Canon EOS M3 Review

Bow River Falls
Bow River Falls, Banff AB

This weekend was the first chance I’d gotten a chance to take my new Canon EOS M3 out for a “test drive”. Between really lousy weather in Calgary, and pressing family commitments, I really hadn’t been able to get out. Yesterday, we drove out to Banff & took my spiffy new camera with us.



The camera itself is light & easy to manage. I put an old Crumpler neck strap on it, wanting to save my Blackrapid Sport rig for my DSLR. Mistake #1: the darn straps seem to always be in the way. I guess I’ll just go get another “button” and use the strap interchangeably.


Bow River at Banff
Bow River at Banff, AB

As you can see, the pictures are bright & sharp. It was a nice sunny day, about 5400K on the histogram. Since the camera rig is new to me, I really haven’t messed around with much. These photos were taken with the EF-M 18-55mm IS lens. the kit I bought came with the EF-M adapter, but I wanted to get a sense of what this rig would do, and I wasn’t disappointed !

The rig seems to work well in bright sunlight, so I decided to take a look & see how it performed in a “mixed lighting” situation. Note again that the ONLY default setting I have changed is for back button focus.

Brindge Over Bow River
Bridge Over the Bow River at Banff, AB

Here is a view of the bridge spanning the Bow River at Banff, AB. We have three lighting scenarios: the bright sun to the left, the slight shade provided by the bridge deck, and the darker shade underneath. Through it all, the EOS M3 handled it like a champ ! The colours are bright and the details in the bridge are crisp. All in all, I am quite pleased.

Whether you are just starting out & want a good camera to begin with, or you are a seasoned pro. This camera will make you very happy. I especially appreciate the adapter that will allow me to protect my investment in high-quality Canon L-Series lenses. We’ll look at photos with that combination in a future entry.



Canon EOS M3 WiFi RAW not Transferring…

Wont somebody PLEASE fill the bird-feeder ?!?

So I bought my new camera (a Canon EOS M3) yesterday, and so far it’s been great ! Staying in the Canon Eco-system means my learning curve for the camera is much shallower, and the controls do what I expect and are where I expect to find them. I purposely bought the bundle that includes the camera body, the kit lens (18-55mm EF-M f3.5-5.6 STM), and the EF-M adapter. This way I can keep using my L-Series lenses from my (much) bigger Canon 60D DSLR.Having used the venerable EyeFi Pro X2 in my 60D, I was excited to use the M3’s built in wifi. And I wasn’t disappointed ! I installed the Camera Connect app on my iPad & had full control of the camera, over wifi. I took the above picture with the M3 on a tripod while I sat in the family room, 45′ away ! The birds were not disturbed, and I had full control to shoot, including changing all of the settings on the camera, including focus, aperture, ISO & shutter speed.
I shoot RAW, as it gives me the most options in post-processing. The files are big (really big) off this 24 megapixel monster. They averaged 30Mb per photo ! But, my memory cards are decent sized, and I have a 128Gb iPad. I am prepared ! Until I realize that when I use the wifi to transfer the files, it “automatically” downsizes them to JPEG format. 😕

I search the web, I scour the forums. Seems this is a “feature” of the Canon Camera Connect software, as there were concerns about the time taken to transfer really large files impact the “customer experience”. Phoo ! It appears that the ONLY way to get RAW photos off my new camera is via a physical connection. Worse, if I try to transfer the RAW files to my iPad using the Apple Camera Connection kit – it doesn’t transfer the files ! 

Remember, I’m used to using the EyeFi Pro X2 card to transfer my RAW photos via wifi. This isn’t a deal-breaker, I’m not returnin the camera, but it is certainly an annoyance. And sadly, the M3 doesn’t support the EyeFi card, so no workaround there, either !

Apparently, when Apple decided to divest themselves of Aperture, they stopped caring about the photographic community altogether. The new “Photos” app says it will transfer the files, and appears to, but nothing shows up in the Camera Roll. So despite the fact that my camera supports RAW, and Adobe Lightroom Mobile supports RAW, nothing in between does ! 

It is my HOPE that Canon reverses this decision, and that they allow RAW transfers Ina future firmware update, or in the Camera Connect software. Until then, I am just going to have to modify my entire workflow to accommodate ! 

Gear That Grows With My Skills


The BC Legislature in Victoria, BC

One of the biggest challenges for new photographers is knowing which camera to buy first. Of course, there is always the feeling of gear-lust : that feeling of how much better your photography would be if only you had that new Leica body, or one of those new Canon L-Series lenses. Any piece of equipment is equally dependent on two things – the hardware & its firmware.

The firmware is the “operating system” of the camera. It maps the functions of the dials and buttons to specific tasks and how they work. Manufacturers like Canon will map a series of capabilities to the range of camera – from “entry level” to so-called “pro-sumer” to their top-of-the-line “professional” gear. So it would stand to reason that a budding photographer would have to buy a new camera body when their skills increase to the next level. This is not quite so !

Enter Magic Lantern. It is a firmware add-on, that loads from your memory card and gives the photographer additional features. For example, the original firmware on my Canon EOS 60D doesn’t support “professional” features such as focus-peaking or having a firmware intervalometer. Magic Lantern adds these features to my camera, extending its capabilities.

This is a huge boon to the amateur photographer. Instead of buying new hardware when you want to experiment with new techniques, you can simply upgrade the firmware. Sorry to those who shoot other platforms, like Sony or Nikon, but Magic Lantern is for Canon only.

There’s a great video posted over on PetaPixel, which is a photography eZine I follow.

Adobe Lightroom Mobile

Chillin’ in Charlotte, SC
When I first started shooting, I was “that guy”. Shooting on Auto, chimping every shot, and never post-processing my photos. Yep – your average tourist. Time & shutter trips later, and I only shoot in Manual mode, and – as of this week – only shoot in RAW.
I started my photographic journey using Aperture on my MacBook Pro. With a Retina display, it’s pretty sweet ! But then Apple chose to abandon the photographic community. Aperture’s features were replaced by an Instagram-style app that applied canned filters to your images. Very cheesy… So I made the switch to Adobe’s Creative Cloud bundle for photographers.
Coming with Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC, and supporting services like Portfolio and Assets made my workflow fairly straightforward. No more JPEGs for the iPad and CR2s (Canon’s RAW file format). Now I can shoot RAW, wirelessly & selectively transfer the photos to my iPad for some quick edits and send them off to Social Media. The edits I do in post-processing on the iPad get transferred via my Creative Cloud account & syced to my proper Lightroom catalog on the MBP.

It’s Not What You Shoot…

Canon Canonette GL19, c. 1965

So I shoot Canon. Other people shoot Nikon. Still others shoot Sony, Pentax or Fujistu. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter WHAT you shoot, so long as you are shooting ! The choice of camera for a photographer is a highly personal decision. It can be about the megapixels, or the sensor size, or even the ergonomics of the grip. For me it’s all about the colour.

My main camera body is a Canon DSLR – the EOS 60D. The Canonette pictured above is a little 35mm film camera I picked up for about $45. In a few short days, I will have saved my pennies to buy a mirrorless camera, the Canon EOS M3. I like the Canons because nothing matches their colour accuracy, rendering the most vibrant colours possible.

Once I started getting out of the “newbie” phase (and took my camera off “Auto”), I started to think about how best to invest in a photography system. Having upgraded to the 60D from an EOS T3i, I knew I had a camera body that would meet my growing skills. The best advice I got was to invest in good glass. The Canon L-Series lenses were pricey, but have been worth every darn penny. Best of all, with an inexpensive adapter, I can still use those lenses on my new EOS M3 !