Canon EOS M100 Review

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 its also bottom-of-the-line price. 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 equals the best-available APS-C EOS models. As mentioned, Canon's Dual Pixel AF performs excellently. AF performance is of utmost importance for image quality and this one maximizes 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" coming 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 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 so difficult to understand. What comes next remains a question as the M6 replacement may require the "Mark" moniker.

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 and mirrorless 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.

The EOS M100 image quality is essentially the same as the image quality produced by the 80D, 77D, Rebel T7i/800D, EOS M5, and EOS M6. That is no surprise as all have the same sensor technology.

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 vast 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, you will surely be disappointed. If you are fine with your memories looking OK only when viewed on tiny 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 the cameras listed in the chart above.

While the EOS M3 shares this megapixel count, it does not have the imaging sensor-based 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 was that the M100 would produce identical results to the EOS M6 and I think that it does.

Note that I usually compare resolution at this point, but without a hot shoe to support an accessory flash, we could not perform our standard enhanced ISO 12233 test. But, the results would be the same as with the M6, so use the M6 results for your resolution comparisons. This is a good time to build your own camera resolution and noise comparisons. Use one of the just-provided links to get started. I suggest using f/5.6 for the aperture in the resolution comparisons.

With 24.2 mp APS-C 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/M100 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 a 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 increased noise is to be expected. Fortunately, gains continue to be made in this regard and this imaging sensor brought improvements over it predecessor. With the same imaging sensor as M6, I expected similar noise levels in M100 images and those expectations were met.

Canon EOS M100 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 M100 vs. M6 comparison in a new tab. Many additional comparisons are available in the noise tool. Find the camera you are familiar with and compare it to the M100. Unless it was a recently introduced model, you will not likely find an APS-C model matching 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 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 M100's ISO 100 results are very clean – this is the norm for all EOS cameras. Noise levels steadily increase as higher ISO settings are used until I reach my personal APS-C 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.

I included a set of Canon Digital Photo Pro default noise reduction results for the M6 in the noise tool. Noise reduction is available in a variety of strengths in-camera or during post processing and the M100 would be similar to the M6 results. 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. As with the amount of sharpness applied, you can adjust noise reduction to your personal preference.

The M100 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. Perhaps an extremely dark still scene could benefit from this technique.

From a dynamic range perspective, performance is similar to the 80D, equaling Canon's best APS-C performance to date.

The M100 proves that reduced size and weight need not result in sacrificed image quality.

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 camera body.

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(24.2)34.034.835.737.238.940.743.545.550.9    
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.

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 AF 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 FPS 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.

Using an only moderately-fast SDXC card in One Shot AF mode (to get the max frame rate), the EOS M100 repeatedly captured 21 RAW frames in 3.27 seconds until filling the buffer for a 6.1 fps rate, matching the rated drive speed. Using this card, an additional frame was captured roughly every .6 seconds after the buffer filled. The lens cap remained on for this testing (insuring a black file and the smallest file size). In Servo AF mode, the frame rate slowed as advertised, with the EOS M100 capturing 23 RAW frames in 5.49 seconds until filling the buffer for a 4.2 fps experienced rate.

Your in-the-field results will likely vary and the speed of the memory card may yield a difference. Regardless, I find the RAW buffer capacity to be very nice.

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 heard at the end of the exposure), the perception (vs. reality) of the shutter lag duration is increased. Regardless, this camera is quite responsive.

The M-series cameras are very quiet to use. The quietness feature is welcomed by photographers who want to avoid attention, such as when they are photographing wildlife or a quiet event. Following are links to MP3 files illustarting the M100's shutter sounds.

Canon EOS M100 One Shot Mode
Canon EOS M100 One Shot AF Mode
Canon EOS M100 Servo AF Burst Mode

Camera sounds are recorded using a Tascam DR-07mkII Portable Digital Audio Recorder with record levels set to 50% at -12db gain and positioned 1" behind the rear LCD.

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.

The M100's AF system performs similarly 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. As with the M5 and M6, all AF modes work very well, and the face detection tracking combined with the ability to influence which face is selected is especially impressive.

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.

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

Movie recording modes are fully automatic or manual, giving you full control over the settings used.

Recently introduced video features such as HDR and Creative Filter capture have been omitted from the M100 (their use is limited to Stills mode), but Time-Lapse Movie creation is supported.

Time-Lapse Movie mode was first introduced in the EOS 5Ds / 5Ds R and was later included in the EOS 80D. However, the time-lapse movie feature implemented in the EOS M6 is slightly different. Time-lapse movies can be created only in Movie mode and are enabled via the camera's menu system along with the time-lapse variables, scene preset, shooting interval, exposure preferences (fixed/variable) and number of shots. As you would expect, the recording session time will be dictated by the shooting interval and number of shots, but surprising is that the maximum recording time will be limited by the Shooting Scene preset specified. For instance, the max recording time with the Scene 1 preset is 1 hour, while Scene 2 and 3 allow for a max recording time of 2 hours. With the Custom Scene setting chosen, a recording time up to 7.5 hours is available.

Sound recording is not available during Time-Lapse Movie capture. Time-lapse movies are recorded in .MP4 format at 1080p, 30 or 25fps.

Movies that have been recorded can be compressed via the menu system by sacrificing frame rate and/or resolution.

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. This system offers one of three settings (Enabled, Enhanced and Disabled), providing stabilization for non-stabilized lenses or increasing 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 other options 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 is highly advantageous for certain video 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 M100

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. 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 are conveniently placed (at least convenient relative to the size of this camera), usefully-featured and well-labeled.

The M100's Rear Control, mimicking the M10's in shape, texture and control layout, looks like a dial but functions like cross-keys. The buttons are all raised just enough to be tactilely findable.

Canon EOS M100 LCD Open

Big on the back is always the LCD and the M100's LCD is a familiar 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 capture.

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. The M100 receives a minimalistic set of menu options, most notably lacking the My Menu option which provides a customizable list of frequently used options, making a typically high percentage of the most-used camera settings available in the same menu.

While not a button or control, the thumb rest is a back of the camera feature that is worth mentioning. While small, the pad and slight hook in shape make the camera substantially easier to hold onto.

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. All of the top controls are conveniently-placed for easy reach.

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

M100 | 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 card slot. A slight cut-out on the left side of the LCD provides fingernail access to these covers. Open the LCD and finger tip access becomes available.

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

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

Size of the Camera

Certainly you've been taking notice of 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 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. Alternatively, 9 face jackets are reportedly available (or becoming so) for the M100 and these feature an enlarged grip.

Build Quality

All models in the entire current Canon EOS line (and most discontinued models as well) feature very nice build quality, including even the least expensive models. Construction is 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 at the same time.

While Canon does not advertise significant weather sealing and robust construction for this model, it is built like the class-similar models and that means it is not 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 to a device such as your phone.

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. This EOS integrated cleaning system has performed its job very well, keeping the sensor clean, which 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 in white or black 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 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. The focal length range of the EF-M 18-150 is really nice, though image quality is not its forte. 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 M-series cameras, 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 it is 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.

Notably missing on the M100's compatible accessories list is an electronic viewfinder. The lack of a hot shoe is likely part of the reason for this omission, but ... I struggle to use the LCD for composition under bright sunlight and would appreciated having an EVF at least optionally available. A third party LCD loupe is an option.

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 of novice to mid-level photographers, and to that goal 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 mentioned in this review – including lens aberration correction. Note that the M100's owner's manual is a bit different than we are used to seeing for EOS cameras. Like the M100, it is simplified (or at least attempted to be such) and lacking the nitty-gritty details usually provided.

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 was 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 rather 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 itself worth 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 or otherwise used to create modestly large prints, 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.

Canon EOS M100 Graffiti Sample Picture

This graffiti image was captured handheld at 35mm, f/5.6, 1/60 ISO 1600.

The small size and weight combined with a very adequate feature set makes this camera a perfect travel companion.

Canon EOS M100 One World Trade Center Transportation Through Oculus Roof Sample Picture

One World Trade Center as seen through the roof of the Oculus captured handheld at 28mm, f/5.0, 1/50, ISO 100.

I have carried this camera an entire day at the PhotoPlus Expo and later around New York City.

Canon EOS M100 World Trade Center Transportation Hub Sample Picture

World Trade Center Transportation Hub captured at 94mm, f/8.0, 6 sec, ISO 100.

I have had the M100 on several-mile trail runs, to Shenandoah National Park and along with me to family events including cutting down the Christmas tree. In all cases, I barely knew it was there and the images captured along the way were very nice.

Canon EOS M100 Shenandoah National Park Turnout Sample Picture

Shenandoah National Park turnout captured at 15mm, f/8, 1/400, ISO 100.

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 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera 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]

Bringing you this site is my full-time job (typically 60-80 hours per week). Thus, I depend solely on the commissions received from you using the links on this site to make any purchase. I am grateful for your support! - Bryan

Buy Now  ►  I highly recommend B&H Photo – Shopping here supports this site!

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
Beach Camera or BuyDig.com
the Canon Store (new or refurbished)
eBay (Choose trustworthy sellers only)
* Buy Now - $50.00 - $170.00 rebate available from Feb 18 - Mar 3
(Using the links on this site to make any purchase provides support for this site)
The Tip Jar
This site and my family depend on your support. Can you help right now?

Please share this page!

More Canon EOS M100 Related Information
Feedback
Help  |  © 2018 The Digital Picture, LLC  |  Bryan CarnathanPowered By Christ!