With offerings from competitors including Nikon, Panasonic, Olympus, Samsung and Sony already on the market - some for a couple of years now - it was only a matter of time before Canon launched its first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Now, after years of rumor and speculation it's finally here. The EOS M is a compact-sized camera with a large sensor which works with new EF-M mount lenses (or EF lenses with an adapter).

Rather than settle on a small sensor to keep the compact form-factor, (like the Nikon 1 system), or even Micro Four Thirds (like Panasonic or Olympus), Canon decided to go with the Sony NEX approach of cramming a APS-C sensor and a fair chunk of DSLR technology into the EOS M, which is Canon's first "compact system camera (CSC)."

UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS

More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.

UPGRADE

The APS-C 18-megapixel hybrid CMOS sensor means that, with the right lens, users can shoot images with a shallow depth of field. The larger sensor (22.3 x 14.9 mm/0.87 x 0.58 in) also means the Canon EOS M can turn out turn out DSLR-quality images and should perform well in low light, with a native ISO range of 100-12,800 expandable to 25600 H mode.

The camera includes the DIGIC 5 processor, as used in the Rebel T4i/EOS 650D, providing 14-bit image processing, while a Scene Intelligent Auto mode adjusts the camera settings according to the subject and shooting conditions.

A Hybrid AF System, which features 31 AF points and also appeared in the T4i/650D, gives speedy and accurate AF when shooting stills or movies. The camera can also shoot a maximum of 4.3 frames per second in continuous mode, or 3 fps with autofocus tracking.

Another feature borrowed from the T4i/650D is the 3.0-inch Clear View LCD II touch screen on the rear that allows users to select different shooting modes and settings via the on-screen icons. The 1,040 K dot screen features a smudge-resistant coating and responds to gestures including swipe, pinch to zoom, touch to focus and touch to shoot.

Video recording options include Full-HD with stereo sound at 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, or 24 fps) while a Video Snapshot Mode promises to help users create movies in-camera, with a professionally edited feel.

Along with the EOS M, Canon has also announced two lenses for the new EF-M mount, the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom and the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake lens. Despite featuring Stepper Motor technology for smooth AF performance (even when shooting video) both lenses are smaller than their typical EF counterparts.

Should you want a bit more choice when it comes to lenses (or you already have a load of Canon glass), the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS M has also been announced that allows you to attach any Canon EF or EF-S lens to the EOS M.

While the Canon EOS M has no built-in flash, it will ship with the new Speedlite 90EX flash unit as standard (in some countries). The Speedlite 90EX is as compact as the EOS M and weighs just 50 g (1.7 oz). Canon claims it is an ideal general-purpose flash for everyday use and it can also be used as a wireless master to control multiple flash guns.

Measuring 108.6 x 66.5 x 32.3 mm (4.28 x 2.62 x 1.27 in) and weighing 298 g (10.5 oz), the Canon EOS M will be available from October 2012 in red, silver, white and black priced at US$800 with the 22 mm lens. The EF-M 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM will cost $300 and the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM $250. The Speedlite 90EX will retail for $150 with the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS M $200.

Source: Canon

View gallery - 18 images