Handled the EOS-M today... and about that Auto Focus question...
I stopped by my Canon Dealer today to see if they'd gotten around to putting an EOS-M on the shelf and there it was, nestled among all the other black cameras. If I hadn't been paying attention, I would have missed it altogether.
I asked to take a look and was rewarded with the opportunity to handle one with the supplied (in that particular kit) 18-55mm IS lens. My first observation was that the camera was VERY solid to handle. It was comfortable and it was very nicely built and easy to hold in one hand. The 18-55mm lens was beautifully crafted. The finish on both was exceptional. The curved, coated optics close to the opening of the outer lens assembly was like a jewel. I'd expected something much less attractive.
Did not want...
To be completely honest, I was looking for a reason not to buy this camera. However, I'd already requested one a few weeks ago. But the delay in obtaining a lens-only kit with the included Lens-Mount was enough to infuriate me and I was looking to cancel my order for the EOS-M and to simply purchase a couple of lenses from the L-family that I have been procrastinating on just to make myself feel better. But I couldn't cancel my order after handling this camera that was so small that the body simply rested on my fingers. The dark, gun-metal color on the lens blended beautifully with the black body. The screen was large and clear. There was weight behind the construction. It was as solidly built as I had been told it was by others who had handled it during recent promotions.
The touch screen was VERY responsive. Instantaneous. I handed it back to the salesman who had obviously played with it when it first arrived because he immediately brought up the menu and showed me how the interface looked. I found the responsiveness better than my 4th Gen iPod Touch. Very useable.
So about that Auto Focus....
Having heard that the 18-55mm M-Lens is quite quick, but knowing that early reviews were less than stellar on AF, I pointed the camera in the moderately lit store (white shop neon) and aimed it at the floor quite some distance away and it locked focus instantly. There seemed to be no actual delay. How could this be? Everyone was whining about how slow this camera was during initial tests with early non-commercial prototypes. And Kai's video posted earlier this week suggested the camera was too slow for anything remotely useful. So I tried again... The moment my finger half-depressed the shutter release button it was locked on. The delay was so miniscule that I can see now why one reviewer recently claimed that it was faster than the Sony NEX5 and another reviewer said that it was seemingly as fast as the OM-D from Olympus. It was fast. And it was consistent. There was no card in the camera so who knows, perhaps part of the delay in taking the picture was the process of snapping it. But AF was quick. Much faster than I was expecting and I was very surprised.
In an attempt to cause the camera confusion, I adjusted the zoom to the halfway point (because most cameras do better with their lenses at 'wide' than partially zoomed) and targeted a wall, a chair, some folders on the floor in near darkness, a table, the corner of the table, some tiles, a wide panel of laminate that was devoid of detail... all just two seconds apart from one another or less and every single time the camera locked on and returned a green reticule with a confirmation beep. Every time it locked focus, it did so in just a fraction of a second. There was no "hunting" for focus. I was VERY surprised at this because after reading earlier "reviews"using the prototypes, I had expected a delay like that on the G-Series cameras. And the gentleman who allowed me to handle the camera was likewise very enthusiastic with the feel and the responsiveness himself. He seemed particularly happy to note my observations as they concluded with his own.
I did not use the touch screen to focus (it was not switched to this setting) but other reviewers claim that it is faster in this mode. I was really very, VERY happy with the speed I got with this lens. So happy that I confirmed with the staff that my order was still on the system and was assured that I'll get a call as soon as the body-only with lens-adapter arrives in a day or two (hopefully).
Now, as I said, there was no card in the camera and I didn't see a need to test the image quality with so many samples already available online for review. I took three pictures of the camera in my hand before I left using my s95... which had trouble locking focus on the EOS-M in my other hand with two of the shots for some reason. It wasn't a particularly bright store but it was lit like most. If the new camera performs even close to this fast with different lenses, it's a sure winner. Why others found this camera to be slow performing in AF is a mystery to me now. The EOS-M was much faster than the s95 in the same store and it was clearly much faster than the G1X I was using just a few hours earlier. In fact it was faster than any other Compact Camera that I've handled. I realize that the EOS-M itself is not a compact camera in the true sense of the term but it's faster than I was led to believe. I would strongly urge anyone contemplating this camera to actually go into a store and ask to handle one and report their experiences back here. I was expecting something much more sluggish. I was pleasantly surprised (excited really) to find that this was not the case.
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