Canon EOS M First Impressions Review
The Canon EOS M utilizes the same hybrid AF image sensor autofocus system as the Rebel T4i. The system uses 31 AF points on the sensor (including 9 cross-type phase-detection sensitive points clustered around the center of the frame) to lock in on focus, relying exclusively on contrast-detection AF near the edges of the frame. In our time with the camera we found it compared equally with the T4i in terms of speed. Its contrast AF was accurate and fairly snappy in a dimly lit conference room, and it had more success with low-contrast subjects in the center of the frame, as you'd expect.
We don't want to make any proclamations about the contrast AF's utility with a pre-production sample, though we did find it to be more than adequate, if not exactly best-in-class.
Exposure & Metering
The EOS M lacks the mirror of a full-size DSLR, relying instead on brightness information gathered from the image sensor itself. We don't yet have final specifications on full exposure settings, though it did have a full set of automatic, manual, aperture/shutter priority, and scene modes built into the camera from what we saw. There's no direct entry of exposure mode on a physical dial, but you can switch between still shooting, video, and automatic still shooting with the switch on the top plate.
The EOS M allows users to select an ISO speed ranging from 100-12800, with 25600 available as an ISO expansion option. You can select these manually or let the camera do so automatically, as you've probably seen on just about every camera ever. If the higher ISO speeds are too noisy, you can make use of Canon's multi-shot noise reduction mode (called—you'll never guess—"Multi-Shot Noise Reduction") to help keep pesky grain out of your shot.
The Canon EOS M does not feature image stabilization built into the body, as some other manufacturers have opted for. Instead Canon stuck to their guns, using image stabilization in the lenses instead. Of the two EF-M lenses available at launch, only the standard 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens features image stabilization. The 22mm f/2.0 lens does not.
The Canon EOS M includes seven picture filters, dubbed "Picture Styles" as they are on other cameras. These are right in line with the standard modes on Canon DSLRs, and aren't quite as extensive as the creative modes found on some of the mid-range Canon point-and-shoots. Still, they do offer a level of creativity to the user, and will remain active even when shooting video. They're fairly standard fare, allowing you to alter the tone, saturation, and sharpness of your shot.