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Canon EOS M200 review: Solid for new starters

Our Rating :
£588.27 from
Price when reviewed : £499

A friendly, well-made camera with plenty of room to grow for photographers who want to give up their smartphones


  • Lovely, usable design
  • Lots of headroom for learning photographers


  • Ordinary image quality
  • Big crop in 4K

Graduating from your smartphone to a “proper” camera can be intimidating. Smartphones are designed to be seriously easy to use – anything more than a single button for shooting an image will have casual photographers running for the hills. But that makes true DSLRs pretty daunting – what on earth is the asterisk button for? What is AF-ON? How does Tv mode differ from S? (Auto-exposure lock, activating autofocus and: they don’t, respectively).

That means a first proper camera has to pull off a complicated trick: it needs to be easy enough to use that someone coming from their phone’s camera app can snap a decent image a few seconds after digging their camera out of the box. But at the same time, there needs to be enough complexity that more involved photography – the night sky, pan-blur effects and others – are within grasp.

Canon EOS M200 review: What you need to know

Enter the EOS M200. A relative snip at £500, it has an APS-C sensor inside that dwarfs the sensors of even the priciest smartphone, is compatible with all of Canon’s compact, lightweight EF-M mount lenses, or its DSLR lenses via an EF-EOS M adapter. It has just a handful of body-mounted buttons, allowing beginners to turn it on and start shooting, but also offers plenty of manual controls for photographers who either know what they’re doing or are keen to learn. Could this be your first real camera? Read on to find out.

Canon EOS M200 review: Price and competition

At £499, the M200 is a reasonably big investment, so it’s worth knowing what else is out there. Impressively, you could actually spend less and still get a true DSLR – the Canon EOS 4000D is about £200 cheaper at £299. There are upsides to it – it’s compatible with Canon’s mainstream EF- and EF-S-mount lenses, but it’s a lesser camera in most other respects. It’s bigger, quite a big heavier (436g to the M200’s 299g), and offers a smaller (2.7in to 3in), non-folding, non-touchscreen monitor on the back. It’s also lower resolution at 18-megapixels to the M200’s 24.1mp. It can’t shoot 4K video, either. It does offer more body-mounted controls, which might be useful for photographers who know they’ll be reaching for their camera’s manual modes right from the start.

Elsewhere, the Nikon D3500 remains a fantastically capable entry-level DSLR. It competes handily in nearly every way – it’s not mirrorless, so it offers a practical amount of battery life: about 1,550 shots to the M200’s 315. It also shoots 5fps, is compatible with a spectacular range of lenses, and offers similar body controls to the Canon EOS 4000D. As we’ll see, the M200’s lack of body controls makes it a very easy to use camera that won’t intimidate newcomers, or those who only want to dabble occasionally with photography’s more in-depth aspects, but it’s a double-edged sword once you reach a point where you want to make frequent changes. The Nikon D3500 can’t shoot 4K, which might be an issue for some, but is cheaper at £329.

At this price and set of features, you might also consider one of a number of high-end compact cameras. The Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II might be the best compact camera ever made, and despite its lack of interchangeable lenses and a small sensor, nevertheless returns decent images, rocks a great integrated Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) and can shoot 4K video. The 24-120mm integrated lens is good but you’re stuck with it – if you think your photography might start to move towards more niche subjects such as wildlife or sport, the availability of low-weight, affordable EF-M mount lenses is a tick in the pro column for the M200.

Canon EOS M200 review: Features and design

Speaking of the EF-M mount, it’s what the M200 comes with. The EF-M mount was introduced in 2012, and while the sensor is an APS-C model (roughly halfway betwixt full-frame and Micro Four Thirds), the distance between the flange and the sensor is about half what it is on Canon’s EF-S cameras), allowing for mirrorless designs and a smaller overall size.

The EF-M mount has a relatively decent number of lenses, certainly in terms of the kind of glass that advancing amateurs will want. The M200 we reviewed came with the 15-54mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM – other useful options include the 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM or the 32mm f/1.4 STM for street photography. The M200 feels like it’s built for vloggers, which could explain why all the EF-M lenses use STM (STepping Motor) focussing – ultra-smooth, ultra-quiet lenses that allow you to use tracking autofocus mid-take.

If you want to cast a wider net, lens-wise, you could opt for Canon’s EF-EOS M adapter (£99), which makes the M200 compatible with any EF-mount lens – an utterly vast range inclusive of everything from ultra-telephoto to tilt-shift. You should also note that third-party lens makers Tamron and Sigma also make lenses for the EF-M mount, including some really interesting models such as the Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN, or the Samyang 8mm f/2.8 UMC II Fisheye. The EF-EOS M adapter is a good option but it’s quite possible that, no matter what kind of photography you want to do, there’s already an EF-M mount lens out there that suits.

Of course, all the lenses in the world won’t matter if the camera isn’t user-friendly, so how about that? The M200 looks, apart from the detachable lens at the front, like a compact camera. The top plate has a shutter button with a click wheel wrapped around it, a pop-up flash, and a very restricted version of the PASM mode dial you’ll find on full-fledged DSLRs. The mode dial allows you to choose between shooting videos, full auto stills, or its “special scene mode”, in which you can let the camera know you’re shooting a landscape, sports and so on. The option to shoot in shutter or aperture priority, or full manual mode (including the option of manual aperture and shutter with automatic ISO) is there. It’s not immediately obvious you can do this – this is a step-up camera, after all, but it’s pleasing to see the option there.

The back of the camera is just as featureless. The 3in touchscreen monitor has a resolution of 1.04 megapixels, which is respectable – and fortunate, because there’s no viewfinder. It’s an excellent monitor that made framing up easy, even in bright sunlight. Vloggers will love how it tilts – it can flip vertically so it’s facing forwards, making this a great camera for video stills and selfies. Next to the monitor is a tiny smattering of buttons by most standards. You can fire up the menu, start video recording or navigate the menus with the direction pad. Open the menu system and Canon users will find a reassuringly familiar system, with reassuringly complete options. For instance, you can set the AEL button on the direction pad to trigger autofocus, allowing you to use back-button focus – a good example of the kind of advanced feature available on the M200 with just a little digging. There’s quite a bit of hand-holding – another plus for those learning to separate their apertures from their ASAs. For example, each division of the M200’s menu system shows a screen when you first click over to it, explaining the types of options you’re about to uncover.

There are a few useful toys apart from that 180° flipping screen, namely Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. We’re used to seeing these on virtually every Canon camera that crosses our desk these days, but they’re particularly apposite here, given that the M200 is likely to be picked up by photographers used to being able to share directly from their device. Here, you use the M200 with Canon’s Camera Connect app – connecting and uploading images to a smartphone proved straightforward.

It’s a well-built camera. It isn’t big, and all the buttons feel solid. The screen, when it’s parked, clicks firmly into place and doesn’t feel like it will come loose.

Canon EOS M200 review: Photo quality

The sensor is an APS-C model with 24.1-megapixels, which is towards the top of end of resolutions you’ll see on a sensor this size. It gives you loads of latitude for cropping and our technical tests revealed a camera of real quality. To ISO 1600 it takes really clean, noise-free images, with images only falling apart after about ISO 6400.

There is noise present at other ISOs – sometimes making itself felt at somewhat surprising settings. At ISO 500, for example, we were a little taken aback to find pronounced levels of noise in fairly well-lit scenes. That’s a shame, as it means the M200’s high resolution and theoretically very-croppable images actually can’t be zoomed in as much as you might like before you start hitting noise.

It holds up reasonably, but not incredibly, to other APS-C cameras. We compared its ISO results to those of the Nikon D3500, for example, and preferred the D3500’s finer noise at ISO 1600. If you’re after maximum image quality, particularly in situations that will stretch a camera – after dark, for instance – there could be better options out there.

In more regular situations, though, the M200 acquitted itself well. Colours are neutrally reproduced, making for images that lend themselves well to subtle post-processing. In all, stills quality is good rather than genre-defining. Perhaps the most meaningful distinction is the comparison to smartphone images, however, where the M200 will fare considerably better even before you consider the ability to fit longer, wider or brighter lenses than you can to a camera phone.

Canon EOS M200 review: Video quality

Video options are pretty good – indeed the M200 is maybe more fairly judged as a hybrid stills/video unit than a stills camera that can shoot video on the side. You can opt for 25fps 4K, although this prompts an almost useless level of cropping – the camera applies a 1.6x crop to the already substantial 1.6x crop of the APS-C sensor. That means even pretty wide lenses, like the 15-45mm we tested it with, become hopeless in doors, with only pretty wide landscapes the only thing you can really use 4K for.

Fortunately, Full HD comes to the rescue. You can shoot at 50, 30 or 25fps and quality is great. We didn’t particularly like the bokeh of the 15-45mm lens we tested with but that’s a pretty easy one to fix. We saw little evidence of the rolling shutter effect and really liked how well face detection worked in video mode. The STM autofocus mechanism of the included lens works really well too, making subtle, silent adjustments to focus distance mid-take that don’t ruin films with the whirring and grinding of more traditional DSLR lenses forced into video work.

Slow motion filming is available at up to 100fps, but only if you’re willing to drop the resolution to HD-Ready (720p). When we tried shoehorning the M200’s 720p footage into a 1080p timeline we were a little less than impressed – the footage doesn’t seem to scale that nicely, meaning there might be better cameras out there for slo-mo aficionados.

Canon EOS M200 review: Verdict

The EOS M200 is an interesting little camera. It’s certainly an affordable one, and it’s quite possible that for vloggers who are happy with talking-head footage at 25fps from a reasonable selection of decent lenses, it might just be the best camera out there. It shoots fairly good stills and nice video, and the design, while unlikely to be to the taste of more advanced photographers, makes getting into more advanced photography un-intimidating and, dare we say it, kind of fun.

For photographers who end up a little more technically competent, there’s plenty in the M200 to keep you going once you start to grasp the nuances of apertures and shutter speed, so you won’t have to upgrade your camera too soon.

Image quality isn’t superlative. It’s not bad, by any means, but for photographers who fancy themselves as the creators of large, printed artworks we’d suggest other APS-C cameras such as the Nikon D3500 or the Canon 2000D, both of which surpass the M200’s output, particularly at high ISOs. If your work is going to end up online rather than printed you’ll struggle to tell the difference during everyday, daylight photography, and there’s no question that the M200’s unfussy, friendly design will win it plenty of fans.

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