A few quick comments about EOS-M vs. NEX

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ProfHankD
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A few quick comments about EOS-M vs. NEX
10 months ago

Well, I'm not sure I dare post this in the Canon forum, but I've been playing with an EOS-M under Magic Lantern for a while now, and figured it might be worthwhile to say a little, given the fire sale pricing on it. My comparison is against the original NEX-5 and a NEX-7.

Comparably good/bad for both EOS-M and NEX:

  • Overall build quality is quite good for both.
  • The kit zooms are nearly twins.
  • Although shapes differ, sizes are comparable.
  • UI/menus. The NEX menus are bad, but EOS-M doesn't have enough buttons, instead using touch to fill-in. Overall, it leaves the NEX-5 and EOS-M comparably awkward. The NEX-7 UI has a learning curve, but is much better than the EOS-M or NEX-5.

EOS-M worse than NEX:

  • Grip. The EOS-M is less secure in one's hand than most PowerShots. This is by far the worst thing about the camera. Heck, my daughter refused to try using the EOS-M after 30 seconds of trying to hold it.
  • Image quality. My NEX-5 blows it away; it is ludicrous to even think about comparison with the NEX-7. Dynamic range and noise are visibly worse than my NEX-5 or NEX-7, yet images are relatively soft. I'm not saying the EOS-M IQ is bad, but it doesn't hold up in side-by-side comparisons, especially at lower ISOs (Sony sensors loose their dynamic range advantage at higher ISOs).
  • Framing ease. The EVF on the NEX-7 wins, but even the NEX-5 LCD is much more visible in daylight, tilts up/down, and works better in general for framing. The NEX-5 also works great with a sub-$20 magnified viewer pretending the LCD is an EVF, while the need to use the touch screen on the EOS-M would make a similar viewfinder arrangement very awkward.
  • Crop factor. EOS-M is Canon's usual 1.6X vs. real APS-C 1.5X, which is not really a small difference.
  • Slow autofocus. Kit zoom vs kit zoom, the EOS-M obviously took longer than my NEX-5 to focus under most circumstances I tried. It also is a little easier to confuse, sometimes refusing to shoot. Note that I mostly use manual focus lenses, so the times I use autofocus are not necessarily typical of most people's use of autofocus.
  • Lousy battery life. In practice, NEX lasts about 2X as long per charge, although the EOS-M is doing pretty well for such a small battery.

EOS-M better than NEX:

  • Magic Lantern is great and the facilities it provides are reasonably well integrated with the camera's menus. It provides a rich set of features, including peaking. It isn't as effective as the NEX for peaking, but it is able to do so much more. Much cleaner than CHDK in PowerShots for extended camera functions. Note that the EOS-M is currently by far the cheapest interchangeable-lens camera that can run ML. (PS: there is a bug in ML on the EOS-M which frequently makes it necessary to re-seat an EOS-M lens, although it works fine with "unchipped" manual lenses.)
  • Neck-strap mounting lugs. Dumb little detail, but dramatically better than on NEX. Camera swings much more freely to balance lens and taking strap on/off is much faster.
  • Relatively quiet shutter. Actually, much quieter than NEX.
  • LCD screen durability. I haven't had it long, but by a comparable level of use both NEX-5 and NEX-7 were showing marks on their LCDs and the EOS-M isn't.
  • Better SD card directory structure and control over custom info in image files.
  • Oddly, the $10 FD->EOS-M adapter I got seems to be of higher quality than any of the three similarly-priced FD->NEX adapters I have: the open/close ring is nicely damped. Not a big deal, but nicer.

Overall, EOS-M isn't terrible, but the grip and image quality issues alone are enough to call the contest. I cannot imagine using an EOS-M without Magic Lantern on it, but with it at a price of $350 it could be viewed as a poor man's programmable NEX.

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