Canon EOS M100 Review

The Canon EOS M100 has been announced and is slated to hit the streets in Oct 2017. We'll get our hands on a production model as soon as it becomes available, but in the meantime, based on my experience with similar/feature-sharing models, here are my expectations for this camera.

It's been said that "Good things come in small packages" and this camera embodies that statement. Canon's EOS M-series cameras, squeezing large APS-C sensors into tiny bodies, represent a maximization of image quality relative to camera size and weight. While initially these models achieved DSLR-grade image quality, they sacrificed performance in some regards. The performance disparities between the EOS DSLRs and the EOS M models have greatly been diminished, notably by featuring Canon's excellent Dual Pixel AF, and the M models are now quite powerful little cameras.

The Canon EOS M100 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera is the successor to the EOS M10. While, like the M10, the M100 takes its place at the bottom of Canon's mirrorless lineup in terms of features (and size and weight), it remains a very capable camera with formerly-introduced and now-inherited advanced features that will make it a bargain at the also bottom-of-the-line price tag. One of the reasons for using a large-imaging-sensor camera model is for great image quality and quantity of scale has enabled Canon to place its current best-available APS-C sensor in the M100, meaning that image quality from this camera should rival the best-available APS-C EOS model. As mentioned, Canon's Dual Pixel AF performs excellently. AF performance is of utmost importance for image quality and this one should maximize the image quality capability of this camera. Saying that this camera has a "large superset of basic camera features" is sufficiently an understatement that rounds out the description of this model.

Here's a quick overview of the M100's primary features:

Summary of EOS M100 Features

  • 24.2 megapixel Canon APS-C CMOS imaging sensor
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF for smooth, fast and accurate autofocus for video and stills
  • DIGIC 7 image processor
  • ISO range of 100-25600
  • Digital IS with 3-axis image stabilization when shooting movies plus increased image stabilization when an IS lens is used
  • 6.1 fps high-speed continuous shooting in One Shot mode (up to 4 fps in AI Servo)
  • 7.5 cm (3.0") touchscreen, approx. 1,040,000 dots, tiltable 180° upward
  • 1080/60p Full HD, MP4 format video (for easy movie sharing on select social networking sites)
  • Wi-Fi, NFC & Bluetooth
  • Very compact, lightweight

Representing a budget-conscious camera in its mirrorless lineup, it is fair to expect many high-end features to remain absent in the M100's feature list. One such omitted feature – a hot shoe – is a strong indication of this camera's intended market; namely, those with less complicated photography needs who do not anticipate working with advanced lighting setups. While the camera does feature a built-in pop-up flash, the pop-up flash does not have the ability to communicate with Canon Speedlite flashes.

I often discuss the product name at the beginning of a camera review, trying to help readers better understand the lineup available to them. I've already given away this model's place in the lineup, but I'll tie the model name into that place for educational purposes.

"EOS" refers to Canon's interchangeable lens camera models and the "M" line refers to the mirrorless variants. Initially, we had the EOS "M" and incremented model numbers became the naming convention with the "M2" and "M3" came in succession with each model replacing the prior option.

While that naming convention seemed logical, success brought simultaneously-current M models and Canon had to change directions on the model naming convention. Coming next were the "M5" and "M10", which could still make sense based on the previous naming convention – if the "M5" was not the higher-end camera model. Not long after these two models came the "M6" and now the "M100" has been unleashed. When viewed as an overall group, the M model numbers have become quite confusing. But, when only the current models are considered, they make more sense. Basically, a lower number indicates a higher-end camera model, similar to the EOS DSLR models and that is not difficult to understand. What comes next remains a question as the M6 replacement may require the "Mark" moniker to arrive in the M series.

Canon EOS M100 Top Angle

Sensor and Image Quality

Following is a chart that shows several sensor specifications for many of Canon's recent DSLR offerings.

ModelFOVCFSensorPixel SizePixels/MegapixelsViewfinderDLA*
Canon EOS M51.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 100%f/6.0
Canon EOS M61.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 opt100%f/6.0
Canon EOS M31.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 opt100%f/6.0
Canon EOS M1001.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2n/an/af/5.9
Canon EOS M101.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 n/an/af/6.8
Canon EOS M1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0  f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm4.3µm5184 x 345618.0 .80x95%f/6.8
Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 .87x95%f/5.9
Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 .82x95%f/5.9
Canon EOS Rebel T6i / 750D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 .82x95%f/5.9
Canon EOS 77D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 .82x95%f/5.9
Canon EOS Rebel T6s / 760D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 .82x95%f/5.9
Canon EOS 80D1.6x22.3 x 14.9mm3.7µm6000 x 400024.2 .95x100%f/5.9
View the full Canon EOS M5 specifications to compare additional cameras.

I completely expect that the image quality results for the EOS M100 to be essentially the same as the image quality produced by the 80D, 77D, Rebel T7i/800D, EOS M5, and EOS M6 because ... all have the same sensor technology. While the results from the 80D and EOS M5 are indeed basically the same, the results with the same processing settings are not quite identical, so testing will of course be required to ascertain just how similar the M100 performs compared to the rest Canon's cameras featuring the same sensor. But, the bottom line is that I expected the M100's results to mirror the M5 and M6's.

The EOS M100, like all of the other EOS M-series cameras, features an APS-C (1.6x) sized sensor. EOS M cameras natively mount EF-M lenses and, with an EF-EOS M Adapter, Canon's huge line-up of EF-S, EF, TS-E and MP-E series lenses become compatible. Note that, as with all APS-C format cameras, a selected lens' focal length will frame a scene similar to that of a 1.6x longer focal length mounted on a full frame sensor camera (including when using EF-M and APS-C-only lenses such as the EF-S series).

Sensor Size Comparison

Obviously, the APS-C format is huge relative to the size of the imaging sensors in mobile phones and point-and-shoot variety cameras. Image quality, especially in low light, is a huge advantage they bring. The difference is dramatic. Note: you may think that the images from your phone look good ... on your phone. Load them on a computer monitor and, especially at 100% resolution, are you will surely be disappointed. If you are fine with your memories looking OK only when viewed on phone-sized media, you may not need the M100.

You will notice that many of the current model APS-C DSLRs share identical sensor specs, perhaps most notably the 24.2 megapixel resolution figure. Twenty-four megapixels has become Canon's APS-C standard issue at this time and this resolution is very high (higher than in many of Canon's full frame models to date). There is, however, more than one variation of 24.2 mp imaging sensors found in these cameras.

While the EOS M3 shares this megapixel count, it does not have the Dual Pixel AF feature found in the M100 and some of the other models and that is the significant difference among these imaging sensors. As previously mentioned, the M100 inherits the excellent imaging sensor first introduced in the EOS 80D (and later shared by the 77D, T7i, M5 and M6). Having an identical imaging sensor, my strong expectation is that the M100 will produce identical results to the EOS M6. So, for now, use the M6 in the site's resolution and noise comparisons to get an idea of the results you can expect from the M100.

With APS-C 24.2 mp imaging sensors having a 3.7µm pixel pitch, diffraction begins impacting sharpness when apertures narrower than f/5.9 are selected. Results for the M6 at f/8 begin to show very modest softening and at f/11, you are going to see the difference in your images. This is not to say that you should not use f/11, but you should be aware of the penalty being paid for using narrower apertures and you should be discerning with your exposure choices. Use the site's image quality tool to learn how diffraction affects sharpness and you will be prepared to make an educated decision in the field.

Another consideration for the use of cameras with pixel-dense sensors is the shutter speed required to stop camera or subject motion. Because the pixel density in camera sensors has been increasing over the years, blur and a loss of pixel-level sharpness are increasingly likely due to camera and subject motion causing subject details to cross over pixels at a faster rate on the more-dense sensors. That is unless a faster minimum shutter speed is used for handholding (image stabilization also plays an important role) and for photographing fast-moving subjects.

The old 1/(focal length * 1.6) rule to determine one's shortest shutter speed for handholding an APS-C camera (without the aid of image stabilization) may not be adequate for everyone. While this formula uses the easy-to-use 1.6 factor that matches the APS-C sensor angle of view difference, the pixel density of the imaging sensor is the real reason the faster speed has been needed. You may prefer to use the 1/(focal length * 2) as a better base estimate for handholding the M6.

A nice sharpness-aiding feature of mirrorless cameras is ... the lack of a mirror, eliminating that potential source of vibration. Another consideration for getting the most from a high resolution camera is the quality of the lens placed in front of it. Increased resolution will magnify any lens aberrations present. As always, the better the lens, the better the image quality.

Increase resolution without any other technological improvements and noise increase is to be expected. Fortunately, gains continue to be made in this regard and the 80D results were slightly improved over its lower resolution 70D predecessor. With the same imaging sensor as M6, I expect similar noise levels in M100 images.

Canon EOS M6 ISO Noise Comparison

The Kodak Color Control Patches shown in the standard ISO noise test results are generated from RAW images with (this is a key) no noise reduction (unless specifically indicated by the result set). These evenly-colored patches are brutal on sensor noise, making it readily apparent when it exists. Keep in mind that many real world subjects are more detailed and better hide noise – these samples represent a worst-case scenario.

Ctrl-click on the previous link to open the M6 vs. 80D comparison in a new tab. At ISO 3200, the differences are noticeable. The 80D's results have a grainier but sharper appearance while the M6 (and M5) has a smoother, softer appearance. There is an entire algorithm-filled imaging pipeline involved in the capture of photons ending up in a final converted image. While we can't change what is captured in the RAW file, RAW converters can be adjusted to help minimize inconsistencies between cameras or to simply enhance the output at the photographer's discretion.

The 80D's results appear sharper in the site's image quality tool and the grainier 80D results seen in the noise test indicate increased sharpening being applied at the standard processing settings (sharpness set to a very low "1" in Canon's Digital Photo Professional). Changing the sharpness setting is simple and, with a setting of "2", we see the M5 (same as M6) noise looking very similar to the 80D noise. Change the sharpness to "3" and the M5/M6 results appear slightly grainier than the 80D results.

So, if the M6/M5's sharpness setting is adjusted to visually match the 80D's results, these three cameras deliver essentially the same image quality. Many additional comparisons are available in the noise tool. Find the camera you are familiar with and compare it to the M6, with the expectation that the M100's results will be similar. Unless it was a recently introduced model, you will not likely find an APS-C model matching the M6 – and by extension, the M100 – especially at high ISO settings.

Digging into the noise a bit deeper: as the ISO setting increases, noise becomes more apparent. This is and always has been the rule. How apparent the difference is between camera models is indeed the big question. If you can't see the difference in the provided standard ISO noise tests, you will not likely discern it in your images either.

The M6's ISO 100 results are very clean – this is the norm for EOS cameras. Noise levels steadily increase as higher ISO settings are used until I reach my personal tolerance for noise at ISO 3200. Results at ISO 6400 are noisy, but they can be usable. More of a last resort is ISO 12800 and a significant percentage of the details get lost due to the low signal-to-noise ratio at ISO 25600.

A set of Canon Digital Photo Pro default noise reduction results for the M6 are included in the tool and noise reduction is available in a variety of strengths in-camera or during post processing. Noise reduction can make a big improvement in noise levels, but the tradeoff is destruction of image details and reduced sharpness. I typically use no noise reduction for low ISO-captured images and a low amount for higher ISO-captured images. Like the amount of sharpness selected, you can adjust noise reduction to your personal preference.

The M6 also has Multi Shot Noise Reduction available. MSNR merges information from 4 exposures taken in an automatic max-frame-rate burst into a reduced noise image. While MSNR shows great improvement (expect roughly 2 stops at higher ISO settings), it has limited usefulness in real world shooting.

The downsides to Multi-Shot Noise Reduction include: MSNR is currently available only with JPG output (I would like to see this feature added to Canon's Digital Photo Pro software for RAW capture processing – perhaps as another HDR preset). Multi-Shot Noise Reduction is not so useful with moving subjects (or with a moving camera). Long exposure NR, Dust Delete Data, Multiple Exposure and HDR Mode must be set to off to enable MSNR. The camera reverts back to Standard NR in Auto/Basic zone modes, during video recording and in Bulb mode. Flash is not supported in MSNR mode.

After the multi-shot burst is captured, the camera remains "busy" for a period of time while processing the merged image. So, while this feature is a nice idea, its limitations make it less useful in real-world applications. I am far more likely to use a low ISO setting with a longer exposure when shooting stationary subjects from a tripod.

From a dynamic range perspective, I expect performance to be similar to the 80D, Canon's best APS-C model to date.

File Size and Media

The following table shows comparative RAW file sizes for a photo of a standard in-studio setup with a moderately-high amount of detail taken with the referenced Canon EOS DSLR body. For now, the EOS M100 data is estimated using M6 results, but the real world performance should be very similar.

Model / File Size in MB @ ISO:(MP)100200400800160032006400128002560051200102400204800409600
Canon EOS M5(24.2)33.834.735.737.139.041.344.746.552.8    
Canon EOS M6(24.2)34.134.835.937.639.642.045.146.953.0    
Canon EOS M3(24.2)32.833.534.736.237.940.242.946.750.0    
Canon EOS M100 (est.)(24.2)34.134.835.937.639.642.045.146.953.0    
Canon EOS Rebel SL2(24.2)30.631.332.233.433.435.037.039.542.447.050.9  
Canon EOS 80D(24.2)31.231.932.734.035.937.940.643.747.5    
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV(30.4)38.839.139.640.441.643.545.548.051.455.159.8  
Canon EOS 5Ds R(50.6)65.266.467.669.873.077.281.988.4     
Sony a7R II(42.4)82.882.882.882.882.882.882.882.882.882.882.8  
Canon RAW file sizes increase with: 1. Resolution 2. Bit Depth (14-bit is better/larger) 3. Detail (noise adds detail, so high ISO file sizes increase). Memory and disk are cheap - buy more.

gain, actual M100 results will be provided once testing has been completed.

High resolution images create large files, especially when captured in (strongly recommended) RAW format (vs. JPG). The Canon EOS M100 writes image files to an SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I) memory card. For an ISO 100 image, you can estimate roughly 1.3MB in RAW file size per megapixel of resolution. Fortunately, memory cards have become so inexpensive that large files sizes are a minor problem. Buy plenty of capacity and multiple cards. I recommend rotating memory cards to maintain a backup set until, minimally, you are able to get the images safely into your formal backup strategy, one that includes off-site storage.

If your computer storage is lacking hard drive space available, simply add external storage.

Frame Rate, Buffer Depth, Shutter Sound

The M100's max frame rate will differ depending on the shooting mode. If your application permits One Shot drive mode, you can expect a max frame rate of 6.1 fps. If AI Servo mode is needed, the max frame rate drops to 4 fps.

Model Max JPG Max RAW Shutter Lag VF Blackout
Canon EOS M5 7/9 26 17   n/a
Canon EOS M6 7/9 26 17   n/a
Canon EOS M3 4.2 1000 5    
Canon EOS M100 6.1 89/1000 21   n/a
Canon EOS M10 4.6 1000 7    
Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D5.0Full6  
Canon EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D 3.0 1110 6 120ms 170ms
Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D 6.0 190/Full 21/27    
Canon EOS Rebel T6i / 750D 5.0 180/Full 7/8    
Canon EOS 77D 6.0 190/Full 21/27 70ms  
Canon EOS Rebel T6s / 760D 5.0 180/Full 7/8    
Canon EOS 80D 7.0 77/110 20/25 60ms n/a
View the full Canon EOS M5 specifications to compare additional cameras.

A fast frame rate is frequently used for photographing action and photographing action frequently means tracking a subject in AI Servo AF mode, meaning that the relatively-slow 4 fps figure will often be realized. However, there are times when a fast frame rate can be helpful in One Shot AF mode, such as when doing HDR photography in reasonably bright lighting conditions, and in those situations, the 6.1 fps rate is decent. I say "reasonably bright" because bracketed exposures captured for HDR photography often utilize some frames with exposures long enough to push back even a slow max available frame rate.

Canon has not published a shutter lag spec for the M100. With no mirror flipping up to start an exposure and with an electronic first curtain shutter (shutter sound is made at the end of the exposure), the perception (vs. reality) of the shutter lag duration is increased, but I expect the camera to respond with speed sufficient for most typical uses.

The M-series cameras are very quiet to use. The quietness feature is welcomed by photographers when wanting to avoid attention, such as when they are photographing wildlife or a quiet event.

Autofocus

I have been waiting for Canon's excellent Dual Pixel AF system to make it to the M-series and with the EOS M5, it arrived. Now the same technology appears in the much-more-affordable M100.

I expect the M100's AF system to perform identically to the M5 and M6 and nearly as well as Canon's conventional DSLR phase detection AF systems; that is, quite fast.

Live View and Movie focusing modes include what has become the Canon standard for Dual Pixel CMOS AF: Face Detection with Tracking, Smooth Zone AF (no longer FlexiZone Multi), and 1-point AF (used to be called FlexiZone Single). The AF zone covers 80% of the frame and AF is possible with max. apertures of f/11 or wider. All AF modes have worked very well with the M6, and the face detection tracking combined with the ability to influence which face is selected was especially impressive. I have seen no reason to believe that the M100 should not perform similarly.

The M100's capacitive touchscreen allows for Touch Focus during both Live View still photography and before/during video recording. Just tap your finger on the LCD where you want the camera to focus and it happens – smoothly. It's just that easy.

Note that I have not seen any references to Touch & Drag AF (which debuted with the M5) being included in the M100. With Touch & Drag AF, the entire LCD or a specific portion of it can be used as a trackpad to position the AF point during stills or video capture. By touching and dragging on the LCD, the active AF point can be very quickly repositioned, either absolutely based on the touch location within the LCD (or selected portion of the LCD) or moved relative to drag direction.

Video

With each new camera that Canon has introduced since the ground-breaking EOS 5D Mark II, creating high quality videos has become incrementally easier. As previously mentioned, the M100 features Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF and also includes a brand new in-camera 3-axis stabilization system (more on that later).

The M100 offers video recording in .MP4 format using the MPEG-4 AVC / H.264 codec, with audio being recorded in AAC (.MP4, stereo) via its front microphone. A 3.5mm stereo input jack has not been included in this M-series model. Sound recording levels can be set to Auto, Manual or Disabled entirely. Wind Filter and Attenuator options can be set in the sound recording menu.

Available frame rates and compression include:

MP4:
1920 x 1080 (Full HD): 60 fps (59.94 fps) / 50 fps / 30 fps (29.97 fps) / 25 fps / 24 fps (23.98 fps)
1280 x 720 (HD): 60 fps (59.94 fps) / 50 fps
640 x 480 (VGA): 30 fps (29.97 fps) / 25 fps

The EOS M100's ability to capture high-quality video is greatly aided by its Dual Pixel AF CMOS sensor. Also aiding video quality is Canon's in-body 3-axis image stabilization system, combining in-lens optical stabilization with in-camera digital image stabilization. If the settings mirror the in-camera stabilization found in the M6, then this system will offer one of three settings (Enabled, Enhanced and Disabled) and will provide stabilization for non-stabilized lenses or increase the stabilization capabilities of lenses featuring traditional IS systems. Maximum stabilization will be achieved using a Canon lens featuring Combination IS (at review time, only the EF-M 18–150mm f/3.5–6.3 IS STM and EF-M 15–45mm f/3.5–6.3 IS STM).

Overall, the EOS M100's video-specific features make it a less compelling option for videographers when compared to the other cameras such as the EOS 80D, which offers .MOV recording (in addition to .MP4), user selectable compression, Video Snapshots, more time-lapse movie options and infrared remote recording compatibility. However, the EOS M100's small size could certainly be advantageous for certain filming projects and you can expect the camera to deliver excellent video quality while making great videos quite easy to create.

Tour of the Canon EOS M6

The EOS M line is all about delivering big camera image quality from a tiny package and next we will look closer at the physical attributes of the camera. While the original M (and the M10) had very few controls, many subsequent models have been adding them. However, the M100 stays with the original concept, featuring a minimalist-control layout that is quite similar to the EOS M.

Back of the Camera

From the back perspective, the M100 features only three buttons in addition to the Rear Control Dial and its set button.

Camera Back View Comparison

M100 | M10 | M | M6 | M5 | M3 | SL2 | T6 | T7i | T6s | T6i | 80D | 77D

To compare the M100 with many more Canon EOS camera models, use the site's camera body comparison tool.

The back of the M100 is nearly identical to the M10, with an additional button for quick access to the camera's Wi-Fi settings accounting for that lone difference. The buttons on the back of the M100 should be found conveniently placed (at least convenient relative to the size of this camera), usefully-featured and well-labeled.

The M100's Rear Control Dial also mimics the M10's in shape, texture and control layout. I expect it will be difficult to tactilely find the three flush-mounted buttons surrounding the Rear Control Dial, and especially difficult to use them with gloves on.

Canon EOS M100 LCD Open

Big on the back is always the LCD and the M100's LCD is a known entity and very nice. This is Canon's excellent 3" (7.5cm) Clear View LCD II monitor, featuring capacitive touch and high resolution with approx. 1,040,000 dots.

Canon EOS M100 LCD Open Upward

This LCD tilts 180° upward. A benefit of this type of tilting LCD (vs. the side-pivoting Vari-Angle feature found on many EOS DSLRs) is that it does not interfere with cables attached to the left side. A benefit from tilting 180° up (vs. the M5's tilting 180° down) is that a tripod does not interfere with visibility of the LCD, making this model better-suited for selfies, including both still and video recording.

The LCD's touch capability provides great control over camera settings. Pinch, tap, double tap, flick, etc. gestures are supported.

Prior to the M5 and M6, all of Canon's EOS camera neck straps threaded through a wide loop on top of the camera. The M5 and M6 utilize a U-shaped wire that attaches to the neck strap with a plastic piece locking the connection in place. The M100 retains the more-conventional neck strap attachment design, again featuring wide loops for the strap to be fed through.

All of Canon's interchangeable lens cameras feature easy-to-use, logically-laid-out menu systems and this one is especially well-suited for the beginner. A series of tabbed menus are especially quickly accessed using the touch screen and the My Menu provides a customizable list of frequently used options, making a typically high percentage of the most-used camera settings available in the same menu.

Top of the Camera

Compared to Canon's other M-series cameras, the top of the M100 could aptly be referred to as "sleek and uncomplicated", again mirroring the M10's design. Omitting a significant number of individually listed modes on the mode dial, an exposure compensation dial and a hot shoe aids in the sleek appearance (at the obvious cost of more easily accessed features).

Camera Top View Comparison

M100 | M10 | M6 | M5 | M3 | M | SL2 | T6 | T7i | T6s | T6i | 80D | 77D

The camera body top view comparison tool allows comparison of many additional Canon EOS models.

Similar to the M10 (though not necessarily precisely-identically placed), the M100 has a mode dial surrounding the on/off button, an LED indicator, a front dial that surrounds the shutter button and a movie button on the right side.

Canon EOS M100 Flash

The M100's microphone ports are located to the left of the mode dial, with the pop-up flash consuming the balance of the real estate further left.

The M100 has a full set of shooting modes, ranging from crazy-easy and smart point-and-shoot mode to fully manual mode with most everything in between covered, including a wide range of special effects that can be applied while shooting. The Hybrid Auto Mode can be used to create a short digest movie of the day by recording 2-4 second clips before each still image capture.

Side of the Camera

The left side of the camera can be seen below.

Camera Side View Comparison

M10 | M | M5 | M3 | SL2 | T6 | T7i | T6i | 77D

From the top down, we find the pop-up flash switch, a port cover containing the A/V digital out and mini-HDMI ports and then the memory cards slot.

The sole feature found on the right side of the camera (not shown) is a speaker.

Notably absent is mic, headphone jack and a remote port, though the camera can be wirelessly remotely controlled via a smartphone or mobile device.

Size of the Camera

Certainly you've been taking notice to how small this camera is relative to the non-M series models being compared. Small size and light weight are hallmarks of the entire EOS M series and this one arrives as the smallest current Canon EOS camera title holder.

ModelBody DimensionsCIPA Weight
Canon EOS M54.6 x 3.5 x 2.4"(115.6 x 89.2 x 60.6mm)15.1 oz (427g)
Canon EOS M64.4 x 2.7 x 1.8"(112.0 x 68.0 x 44.5mm)13.8 oz (390g)
Canon EOS M34.4 x 2.7 x 1.7"(110.9 x 68.0 x 44.4mm)12.9 oz (366g)
Canon EOS M1004.3 x 2.6 x 1.4"(108.2 x 67.1 x 35.1mm)11.3 oz (320g)
Canon EOS M104.3 x 2.6 x 1.4"(108.0 x 66.6 x 35mm)10.6 oz (301g)
Canon EOS M4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3"(108.6 x 66.5 x 32.3mm)10.5 oz (298g)
Canon EOS Rebel SL2 / 200D4.8 x 3.6 x 2.7"(122.4 x 92.6 x 69.8mm)16.0 oz (453g)
Canon EOS Rebel T6i,T6s / 750D,760D5.2 x 4.0 x 3.1"(131.9 x 100.9 x 77.8mm)19.8 oz (560g)
Canon EOS 80D5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1"(139.0 x 105.2 x 78.5mm)25.8 oz (730g)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II5.9 x 4.4 x 3.1"(148.6 x 112.4 x 78.2mm)32.1 oz (910g)
Canon EOS 6D5.7 x 4.4 x 2.8"(144.5 x 110.5 x 71.2mm)26.6 oz (755g)
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV5.9 x 4.6 x 3.0"(150.7 x 116.4 X 75.9mm)31.4 oz (890g)
Canon EOS 5Ds / 5Ds R6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0"(152 x 116.4 x 76.4mm)32.8 oz (930g)
Sony a7R II5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4"(126.9 × 95.7 x 60.3mm)22.0 oz (625g)
View the full Canon EOS M5 specifications to compare additional cameras.

As you can see from above, the EOS M100 is basically the same size as the M10 but 0.7 oz (19g) heavier. When the absolute smallest option is needed, these models may be the best choice. However, the increased grip size found on the M6, M5 and M3 make them much easier to hold onto and, if much time is spent with the camera in hand, those particular models are a likely a better choice for this reason alone. The additional controls found on the slightly larger models are further reason to consider taking the modest size hit.

Build Quality

All models in the entire current Canon EOS line (and most discontinued models as well) feature very nice build quality and even the least expensive models appear this way. I expect construction to be tight with dials and buttons that assuredly click affirmation of use. As usual for EOS models, Canon has ergonomically rounded most of the camera and especially the areas intended to be gripped are void of sharp corners. Unless the retro look is what you are going for, you will likely find this design aesthetically pleasing and kind to your hands.

While Canon does not advertise significant weather sealing and robust construction for this model, it should be built like the class-similar models and that means it should not be fragile.

Additional Features

Like many of Canon's recently released EOS model, the M100 has built-in Wi-Fi, NFC (Near Field Communications) and low-energy Bluetooth.

These technologies provide easy transfer of images and movies to compatible devices. Transfer images and movies to smartphones and tablets, to web services such as Canon's Image Gateway, to media players such as DLNA-compatible TVs, to PictBridge-compatible printers, to the Canon Connect Station CS100 photo and video storage and sharing device or send them directly to another Canon Wi-Fi-compatible camera.

Smartphone and tablets connect using Canon's free Camera Connect app. In addition to transferring movies and still images, this app provides some remote camera control features and provides a live view display of the scene. Camera Connect has a lot of untapped potential with the current feature set being somewhat basic at review time.

Bluetooth is a relatively new EOS technology feature, but this implementation seems to be less capable than previous versions. While other Canon EOS cameras featuring Bluetooth can be remotely controlled via the BR-E1 Wireless Remote Control, the M100's user manual does not mention compatibility with the device. Instead, Bluetooth on the M100 can be used as a wireless remote release using Canon Camera Connect, simply initiating a still photo capture or starting and stopping movie recording.

Now common is for Canon's latest EOS DSLRs to feature built in RAW conversion to JPG, complete with many adjustments available for doing so and the M100 once again supports this feature. While shooting in RAW format insures the highest image quality, this file format is not so welcomed by many of the wirelessly-connected devices. With built-in RAW conversion, you can photograph in RAW format, create a JPG file and then wirelessly transfer it.

Note that this camera does not feature a built-in GPS. The Canon Connect App is able to serve as a GPS logger, though battery drain will be high on the logging device.

Canon EOS M100 No Lens

The EOS M100 has a self-cleaning sensor system, referred to as the EOS integrated cleaning system. I dislike imaging sensor dust greatly and similarly dislike cleaning imaging sensors. That the EOS integrated cleaning systems typically perform their job very well, keeping sensors clean, is both a time-saving and image-quality-improving asset. If cleaning is needed, the lens can simply be removed and, without a mirror or shutter in the way and with a shallow lens mount depth, the imaging sensor is right there, easily accessible for cleaning.

Battery

The M100 utilizes the LP-E12 lithium ion battery pack, the same battery used by the original EOS M and the Rebel SL1.

This battery is quite small, light and convenient. But, in a mirrorless camera, this battery's approx. 295 shots rating is unlikely to impress you. There are many factors that affect battery life (including drive mode, flash use and temperature), but enabling the M100's Eco Mode extends the rating to a more-palatable 410 shots. The key is to take enough charged batteries with you to satisfy your needs (and keep an eye on the 4-step battery level indicator to make sure the battery change happens at a convenient time).

If an electrical outlet is available, the Canon CA-PS700 AC Adapter will provide continuous power to the M100.

Accessories

When you buy a Canon EOS camera, you are buying into an incredible family of lenses, flashes and other accessories. The camera body (or multiple bodies) is the base your system is built on and a lens is the next essential piece of kit.

Canon EOS M100 with EF-M 15-45mm Lens

For most, this will be a starter camera and with that mindset, a body-only version of the M100 is not currently available. The Canon EOS M100 is available in a kit (white or black with 9 jackets reportedly becoming available in wide range of colors) with the very small Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens as seen above or in a kit bundled with both the 15-45 and the EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens.

Those opting to purchase the M100 are likely choosing it in part because of its small size, decent feature set and [expected] great image quality. To realize the great image quality requires a high quality lens. The APS-C image sensor is large and large imaging sensors require a large image circle to cover them. This means that lenses, at least those with wide apertures, may not be able to scale down relative to this camera's size.

Canon's EF-M Lenses are very compact and they are all good choices for this camera. I appreciated the 15-45 lens' smaller retracted size and wider angle of view compared to the EF-M 18-55mm lenses I have on my M and M3 and the focal length range of the EF-M 18-150 is really nice (though the image quality is not). To remain as similarly compact as the M cameras, the currently available EF-M lenses have narrow max apertures with one exception – the Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Lens pancake-style lens. And, that lens is a very attractive option for this camera.

Via the EF-EOS M Adapter, all of Canon lenses (EF-S, EF, TS-E and MP-E) can be mounted on all of the M models. While only a small percentage of these lenses retain the small size and light weight spirit of the Ms, having them available is a big asset, especially for those already having (or planning to have) a larger EOS model in their kits.

The Canon EOS M100 is not compatible with Canon's small, inexpensive Canon wireless remotes, and there's no indication that its compatible with the relatively new BR-E1 Bluetooth Wireless Remote either. Instead, Canon is currently relying on mobile devices (connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) to serve users' remote control needs.

Browse the reviews section of the site to find many more compatible accessories including tripods & heads and much more.

Price

The M100 falls just below the EOS M6 and its price and feature set reflects this status. It has been designed to fill the needs novice to mid-level photographers, and to that end the M100 will likely prove more than adequate. Compare the M100 to similarly equipped DSLRs such as the Rebel SL2 and it begins to appear especially-nicely priced.

Wrap Up

Reviewing one of the feature-filled EOS cameras currently hitting the streets is a daunting, time-consuming effort. One could write many books about using this camera and getting the most from it. Hopefully I've given you the basics needed for decision making.

To dig deeper into this camera's capabilities, I recommend reading the owner's manual (a link to the owner's manual appears at the beginning of this review). I know, there are a LOT of pages in the manual, but ... the pages are small in size with big print. The manual will tell you all about a huge array of features not even mentioned in this review – including lens aberration correction.

Owning a Canon product gives you access to Canon support and the support I have been provided by Canon's USA division is excellent (sorry, I have no experience with the other Canon divisions). When I call for support, I get an intelligent person who sincerely wants to help me with whatever my question or problem is (I do give them challenges sometimes). Canon repair service, though I seldom need it, is very fast and reliable.

The EOS M100 used for this review will be retail-acquired.

Alternatives

Should I get the Canon EOS M100? That is of course the key question to answer in a review and, yes, this camera may very potentially be the right one for you. But, alternatives should always be considered.

One alternative remaining in Canon's current lineup (for the short term) is the EOS M10, the model being replaced by the M100. Check out the Canon EOS M100 vs. M10 specification comparison to get the full story, but below are the primary differences between the EOS M100 and EOS M10:

  • 24.2 MP Dual Pixel CMOS sensor vs. 18.0 MP traditional CMOS sensor
  • 3-axis Digital IS vs. none
  • 6.1 fps, 21 RAW buffer vs. 4.6 fps, 7 RAW
  • Wi-Fi, NFC & Bluetooth vs. Wi-Fi & NFC only
  • 295 shot battery life vs. 255
  • 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4" (108.2 x 67.1 x 35.1mm), 11.29 oz (320g) vs. 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4" (108 x 66.6 x 35mm), 10.6 oz (301g)
  • The M10 is less expensive

The M100 is the successor to the M10, with the higher resolution Dual Pixel CMOS sensor representing the most significant upgrade and it is a big one. Many will also appreciate the better burst rate and buffer performance of the M100.

Another alternative is the EOS M6, the next higher current model. Check out the Canon EOS M100 vs. M6 specification comparison to fully compare these cameras, but here is a list of primary differences between the EOS M6 and EOS M100:

  • Flash hotshoe vs. none
  • Optional electronic viewfinder EVF-DC1, EVF-DC2 vs. none
  • 7 fps vs. 6.1
  • Highlight alert vs. none
  • 4.4 x 2.7 x 1.8" (112.0 x 68.0 x 44.5mm), 13.8 oz (390g) vs. 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4" (108.2 x 67.1 x 35.1mm), 11.29oz (320g)
  • Compatible with E3-type, IR, BR-E1 and mobile device remote control vs. mobile device only
  • The M100 is less expensive

These two cameras are somewhat similar and the decision for most will come down to the factors listed above. The M6's hotshoe would make it my preferred choice between the two cameras, but if auxiliary flash support is unimportant to you, the M100 may prove the worthwhile option for the lower price point.

Next up on the alternative list is a conventional DSLR, but ... which one? The site's specifications tool is the place to compare all of these, but I'm going to pick the Canon EOS Rebel SL2 vs. M100 comparison to dive into here. Here are some of the EOS Rebel SL2 vs. M100 differentiators:

  • Optical viewfinder vs. none
  • Flash hotshoe vs. none
  • 9 pt AF system vs. 49
  • EV -0.5 - 18 AF working range vs. EV -1 - 18 AF
  • AWB (white or ambience priority) vs. AWB (ambience only)
  • Vari-angle LCD vs. LCD with 180-degree tilt
  • 9.8m built-in flash GN vs. 5
  • 5 fps, 6 RAW buffer vs. 6.1 fps, 21 RAW
  • 650 shot battery life vs. 295
  • Compatible with E3-type, BR-E1 and mobile device remotes vs. mobile device remote control only
  • Compatible with EF, EF-S, TS-E & MP-E lenses vs. EF-M (EF, EF-S, TS-E & MP-E with adapter)
  • 4.8 x 3.7 x 2.8" (122.4 x 92.6 x 69.8mm), 15.98 oz (453g) vs. 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4" (108.2 x 67.1 x 35.1mm), 11.29oz (320g)

Those wanting to minimize the size and weight of their kit will ultimately prefer the M100, while those who want more natively compatible lenses, a conventional optical viewfinder and a larger grip will opt for the SL2.

Canon EOS M100 Front

Summary

From an exciting brand-new features perspective, the Canon EOS M100 is going to turn few heads. However, the existing features packaged into this tiny camera combined with a very-attractive price will.

Among the most-attracted to the M100 will be those misled by promises of great image quality from their phones or simply those growing dissatisfied by the same. Once phone images are viewed on a full-sized monitor, most will likely be disappointed, discovering that the purported great image quality doesn't meet their own definition. The large, high resolution APS-C format imaging sensor in the M100 will, especially in low light, far surpass the abilities of any mobile phone in existence.

The small size and weight combined with a very adequate feature set makes this camera a perfect travel companion. The M100 has the same excellent AF system found in the M6 (intelligent, quickly controllable and good speed) and features some nice upgrades from the M10. While a complete beginner can employ this camera to capture high quality images with little effort, the camera's controls provide a solid path for advancement in photography skills. The EOS M100's size, weight and price benefits will surely make it an intriguing option for those seeking impressive results via a minimal kit.

If you have been waiting to jump into a Canon MILC and an APS-C sensor format works for you, the EOS M100 could be an ideal choice. "An easy-to-use yet powerful camera, the EOS M100 is an excellent choice for those looking to step up from smartphone photography, offering the versatility of interchangeable lenses, optical zoom and the latest imaging technology, without sacrificing size, style or the ability to share instantly." [Canon]

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My Recommended Canon EOS M100 Retailers

Where you buy your gear matters. You expect to get what you ordered and you want to pay a low price for it. The retailers I recommend below are the ones I trust for my own purchases. Get your Canon EOS M100 now from:

B&H Photo
Adorama
Amazon.com
eBay (Choose trustworthy sellers only)
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