Canon EOS M100
Canon EOS M100 – Small, lightweight and compatible with the entire EOS system, is this compact system camera a genuine option for serious photographers?
Entering as a direct replacement for the 18MP EOS M10, the M100 is pitched as an entry-level option in the EOS M line-up. When handling the camera for the first time, the body does feel more like a beginner’s tool, featuring a largely plastic construction. While this may discourage more advanced photographers, the size, shape and balance will be familiar to users of compact digital cameras. The outer shell feels rigid and does not distort when depressed, suggesting a better build than many compact offerings.
Although there have clearly been some compromises in construction quality, this does not affect the overall handling of the M100, which benefits from a textured front plate and thumb rest. The setup feels nicely balanced with the EF-M 15-45mm f3.5-6.3 IS STM, which adds a reassuring weight to the front of the camera. All of the buttons and dials are within easy reach when keeping one finger on the shutter button. One possible complaint is that many of the physical settings controls have been removed from the camera body, meaning the user must make alterations to shutter speed, aperture and ISO from the LCD or from within the menu system. However, the screen itself is very responsive and with a little practice, it is possible to operate the camera intuitively, with speed.
The use of an APS-C sized imaging sensor allows greater control over depth of field and superior noise performance, relative to a compact camera or smartphone. The M100 uses a 24.2MP unit – an increase of roughly 6MP from the M10 – which is capable of resolving plenty of fine detail, even when using the kit lens. Noise is well managed in JPEG files throughout the ISO range and resolution is still acceptable at the highest settings, albeit with some smudging and loss of contrast.
As is expected from a Canon APS-C format camera, colour rendition is very good, reflecting natural hues and excellent colour gradation. The white balance system copes well in mixed lighting – the camera successfully neutralises strong colour bias under artificial light, while maintaining a natural amount of warmth.
For an entry-level camera, the EOS M100 comes with a fairly comprehensive feature set. In addition to the high-resolution sensor, a top sensitivity of ISO 25,600 is available, as is an improved 6.1fps burst rate – an improvement over the 4.6fps of the EOS M10. Both cameras incorporate Wi-Fi, but the M100 adds Bluetooth connectivity, for extra versatility. A useful feature is the built-in flash, which can be adjusted to bounce light for a more diffused and professional lighting style. Autofocus is quick and generally very accurate.
While this falters a little in low light, there is a bright AF assist light that helps speed up the process. The touch-focus feature is a great addition for rapid image capture – a simple tap of the screen triggers the shutter, which is an asset when covering fast-moving scenes, such as street and travel locations.
The stand-out aspect of the M100 is of course its size. For a new photographer who would like to experiment with interchangeable lens photography, as a step up from a smartphone, the M100 offers a small, discreet and lightweight introduction.