Canon's EOS M is finally upon us. $800 will get you the company's first mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera, with a 22mm prime and a sales pitch centered firmly around its video capabilities.
At heart, the EOS M appears to be very similar to the recently-released Canon T4i/650D, the latest in its lineup of crop-sensor DSLRs: it shares the same 18 megapixel APS-C sensor, 1080p video at 24 frames per second, Digic 5 processor and touchscreen display. Without the mirror and viewfinder, however, much of the bulk is lost: it's just 1.2" thick and weighs less than a pound with the kit lens.
It has a new EF-M lens mount, with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 image-stabilized zoom and a 22mm f/2.0 pancake available at launch—both with Canon's new stepping motor technology, useful for maintaining silent autofocus when shooting video. A mount adapter, to use standard EF and EF-S lenses, will be available at launch for $200.
It enters a battlefield already occupied by Olympus and Panasonic's Micro 4/3 system, Sony's NEX lineup, and a variety of other recent newcomers, such as Nikon's poorly-received Nikon 1.
Canon's given a few writers hands-on time with a prototype, and early reports are positive:
At The Verge, David Pierce reports that Canon plans to pitch the EOS M as a filmmaking gadget first and foremost, "designed to be something of a companion tool for videographers and cinematographers much the same way the G1 X is designed for pro shooters who want something smaller than their DSLR". Piece also created a useful comparison chart vs. other mirrorless models.
Andy Westlake, writing for DPReview, calls it a "well-judged offering" that puts the T4i/650D in an unthreatening compact form: "The really big question is how well the EOS M will fare against established competitors from the likes of Olympus, Panasonic and Sony".
TechRadar's Angela Nicholson says that it'll be great for people already invested in Canon glass: "The Canon EOS M impresses. It's a nice, solid-feeling camera that offers plenty of control to the enthusiast, without daunting its more novice target market. We think that Canon has made the right move by using an APS-C sized sensor, and inevitably this means creating a new lens mount if the camera is to reap the size benefits of being mirrorless."
Engadget's Zach Honig reports a "generally positive" experience marred by sluggish fpcusing performance: " it should be abundantly clear that the EOS M isn't going to replace your high-end digital SLR rig".
Gizmodo's Mario Aguilar: "Ooooh! Yes! Please! Thank! You!"