EOS M100

EOS M100

Canon EOS M100 FULL REVIEW

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This page -- originally created as a PREVIEW -- has been updated with a FULL REVIEW, written by Josh LeBlanc, with photographs by Michael S. Palmer & Josh LeBlanc.

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The Good. With an advanced image sensor and Dual CMOS AutoFocus, the Canon EOS M100 is a compact, stylish bargain of a camera. It can capture sharp, vibrant still images and, with its light body and front-facing touchscreen, is great for making quick vlog-style videos.

The Bad. While the camera's internals are good, the M100 suffers from a sometimes soft and slow kit lens. It also lacks 4K video recording (unlike most smartphones). And, while the touchscreen is quite responsive, it's harder to access the camera's more advanced features, which may frustrate more-experienced users. Plus, you need an adapter to utilize Canon's better EF-S and EF series lenses.

The Bottom Line. While the Canon EOS M100 isn't for experienced users, it's an excellent choice for a first interchangeable lens camera. The picture quality is quite good, and this is the most affordable camera on the market with Canon's top-tier AutoFocus system.
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INTRO

The Canon EOS M100 brought back memories the first time I used it. It looks almost exactly like a beloved Canon Elph that was in the family for years, except it has a giant detachable lens.  The M100 is a replacement for the affordable M10, and despite its looks, the M100 is a very different camera. Its 24.2-megapixel sensor provides a resolution upgrade over the M10's 18 megapixels.

In addition to a large 24.2MP APS-C CMOS image sensor, the DIGIC 7 image processor, Full 1080/60p HD Video, and ISO 100 - 25,600 capabilities, the M100 boasts Dual Pixel CMOS AF (auto focus), which is one of the fastest AF systems on the market today. Plus, you get Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC wireless capabilities as well as Canon Camera Assist, which is a great menu system that will teach you how to use more advanced features.

The M100 is a camera for beginners who want to step up from a point-and-shoot or smartphone to a detachable lens system, but kind of still want a point-and-shoot

LENSES USED

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Canon shipped the M100 with the 15-45mm EF-M Mount Lens, an APS-C Format 24-72mm (35mm Equivalent) with a maximum Aperture of F3.5-6.3, STM Stepping AF Motor, Full-Time Manual Focus Override Optical Image Stabilizer, and a retractable design.

KEY FEATURES

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    • Camera: Canon EOS M100
    • Image Sensor: APS-C,22.3mm x 14.9mm
    • Effective Pixels: 24.2 megapixels
    • Native Aspect Ratio: 3:2
    • Image Processor: DIGIC 7
    • Lens Mount:  Canon M
    • Maximum AF Points: 49
    • AF Modes: single-point AF, zone AF, automatic selection, and Face+Tracking AF
    • Exposure Compensation: -3 to +3 in 1/3 increments
    • ISO Sensitivity: 100 - 25,600 native and extended 
    • Shutter Speed Range: 30 seconds to 1/4000
    • Viewfinder: None
    • LCD Screen: 3-inches, 1.04 million pixels, touch-enabled, tiltable to 90 degrees
    • Flash: Built-in pop-up flash,
    • Image Type: RAW and/or JPEG
    • Movie Type: MP4 or MOV, maximum 1920x1080p 60fps
    • Battery Life: Approximately 295 shots

WHAT'S IN THE BOX?

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    • EOS M100 body
    • Zoom Lens EF-M15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 STM (if bought with lens)
    • Neck Strap
    • Battery Charger
    • Battery Pack

BUILD QUALITY & DESIGN

canon m100 from side
The Canon EOS M100 is light and has a fairy hollow plastic feel to it. It's a weird contrast when you have a sturdy m-lens attached to the front of it. It makes the body feel like it would explode into a thousand pieces if you dropped it on the ground. 

It comes in white or black and has a textured front and back thumb pad for grip. 

The M100 has dimensions of 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4 inches (108.2 x 67.1 x 35.1 millimeters) and weighs 10.7 ounces (302 grams) with the battery and memory card inserted! That's just a little over half a pound, which is crazy for a camera with an interchangeable lens. 

M100 battery life is very disappointing. Because there's no viewfinder you need to use the bright and powerful touchscreen to take any picture, and I don't know if it's that or the camera's impressive focusing that drains the battery, but if you were to take this on vacation as your only camera you'd need to bring a spare battery with you every day just in case your main one runs out. 

ERGONOMICS

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The EOS M100 looks like a Canon Elph with a regular mirrorless lens on the front of it. It's tiny. It's so small in fact that it lends itself better to a two-handed shooting approach that one-handed one as your fingers could slip off and lose grip trying to push buttons. 

The top has the mode selector to switch between photos, videos or Canon's scene intelligent auto feature. There's also the front wheel, shutter and record button to record video. The M100 also has a pop-up flash, though there's no shoe for adding a real flash. 

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The LCD touchscreen on the back of the M100 is very easy to operate. It's not fully adjustable, but It can be flipped up to take selfies. Touch abilities and WiFi connectivity make it easy to use without needing to see the controls on the back of the camera.

On the back of the EOS M100 to the right of the touchscreen is the menu button, the wireless connect button, the thumbpad and a play button.

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On the left side of the camera as you're holding it is an HDMI port and the SD card slot, which is kind of a pain to open without swinging the touchscreen out of the way. 

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The bottom has the battery and a standard tripod mount, which is a nice little feature for a camera so small. 

MENUS & DISPLAY

There are so many different functions on this camera that are accessible to the user that it can almost be overwhelming when you first open the menu. The standard menu is for regular camera settings like shooting raw or jpeg, while the other menus are for the fun stuff. Its touch screen is responsive and scrolls quite nicely through all the different shooting options like this:

It's nice that it cycles back through instead of making you scroll up and down. It's very intuitive, at least the scrolling and selecting part. The tilting screen only flips up and not out (to the side) or down, but to get any articulation out of such a small package is nice.

SPEED & AF PERFORMANCE 

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(Sports mode,15mm, F3.5, 1/60, ISO 125)

For more sample images, please check out our Canon M100 Sample Image Gallery.

The M100 is an entry-level mirrorless camera, so keep that in mind when you're trying to use this for crazy action. It does have the latest DIGIC 7 processor and, according to Canon, this leads to improved shooting speeds over the M10 even though it has more megapixels.

The M100 can capture images with Servo AF at up to 4 frames per second and with One-Shot AF at just over 6 fps. Nothing crazy, but not bad for a tiny little camera.

This tiny little camera does have Canon's Face Detection software built in, and it works very well when tracking someone. It's a rare feature on a camera this size. 

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(45mm, F9, 1/125, ISO 100)

The Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus present in most of the higher end canons (in live or video mode) is a welcome addition here. And while it works very well, it's not perfect nor is it as fast as it purports to be. In our experiments, we found the Dual Pixel CMOS AF was flawless within a few feet of the camera, but if you asked it to focus up close and then to a far distance, it sometimes missed those shots. Still, it's unheard of for a camera at this price point to an AutoFocus system this capable. For context, we tested it next to the $3200 Nikon D850's LiveView focusing mode and, while the D850's proved more accurate for near/far distance changes, the M100 AF system was faster, overall, and out-performed the D850 at very close distances.

Coupled with the 1080/60p video and selfie-screen, the M100 is a heck of a little first-time vlogging camera package.

METERING 

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(15mm, F3.5, 1/160, ISO 1,600)

For more sample images, please check out our Canon M100 Sample Image Gallery.

The M100 features the same on-sensor metering system as its other M-Series ILCs, which is a very good thing. Images and videos are accurately exposed and, what you see on the LCD screen is pretty much what you get. However, if you want to adjust that exposure for artistic purposes, it's a bit of a pain. In Manual Mode, you can make adjustments from -3 to +3 in 1/3 increments, but the Manual menu is buried in the camera's menu. If you're doing landscapes or locked off shots it's not a problem, take all the time you want. If not, move along to one of the auto functions. 

STILL IMAGE QUALITY

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(45mm, F6.3, 1/3200, ISO 200)

The M100 features the same 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor and DIGIC 7 image processor as every 2017 Canon camera from the 77D on down, which is a pretty great thing. In other words, the M100 captures bright, vivid, high-quality images, especially in daytime conditions. 

However, the included kit lens isn't particularly fast or sharp, which becomes apparent when you push past online viewing and start looking at a full resolution of some images, little areas can appear out of focus and soft. These are things you wouldn't notice in a standard 5x7, only if you zoom in. To get the most out of this camera, you need a better lens, which requires additional cost and/or an adapter to use Canon's EF or EF-S DSLR glass.

The camera has a pop-up flash which does what all pop-up flashes do (give people red-eyes?). It's nice that it's there if you need it, just be aware the images you take with the built-in flash are going to look like they were taken on a much cheaper camera.

The M100's, Scene Intelligent Auto mode is a fine choice for beginners. The advanced mode gives you more control allowing you to choose between aperture priority, shutter priority or manual exposure mode via the touchscreen. After that, you're given a plethora of choices as seen above.

ISO PERFORMANCE

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(45mm, F6.3, 1/60, ISO 250)

The Canon EOS M100 has a native ISO performance of between 100 - 25600. Just like the Rebel SL2, you'll find photos in the 6,400 range not only usable, but the grain is surprisingly small. After that, however, it's kind of a wash. The images get grainy quick.

VIDEO QUALITY

The Canon M100 can record Full HD (1920 x 1080) video at up to 60 frames per second, twice as fast as the top Full HD recording speed on the M10, with stereo audio. There is no 4K, which is a shame for a camera that costs more than a GoPro (and has a better image sensor). That said, the folks buying this camera don't need 4K, which requires a LOT more storage space and processor power to edit and share.

The M100 has 3-axis (digital) image stabilization built-in and a time-lapse mode. It also has a Hybrid Auto recording mode that lets you extract still frames from video recordings. Maximum video recording time with the EOS M100 is 29 minutes and 59 seconds and maximum quality 1080p video at 60p is recorded at a 35 Mbps bit rate. The specs are almost identical to the Rebel SL2, except the M100 lacks an external mic jack (neither has a headphone jack).

In terms of video quality, we found the video pretty soft at the 24p or 30p frame rates where any panning or tilting makes the footage worthless. But 1080/60p improves things a bit, sharpening and adding to the perceived resolution. Basically, the M100 is a fun camera to shoot selfie-videos and vlogs, but not something you want to whip out for action or variable frame rates.

WIRELESS PERFORMANCE

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(15mm, F11, 1/25th, ISO 100)

The tiny little M100 actually has a dedicated wireless button in it, which is incredibly helpful. The device has built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth, which is a HUGE upgrade over the M10.

Once you have the Canon App on your phone, it's super easy to connect with the dedicated button and then you can basically do whatever. It's like having an immobile drone. You can change the camera modes and settings, adjust the iso or shutter speed. It's like a full second control panel.

It's really fun to see the screen on the camera change and have it match on your phone. It basically gives you a remote trigger, plus final approval of the shot from a distance. It's a great feature.

BOTTOM LINE

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(45mm, F10, 1/160, ISO 100)

For more sample images, please check out our Canon M100 Sample Image Gallery.

I have mixed feelings on the Canon EOS M100. At the time of this review, it can be had with a lens for only $549 (one sale had it under $500). That's a good price for all that you get, however, for $100 more, you can pick up the Canon Rebel SL2, which isn't compact by comparison, but features better battery life, an optical viewfinder, a mic jack, and it opens a door to better glass while giving you a chance to grow as a photographer

That's not to say the M100 doesn't have a place. It takes great images and once you kind of navigate past all the gimmicky camera modes, it should serve you well. It's not a low light monster by any means, but it works. It's fairly easy to use in any mode outside of Manual, and the touch screen is really impressive. It's as easy to use and as intuitive as a smartphone, which is what most camera manufacturers should be aiming for.

The M100 has a great sensor and will give you images that won't let you down.

There is a bugaboo about the camera though and that's it's short battery life. If you're not a heavy shooter and just want something light that takes better pictures than your phone, it shouldn't be a problem.

PICK THIS UP IF...

You want an easy-to-use beginner interchangeable Mirrorless camera that has a ton of shooting modes, good photographic quality, and a decent price, but you're not looking to really learn how to use a DSLR. If you like to keep things on auto and just shoot but don't want a point-and-shoot, this is the camera for you.  

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