Last post I briefly touched on the fact that I purchased a Canon EOS M camera and was in the process of testing it out. What I didn’t mention was the reason for the purchase. Regular readers would know that I use Pentax DSLR cameras and I am quite happy with them. I’m used to the way they operate and I like the images I get out of them. However, I have an upcoming vacation trip and I decided I didn’t want to carry too much camera gear with me but I still wanted to be able to take somewhat quality photos on occasion. I could easily take my Pentax K-3 and lenses but I don’t want to carry them around while I am vacationing. The trip is more about down time, not photography, so I need to set my priorities.
So the dilemma came up about what small camera to take. I wanted a camera that could provide good image quality for capturing details of my location. The phone does a decent enough job of grabbing vacation snapshots that I can share so I can leave that job to it, but I like to do at least a little serious photography when I’m in a different environment and a “good” camera is a must. Since Pentax doesn’t really have anything to offer in the small camera area besides the Q, which has too small of a sensor for my needs, I had to look elsewhere. Since I am fine with some sacrifices in order to save space, I decided a LCD viewing only camera would suffice. I can work with no viewfinder, optical or electronic, I have done it before, but if I am going to have only an LCD to work with I do like the touch interface models a little better. Just easier to work with, as long as they’re not too touchy!
As I shopped for cameras I soon realized the models I liked best and that fit my needs were not cheap. The Fujifilm XM1 and Lumix GM1 were the top contenders but they cost a little more than I really wanted to spend at this time. The Samsung NX300 also tossed around in my head before I thought of the Canon. I remembered reading some time ago that the price dropped dramatically on the M after Canon basically gave up on it, at least in the USA. It has been called a flop by some. But I read up on it and, more importantly, looked at photos by some talented photographers using the camera and I liked what I saw. So I searched around on eBay and sure enough, they were downright cheap with the included 22mm f2 lens. After reading quite favorable reviews of the 22mm lens, which would be a nice all around focal length, I thought I would give one a try.
The camera certainly is compact with the 22mm lens. I like the fact that the lens is highly usable at f2 since I plan on using it wide open as much as possible. The 35mm equivalent focal length works well for all around use though I would like a wider angle at times. Canon also has an 11-22mm wide zoom as well as an 18-55 kit zoom for the M, both of which also test well and are good sharp lenses that are worth having. I could pick up either of those lenses as well, and I may at some point, but I decided I would go totally minimal on the trip and only work with one lens. I like to push myself creatively and the single lens thing is “creative challenge 101” when it comes to photography.
In the past week of using the Canon I found that it has it’s good points and bad points, mostly in the handling department, of which I’ll expand on in another post. For now I want to show some photos I took in some antique stores the other day. I wanted to see how the camera handled low light in a real world environment and, since I like to photograph old things, the antique stores were perfect for my tests. I shot most of these pictures at f2 -2.8 since the light in the stores is dim at best. I didn’t do any noise reduction on these either. They were all shot in the roughly 400-1000 ISO range
The photo above is my favorite of the outing since it reminds me of an old masters painting. I love finding theses kinds of still-lifes in antique stores. The warm tungsten light really adds to the mood and I wanted to keep it that way instead of “correcting” the white balance. Of course the food is all fake but it sure looks good! I think the Canon really pulled through in this kind of situation and I think it will work out OK.
There is a very nice, consistent feel to these shots. I really like them. Nice write up on the camera also. I think people labelled the camera as a flop because they were comparing it with the Micro 43 systems yet Canon was committed to allowing the use of existing EOS lenses. That’s one hell of a constraint and you are never going to meet people’s expectations. What people forget as they chase the latest equipment is that a good camera is still a good camera even when it might not meet their preconceived ideas.
Thank you Robin. I’m going to expand on the hits and misses of the camera later but it has a few “what were they thinking?” elements to it, perhaps, as you mentioned to compromise and cover a lot of ground. Why Canon abandoned it in the US is a mystery.