Canon entered the segment of mirrorless system cameras a bit later than other manufacturers and has not splashed its fame with the first generation of mirror-shots. Fortunately, that has changed with the second generation of cameras. The Canon EOS M100 is the third generation and entry-level model of Canon’s mirrorless system cameras. What the camera so everything and whether the few controls in the field are a hindrance and much more shows this review.
Ergonomics and workmanship
With housing dimensions of only 108 x 67 x 35 mm (W x H x D), the EOS M100 can compete with a compact camera. At least until the EF-M 15-45mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM or other lens included in the kit is mounted. Although this increases the camera, but is about the same level as, for example, an OM-D E-M10 Olympus with the kit lens. The case of the M100 looks at first glance very noble, if very reduced from.
On top of the M100, a rotary switch is mounted almost in the middle. In addition to the “lush” on / off button, it contains three positions with which the photographer can choose between scene auto, photo or video mode. Right next to it is the trigger, which is surrounded by the camera’s only thumbwheel. Right on the right side there is the dedicated video trigger.
On the back you can see on the right side with three dedicated function keys, an omniselector as well as the movable 3 “touchscreen. The display can be flipped up to 180 °, making it easier to take selfies and take pictures from a frog’s perspective. The maximum brightness of the display is 735 cd / m². In addition to its function as a viewfinder, the display also serves, thanks to touch functionality, as an input device for camera settings and recording parameters. Thanks to precise control and well thought-out menus, this works perfectly well. The concept is aimed rather at beginners, but even ambitious photographers quickly find the manual mode and the semi-automatic. The photographer only has to live with fingerprints on the display. If the photographer likes to clean the monitor, so only the use of the control pad on the back remains. Again, the navigation through the menus is pleasingly easy and understandable.
The right side of the camera is empty except for one speaker. The mini-USB and micro-HDMI port can be found just like the memory card slot on the left side of the camera. Memory cards are SD form factor memory with SDHC, SDXC and UHS-I technology. The mechanical slide switch of the flash unit can also be found on the left side of the EOS M100. This is pushed forward and a fairly strong spring tension flashes the flash from his “resting position” on the camera top and with such force that he rebounds several times, and then to stay in position. The camera does not have a hot shoe for external flash units. According to Canon, the guide number of the built-in flash is a meager 5 at ISO 100.
Inside the EOS M100, an APS-C CMOS sensor performs its service with a resolution of effectively 24 megapixels. The special feature of this sensor is not its resolution, but that it has so-called dual pixels. These pixels share the same responsibility for capturing a photo as they are individually used by the autofocus system to provide improved focusing speed.
The front of the camera looks elegant on our review unit, as only the button for unlocking the metal lens bayonet is visible. However, if you take the camera into your hand, you will immediately notice that the offset black material of the grip surfaces is not a rubber coating but hard plastic. This unfortunately feels cheap. However, not only the “touch” is clouded by the plastic, but the plastic does not offer the same “feeling of security”, especially as it continues on the back on the designated “breakpoint”.
As a special feature, the EF-M 15-45 mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens has a small lock switch. This locks and unlocks the lens. Before the photographer can use the camera, he must first unlock and extend the lens with this switch.
On the underside of the M100 are the battery compartment secured with a flap and the ¼ “tripod thread mounted in the optical axis. In addition, the bottom of the NFC antenna is housed, which is needed to connect the camera quickly and easily with a smart device. Unfortunately, the milled NFC logo, which indicates the position of the antenna, is very small and difficult to recognize. Remedy would have made a deeper milling with additional white paint. Just as Canon makes it with the manufacturer logo on the front and there ensures recognition.
The power supply is a lithium-ion battery of type LP-E12 with 875 mAh. The battery can not be charged in the camera via the USB interface. However, the right charger LC-E12E is included with the camera. Unfortunately, the EOS M100 does not have a dedicated power supply connector, yet the battery compartment door reveals a small soft plastic cover that covers a round opening. The opening coincides with the connection of the DC-DC coupler DR-E12, which is inserted into the camera instead of a battery. The power supply unit ACK-E12 is connected to this connection. Afterwards, the M100 can be permanently supplied with power. Both the power supply and the coupler are optional accessories.
The features of the EOS M100 include, of course, the usual photographic “suspects” such as a program as well as a shutter and aperture priority. There is also a manual mode, of course. In addition, the EOS M100 has a scene automatic. With this, the camera analyzes the respective subject and adjusts the exposure time and aperture as well as the image processing according to the subject. In order for the photographer to make pictures more individual, the camera offers various special effects such as a fisheye, miniature and watercolor effect. In order to get as creative as possible and individual color effects Canon has built the M100 a “creative assistant”. This allows the photographer to fully concentrate on the subject and the individual color scheme. You can use sliders to change contrast, color shifts, and brightness and hue. Also specifications such as black and white and sepia are available. When recording, the M100 then does the rest of the settings necessary for a recording. So that the photographer does not have to remember the settings, two created defaults can be saved.
A little less creative is the picture styles to the point. In these, the photographer can regulate the image sharpening with three sliders. In addition, contrast, color saturation and hue can be adjusted. In addition to seven customizable presets and an automatic function, there are three memory slots for your own creations.
Of course, the white balance of the M100 offers an automatic mode as well as specifications for artificial light, sun, shade and more. There is also a manual white balance option and the ability to enter a color temperature in ° Kelvin. In addition, all white balance settings can be “fine tuned” via the dial.
When autofocus the photographer can expect no technological miracles. Although the M100 works with a recording sensor, which has so-called dual pixels. The technique behind these special pixels on the sensor is pretty awesome. Two photosensitive elements are positioned on the surface of a pixel. In front of the dual pixels, a microscopic lens is attached. The light now falls through the lens on both elements and the image processor then compares simplified the contours of both images together. If the contours are congruent, the picture is in focus. If the images are not congruent, the processor of the camera recognizes, depending on the location of the comparison, whether the focus setting has to be reduced or extended. The EOS M100 combines these 24 million dual pixels for easier controllability to a total of 49 selectable measurement points. On the other hand, the dual pixels are connected together to form a “normal” pixel for taking a photo.
The speed advantage and the use in low light conditions is high or very accurate in this type of focusing. In contrast to Canon’s first mirrorless EOS M, the EOS M100 has also become really fast. While the EOS M needed a full 1.48 seconds in wide-angle mode with a shutter-release delay and autofocus adjustment, the EOS M100 also needs just 0.33 seconds in wide-angle mode. Although this is a significant increase, compared to other manufacturers but no top speed.
Autofocus features include a field that the photographer can touch on the touch screen. In addition, the autofocus can be set so that it detects faces or previously marked objects are tracked. Also included is an AF setting that continuously focuses on moving subjects.
In addition, the EOS M100 has of course a manual focus function. However, this can not be found on the focus function selection, but must be awkward activated in the main menu. The autofocus (AF), autofocus and manual focus (AF + MF) and manual focus (MF) functions are available to the photographer here. In order to focus manually, the function must first be activated. After that, the photographer can not simply focus on “straight ahead”, but has to hold the shutter button halfway down to allow manual focusing via the focus ring (AF + MF). In MF mode, the focus ring on the set lens is permanently active. For other EF-M lenses, it may also be necessary to flip a focus switch on the lens.
The recording itself can be done by the photographer in different resolutions and aspect ratios (3: 2, 4: 3, 1: 1 and 16: 9). However, the native aspect ratio of the sensor is 3: 2, and only in this aspect ratio can the photographer use the full resolution. The camera also offers the photographer the choice between two levels of compression. In addition, you can choose between the sRGB and AdobeRGB color space, and the recording can also be recorded in raw data format if the photographer wants to perform image processing on the computer.
The highest video resolution of the M100 is 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and has a frame rate of 50 frames per second. A 4K resolution is unfortunately in vain. The camera offers a total of three operating modes in video mode – a fully automatic and a manual mode in which the photographer must control the aperture and the time. The third video mode is called Time Lapse Movie. Here is the name of the program: The photographer first selects a special scene program. You can choose from scene programs for quickly, slowly and slowly changing motifs. These scene programs set the limits in which the timelapse video settings can be changed. In addition, a manual adjustment of the interval duration (2 -30 seconds) is possible as well as the setting of the number of shots, to be made (30 – 900 shots). So that the photographer does not have to reckon with how much time the pictures take and how long the video will last, the camera calculates these two values in this setting. Other settings include whether the camera should perform a new exposure measurement before each exposure, or whether the image taken appears briefly on the monitor for control.
Canon is currently installing wireless connectivity in the form of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in a variety of compact, SLR and mirrorless system cameras. The EOS M100 also belongs to these cameras and, in addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, also has an NFC function that simplifies the connection with a smart device. Of course, the respective smart device must also have such a function.
As usual, an app is required to connect the camera to a smart device. This app is available for Android and iOS for free in the respective stores. For the first set up, the app offers an understandable initial setup. When set up, apps such as the Samsung SmartLock system on the smart device can cause problems by blocking the connection to the camera. The photographer should set up the app and the camera before the first use, as this can take quite a while and above all drives the battery consumption in the air.
As mentioned, the M100 has two types of connections. The permanent Bluetooth connection is used to transfer location data (GPS) from the smart device to the camera. In addition, this type of connection allows a remote control function when the camera is used as a playback device. If the smart device is to be used as a remote control for recording, then the WLAN connection is established and used. This can then be the recording and all relevant functions set. In addition, a live image can be transmitted.
The reason why the camera uses two different types of connection is easy to explain and above all makes sense. The Bluetooth connection consumes significantly less power than the Wi-Fi connection, making permanent connections more efficient. The WLAN connection, however, can transmit more data in the same time. This makes it the better choice for image transfer in the live view remote.
In addition to the editorial test, we also tested the camera in our own test laboratory with the EF-M 15-45 mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM belonging to the set. This test is available with all charts and explanations as paid content as a single retrieval. In order to have access to all laboratory tests of digitalkamera.de, one can also book a cost-effective “laboratory test flat rate”.
The Canon EF-M 15-45mm 3.5-6.3 IS STM shows quite a decent performance. This is not the sole merit of the lens, but much of the internal image processing. This is visible in the electronic reduction of the edge darkening. When distorting the lens in the wide-angle range shows a significant barrel distortion, which is visible at just 50 percent distance from the lens center to the edge. The chromatic aberration of the lens is as good as can not be seen. The resolution of the M100 is at medium focal length above the resolution of the EOS M10. Compared to cameras from other manufacturers, the resolution is lower with a maximum of 53 line pairs per millimeter. Experience has shown that the camera will provide better resolution results for higher quality lenses.
The signal-to-noise ratio indicates how well the image signal differs from the noise signal. At 35 dB, the limit is still acceptable. The Canon EOS M100 falls below this at about ISO 800th The loss of detail due to the noise reduction is low to ISO 1,600, the camera but sharpening, which is the more pronounced results to ISO 200 clearly. The grain size remains very fine in the entire ISO range and is more visible from ISO 1,600, as the contrast between “grain” and image increases.
The maximum input dynamics are approximately eleven f-stops at ISO 200. As the ISO sensitivity increases, the input dynamics also decrease continuously, reaching approximately 7.5 f-stops at ISO 25,600. Levels are not linear, but have raised midtones, which is common in shoot-to-print cameras. Also, the color reproduction shows that the image processing of the JPEG images in the standard image style is designed to deliver images without post-processing. Green shades are shifted a bit more towards yellow-green and cyan shades are somewhat “defused”. Magenta tones are played towards red. The color deviation remains low. The color depth is good with 23 of 24 bits. After that, it drops continuously and becomes slightly more than ISO3,200 acceptable.
Canon has clearly placed the EOS M100 for beginners in photography and put together a fairly inexpensive set with the EF-M 15-45 mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM. Although the camera offers semi-automatic and manual mode, it allows the photographer to go deeper into photography. However, something of a hindrance is the missing TTL hot shoe. Also, assistants and special effects are always just a touch of a screen or a menu item away. The operating concept is uncomplicated, direct and understandable. Especially the fast and precise touch screen helps. The fact that this is still mobile, is a not insignificant bonus when the camera is used in the frog perspective or for selfies.
The image quality is limited on the part of the resolution of the simple kept set lens, which also has strong distortions. The image noise is fine-grained and not disturbing, but it starts quite early. From ISO 1.600, the loss of detail due to the internal noise reduction becomes obvious. The images are limited to ISO 6,400, although it is recommended to record in raw data for more effective noise reduction in image processing.
All in all, the EOS M100 from Canon is worthwhile for photographers who value a flexible camera with interchangeable lenses and yet do not want to neglect aspects such as compact size and ease of use. If the budding photographer wants to get more involved in all aspects of photography, then he should take a look at the EOS M5, which has some key features for this purpose.