Canon EOS M10 hands-on review

For competent photographers in need of a smaller camera that offers a certain amount of control similar to an SLR, Canon’s EOS M3 is a great option, however, for newcomers to photography the EOS M10 is ideal.

Not only does it offer an assortment of scene modes for a variety of shooting situations, Canon’s Creative Assist mode is on hand to help.

This is designed to help photographers take control and make adjustments without needing in-depth technical knowledge. It’s even possible to save setting combinations to reuse another time.

There are of course more advanced modes such as aperture and shutter priority and manual exposure for more confident users and for beginners when they feel ready to progress beyond the basics.

The M10 features the same 18Mp APS-C format sensor that is found in Canon’s most compact DSLR, the 100D but comes with the newer Digic 6 processing engine.

This combination allows a native sensitivity range of ISO 100-12,800 that can expand to ISO 25,600. Faster than the autofocus system found in the original EOS after firmware upgrades, the M10 features Canon’s Hybrid CMOS AF II system, but unfortunately doesn’t quite match the speed of the EOS M3’s autofocus system, which boasts an impressive Hybrid CMOS AF III system.

With Wi-fi and NFC connectivity built in, the M10 allows connection to cloud storage services and compatible devices such as smartphones to transfer images quickly and can also allow users to remotely control the camera with their phones.

With no viewfinder or facilities to connect an optional electronic viewfinder, images must be composed on the same 3-inch 1,040,000-dot touchscreen found in other EOS M lineup.

The M10 comes with a new collapsible kit lens, the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM that takes up little space making it very transportable.

With Canon’s Stepping Motor Lens (STM) technology, focusing is smooth and quiet, making it very appealing to those wanting to take advantage of the M10’s Full HD recording capability.

Build and handling

Considering the APS-C format sensor that the M10 houses, it feels compact and light, even more so with the new EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM optic mounted. It feels well made with a good quality textured coating, like the other EOS M cameras, however, handling may be a problem.

Although a small thumbpad can be found on the back of the camera, there’s no front grip so a wrist strap would be a viable option here. We’ll look at this in more depth when testing a full production sample.

While the M3 has a mode dial, surprisingly the M10 doesn’t, so you have set the exposure mode via the screen, like the original EOS M. Despite not being as quick to do, it is easy.

There’s also the option of switching to Smart Auto mode on the shooting mode switch found at the top of the camera, which enables beginners to choose from 58 scene modes.

This camera offers a simplified number of controls. On the front of the camera you’ll find the power and video record buttons, the shutter release, a shooting mode switch and a dial for making setting adjustments, which makes the M10 look very user-friendly.

Over on the back you’ll find a navigation pad that offers a shortcut to four essential features (exposure comp, exposure lock, information and flash) along with usual playback, menu and Q Set buttons.

With a quick press of the Menu or Q Set buttons you can access a whole host of settings, which can be selected and adjusted via the main LCD screen. Navigating through the available options is quick and easy thanks to the touch sensitivity as you can tap on the screen and swipe between menu tabs.

This also extends to swiping between images in playback mode and tapping the screen to set the AF point. With the absence of a viewfinder composing images can only be done using the LCD screen, which produces a clear, detailed view in low light.

When we are able to test a full production sample it will be interesting to see how it performs in direct sunlight.

Performance

As we know, the M10 has the same sensor as the Canon 100D so it’s a safe expectation to think that the images it will produce will be on a par at the very least with this compact DSLR.

In addition to this we hope to see the control of noise throughout the standard sensitivity range at a good acceptable level.

From what we’ve seen using the pre-production sample, the metering system and white balance have matched the quality of Canon’s current cameras, however, this will be investigated further when we put a full production sample through its paces.

From what I’ve seen of the AF system in the early sample of the EOS M10, it appears to perform well even in low light conditions.

However, when it comes to testing the full production sample we will be paying particular attention to the AF system, as it has hindered previous EOS M series cameras.

The original EOS M had a slow and indecisive focusing system, although through software updates did see a marked improvement.

While the more recent EOS M3 boasts a much faster AF system, when putting it to the test there were a number of occasions that inaccurately suggested the subject filling the AF area was sharp. It will be interesting to see how the M10 performs.

Early verdict

For beginners wanting a dedicated camera that’s user-friendly and gives them extra control with the option of more advanced functionality as they progress, the EOS M10 is a great option.

It also offers touch screen functionality and a well thought out menu that’s easy to navigate.

The 18Mp APS-C format sensor produces far better quality images than a smartphone or compact camera, allowing you to creatively blur backgrounds and control noise levels.

I hope that upon testing a full production sample, my concerns over the AF system performance can be proved wrong.

Overall

Despite not offering any revolutionary changes, the latest camera in Canon’s EOS M lineup offers plenty of features and high image quality to attract beginners. On receipt of a full production sample, we’ll be putting the M10’s autofocus system performance through its paces.