• On (not) buying a digital camera

    by  • January 16, 2015 • Everything Else • 0 Comments

    Canon EOS M or Canon SL1 (called 100D in the UK)

    The Canon EOS M is a DSLR sensor and electronics package wedged into a camera the size of an S110 or a Sony RX100. The big lens still sticks out the front, though. But it’s tiny. The SL1 is the same sensor in small, light DSLR body – with better autofocus. The EOS M had a persistent autofocus problem so is now £200 quid.

    Rough comparison

    Size comparison
    (that’s the 5D, the SL1 and the EOS M)

    Absurdly detailed comparison

    Exactly the same sensor. Both have a 3.5mm microphone in. Bodies and processor are different. The EOSM is *tiny* (compact camera with huge lens), a DSLR-in-a-can, and the SL1 is simply a very small DSLR. Same sensor, very similar electronics.

    EOS M *does* work with Magic Lantern. Really well. Has shitty autofocus: 0.75 seconds to get a lock. Otherwise, absolutely great.

    SL1 also appears to support Magic Lantern. Does not have shitty autofocus.

    EOSM plus an adapter ring takes canon EF lenses.

    SL1 takes the lenses straight.

    Buying options

    EOS M stock lens (3x zoom) at Argos £200

    EOS M w. 22mm lens (F2) and adapter ring for Canon EF glass £350

    SL1 with huge range of lens options

    Note that you really need the IS STM lens for shooting anything which isn’t off a tripod – image stabilized with stepper motors so that changing focus is silent for shooting video.


    In the end, I realized that I did not personally need to own the camera – my existing point and shoot is good enough for youtube, I don’t have the time/energy/software to do much video editing, and I’m a lousy still photographer.

    I did need to borrow a real camera occasionally to record talks for work – and that’s what I’m going to do. Simple!

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    Vinay Gupta is a consultant on disaster relief and risk management.


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