Canon’s original EOS M was a disaster. Two years later, the company is pushing its third generation compact mirrorless camera into the US, six months after swearing the little shooter wouldn’t come to America. Why should anyone care?

No manufacturer has been slower to develop mirroless interchangeable-lens cameras than Canon, but as DSLR and point-and-shoot sales continue to slide across the industry, it’s trying again.


Originally announced globally back in February, the M3 doesn’t look much different that its highly-anticipated and disappointing predecessors. It uses the same 24.3 megapixel image sensor as its latest starter DSLRs, the T6 and T6i. It also uses the same CMOS III AF system, which will be one of the biggest indicators of whether or not the company has made any progress on mirorrless cameras. Slow, spotty AF was the downfall of its earlier efforts. Canon sent us a unit in advance of the announcement, and though I only gave it a cursory trial, the AF still seems brutally sluggish.

For its part, Canon is building out a line of accessories for its system, including an electronic viewfinder which slides into the EOS-M hotshoe.

The EOS M3 has a handsome compact build, with plenty of on-body controls, and an articulating 3-inch touchscreen display. Like basically any camera these days, it’s enabled with Wi-Fi for easy file transfer to other devices, and NFC, for quick pairing with smartphones.

It’s very tiny, and uses the company’s new EOS M lens system, which is compatible with old lenses using an adapter. M-mount lenses include a 11-22mm f/4-5.6 ($400), a 22mm f/2 ($250), and a 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 ($350).

Canon says the camera will be available in early October for $670 on its own, or for $800 in an 18-55mm kit package. For $1050, you get the 18-55mm lens and the 55-200mm lens.


Where does this leave Canon in the mirrorless game? Without testing the latest camera, Canon still seems woefully behind on interchangeable-lens compacts. Olympus, Panasonic and Sony all offer much better and more robust options. And depending on your exact demands and budget, you’ll want one of a list of powerful shooters. Please consider the following. You’ll notice that none of these are Canon cameras:

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Photos by Nick Stango