“The Canon EOS M200 is swapping discouraging DSLR controls for a touchscreen.”
24 megapixel APS-C sensor
Tilt the touchscreen
Easy to use
Good auto focus
Missing controls, connections and viewfinder
Slow handling of RAW files
4K is cropped
At first glance, the Canon EOS M200 looks like a simple, nondescript compact camera. But the $ 550 mirrorless camera hides some great features under the hood.
The M200 was developed for young shutterbugs who want to move beyond their smartphone. It is one of the simplest and most straightforward mirrorless cameras on the market. Canon has made everything redundant and eliminated the viewfinder, the hot shoe and even the grip. Then there were beginner-friendly features like in-camera tutorials.
While aspiring enthusiasts quickly reach their limits, the Canon EOS M200 is an excellent minimalist camera. For the right customer, it has what it takes to stand out in the extremely crowded camera market of 2019.
Mirror-free meets point-and-shoot
The M200 is light. After putting it in a camera bag, I felt like I was carrying an empty bag around. Even when compared to relatively compact mirrorless full-frame cameras like the Nikon Z 6, the M200 reminded why mirrorless cameras were invented in the first place. Even with the 15-45mm kit lens attached, the 10.5-ounce M200 feels more like a point-and-shoot device than a camera with an interchangeable lens. With no viewfinder or handle, the camera is one of the simplest we’ve ever seen.
The M200 uses a 3-inch touchscreen that flips to the front for selfies. The resolution of 1.04 million points is reasonable for the price and shows a good level of detail.
The list of tactile controls is short. There is a mode dial with only three options around the on / off switch, which is located next to the trigger, which is wrapped by a dial. The usual four-way control cluster, the playback button and the film recording button are located on the back next to the screen.
The kit lens is just as bare. There is a lever with which the lens can be pulled back to a more compact size when not in use, but there is no manual focus switch or focus scale.
In the name of weight and price savings, the body of the M200 is made of plastic. It doesn’t feel as firm in your hands as a weatherproof camera, but it doesn’t feel like a cheap camera either, it sits somewhere in the middle.
The lack of controls without a real grip may be a minimalist’s dream, but a nightmare for all-day shooters. Holding a thin camera without a handle is not exactly ergonomic. For casual photographers, however, it can be a good thing to remove the handle for space and weight reasons.
An optimized experience
While you get some advanced options like manual exposure and RAW shooting, the M200 shoots like a smartphone. There are only three shooting modes on the mode dial – if you can call it that – but several more options that are just a few taps away. Turn the mode dial to the camera icon. These hidden options are unlocked so you can access scene and manual modes using the touchscreen.
On-screen instructions make the M200 even easier. The camera sends various prompts or suggestions, e.g. For example, the reminder to raise the pop-up flash or to display the position of the subject filters. Once you get the hang of it, you can close future reminders by pressing the menu key when one is displayed.
Hillary K Grigonis / Digital Trends
From using aperture priority to control background blur to using HDR for high-contrast scenes, the camera explains in an easy-to-understand manner what each shooting mode does. The on-screen instructions are not a substitute for traditional learning tools, but serve as a set of photo training bikes to guide you.
The on-screen instructions also help you wirelessly send photos to a smart device to make sharing almost as easy as taking them on a phone. The initial setup is a bit long, but instructions in the Canon Camera Connect app will walk you through the process. Using the remote control also doesn’t lock the camera controls like some other cameras, and a handful of settings can be made remotely.
This smartphone-level simplicity is great for users who want better photos without having to deal with jargon, and for beginners who are discouraged by the complexity of an advanced camera. However, this simplicity also makes the M200 falter when it competes against other mirrorless cameras with similar prices aimed at a more experienced user.
The speed and accuracy of the auto focus is what we would expect from a $ 550 camera.
While the camera contains a DIGIC 8 processor, it feels a little slower than other canons with the same chip. The burst mode with 6.1 frames per second is expected for a camera on a budget level. However, if you want to take RAW, the frame buffer can only take eight photos. Even worse, it takes about eight seconds to process all of these photos before you can take another burst.
When working with JPEGs, the camera can take 32 photos in a row at this speed and only takes about three seconds before it is ready to take another full set. Given that most M200 buyers are likely to get along well with JPEGs, this is not a bad thing.
The speed and accuracy of the auto focus is what we would expect from a $ 550 camera. In the standard focus mode tThe camera automatically selects the subject, including finding faces. Eye detection can also be activated via the menu.
Tapping the touchscreen overwrites the focus point and activates subject tracking. The tracking auto focus seemed to closely follow the subject on the screen, but most of the shots were a bit soft. Continuous autofocus was fine when working with subjects moving at walking pace, but faster, and the camera tried to keep up.
Tracking and eye autofocus worked well with video, which is a nice plus.
Image and video quality
The M200 may feel like working with a smartphone, but the 24-megapixel APS-C sensor means that the image quality is much better. The colors are mostly accurate, but the automatic white balance tends to be wrong on the cool side.
Sharpness is okay, but not great. The 14-45mm kit lens can only focus up to 0.82 feet from the front of the camera, which made testing lens sharpness a little more difficult. In many cases, soft shots were simply due to the subject coming too close to the lens.
The noise reduction at high ISO values lived up to expectations – not the best we’ve ever seen, but pretty solid for a budget camera. Increasing the ISO will add noise and make the image a bit smoother. In difficult lighting conditions, however, I would use up to ISO 3,200 without worrying about image quality. Keep this ISO number a little lower if you want to crop the image later.
Video quality isn’t the best we’ve ever seen, but it’s pretty solid for a $ 500 camera.
Video follows a similar theme – quality isn’t the best we’ve ever seen, but pretty solid for a $ 500 camera. A bit surprising is that the camera offers 4K and good detail. However, like many other Canon, 4K is recorded with a 1.6-fold crop of the sensor, which enlarges the image considerably. The widest setting of the kit lens is still fine for taking video selfies. However, you must adhere to the 1080p resolution if you want the full viewing angle.
A stronger limitation for video is simply the camera body itself. There are no headphone or microphone jacks, not that you can attach a microphone to the camera without a hot shoe. While the flip-up screen and strong auto focus could make the M200 a competitor for a good vlogging camera, there are better options due to the lack of connections and 4K cropping.
The Canon EOS M200 is the perfect camera for the pre-photographer who cannot choose between a smartphone, a point-and-shoot or a mirrorless camera. The camera is simple enough for everyone and small enough to be taken anywhere. On-screen tutorials and a touch interface make the camera easy to use.
Don’t be fooled, however, by the fact that it is an interchangeable lens camera that can satisfy the avid photographer. While beginners will love the camera, anyone hoping to increase their passion for photography beyond the basics will leave something to be desired.
Is there a better alternative?
Budget mirrorless cameras abound, but none feels as simple and streamlined as the M200. For an additional $ 200, the Sony A6100 offers industry-leading autofocus, faster shooting, and more controls. It contains a viewfinder, a hot shoe and a larger handle. The A6100 offers similar resolution and a flip screen, but weighs 3.5 ounces more.
The aging Sony A6000 comes closer in price. It also has the faster performance and additional physical controls and features of the A6100, but without 4K video.
The Olympus PEN E-PL9 is our current favorite for entry-level cameras and also has a similar price. The camera offers more controls, built-in sensor shift stabilization, and fast performance. The smaller Four Thirds sensor doesn’t work as well in low light, but as a more mature system, there are a lot more lenses available than for the Canon EOS M system.
How long it will take?
As an inexpensive camera, the M200 does not have the same rugged design as Canon’s more expensive, weatherproof options. Still, with some care, the camera should last a few years, although you may grow out during this time.
Should you buy it
Yes. Buy the Canon EOS M200 if you want the image quality of a “real” camera without complexity. It’s far from the best camera under $ 1,000, but others aren’t as streamlined or compact.