1st Impressions of EOS M from NEX-7 User

Started Jul 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
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PaulR
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1st Impressions of EOS M from NEX-7 User
Jul 26, 2013

Like many others I found the recent price markdowns of the EOS M with the 22mm lens to be compelling.  I have been happily using the Sony NEX-7 for the past 18 months and I really love that camera but I have been reluctant to spend $1000 to get the Sony/Zeiss 24mm f1.8 lens and the reviews on the 22mm EF-M were quite positive.  I don't think I have much truly new to say about the Canon EOS-M but I know from the Sony forum that some other NEX users have also taken advantage of the discounted pricing so I thought I would share my first impressions from the standpoint of an experienced NEX-7 user.

Ergonomics etc.

1) EOS M with 22mm is pocketable but not in a particularly comfortable way.  It is smaller than the NEX-7 but most people will not be willing to use it as a pocketable carry everywhere camera like the Canon S90 etc.

2) I definitely prefer the Tri-Nav controls on the NEX-7 but the touchscreen works fine on the EOS-M and unlike the NEX the EOS-M has a logical and understandable menu structure.

3) I am not an action shooter so the auto focus speeds seem fine to me but it isn't as fast as the NEX and the shot buffer fills up quickly.

4) I really miss not having a tiltable LCD display.

5) Ergonomics of the camera are generally as good or better than other small cameras I have used in the past but it is definitely more of a point and shoot experience than a "real" camera like a DSLR or NEX-7.  Build quality etc. seems high.

Image Quality vs. NEX 7

First, it is always difficult to compare sensors with different resolutions and lenses with different focal lengths so these are my subjective opinions.

1) The 22mm lens is excellent.  The center is sharp from f1.8 on and it would take extreme pixel peeping to notice much difference at the center between f1.8 and f4.

2) At the extreme edges the 22mm lens does show some softness at f1.8 and f2.  f2.8 is better and the entire frame is very crisp by f4.  And I do mean the extreme edges.  As soon as you go in just a little from the sides and corners the 22mm is very sharp even wide open.  It seems clear to me that the lens is capable of out resolving the sensor.

3) 22mm lens is sharper that the Sigma 19mm f2.8, especially at the edges.  It is also sharper than the Canon FDn 24mm f2.8.  And the 22mm lens is much sharper than the Sony 18-55mm kit lens.  That is very good performance for this lens.

4) The 22mm lens has a lot of vignetting up to f5.6 but that is easily fixed in post or with the lens profile in Lightroom.

5) The biggest flaw of the 22m is quite a lot of chromatic aberration.  It is worse than any of the lenses I normally use on the NEX-7 and it is still present even at f5.6.  I assume Lightroom can fix this but if not it will be a problem.

6) Default output from the Canon has nice colors but too much contrast for my taste which makes the camera appear to have lower dynamic range than the NEX-7.  DXOMark tests suggest that it does in fact have less dynamic range but I think a lot of that is just the default output.  Using the Auto Tone settings in Lightroom recovers a lot of detail from the shadows that is lost with the As Shot settings even with the Neutral scene setting and contrast toned down.  My first impression is that shooting Raw is important for best results.

7) I had hoped for markedly better high ISO performance than the NEX-7 but my first impressions are the two cameras are fairly comparable.

Conclusion

At the discounted price of $300 the EOS-M with 22mm lens is an excellent purchase but I suspect that I will find myself mostly sticking to the NEX-7.  As good as the 22mm lens is, the articulating LCD and built in EVF really make the NEX much more usable.  If I can find a tiny belt case for the EOS M I would probably carry it with me much more often since it is just a tad too big to comfortably carry all the time in one's pocket.

I have an adapter on its way and I am looking forward to putting some of my old Canon EF glass to use which was another reason for me to add the EOS M to my collection.

At this price the EOS M is a great upgrade from a point and shoot but I don't think most NEX 6 or NEX 7 users would consider it an adequate replacement for those cameras despite the excellent 22mm lens.  It will be interesting to see what Canon's next M camera offers.  Right now I would agree with the consensus that at $300 you are getting a great lens with a free camera attached!

Any existing EOS M users that don't have the 22m should definitely take advantage of the bargain pricing on that lens that is available on eBay.

 PaulR's gear list:PaulR's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Nikon D600 Sony Alpha 7R Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN +1 more
Canon PowerShot S90 Panasonic Lumix DMC-F5 Sony Alpha NEX-7
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