Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Canon EOS M Slow Autofocus

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I recently tried out Canon’s EOS M mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. This is their first entry, almost four years late, into this market of mirrorless cameras. I’d have expected that these cameras, like the DSLRs, should have certain baseline levels of quality and performance, at least coming from compact point-and-shoots. But to cut a long story short, I am disappointed.

You’d have thought Canon should have done a great job. They had four years to learn from the competition and figure out what customers want.

My gripe with the EOS M is its glacially slow autofocusing speed. So slow it is that I’d think a good number of compact point-and-shoots would compare favourably. It is that slow. Amazing how the hybrid phased and contrast detection based autofocus fails so miserably.

I think most other aspects of the camera is pretty decent. It has a really compact body, lightweight, and feels nice in the hand. You can probably read many nice things about the EOS M from the many reviews available on the Internet. The slowness with autofocus gets mentioned, at least in passing, but few if any are blunt with their criticism on the autofocus speed.

My test was with the stock EF-M mount lens, in a reasonably well-lit office. The Sony RX100 locks focus almost instantly, but the EOS M struggles for like 2 seconds or so. I almost feel as if I’m using a smartphone camera, where I have to predict when the shot is needed, so that I can press the shutter before that, and thus have the camera take the shot at that right time.

Now, the EOS M might overall be pretty good. But anyone wanting to consider getting this camera will have to decide if its autofocus speed is a show stopper.

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