I fell in love during my quick trip to Toronto this week. In the Canon Canada booth at the Exposure Photo & Video Expo, I met up with, held, and played with the new Canon EOS M — a very compact camera that features an APS-C sensor (same size as 7D and 60D) and a DIGIC 5 processor in a body that’s slightly larger than a deck of paying cards. The EOS M’s small size comes from the exclusion of the mirror housing and viewfinder that you’d normally have on a DSLR. Instead, it has a super-sharp LCD panel on the back.

There are many companies that have entered the MILC (Mirrorless, Interchangeable Lens Camera) market in the past several years. The EOS M is Canon’s first foray into this segment. I have to say that I’m truly excited about the potential for this new digital camera. As soon as mine arrives from B&H, I’ll share many of the other exciting features that the EOS M offers. (I think that this will be a great camera for web videos, for instance). For now, I want you to know about the touch screen control of Speedlite functions.

Like the Rebel T4i, the EOS M features a touch screen LCD. Think of an iPhone being mashed into a true camera body and you’ll have an idea of the user interface. Upon entering the Canon EOS M display area, where a dozen or so pre-production bodies were available for examination and shooting, I wanted to know whether this little guy is compatible with the new generation of radio-based Speedlites. (And by little, if you look at the photo above, where I parked my ST-E3-RT in the hotshoe, you’ll get an idea of how small the EOS M is.) Yet, with an adapter, you can use the full range of EOS lenses. So, this is a versatile little rig, but I’ve digressed.

The touch screen is an amazing interface that is much faster and more intuitive than navigating by turning a wheel and pushing a button or two. You literally tap the setting that you want to change and the options pop up on the screen. Then you tap the option you want and it’s set. As shown above, in a matter of seconds, I switched the Speedlite mode from Manual to Group. I then changed the modes of each channel individually–Manual for Group A, External Auto for Group B, ETTL for Groups C and E, with Group D being shut off entirely. Radio + Group Mode + Touch Control will make for an exciting future as a Speedliter.

I’ve no doubt that the EOS M is going to be a very popular “between” camera for those times when you want more than a point-and-shoot without the bulk of a DSLR. They will be in very limited supply with the initial release to happen in the next two weeks. If you are interested, you can check out the current price and availability here on B&H. As I said, there’s loads more to share about the EOS M, but for now, the touchscreen makes it a must-have for me.


EOS M on Canon USA

EOS M on Canon Pro Network

EOS M reviewed InDepth on B&H

EOS M reviewed on Gizmodo

EOS M Press Release July, 2012


10 Responses to Canon EOS-M Touchscreen Provides Fingertip On-Camera Control for Speedlites

  1. It’s going to look really odd with my 85 1.2L on the front! Looks like a great camera, though.

  2. Brian Worley says:

    Hi Syl,

    Good to see this, I did get similar information from another Canon company myself. The EOS M certainly is a nice camera.

    Have you seen that the new Speedlite 90EX for the EOS M can control 3 groups of Speedlites using the pulsed light control? I’ve now also had it confirmed from Canon that the Speedlite 90EX could be added to say an old EOS 5D Mark II and be a three-group Speedlite master. In the UK Speedlite 90EX is cheaper than an ST-E2.


  3. Mike Spivey says:

    The integration with Speedlites and EF lenses are the decision factor for me. I think I will usually have the the pankade lens on but I think the adaptor with EF lenses, especailly the 50 1.4 and my new toy, the Rokinon 8mm fisheye, will much more compact.

    The integration with ex flashes is critical too. Let me see if I’ve got this right: You can control the flashes through the menus as seen with your pictures above. But surely you will also have the same control with optical control with the 90ex, ST-E2, or a big old 580ex II mounted. Right?

  4. JC Photo Media says:

    The star for speedliters in this system is the 90ex. Mind you I haven’t used it yet but for a 5D or 1D user it’s the same cost as the 270ex but with focus assist (which the 5DII does not have) and the ability to control up to 3 groups. That makes it a great option for those not ready to jump into the ste3 (which does NOT have a focus assist – Canon dropped the ball on that in my estimation). A small fill flash that can control 3 groups. I can’t find an answer as to if it is capable of HSS. if you have had the chance to use please advise…


    keep up the amazing work


  5. JC Photo Media says:

    and the other shoe fell – after a little searching i see that the new flash can not deliver HSS – that is a deal breaker for me. Canon’s implementation of a wireless system has been poor in the 7D and other cameras that have their version of CLS and this flash does not solve that issue. Very unfortunate.

  6. […] Vento Some new interesting photos have surfaced recently on Syl Arena’s blog regarding the Canon EOS-M mirror-less camera due out at the end of this month. The EOS-M features a […]

  7. […] Canon EOS-M Touchscreen Provides Fingertip On-Camera Control for Speedlites –> read it here […]

  8. Dave says:

    Just read the manual on page 223 under shutter synchronization states that you can also select [High-Speed synchronization.

  9. Syl…I always value your opinion. Can you update this EOS-M. Have you used it with your Canon L lenses? Looks like a hot item for the Canonites.

    Thanks for what you do.

  10. […] features (groups D&E, ID codes, using the flash as a shutter release, etc.) compatibility, and a flash control panel. If none of that is tempting, then you don't need to worry about upcoming models. I also agree […]

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