon’s own more advanced EOS M6).

The Canon EOS M100 has a battery that is significantly less powerful than the EOS M siblings which are more expensive, and it has a shooting capacity that falls squarely in the center of the pack with 295 shots, as measured by CIPA. Sadly, the M100 does not support any type of USB charging, which would have been a wonderful feature to have for charging via USB battery packs while on the road.

For first-time users, we are pleased to inform you that setting the camera to the “Auto” mode produces satisfactory results most of the time. The M100 has the ability to automatically detect moving objects, and it will respond by increasing shutter speeds and enabling continuous autofocus.

This is a feature that we have seen on a number of its competitors, so we were not surprised to see it included on the M100. Exposures were typically very accurate. Face detection may mistakenly identify ‘faces’ in commonplace things on occasion; however, this problem may be avoided by touching the screen to center the camera’s attention on the desired topic.

In-camera Raw conversion is a desirable feature in a camera of this caliber since it enables you to make post-capture adjustments to the likes of white balance, image style, and lens corrections, among other things.

It isn’t quite as customizable as some of its competitors, but in keeping with the theme of this camera, it’s approachable for users who may be new to such a function, and it should help to demystify Raw shooting for beginners. In other words, it’s a great camera for people who are just starting out.

If you want to, you have the option to save your preferred settings for use at a later time. This makes it simple for you to tone your images the way you want before you even send them to your phone, and the adjustments are likely to allow for greater editing possibilities than, for example, Instagram’s built-in adjustments.

In Use

Social

The M100 is an excellent choice for use as a social camera for a number of reasons, not the least of which being its accurate face-detection capabilities. Although it has a slower burst speed compared to its competitors, the camera is still responsive enough to capture quick moments. However, due to the slower burst speed, you are more responsible for hitting the shutter at just the right moment, whereas some competitors may encourage you to fire off a burst of images, and then select the right one later (assuming it’s in focus). In automatic mode, it is very simple to take in-focus pictures of friends, and the camera is also responsive enough to capture quick moments

The M100 is also notable for its lack of pretension. It is quite unlikely that your people would be intimidated by such a small size, as well as the lack of visible direct control that it provides. In spite of this, the image quality may easily compete with that of competitors that cost hundreds of dollars more. This is true regardless of whether you are photographing your friends in front of a brilliant landscape or inside a restaurant with low lighting.

Be warned, however, that despite the reliable operation of the autofocus in high light, it may occasionally revert to tiresome “hunting” when light levels drop. Because of this, it is preferable to keep the AF Assist lamp on in these types of conditions, despite the fact that it may be annoying.

The M100 features Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC, which make it incredibly simple to send the photos you take with it your friends within seconds of taking them. Additionally, the tilting screen, which is essential for taking good selfies, combines with the wide-angle kit lens to make this a camera that is great for taking group photos.

Landscape

When it comes to taking photographs of natural settings, the M100 offers a number of advantages. The most recent APS-C sensor from Canon is rather big, which means that photographs will have low noise and plenty of information, despite the fact that it cannot quite compete with the greatest sensors available in the market.

You can get away with using the default image settings if all you’re doing is uploading pictures to social media, but if you think you might want to make prints, you should adjust the JPEG sharpening settings on your camera (see our recommended settings here), or you could just take pictures in Raw format and process them instead.

If you are shooting on a tripod, the tilting screen and touch controls should come in useful; but, due to the design of the M100’s base, it is probable that you will have to remove it in order to change the battery.

If you find that the lens that came with your camera isn’t quite getting the job done for you, you may want to consider upgrading to the wide-angle EF-M 11-22mm F4-5.6 lens. This lens has a reasonable price tag and offers good optical quality, and Canon receives quite a bit of criticism for the limited lens ecosystem that it offers for its M-series cameras.

There is no disputing that the M100’s compact size and light weight make it far more likely that you’ll be able to find a place for it in your pack than, for example, a bigger DSLR would be. This is especially true if you discover that you photograph the majority of your landscapes while hiking or camping. Bring along an extra battery or two just in case.

Action and Sport

The Canon M-series as a whole isn’t necessarily our first option for photographers who require capabilities to capture sports and action, and the entry-level M100 doesn’t change how we feel about that position at all. It is true that Dual Pixel Autofocus works pretty darn well for moving subjects, but when you fire off a burst of images, the live preview is replaced with a laggy slideshow of the images you’ve just shot; this makes it difficult to follow your subject. Dual Pixel Autofocus works pretty darn well for moving subjects.

Half-pressing the shutter allows you to continuously autofocus on your subject or a subject’s face (Face + Tracking mode in Servo AF), and fully depressing the shutter in Single Image drive mode allows you to only fire off images when you want to grab them.

In general, we find that Canon’s lower-end Dual Pixel cameras work best when the shutter button is used in one of these two ways. You’ll have an easier time keeping up with what’s going on, the camera will continue to be more responsive, and you’ll have a better chance of capturing photographs that are in focus.

If it happens to be a more darkly lit evening game, the optional EF-M 55-200mm F4.5-6.3 telephoto lens will have trouble keeping up with the action, but it will work fine for some grab photos that you take from the stands during your child’s soccer game.

In spite of all of this, the Dual Pixel AF found on the M100 is expected to provide a more pleasurable user experience as well as results that are more consistently in focus than the contrast-detect only systems used by competitors or even the viewfinder focusing systems found on lower-end DSLRs.

Travel

We have previously written a number of times on the M-series’ appropriateness as travel cameras, and we believe that the M100 provides a fairly compelling alternative here; although it gives less direct control than the EOS M6, it has equal image quality in a size that is even smaller.

Although Canon’s EOS M lenses might not provide the most fascinating selection, they are uniformly light (making them simple to travel with) and very affordable. In point of fact, if you have a basic kit lens with a range of 15-45 millimeters and a pancake lens with a maximum aperture of f/2, you should be prepared for almost any situation.

The fact that the auto mode on the M100 automatically detects subject movement and adjusts settings accordingly makes it easier to respond to unpredictably changing situations that can happen on vacation or exotic trips; for example, you never know when you’re going to stumble upon a bicycle race. The M100’s auto mode also has a timer that allows you to take a picture at a specific moment in time.

The M100 does not have a USB charging port, which is our primary complaint about using it for traveling reasons. The battery life is satisfactory but not exceptional, and considering how compact the camera is, it would be convenient to be able to charge it using the same USB power bank that I use to power up my phone. At least the batteries aren’t too big, so it won’t be too much of a hassle to bring along an additional one or two in case you need them.

Video

As is the case with still images, the video quality produced by the EOS M100 is equivalent to that of its more advanced EOS M siblings. You can record video in high HD 1080/60p, and the Dual Pixel Autofocus feature makes it simple to tap the screen to zero in on the topic you want to focus on. The M100 has digital image stabilization and allows you to adjust the volume of the sound captured by the internal microphones; however, you are unable to attach an external mic to the device.

When it comes to the general video capabilities of this series of cameras, our overall impression is that they make it very simple to record footage that is both steady and in focus, and that Full HD resolution is frequently still adequate for social sharing purposes. If, on the other hand, you want a higher quality product or a resolution of 4K, you will have to go elsewhere.

The video that follows is a showcase of the EOS M6’s capabilities in terms of vlogging video quality, autofocus, and stabilization. If your audience does not require high-quality audio, the M100 may also serve in a pinch as a basic vlogging camera thanks to its flip-up screen.

Performance and autofocus

The speed of the M100 is more than adequate for any and all non-professional photographic applications. It starts up rapidly, swiftly locks onto its target, quickly performs its operations, and so on.

Using either the physical buttons or the touchscreen to navigate the menus is an experience that is responsive, and the live preview that is displayed on the tilting 3″ touchscreen does not experience any latency.

Because it utilizes Canon’s proprietary Dual Pixel technology, the autofocus is often quite good. Even if you are utilizing a wide-aperture lens like the 22mm F2 pancake, there is still a possibility that you will encounter some “hunting” in low-light conditions.

When using the subject tracking mode, which Canon refers to as Face + Tracking mode, the M100 performs admirably when capturing single photos as needed; but, when the camera is set to burst mode, the subject tracking feature sometimes fails, resulting in a large number of out-of-focus photographs.

If you wish to take pictures of moving subjects with the M100, it is recommended that you utilize Servo AF in conjunction with either “1-Point AF” or “Smooth Zone AF,” and that you manually follow your subjects. During our tests, the ‘Face + Tracking’ burst shooting option produced a significant number of images that were blurry and out of focus.

Quality of images and videos

The Canon EOS M100 provides roughly the same image quality as the higher-end EOS M5 and M6 for hundreds of dollars less. This indicates that the dynamic range and noise levels are comparable to other cameras in their class, if not the best in their category. Both the noise reduction and sharpness might use some improvement, but with a little fiddling, they are more than passable.

The M100’s color response in particular is a strong point across a wide variety of situations; whether you find yourself shooting landscapes or portraits, the ‘Auto’ picture profile does a good job of adjusting individual parameters for the specific situation you are in. The M100’s image stabilization system is also a notable strength.

The M100 is an excellent camera for recording casual videos because to its excellent stabilization and focusing capabilities. Those individuals who have more serious aspirations in regards to video will be disappointed to learn that it does not support recording in 4K and does not have an input for external audio.

Canon EOS M100 Specs

Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless
Body materialComposite
Sensor
Max resolution6000 x 4000
Image ratio w:h3:2
Effective pixels24 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors26 megapixels
Sensor sizeAPS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorDIGIC 7
Color spacesRGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 100-25600
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, normal
File formatJPEG (Exif v2.3)Raw (Canon 14-bit CR2)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points49
Lens mountCanon EF-M
Focal length multiplier1.6×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3″
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modesProgramShutter priorityAperture priorityManual
Built-in flashYes
Flash range5.00 m (at ISO 100)
External flashNo
Flash X sync speed1/200 sec
Drive modesSingleContinuousSelf-timer
Continuous drive6.1 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 secs, custom)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpotPartial
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Modes1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 35 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 24 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 24 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1280 x 720 @ 60p / 16 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC card (UHS-I compatible)
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (micro HDMI)
Microphone portNo
Headphone portNo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n + NFC + Bluetooth
Remote controlYes (via smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLP-E12 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)295
Weight (inc. batteries)302 g (0.67 lb / 10.65 oz)
Dimensions108 x 67 x 35 mm (4.25 x 2.64 x 1.38″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
GPSNone

Final Verdict

The Canon EOS M100 is an enjoyable camera to use, as we’ve mentioned in the previous coverage of our time behind the lens. It is a liberating feeling to be able to use the M100 in full auto, have outstanding image quality from the big APS-C sensor, and pack it in your pocket when you’re not using it. This is true even for experienced photographers.

It should go without saying that novices should start here. This reviewer has used a variety of cameras, and they all rank this one among the easiest to operate. The technical specifications of the M100 are not going to set the world on fire, but at this lower price point in the market, it is less relevant.

Simply said, it is capable of producing high-quality photographs in a broad range of conditions while simultaneously placing relatively minimal requirements on the photographer. It’s the kind of camera that makes you want to just pick it up and carry it about with you so that you may record your everyday life.

The fact that the M100 is such a fun camera to use at an affordable price, that it encourages you to bring it with you rather than letting it sit on a shelf, and that it makes capturing images really joyful is what gets it our top award.

Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Superior constructional quality.
  • The APS-C sensor’s 24 megapixels deliver excellent overall picture quality.
  • Incredible in its diminutiveness
  • Reliable auto mode
  • Interface for touchscreen devices that is refined and responsive
  • Technology-based on dual pixels for improved focusing capabilities in both still images and videos
Need improvement
  • The lens lineup might be restricting
  • It’s possible that limited tactile controls will discourage more experienced users.
  • No choice for 4K video
  • Not charging through USB
  • During burst shooting, there is poor subject tracking.
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value

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