Canon EOS M for Travel

When EOS M was first released, I was a bit skeptical about Canon’s plan. The following EOS 100D somewhat confirmed my hypothesis. Canon certainly doesn’t want EOS M to hurt its own financially succesful EOS xxxD (or Rebel/Kiss) series. On the other hand, mirrorless systems from other firms had pushed Canon hard into developing it’s own mirrorless system.

Due to the reason above, on paper the late to party EOS M is not as exciting as some of the other firms’ offerings. However, choosing APS-C size sensor, excellent EF M lenses and seamless integration with Canon’s DSLR system, EOS M has always be on my radar.

For casual snap, I’m happy with my HTC One XL. And my Canon EOS 40D DSLR still serves me right after five years. There was no strong attraction for me to adding a mirrorless system. It wasn’t until the following two events happened, i decided to take a serious look at EOS M again.

1. I planned for a travel to Perth, west Australia. And I wanted a more relax trip. DSLR togather with the lenses are just a bit bulky.

(Don’t be fooled by anyone who told you that a bit more exercises and a little more time in the gym would make your DSLR system lighter. Try yourself and judge. I finished seven full marathons in past years and could lift 100KGs weight. I don’t find DSLR with lenses light by any mean when on travel)

2. The week before I bought the EOS M, I learned the news a new firmware which would significantly improve the AF was soon to be released for EOS M. What’s more, a new EF M 11-22 would reach the market right before I headed out to the desert in Perth.

The following weekend I purchased the system with EOS M + EF M 18-55 + EF M 22 + adaptor + 90EX + leather jacket (you need it to improve the poor grip) for just a little more than S$800 (after selling a free gift EFS 55-250). This is cheaper than what I paid for some of my DSLR lenses. I don’t think any other mirrorless systems can compete at this price or even higher. If minus the price for lenses, adaptor and flash (all these keep much of their value after years), the EOS M body only cost me about S$50. Even my home affair minister was supportive of the purchase plan…

The EF M lenses:

By now, I have all the three lenses available. They are all nicely built both mechanically and optical wise. Each of them seems to be among the best of the class. All three lenses are very affordable too compard to other firm or Canon’s own DSLR lense with same quality. I sold my Sigma 10-20 before I got my EF M 11-22.

The fact is, all three lens performs better than the EF S counter parts probably due to the flange distance and focal length. My future plan is to use EF M for ultrawide, wide zoom and prime. My DSLR would deal with the >=40mm primes and tele zoom.

Before getting my hands on the EOS M, I thought I would be using the 18-55 for most of casual shoot. I was wrong. The lovely EF M 22/F2 was almost full time attached to the M. It was only during the Perth trip, 18-55 started to take the main role. I only used the EF M 22/F2 indoor and at night during the trip.

Here are some of the photos I took during the trip

The pinnacles

PerthDay3006

Vineyard in Swan Valley

PerthDay4004

PerthDay4002

Perth city view from Swan river

PerthDay4005

Here are some of the TIPS that may help cover M’s weakness compared to a DSLR during your trip:

1. Get THREE batteries. One major complain about EOS M or mirrorless cameras in general is the battery life. 3 batteries should serve most people right. I usually end up using 1.5 batteries during a day. 3 is on my safe side, and I don’t need to charge every battery every night.

2. Get a cap (for yourself), it helps block out some sun light while you shoot outdoor.

3. Setting up the EOS M while you’re on the tour bus or you asked your wife/partner to handle the camera while you were driving: This is what I did, Tv mode 1/1000, ISO auto up to 3200, AF multi-zone autofocus, always shoot in raw.

4. If you shoot in Av mode, you can trust the metering system on EOS M when you can’t really use the LCD as a reference for exposure. Of course, you still have to adjust the exposure compensation according to the scene.

[Update] 5. Secure your Sunglasses while composing outdoor in strong sunshine. I lost a pair of mine during one of my travels..

Conclusion

EOS M is far from perfect. but remember I told you it costs only $50. If you’re not happy with a $50 mirrorless, there are other options from Sony or Olympus or Panasonic, or you can also wait for the EOS M mark II.

[Update] EOS M mark II was released. Knowing the Canon way, I thing Mark IV sounds a better upgrade..

I would say it is great for travel and daily use. For more serious tasks, just pull out your DSLR or whatever you’re happy with.

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