In a previous post I talked about the potential future of the Canon EF-M system. Though the issue whether EF-M will exist as an active and viable platform is up in the air due to their release of the RF mirrorless mount, I decided to go all-in on EF-M equipment. It was really the most logical step to take. Let’s talk about why.
Recently I consigned my Nikon FF DSLRs and basically most of my f-mount related lenses and accessories. I found out today that the D750 and 50mm f1.8g already sold. While at my local camera shop recording footage for future hands-on videos, I saw the opportunity to move forward. I’ve been thinking of ideas that would benefit from more EF-M gear. There isn’t any reason to wait.
With the remaining equipment that wasn’t already sold, I used that as trade-in on the soon to be shipping EF-M 32mm f1.4 STM lens as well as a Canon EOS M100 2-lens kit (15-45mm + 55-200mm). Throwing in $200 to those trade-ins, I’ll now have a really solid EF-M kit to make videos and take photos. I’ll have an extra 15-45mm lens at that point, but having a backup for that lens doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
That means for now I will not be using full-frame equipment. I enjoy that sensor format, but from a size and cost standpoint it’s not too fitting with my goals and financial means. The recent announcements from Canon and Nikon confirmed that I’d be missing a few features over the Nikon D750/D600 I had, and pay a high premium to move that mirrorless FF system direction. Everything from the bodies to the lenses and accessories have a premium on them right now for Nikon and Canon especially. The Sony A7iii looks like a decent value given what it can do, but it’s still hard to come by and my consignments would have only covered the camera body. I’d want at least a normal lens, and the only one I’d consider in e-mount is the 55mm f1.8 that goes for around $900 retail. The main goal with getting a full-frame mirrorless is to act as my “featured camera” that I would use in a lot of my videos. I have an idea that would achieve what I want at a lower cost that I can talk about later.
The EF-M 32mm f1.4 STM lens should be good enough to take over tasks I was doing with the D750 and 50mm f1.8g lens. Most of the time I was using that combination for cosplay photography (basically people photos in a portrait and full-body style). Given that I usually used the 50mm f1.8 at around f2.5, I’ll effectively get a similar look to the photos I was producing with the Nikon setup (ISO noise not withstanding). I also have the nice Asahi Pentax Super-Takumar 50mm f1.4 M42 lens with an adapter to use when I want a large aperture range at a longer focal length, though in that case it will be interesting to see how well I can nail focus manually on human eyes with peaking. It has zoom-in focus but I’m thinking that won’t be fast enough to use, in practice, most of the time.
The Canon EOS M100 has a number of practical benefits due to its small size compared to the M50. I picked up a used Zhiyun Crane-M 3-axis gimbal a while back. The M50 works alright on it, but to invert I have to use two hands because there is only one specific angle that allows me to get the relevant arm/motors past the viewfinder. It’s still totally usable, but the M100 should work a lot better on that gimbal.
In quite a few of my recent videos I’ve been taking out one M50 camera to do photography. To film myself taking photos in these videos, I use a cheap knock-off $30 action camera. It has been working just fine. Maybe quality isn’t perfect, but it’s passable enough for me. That size and weight savings helps me to be more efficient and effective. That kit reaches a level high enough for me that I can focus more on trying to produce something fun and entertaining rather than fighting my equipment.
The M100 and 15-45mm kit lens could be a nice alternative to the action camera when I want a step up in quality. Having it will give me more options… and options opens up situations to different styles and efficiencies. I’ll be curious to see if the DPAF on the M100 is as good as the M50. Really, the only drawback I see at the moment is that the M100 has no mic port. Though if I did want to vlog with the M100, for some reason… while still getting add-on level microphone audio quality, I could use a lapel mic and Zoom H1 recorder I have on-hand. A step further, I could also use the M100 as the camera in the videos along with the action camera for filming myself taking photos. That’s going to be a setup I could get in two cargo pants pockets depending on which lens I use with the M100 (basically just the 22mm f2 lens at the moment if I want to leave it on the camera).
The Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 will simply give me more range. Right now My longest lens is an adapted Nikon film era 35-70mm. I also have the Asahi 50mm, and of course the 15-45mm lens. I could see various situations where having a native long lens could help out. Maybe I’ll eventually do documentary style videos where I could use the 55-200mm as a secondary angle when filming an interview. It’s a basic zoom, but opens up even more options.
As mentioned earlier, I haven’t seen any recent full-frame mirrorless cameras that appeal to me, have features I want, and fit within what I want to spend. Sure, if there was a FF mirrorless that checked all of the boxes such as the fully articulating screen and 1080p 120fps it would have more value to me, but nothing currently exists with a collective feature-set I’d be interested in. That said, I’d like to produce more videos about adapting old film era lenses and I’d prefer to do that with a full-frame camera. It would be nice to have a camera with a full-frame sensor and short registration distance. The best option seems to be an older Sony full-frame e-mount camera. Either the original A7 or one of the later models. I don’t know too much about those cameras, but if they have solid focus assist features it might be a route I go in the future. Though, that will depend a lot on price. Even at $800-ish for the A7, it’s not a great value proposition given what I’d use it for. The original A7 is smaller/thinner than the A7ii, so I’d prefer the original. I don’t care much about shake reduction. I’ll be looking around for one in the $500 range (unlikely, but you never know).
At least for now, EF-M will help me produce content in a streamlined and efficient way. That allows me to focus on the more important aspects like trying to make my videos entertaining, fun, and high value.