Canon EOS M Ken McMahon, Nov 2012

Canon EOS M quality

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To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Canon EOS M and Olympus PEN E-PL5 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The EOS M was fitted with the EF-M 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM kit zoom and the PEN E-PL5 with the M.Zuiko 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 kit zoom.

The zoom on both cameras was set to its maximum wide angle, 18mm (29mm equivalent) on the EOS M and 14mm (28mm equivalent) on the PEN E-PL5, providing an approximately equivalent field of view.

Image stabilisation was disabled for this tripod-mounted test and all other settings were left on the defaults.

  Canon EOS M results
1 Canon EOS M Quality JPEG
2 Canon EOS M Quality RAW
3 Canon EOS M Noise JPEG
4 Canon EOS M Noise RAW
5 Canon EOS M Multi Shot NR
6 Canon EOS M Sample images

The image above was taken with the Canon EOS M in Aperture Priority exposure mode with the aperture set to f5.6 and the ISO set to 100. At these settings, the EOS M selected a shutter speed of 1/800. At the same aperture setting and at its base ISO sensitivity of 200 ISO the Olympus PEN E-PL5 metered an exposure of 1/1000, to match exposures and produce similar results for comparison I applied -2/3EV exposure compensation on the E-PL5 resulting in an exposure of 1/1600 at f5.6. The JPEG file size was 8.23MB.

The first thing to say about the EOS M is that it correctly exposed this scene. There's a little bit of clipping of both highlights and shadows due to the wide range of brightness levels in the scene, but the exposure is good. I mention this not becasue it's worthy of comment in itself, but because the histogram on the camera was well to the left, indicating that the shot was underexposed, when in fact this wasn't the case.

So, to the crops. The EOS M shares the same sensor as the T4i / 650D so this isn't the first time we've seen results from this sensor, but it is the first time we've seen results from it with the new EF-M lenses. There are no big surprises, though, and overall quality is comparable with what you'd get from a T4i / 650D with its kit lens. In terms of processing the crops look typical of those from a Canon consumer model, which is to say that they've been processed for a 'consumer-friendly' look, nice and contrasty with crisp edge detail.

The first crop shows a good level of detail in the chapel and grassy foreground with no tell-tale noise textures in the sky. In the second crop the lighthouse is a distinct white column, you can make out the lamp room on top and there's visible detail in the cliffs behind. Some of the windows in the foreground of this crop are a little soft and there's not quite as much detail in the roofs as there might be though.

There's also some softness creeping to the third crop from near the edge of the frame and some red fringing down the edge of the drainpipe. Like the T4i / 650D, the EOS M has built in lens aberration correction, by default (and used here) Peripheral illumination correction (vignetting) is enabled and Chromatic aberration correction is disabled. Moving on to the fourth and final crop from the edge of the frame, this is nice and sharp with plenty of fine detail, the balcony dividers are crisply defined and you can make out some detail in the roof tiles and brickwork at the bottom of the crop.

Like the EOS M, the Olympus PEN E-PL5 has a sensor that we've also seen before, in the Olympus OM-D E-M5. But I think these reults look quite different to those from the OM-D E-M5 and the difference is in the processing. I called the EOS M crops crisp and contrasty, that can also be said of the PEN E-PL5 crops, only more so. First, take a look at the chapel on the first crop, the doors and windows look sharper and there appears to be more detail on the stonework. In the second crop, as with the EOS M, the windows in the foreground are a little indistict, but there's more detail in the roof at the bottom of the crop. There's not much to separate the two in the third crop, and the PEN E-PL5 also suffers from chromatic aberration. In the final crop, as with the first, the PEN E-PL5 crop looks to be sharper with a little more detail. Note the E-PL5 crops also show little evidence of noise in the sea and sky areas at its base sensitivity of 200 ISO

The question is are these differences merely down to processing, or is the Olympus E-PL5 Micro Four Thirds sensor recording more detail than the APS-C sensor in the Canon EOS M? To discover more check out my Canon EOS M RAW results on the next page or see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Canon EOS M Noise results.


Canon EOS M
Oympus PEN E-PL5
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO

Canon EOS M
results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise / RAW Noise / Multi Shot NR

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