Canon is increasing its focus on mirrorless camera formats which caters to a larger market segment, given the unexpected growing success of mirrorless competitors like Sony and Fujifilm. The Canon EOS M100 was launched in Oct 2017 and replaces the M10 as the entry-level EOS Mirrorless series. The other Canon mirrorless I have previously reviewed is the EOS M6.
Mirrorless versus: DSLR, Compact or Smartphone
Before you “write-off” carrying a “bulky” imaging device, you have to consider why people should still invest in a mirrorless system. Smartphones are getting better in imaging, but the photographic controls are still lacking, and the sensors are too small to deliver the granular details that an intermediate user wants. Compact cameras are also improving, especially the Canon GX-series with large sensors. The only drawback is that the lenses are fixed which again falls back to the problem of expanding the users imaging creativity. DLSRs are the ultimate photographic tool, but might be too daunting for a budding photographer, although personally I would prefer to handle DSLR for its ergonomics.
The Canon EOS M100 is an entry-level APS-C mirrorless camera that retails at S$799 including the EF-M 15-45mm kit lens (equivalent to 24-72mm on 35mm). It has very few hardware buttons to keep the operations simple. The 3-inch LCD screen is touch-enabled for on-screen navigation. It flips 180-degrees upwards so that you can capture selfies. One suggestion: use the LCD screen for framing, but look at the lens before pressing the shutter – not at the screen.
With minimal selections on the mode dial, it discourages quick changes of shooting modes. For instance, to select one of the PASM modes, I have to pick from the on-screen menu. And with only one rotating dial, I cannot adjust aperture and shutter at the same time. These should not be issues to the beginners, and if you are looking at all these features, then the M100 is definitely not for you.
I am also not a fan of a software power button compared to a hardware switch, but there is an advantage to this: it is possible to power up the camera with other buttons like the playback button, without going to the power button.
There is also no flash hotshoe mount, but the built-in flash should suffice. Its high point also minimises red-eye.
The kit lens can be retracted manually when not in use, but this extra step could cause delays in capturing the moment, yet another inconvenience. Fortunately, the lens can be swapped to another EF-M mount lens, which is the beauty of interchangeable lens systems.
Interesting to note that Canon uses the ancient mini-USB, and direct charging is not supported. The battery must be removed and inserted to an external charger which is included in the box. Perhaps this is due to manufacturing efficiency. Getting an extra battery is recommended for heavy users or for travelers.
It’s safe to say that the Canon M100 has enough shooting modes to satisfy both beginners and advanced users, just that you need to adjust the shoot parameters over the menu. There are various focusing modes, scene effects, exposure controls. Continuous shutter is very sensitive, firing multiple shots really quickly.
The unique Hybrid Auto shooting mode allows me to capture still photos while at the same time the camera compiles video slideshows in the “live photo” effect. When I turn that on and shoot an event, I get a montage immediately at the end which I can quickly share. The Hybrid Auto saves one video per day, so it is not possible to save in different files if you use it on the same day.
Transferring photos to other devices is also convenient with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, just like other recent Canon cameras. Through the connected device, you can also do live view and remote capture.
The EOS M100 is an entry-level mirrorless camera that is compact enough to carry around everywhere you go. It is more than sufficient for beginners who understand the benefit of interchangeable lens systems. At S$799, it is extremely affordable and will elevate the imaging quality as well as post-processing. I do not see any major feature handicap for beginner use, but I did share minor challenges for more advanced users.