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Inspiration Matters More Than Gear (oh, really?)

Brooklyn Bridge, NYC. Shot with an EOS M and EF-M 11-22mm

Just to digress from the usual deals and news hunting. It’s about the Canon EOS M. Sort of defence of.

These little APS-C cam never received the merits it deserves, for a lot of reasons. No industry-standard auto-focus before the firmware update, poor marketing (does Canon believe in mirrorless?), a wave of harsh critics that missed the strong points of Canon’s first mirrorless system camera: A magnesium alloy body, excellent build quality, even more the image quality, very small size and light weight, well thought and super-usable touch screen interface, adapter for the whole line-up of Canon’s world leading EF and EF-S lenses line-up. Do you think that’s nothing. Well, no, it’s a lot. And it was the reason I was among the first to get an EOS M. I own all three lenses, and the adapter, and I just love this little camera.

The EF-M 11-22mm IS STM (price & specs) is my favourite toy for the time being (I love super wide angle lenses), followed by the sharp EF-M 22mm f/2 STM (price & specs). The lens I use less is the EF-M 18-55mm IS STM (price & specs). Not because it is not well performing, it’s because I have more fun with the other two.

Not all of the EOS M is to my full satisfaction. More annoying of anything else: I miss the optical view finder. I am not smartphone generation. I like taking pictures with my Galaxy S3 but do not feel comfortable with just a display when I am seriously into photography. For me the biggest drawback of the EOS M has always been the lack of a viewfinder – not the auto-focus. Battery time also is not great, I always have a spare battery with me.

The AF is poor? Anyone told you it is? Ask them if they ever used it. Ok, it’s not industry leading, but after the firmware update it is perfectly usable. It makes no sense to measure the EOS M in terms of sport photography or shots that happen in similar settings. The worst of the EOS M’s AF is the tracking. But then: for fast moving subjects I bet there is almost no one who uses a mirrorless camera instead of a DSLR. So the question is: how often do you shot a flying eagle, a running mountain lion, or whatever moves to or by you with a fast pace? Ok, you have childs that never sit still -this could be an issue. As I wrote before, for me AF has never been a serious issue, your mileage may vary. AF is very accurate btw.

So why all these writing? Simple: I stumbled over the pic above, one of the many I shot while travelling the US, and it drove me into the ideas I wrote down. The mantra “the best camera is the one you have with you” is well known to anyone of us. When I saw the picture I thought I may let my Canon EOS 70D I carry around all time at home and instead take the smart, light weighted  EOS M which doesn’t really need a bag to be carried around and always shots DSLR quality images. Ok, will miss the view finder but I may give it another try. It’s not to say that the pic above is a masterpiece (it definitely is not), it is to say that you can shot a cool picture, or a picture you will like and be happy with, without having to worry about gear. The pic above would look the same if it was show with the EOS 70D, the 6D or the 5D Mark III. It’s about having the tool (the camera) with you when you need it.

It’s my hope that Canon will once more try to make a mirrorless camera that will excite us, I mean something that shows what Canon can do (when they want). They gave us Dual Pixel AF on the EOS 70D, a real technological innovation and a game changer. This is a sensor technology Canon can not avoid to put into a mirrorless camera – it’s made for such cameras. Besides all rumours about the next EOS M, there will be an EOS M2 and Dual Pixel AF will for sure be built in. That’s granted. Oh, Canon, and, please, also a viewfinder.

Keep on shooting.

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