Canon EOS M10 Review

Introduction

Even with the number of smartphones on today’s market packing more and more features, compact cameras are still the way forward for those looking for more from their cameras. Initially released in the fall of 2015, Canon’s EOS M10 is Canon’s third entry-level mirrorless camera.

And it’s a camera they aim squarely at beginners and newcomers looking for an upgrade in quality over their smartphones. Or, perhaps, users without much experience wanting an introductory unit that provides greater capabilities compared to a point & shoot camera. And for these demographics, this camera aims to be the perfect fit.

It’s taken quite some time for Canon to get the hang of mirrorless, as the original EOS M was quite underwhelming. However, this installment promises significant improvements over its predecessor’s weaknesses. In many respects, this camera is a similar, but stripped down, version of their higher-end EOS M3. But, that has provided the benefit of making the camera more affordable and now ideally suited to take on Sony’s a5000, Olympus’ E-PL7, Fujifilm X-T10, and Nikon’s 1 J5. Today, we assess its strengths, weaknesses, and answer whether it’s still a relevant contender today.

canon-m10-camera-specs

What are some of the goods, bads, and uglies of the Canon EOS M10?

Pros:

Image Quality

It features an 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor and the Digic 6 image processor, a similar configuration to the Rebel T5i SLR. While its sensor is smaller than the 24MP sensor the M3 features, it remains sufficiently large to provide exceptional details. And overall, it is a surprisingly capable sensor squeezed into a camera of this size. It delivers a good dynamic range, and images provide excellent contrast and plenty of fine details. The results are sharp and deliver Canon’s pleasing aesthetic with natural color reproduction. And, in many respects, the image quality is directly on par with Canon’s larger DSLRs, without their extra bulk and weight.

It provides continuous shooting speeds of up to 4.6 fps without AF or 2.2 fps with AF, reasonably good rates for this class. And the camera offers a 6 shot RAW or an 80+ JPEG buffer with no signs of slowing.

Video Quality

It records 1080p full HD video up to 30 fps and 720p HD video up to 60 fps in the highly-friendly MP4 format. The video quality is good, though it isn’t’ extraordinary. It closely matches the footage captured on most smartphones today, though it provides better dynamic range. However, considering the cameras added versatility and larger capabilities, it’s excellent, particularly so for those who are vloggers. And unlike most comparable point & shoot cameras in this price range, this camera features full manual control over exposure during video recording. And it also offers a dedicated video record button, removing the need to swap settings entirely.

Do know, recording times are limited to 29 minutes and 59 seconds, the standard time limit for this class of camera.

Low Light Performance

It features a native ISO range from 100 to 12,800, further expandable to 25,600. And low light performance is good for this class of camera and sensor combination. Users can expect usable images up to ISO 3,200 and videos up to ISO 1,600.

Focusing Performance

It features a 49-point hybrid phase-detection AF system, which combines both contrast and phase-detection for added accuracy. The system also brings along with it Face+Tracking Priority AF, allowing the camera to recognize and track faces during movement.

Unlike some cameras in this class, it also features the focus peaking, a helpful aid when manually focusing to better gauge critical focus.

Display & Viewfinder

It features a 3.0-inch TFT 180º flip-up touchscreen, making the camera well suited for self-composed videos, selfies, and vlogging. This articulation also helps for low-angle shots and provides excellent versatility when shooting at uncommon angles. The screen offers a resolution of 1.04M dots, a nice touch over the 460K dot panels typically found on cameras in this range. Overall, it delivers excellent viewing angles, sharpness, and ample brightness to see outdoors on a sunny day. Since it’s a touchscreen, it also supports touch focus, touch shutter, touch gestures, and menu navigation. Canon has optimized the camera well for this style of input, and the screen is incredibly responsive.

User Interface

The camera features Canon’s standard user interface and menus. However, Canon has updated the menus slightly to make them easier to understand for first time users. And, overall, the changes are subtle but make the interface better organized, and intuitive. Both newcomers to the system and existing Canon shooters will find this camera easily mastered and straightforward to navigate. With the addition of a touchscreen, the camera now provides full menu navigation via touch, which works well and considerably speeds up workflow. The camera also offers the full suite of manual controls and operations, which makes it well-suited for those who are new but want to advance quickly.

It also features the Q button, which launches the on-screen Quick Menu, displaying a list of all critical shooting parameters on a single page.

Physical Layout & Ergonomics

As expected, the build quality isn’t as robust as Canon’s higher-end bodies, and the camera is composed primarily of polycarbonate plastic. The camera is smaller than some of its competition in this class, weighing only 265 g body only. But, despite its all-plastic construction and small size, the camera features a rubber and embossed grip to aid in comfort while shooting, though the grip is rather small. But, surprisingly, the camera remains well-balanced, reasonably comfortable. And, overall, it manages to provide a good hefty weight to it and feels sturdy in hand.

Canon has also kept the number of physical controls on the camera quite low and minimal. However, it works in its favor to provide a clean, unobtrusive layout, making the interface straightforward and less intimidating to new users. All of the controls are easily reached and offer a nice tactile feel. As this is Canon’s entry-level offering, it lacks some of the quick access dials and customization found on the higher-end EOS M6 camera for changing shooting or exposure settings. Instead, these settings are changed through the touch interface.

However, it does offer a paired down three-position mode dial and a dedicated video record button. It also features an adjustment dial that surrounds the shutter button, allowing users to adjust either shutter speed or aperture quickly. And it offers a dedicated smartphone connect button for immediate access to this functionality.

Niche Features/Extras

It features a built-in pop-up flash.

It features built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, allowing users to connect the camera to a smartphone or tablet. Once connected, you can remotely control the camera and take photos, or remotely transfer photos for sharing online. You can also add location and GPS data to photos using the app as well.

It features Highlight Tone Priority, which focuses the exposure metering to preserve highlights to avoid exposure clipping.

Cons:

Video Capabilities

The camera uses sharpness filtering, which causes moiré and artifacts during video recording, in certain scenes. However, in day to day shooting, this shouldn’t be enough to ruin the footage. It’s more of a note.

It lacks slow-motion video recording in 1080p, be it 60 fps or 120 fps. If you desire slow motion, you will have to film at 720p HD to do so.

Autofocus Performance

Unfortunately, the autofocusing performance on this camera isn’t great. Now and again, the focusing speed slows dramatically, causing the camera to hunt and slows workflow. This slowdown was a problem that plagued the previous EOS M cameras as well. And, overall, the speed and accuracy of focusing are inconsistent, even more so when the scenes are complex. Compared to modern mirrorless cameras in this price range, the speed is quite slow. And the continuous autofocusing on this camera, in particular, is virtually unusable, so manual focusing for video is best. Thankfully the camera features focus peaking, so you can easily master this process. In short, while Canon has improved the autofocusing performance in this line, it still lags far behind the competition.

Battery Life

Battery life isn’t’ great. Canon rates it’s LP-E12 battery to deliver 255 shots per charge, which is far below the 350 shot industry-standard. Extra batteries are required.

Display

Like other EOS M cameras, this camera also lacks an electronic viewfinder. Without a viewfinder, it means you will compose and navigate the camera solely with the rear screen alone. And sadly, since this camera lacks a hot shoe, users can’t connect an external viewfinder to this camera either.

Ergonomics

As the camera is quite compact, it will be uncomfortable to hold during prolonged shooting for those with larger hands as it’s grip is rather shallow.

The camera also lacks weather-sealing though we expect this as it’s an entry-level camera.

Lacking Features

Unlike the EOS M3, this camera lacks a hot shoe, which means users cannot add external flash units, microphones, or other accessories to the camera.

It lacks a headphone input.

It lacks a microphone input. And sadly, when coupled with the missing hot shoe, it means users will have to use an external recorder and rely on syncing the audio in post for better audio capture.

The camera doesn’t offer ISO increments in ⅓ steps. Instead, it only provides full-stop incremental, which means adjusting exposure isn’t as precise when using ISO alone, a standard Canon limitation. Canon only offers this feature on their double-digit SLRs like the 70D or higher-end mirrorless cameras like the M5.

It doesn’t support USB charging.

The overall processing performance isn’t as responsive as it should be. Start-up times are slow, as well as focusing and image capture. Overall, the camera is noticeably sluggish compared to the competition.

Currently, the EF-M lens lineup remains limited and lackluster, a problem faced by all EOS-M cameras up until this point. Even considering how much time has passed, Canon still neglects this lineup of lenses. As of today, only eight lenses are available, none of which are fast or exciting. Thankfully, as this particular camera is marketed at the entry-level segment, unlike the EOS M3 and M5, the current lens selection is sufficient. But, Canon seriously needs to devote more resources to the development of this lineup. For more lenses, the EF-M adapter is necessary.

Is this a good beginner camera?

Yes.

It makes for an excellent beginner’s camera. However, it faces some rather fierce competition, even within Canon’s lineup, namely the EOS M50 and M100. Nevertheless, it remains a capable option for beginners looking for an easy to use and straightforward first camera.

What are the best lenses & bundles for the Canon EOS M10?

EF-M Adapter:

Canon EOS M Mount Adapter

General Photography: 

EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM

Macro Photography:

EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM

Landscape & Astrophotography Photography:

EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM

Portrait Photography:

EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM
EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM

Sports & Wildlife Photography:

EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM

Product & Still Life Photography:

EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM

Extra Batteries:

LP-E12 Battery

SD Cards:

SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB
SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB 
SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB 

Tripod:

Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum 5-Section Tripod

Is this a good camera for you?

Possibly.

For those looking for a decent video camera or a hybrid shooter, know this camera is capable. However, you will have to come to terms with the lack of a microphone input and missing hot shoe. Without these features, you only have two options for audio capture. Either use the internal microphones or use an external recorder. Using an external recorder is the preferred option. However, it adds a layer of complexity to your workflow, and it isn’t ideal for beginners. Otherwise, this camera remains capable for the price.

In the end, Canon’s EOS M10 has a lot more in common with the original EOS M, than their more advanced EOS M3. And while it shares a similar sensor and straightforward layout, it inherits several critical improvements from the pricier M3. In this case, its faster autofocusing system and wireless connectivity. And, in many respects, we can forgive it for the missing viewfinder, hot shoe, and added physical controls, given its entry-level audience. While it may lack any headline-grabbing or award-winning features, it remains capable as an all-rounder. And it makes the process of capturing high-quality images both fast and easy, making it ideally suited for the beginner audience the camera aims.

However, it’s autofocus remains behind the curve in the mirrorless domain. While Canon has improved over the years between the release of this camera, its improvements show only a modest gain. In short, if this is all you can afford right now, it’s more than capable. However, its successor, the newer M100, offers a better package for only slightly more and is the better camera. And by itself, the M10 is competent but isn’t quite as strong as the competition.

Overview
  • Image Quality
  • Video Quality
  • Focusing Performance
  • Low Light Performance
  • Dynamic Range
  • Battery Performance
  • Display & Viewfinder
  • User Interface
  • Physical Layout & Ergonomics
3.1

Summary

Canon’s EOS M10 has much in common with the original EOS M, both sharing many of the same internals and physical layout. While it offers improvements in autofocus and wireless connectivity, it faces fierce competition in today’s age. And, sadly, it makes a difficult choice to recommend over much of the competition. While it’s a capable camera if this is all a beginner can afford right now. The truth is that its successor makes for the better option, given its marginal price difference, if this is a camera you’re seriously considering.