Recently I bought a Canon EOS-M. Why? You might ask. Well very simple because it was deadcheap! Selling for only € 227,- body, with 18-55 mm and flash speedlite 90EX, I couldn't resist it. Canon had the guts to ask € 849,- for only the body-lens combo at the introduction back in 2012. Now it's € 622,- cheaper with the flash for free! Of course the introduction price was insane. Way overpriced! But € 227,- is ok for this point-and-shoot with APS-C image quality...
The good thing about the EOS-M is that it isn't that bad at all. The bad thing is that it isn't very good either. What's not so good? Well you might allready have heard about it: there's no built in viewfinder, no built in flash and worst: AF is slow. Even the latest firmware update doesn't improve AF very much.
The good is Image Quality. You get top of the bill Canon APS-C image quality for the price of a point and shoot. Besides that I've experienced the touchscreen on the back works remarkably well. I was rather sceptic about the lack of wheels and buttons on the 'M'. But I found myself getting used to the touchscreen very fast. What the heck! I use a touchscreen on my smartphone and tablet a thousand times a day. How could I be so naive?
Even with the slow AF the 'M' is perfect for street photography. Just turn to manual focus and use the hyperfocal distance. Put on the 22 mm (35 mm fullframe equivalent), focus manual to 2 m: and at f 8 everything from 1.3 to 5 m will be in focus.
Then to the second part of this blog: the camera makers perspective. Why does Canon introduce a crippled mirrorless camera like the 'M'?
It think that Canon is afraid to hinder SLR sales in the lower end range. If they introduce an APS-C mirrorless system as good as Sony did, or Panasonic and Olympus for micro fourthirds, the sales of cheaper SLR's might drop. And it's the large quantity sales of the lower end SLR's that make the money. This fear might be very real. Look at Sony. At the lower 'SLR'-end the only camera left is the A58 from early 2013. On the other hand if the new mirrorless system would have been really good, sales in this segment could have compensated for the drop in SLR sales.
So all in all I can only conclude that the 'M' is a half hearted attempt of Canon to explore the mirrorless market. Not wanting to hinder SLR sales and not investing too much in innovation by taking the EOS 650D, remove the mirrobox and transform it into a mirrorless. Canon chose the safe and easy way. This all resulted in a false start in the mirrorless league.... at least at a + € 800,- pricepoint. At € 227,- it's a different story alltogether ;-)