You can take great pictures with a smartphone. But in low light, the sensor quality of smartphones is still disappointing. The options and the lens quality of a smartphone are also limited after a certain point. Time for a “real camera” with more options and a bigger sensor. But not so complicated, big or heavy as an SLR camera. Time for a Canon EOS M10?
Canon EOS M10: Build quality & Features
The Canon M10 is not an SLR camera, but a mirrorless system camera. Just like with an SLR camera, you can change lenses with the Canon EOS M10. But because the Canon M10 does not have a viewfinder and has no mirror that flips up and down when taking a picture, the Canon M10 is smaller, quieter and lighter than an SLR camera. The sensor in the Canon M10 is the same size as the sensor in Canon SLR cameras with an APS-C sensor. And the sensor quality is just as good as that of those Canon SLR cameras. Because there is no mirror unit, Canon has produce a couple of new lenses especially for the Canon EOS M series, with a new mount that only fits on a Canon M camera. If you have lenses for a Canon SLR camera, you can use those as needed with an adapter on a Canon M. Then the Canon M10 with lens and adapter does become about as big and heavy as an SLR camera.
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Video or photo? Choose the right button. That is how simply you choose between photographing or filming with the Canon EOS M10 .
Canon EOS M10 vs Fujifilm, Nikon 1, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony
The efforts of Canon in the area of mirrorless system cameras are very modest in comparison with all other brands. You notice that from, among other things, the Canon M lens selection: there is 1 Canon EF-M lens with a fixed focal length (Canon EF-M 22 mm f/2 STM), and there are 4 Canon EF-M zoom lenses (Canon EF-M 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, Canon EF-M 55-200 mm, Canon EF-M 15-45 mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM, Canon EF-M 11-22 mm f/4-5.6 IS STM). There is no brand that offers so few lenses for their mirrorless system cameras as Canon. It is a pity that of all the Canon EF-M lenses, only the lens with a fixed focal length takes advantage of the small size of the camera. Relative to the micro-43 system, where you can choose from among dozens of lenses, this is not a gap that will be closed in a couple of years. The options are also more limited for video. Aside from Fujifilm, all other camera brands offer 4K video, whereby the image is four times as large as with Full HD video. If you have not yet made a 4K video, 4K offers you the ability to use a piece out of the frame. Ideal for nature shots, or for blurred pictures that you want to stabilize with electronic image stabilization. If you convert a 4K video recording into Full HD in post-editing, the image quality is much better than that of a regular Full HD recording. Panasonic also offers 4K Photo, which is idea for taking action shots. The AF of the Nikon 1, Panasonic and Sony cameras are faster, as it appears from the camera reviews that we have done to date.
Canon EOS M10: Build quality, ease of use & features
A strong point of all Canon cameras—including the M10—is the user-friendly menu. By combining that with an easy-to-read, 3-inch LCD touchscreen, the M10 is very easy to operate. You can even set up the camera such that you tap on the screen where you want the photo to focus, after which the M10 almost immediately takes a picture.
In the Creative Assist Mode, especially for less experienced photographers, the most suitable settings are chosen by the camera and explained in understandable language. Experienced photographers choose their own camera settings (shutter time, ISO and aperture) via the touchscreen of the EOS M10. You can make both RAW and jpg shots with this camera, that you can also store simultaneously. You thus retain the option to do significant image editing afterwards (HDR, noise suppression at high ISO or big adjustments to the white balance), with a minimum of quality loss.
Just a screen, no viewfinder
Many photographers who choose a camera with interchangeable lenses also like to work with a viewfinder. When you look through a viewfinder, you are not bothered by sunlight that shines on your screen, and because you are not distracted by the environment, you have more attention for the composition. That helps you make take better pictures. The EOS M10 does not have a built-in viewfinder, while similar cameras that are even smaller, like the Panasonic GM5 for example, do have a built-in viewfinder.
Even so, there are many photographers who are accustomed to photographing with a smartphone and who will not have a problem with the fact that their system camera does not have a built-in viewfinder.
The screen can be tilted up 180 degrees, so that you can take a selfie with this camera. As with most starter system cameras of other brands, you cannot freely turn the screen. A freely rotating screen gives you more freedom to take creative pictures under difficult circumstances, or if you have little room to move somewhere. With a freely rotating screen, you can usually also turn the screen towards the camera, so that the screen does not become dirty or damaged when you are not using the camera. If you want a rotating screen, then you end up with a more expensive camera.
With the built-in Wi-Fi-functions, photos and videos can be copied directly from the camera and shared with others. Dynamic NFC ensures quick connectivity with smartphones. With the EOS Canon Camera Connect app, you can operate the camera remotely (“Wireless Remote Shooting”).
AF with 49 points and facial detection
When the first Canon EOS M camera came out a couple of years ago, the AF—in comparison with an SLR camera, but also in comparison with mirrorless system cameras of other brands—was slow. The EOS M10 is a big step forward. The Canon EOS M10 with the Canon EF-M 15-45 mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens focused in our AF test with a lot of light within a half a second from infinity to half a meter. That is about as fast as the AF of a Canon 650D SLR camera that we subjected to an AF test previously. The darker it got, the longer the AF needed to focus, but the M10 continued to work in less light than the Canon SLR.
In comparison with a compact camera, the EOS M10 does well. If, however, you compare the AF speed with a Nikon 1, Sony alpha (the review of the Sony A6300 will appear soon) or Panasonic camera, then it is clear that there are still improvements to be made in the point of AF speed.
In theory, you should be able to use the whole sensor for focusing with a system camera. That is a big advantage relative to an SLR camera, where the AF points are always located in the center. The 49 AF points of the Canon EOS M10 cover 56% of the sensor surface. That is quite good in comparison with an SLR camera. System cameras of other brands in the same price class as the EOS M10 offer similar specifications. More expensive system cameras do have the AF points spread across the whole sensor surface.
Image quality Canon EOS M10
If you do not do image editing, or only a little, then nice pictures come out of the Canon EOS M10 that will appeal to many starting photographers. Good enough to make a photo book or a high-quality A4 print from them.
Dynamic range and noise
In order to be able to properly expose photos with a lot of contrast, you need a camera with a big dynamic range. As long as you don’t equip a camera with an overdose of pixels, it holds true: the bigger the sensor, the larger the pixels, the higher the dynamic range. As far as that’s concerned, an APS-C sensor does well: that it much larger than the sensor in most compact cameras. The technology that is used on the sensor for sharpening, noise suppression, etc. might be more important today that the size of the sensor. From our Imatest measurements of the dynamic range of the Canon EOS M10, it appears that the dynamic range of the M10 is just as good as that of a Canon SLR camera with the same sensor size. A Sony alpha camera with an APS-C sensor or even an Olympus/Panasonic camera with a smaller micro-43 sensor have a bigger dynamic range. The shot above was a not terribly contrast-rich situation, whereby Lightroom warned that the dark areas are underexposed and the highlights are overexposed due to a low dynamic range of the sensor. If you were to underexpose the shot more in order to avoid the overexposure of the lamps, then even more dark areas would be underexposed. That cannot be repaired afterwards because lightening the shadows creates more noise.
For noise, the same applies as for dynamic range: the performance of the Canon EOS M10 is comparable with that of Canon SLR cameras with an APS-C sensor.
The Canon EOS M10 offers various image styles with color fine tuning for specific genres, such as nature and portrait photography. The standard image style has colors that will most appeal to the most consumers. If you choose the neutral image style, then the accuracy of the color reproduction of the M10 gives nothing up to the very best cameras.
The Canon M10 is a user-friendly camera for starters who are not planning to buy extra lenses, or for a more experienced photographer who is willing to use his or her current Canon lenses with an adapter on an EOS M. Because the Canon EOS M10 offers the same image quality as Canon SLR cameras, but is more compact, the EOS M10 is also a handy back-up camera.
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.