Canon Finally Enters the Mirrorless Camera Market

Canon released the Canon EOS M mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. It uses a new, smaller lens mount. It can use existing Canon EF lenses using a $199 adapter. Lots of mirrorless cameras have lens adapters. One nice touch on Canon’s is a tripod mount to prevent strain on the camera from big lenses.

There’s no electronic viewfinder, either built-in or optional. There’s no built-in flash, but the hotshoe can use existing Canon flashes, which is cool.

Digital Photography Review preview

Imaging Resources preview, which does not have kind words for the autofocus speed:

As I’ve mentioned, the Canon EOS M feels great to hold and use, with a great feel, good heft, and a fast interface, working just like the T4i. In fact, as we were briefed about the EOS M, “just like the T4i” was repeated often. Unfortunately, they also said that about the EOS M’s Hybrid Autofocus system, introduced just a few months ago on the T4i. We’ve been waiting for the T4i’s main kit lens to arrive, the 18-135mm STM lens, so we haven’t completed our review. But the sad truth is that the T4i’s Live View mode autofocus is terribly slow. Both the T4i and EOS M have a new sensor with phase-detect sites embedded near the center, as well as contrast-detection autofocus. But the Live View autofocus speed is very slow on the T4i with the 40mm STM lens, averaging more than 1.2 seconds to autofocus in single-point mode, and more than 1.7 seconds in multi-point AF mode. That’s just unworkable in a modern mirrorless camera.

While the Olympus E-P1’s autofocus was notoriously slow, we really weren’t troubled by it at the time, back in 2009. Other reviewers found the E-P1’s autofocus frustrating, but we liked the camera’s positive points well enough that we could forgive the slower autofocus. It measured about 1.18 seconds to focus and capture a shot. Three years later, the latest models from Olympus, Nikon, Panasonic, and Sony now rival some of the fastest digital SLRs, down in the 0.25-0.17 second lag time range, using both pure contrast-detect and phase-detect systems. Introducing a camera system with a 1.2 to 1.7-second lag time into this market seems unwise.

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