Body, handling and features

The EOS M100 really is impressively compact for an interchangeable lens camera. With the 22mm F2 pancake prime lens attached, it comes in under a pound and is small enough to fit into a coat pocket or slide into a purse without fuss.

With a single adjustment dial and a simplified mode dial, the M100 is very light on external controls. This may be a turn-off to more seasoned users, but for new photographers, it should be great - fewer controls means less intimidation for beginners.

It helps that the touchscreen interface is logical, polished and responsive. Tap-to-focus is just as effective on the M100 as it would be on a high-end smartphone, and once you become accustomed to the way the M100 operates, it operates quite swiftly.

Besides the lens release, all the controls on the M100 are visible here.

Being so small, the M100 doesn't have much in the way of a grip, but the texture along the front of the camera helps it to feel a little more secure in your hand. The pop-up flash is a nice bonus, especially if you're out with the kit lens and the light's getting dim. There's a dedicated wireless button that brings up your previously paired devices, though NFC functionality is even slicker for quick, automatic pairing with Android devices.

The M100 also has a slightly plasticky feel, which shouldn't be too surprising given its entry-level billing, but it feels solid nonetheless. The screen mechanism in particular feels nice and sturdy, though we do wish it would tilt both down as well as up (like Canon's own higher-end EOS M6).

Unlike most compact cameras these days, the M100 has separate doors for the battery and the memory card. Also, the tripod socket is in line with the lens mount, which is a nice touch.

The EOS M100 comes with a smaller battery than its higher-end EOS M siblings, and offers a thoroughly middle-of-the-road 295 shots as rated by CIPA. Unfortunately, the M100 lacks any sort of USB charging, which would have been great to have for charging via USB battery packs on the go.

For new users, we're happy to report that leaving the camera in 'Auto' generally delivered good results. Exposures were usually very accurate, and the M100 can automatically detect moving objects, responding by raising shutter speeds and enabling continuous autofocus - this is a feature we've seen appearing on several of its rivals. Face detection occasionally sees 'faces' in everyday objects, but simply tapping to focus on your intended subject will get around this issue.

Canon's customizable 'Q' onscreen menu provides you with a variety of parameters at your fingertips.

In-camera Raw conversion is nice to see in a camera at this level, allowing you to change parameters such as white balance, picture style and lens corrections after you've taken your shot. It isn't quite as customizable as some competitors, but in keeping with the theme of this camera, it's approachable for users who may be new to such a function, and should help to demystify Raw shooting for beginners.

If you want to, you can save your preferred settings for use later, making it easy to tone your images as you like before you even send them to your phone - and the adjustments are likely to allow for greater editing possibilities than, say, Instagram's built-in adjustments.

A pop-up flash is always handy, and you can pull this one back with your finger to have the flash bounce off the ceiling, which will result in softer shadows on your subject.

The EOS M100 succeeds in an area where many others fail: It's a fun camera to use. Auto mode works great for casual snapshots, there's an abundance of fun creative modes to play around with, and taking manual control over the M100 works more smoothly than the single control dial would suggest. It proves itself to be a great option for the novice photographer while still allowing room to grow.

While we reviewers would like to see more native EOS M lens options, beginners sticking primarily to the kit lens will be greeted with solid and sharp image quality. For blurrier backgrounds and less noise in low light, the $249 22mm F2 pancake prime pairs wonderfully with the M100.