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The Canon EOS M100 was the worst Canon EOS M ever… and then they did it again

Canon EOS M100
(Image credit: Digital Camera World)

The Canon EOS M100 was the entry-level model in the mirrorless EOS M range, a cheap and simple mirrorless camera designed to make smartphone users feel right at home. A bare-bones camera at bare-bones price that any novice could just pick up and use.

Canon is pretty good at cameras like these – but sometimes it goes just a bit too far. The EOS M100 was so simple it became simplistic, so cheap it also became a bit nasty. And then Canon did it all over again with the EOS M200, a technically superior model but no more likeable than the first. Canon wanted to make the best cameras for beginners but missed by a mile.

We were cautiously optimistic in our Canon EOS M100 hands on review, but then something happened. Canon ran a little photo competition for the journos at the event, we won, and the prize was… an EOS M100.

So now I got to spend some proper time with this camera, and the more I used it, the less I liked it. But Canon gave it to us, so everything I say about it now is tinged with massive GUILT!

(Image credit: Canon)
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So what was wrong with the EOS M100?

1. The handling. The Canon EF-M 15-45mm kit lens has a retracting mechanism that makes it nice and small – but it still feels too big and fat on the EOS M100 body. The body has a very small ‘grip’ area either side of the lens and no raised grip at all, so it’s a slippery little devil to hold.

2. The controls. Well, what controls? This was the first and only mirrorless camera not to have a mode dial or its equivalent. All you got was a dial with three settings, for full auto, ‘less auto’ and movie. The EOS M100 does have proper PASM modes but you have to resort to the touchscreen interface to select them.

3. The interface. Everything happens on the touchscreen. The dinky four-way controller on the back has buttons for EV compensation and flash mode, but anything else means navigating Canon’s digital interface.

4. It’s not a smartphone. It’s clear that Canon wanted to target smartphone upgraders with this camera, but although it offers interchangeable lenses and better image quality, everything else is worse. You can’t share images as quickly as you can with a smartphone and the screen is smaller, making selfies less easy for a start.

(Image credit: Canon)
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And then the EOS M200 happened

A lot of people must have liked the EOS M100 more than I did because then the Canon EOS M200 came along with a better processor, more AF points, eye AF, better battery life and 4K video – but with a hefty 4K crop factor.

The EOS M200 simply kept up with market trends and was no revolution in itself, and it kept all the handling and interface limitations of the M100.

It looks like Canon, like so many other camera makers, is pulling back from the entry-level beginner market, and with any luck there won’t be an EOS M300. In my humble opinion, Canon’s good cameras really are very good indeed, but its cheap cameras too often cross the line into sheer tackiness.

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Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.