The Canon EOS M mirrorless camera series finally has an entry-level model with the M10.
The 18-megapixel M10 sits below the more professional 24.2-megapixel M3, which comes with rear command, mode and exposure value compensation dials, as well as a more pronounced grip.
The M10 has few such dedicated options, though it has the M3's control dial. Its build is also not as stellar.
At the top, you get a dedicated video-recording button, a power button and a three-way switch that lets you toggle between modes - Intelligent Scene Auto, Photo and Video.
PRICE: $749 (with EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens)
IMAGE SENSOR: 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS
DISPLAY: 3-inch tiltable touchscreen LCD with 1.04 million dots
SENSITIVITY: ISO 100 to 25,600
SHOOTING SPEED: Up to 4.6 frames per second
CONNECTIVITY: Wi-Fi, Near Field Communications
WEIGHT: 301g (body only, with battery and memory card)
BATTERY LIFE: 3/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
In Photo Mode, you can use the touchscreen display to choose shooting modes such as Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority and other automatic scene modes.
Handling is less than ideal for photography enthusiasts, as there are no manual controls. This camera is for those who prefer to go with automatic modes most of the time.
Like other M models, it lacks a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF). It does not even have a hot shoe for mounting an external EVF. I prefer to compose shots using an EVF, as there are times when glare makes it hard to use the display.
On the M3, the display can be tilted downwards by 45 degrees and upwards by 180 degrees, but the M10's display can do only the latter.
When you flip the display 180 degrees upwards, the M10 switches automatically to self-portrait mode. Here, you can activate effects such as Skin Smoothing or Background Blur using the touchscreen display.
To enable users to take selfies faster, Canon should have included automated power-on when the display is flipped.
The M10 takes around 1.5sec to start up and 2sec to shut down, making it slightly snappier than most mirrorless cameras, which take around 2sec each for start-up and shut-down operations.
With an SDHC card that has a writing speed of 25MB per second, it was able to capture 4 RAW images in 1.3sec before the buffer ran out.
Using the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens, the M10's autofocusing (AF) works well in bright sunlight, locating a focus almost immediately. But in dim lighting conditions, it can take up to 2.5sec to secure a focus. Still, it is better than the original M, which seems to take an eternity.
Image quality is great, as you might expect from a Canon APS-C image sensor. The resolution is sharp, with great details and accurate colour reproduction.
The image noise performance is commendable, too. There is no visible image noise up to ISO 3200. The M10 works reasonably well even at ISO 6400. Anything above that is too grainy for my liking.
Battery life is average at around 255 still images on a full charge.
•Verdict: The Canon EOS M10 might be short on stature and buttons, but it is probably the cheapest way that you can get a compact camera with a big APS-C image sensor and great image quality.