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Mirrorless vs DSLR: Small and Smart or Big and Serious?

The Canon M and Canon 7D compared

Mirrorless vs DSLR: Canon 7D VS Canon M in Studio Test

This is my final review on the two cameras I had for one month to play with (many thanks to BHphotovideo.com for the loaners), which falls in Mirrorless vs DSLR war.
In general, I was interested in finding the best “Point and Shoot” camera for everyday use with the following features: compact, but with interchangeable lenses, RAW shooting, Full HD video, and easy operation for a photographer’s wife.

We had tested the Fuji X100 and the Leica X1 (read the first round and the second in studio), and found that both were not able to focus fast enough to be called a “daily point and shoot camera of the Koloskov family” 🙂

This time I was mainly interested to check out the first Canon mirrorless camera, EOS M. The Canon 7D was selected as a top model crop sensor Canon DSLR, we were thinking of getting it as a secondary camera before looking at the mirrorless guys.

I have already posted an On-Going Review of Canon M, check it out to see more sample shots. Plus, some cool low light performance shots from our Fox Theatre visit: the beauty of live music and a popcorn.

 

Canon EOS M pixel piper tests: studio performance

All shots were done at ISO 100, and I’ve used  the Canon Telephoto EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro lens on both cameras:

Images were converted using Adobe Camera Raw version 7.2.0.46 and all settings (where applicable) were left to ACR camera raw defaults. No additional sharpening or WB adjustments were made.

So, let’s see what we got here. I shot still life subjects with Einstein Studio strobes set on color mode with a manual exposure of 1/200 and F11 on both cameras. I did correctly exposed shots, underexposed and overexposed by adjusting the strobe output power for several F-stops, same for each camera.

Correctly exposed shots.

 

Canon 7D is before, Canon M is after

100% crop. Canon 7D is the before, Canon M is the after

Verdict:

Pretty much have the same performance, I do not see any difference in details and image quality between both cameras.
Most likely they have the same sensors and the Canon M has better (newer) algorithms of processing the sensor’s RAW data. I hope so:-)
 

Underexposed shots.

Both Canon 7D: “as-is” before, recovered (+2Ev exposure fix in ACR) is after

100% crops, both Canon 7: “as-is” before, recovered (+2Ev exposure fix in ACR) is after

Both Canon M: “as-is” before, recovered (+2Ev exposure fix in ACR) is after

100% crops, both Canon M: “as-is” before, recovered (+2Ev exposure fix in ACR) is after

 

Verdict:

Close to each other, with slightly better noise handling on the Canon 7D’s recovered shots. Both cameras delivered good amount of details.

 

Overexposed shots.

Both Canon 7D: “as-is” before, recovered (-3Ev exposure fix in ACR) is the after

100% Crops, both Canon 7D: “as-is” before, recovered (-3Ev exposure fix in ACR) is the after

Both Canon M: “as-is” before, recovered (-3Ev exposure fix in ACR) is the after

100% Crops, both Canon M: “as-is” the before, recovered (-3Ev exposure fix in ACR) is the after

Verdict:

Impressive results from both cameras, pulling details from such heavily overexposed shots. The Canon 7D produced slightly more contrast image after the recovery, the Canon M managed to deliver same details as it’s twice as expensive DSLR brother.

 

Portraits with Canon M & 7D with Canon 100mm F2.8L IS Macro lens

 

Canon 7D, full and 100% crops

Canon M, full and 100% crop

Full Crop, Canon M (before) VS Canon 7D (after)

Verdict:

Great performance on both cameras, and it looks like the Canon M is slightly more sensitive at ISO 100 than the Canon 7D.
Of course there is no way anyone will use the Canon M with studio strobes for shooting portraits (watch my video to see why), but we clearly see that the little and smart can match the big and serious. They match in image quality, but not in ease of controls and operations, especially in focusing performance.
The Canon M has serious problems with its focusing system, and I can only hope that Canon will address them soon. However, it will be too late for us: we have made our choice and went with the Sony Nex 7 (see my blog post)




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