The 18-megapixel EOS M is Canon’s first compact mirrorless camera, out in October

Canon EOS-M White

Check out our full review of the Canon EOS M digital camera. 

Canon has joined its rivals in the mirrorless compact camera market, a place where it has always been notable by its absence, with the announcement of the EOS M. Arch rivals Nikon launched its own mirrorless camera last year, the J1, and the EOS M is Canon’s — albeit delayed — response to it.

It uses the same sensor as the entry level EOS T4i, or 650D as it’s known outside of the US, and the same Digic 5 processor, making it a smaller, cheaper version of the DSLR. This means the EOS M has an 18-megapixel APS-C sensor and features such as Live View continuous autofocus are shared too.

With no viewfinder, snappers will have to rely on the 3-inch LCD touchscreen mounted on the rear of the chassis. It has multi-touch for pinch-and-zoom control, plus there are a few editing tools, the chance to shoot a sequence of stills and a selection of filters to add to pictures before or after taking them.

The EOS M uses the EF-M lens mount, a new system introduced with the camera, and two lenses will be available — an 18-55mm zoom and a fixed focal length 22mm pancake lens. If you’ve already got a healthy collection of Canon lenses, an adapter will help you fit them to the new body too.

A Speedlite 90EX flash will be included in the box, ready to be attached to the camera, making up for the lack of a built-in flash unit; plus Full HD video can be captured, and a stereo microphone takes care of the sound.

Canon EOS-M Black RearOther features include Canon’s Stepping Motor technology for an almost silent autofocus, which is particularly helpful when shooting video, and ISO of 100 to 12,800 (or 25,600 expanded), a 30-1/4,000 second shutter speed, multiple resolutions and compatibility with other Canon Speedlite accessories.

Canon says it plans to make 100,000 EOS M cameras per month, and it’s looking to make it a hit in Japan, where mirrorless compact cameras with interchangeable lenses are at the height of popularity, making up a third of the market. Reuters says the same devices only have a tenth of the market in the US.

So how much will Canon’s EOS M cost? When it’s bundled with the 22mm EF-M lens, it’s yours for $799, while the 18-55mm zoom lens will set you back $299, and the EOS-M lens adapter $199.

In the UK, the EOS-M comes with the 18-55mm zoom lens for £769, or as a package with the 22mm lens and an adapter for £879.

Canon has said the black EOS-M will go on sale in October, and that a special white edition will be available only through its online store.