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Serene Travel Photography with the Canon EOS-M

Photographers

The Canon 5D Mark II has long been Tristan Pott’s go-to camera for capturing snippets of Japan and Taiwan, where he has been living for the past several years. To save a little space while still getting to use his normal lenses, Pott picked up a Canon EOS-M, Canon’s first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Pott’s serene photographs of scenes from his day trips around both countries shows that a little camera can produce some beautiful visual keepsakes. If you’re trying to save on weight, especially if you are a Canon shooter with some lenses already available to you, the Canon EOS-M with the EF to EF-M adapter just may be the ticket! Find out below why Pott chooses the EOS-M.

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ISO 100, f/2.8, and 1/250th of a second shutter. ©Tristan Pott

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ISO 100, f/22, and a 2 second shutter. ©Tristan Pott

BL: You already have some larger glass, such as the Canon 100mm f/2.8L and the Canon 24-105mm f/4L. What made you want to start using them on the Canon EOS-M?

Pott: To be honest, I didn’t think I’d use my L lenses as much as I actually do when I received my EOS-M. I was initially perfectly content with the kit lens, which is a little 22mm prime, but I decided to give the adapter a try. When I actually tried out my 24-105mm f/4L for its zoom capabilities with the EOS-M, I was really happy with a few of the shots I got that day. From there, I realized that an EOS-M plus good glass equals better shots.

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ISO 100, f/1.8, and 1/1250th of a second shutter. Taken with a 1952 Canon 50mm rangefinder lens. ©Tristan Pott

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ISO 100, f/4, and 1/320th of a second shutter. ©Tristan Pott

BL: What are the EOS-M’s greatest weaknesses and what are its greatest strengths?

Pott: I consider the greatest strength to be the image sensor. For the price and the form factor, it’s great in terms of image quality – especially when shooting RAW. The build quality is close to perfect in my opinion. This camera feels just as durable as my Canon 5D Mark II. The other advantage is its size plus the fact that I can use pretty much any Canon lens on it. There are even some adaptors to use Leica mount lenses with it. I can use my old rangefinder lens from Canon’s 1952 clone of a Leica 3 rangefinder!

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ISO 200, f/4, and 1/80th of a second shutter. ©Tristan Pott

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ISO 500, f/4, and 1/200th of a second shutter. ©Tristan Pott 

Pott(continued) I think that the weaknesses have been pretty well publicized in online reviews. My biggest gripes are that the battery life isn’t as long as I’d like it to be and that the auto focus isn’t as fast as I’d like it to be. Prior to the recent firmware upgrade, the auto focus was just downright terrible. However now, post firmware update, it’s usually good enough. I’m really glad that they addressed that problem as well as they did. The improvement is pretty substantial. One other issue that regularly bugs me is that dust just loves attaching itself to the sensor. I hear that’s common with a lot of mirrorless digital cameras.

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ISO 500, f/16, and 1/40th of a second shutter. ©Tristan Pott

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ISO 1600, f/6.3, and 1/60th of a second shutter. ©Tristan Pott

BL: Do you think the style of your work has changed or improved, compositionally-speaking, as a result of using a much smaller camera or do you think it is about the same as when you used your Canon 5D Mark II?

Pott: I don’t think my work has improved too much because of this camera other than helping me get some new perspectives that I probably wouldn’t have considered before. It has helped me diversify a bit. Because of it’s size, the EOS-M is easy to use as a casual camera for parties and dinners. It really is nice to be able to put on a better lens, maybe add a good flash, and do some serious work. I’m still not very good but I’ve attempted a lot more street photography since I got this camera. The size makes that quite easy and, quite frankly, I could never do that with my other camera. I think that I am able to get a lot more good street shots with this camera on account of its size. We all know that the best camera you have is whatever camera you have with you. It’s really not a problem to take this camera just about anywhere, unlike my 5D, and I catch a lot more photographable moments with it than I would otherwise. I suppose that’s had a huge impact on the quality of my travel photography.

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ISO 2500, f/2.8, and 1/160th of a second shutter. ©Tristan Pott

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ISO 200, f/5.6, and 1/60th of a second shutter. ©Tristan Pott

BL: Have you found that the Touchscreen Viewfinder is a benefit for making manual settings changes or a hindrance? Do you miss the dials of larger cameras?

Pott: The touchscreen isn’t my favorite thing to use but it does have a couple of advantages. I don’t particularly like it for changing aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. Where it’s really helpful is for adjusting my auto focus points. It certainly is easier to quickly get the exact composition that I want with it. I do want to say, unrelated to the touch-screen functionality, that the screen quality is fantastic for previewing shots. I wish that my MacBook had a screen as good as this!

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ISO 100, f/4, and 1/124th of a second shutter. ©Tristan Pott

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ISO 200, f/2.8, and 1/20th of a second shutter. ©Tristan Pott

BL: If you were to magically acquire another small camera, which would it be? What is new out there that you’d love to try out and why?

Pott:  I don’t know if we can really call it “small” anymore but I’d be perfectly happy if a new Leica M magically appeared at my doorstep. And, of course, an appropriate 50mm lens to go with it. I always loved using my 1952 Canon rangefinder. I think that a digital version of that pure, uncompromising rangefinder experience would just be pure fun and a joy to use, regardless of how the photos even turned out! I think I’d require a lot more magic than I have now to get a new Leica M, though.

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ISO 100, f/4, and 1/320th of a second shutter. ©Tristan Pott

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ISO 100, f/2.0, and 1/15th of a second shutter. ©Tristan Pott

Circle Tristan Pott on G+ to see more of his work. While you’re at it, circle us as well!

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Alex "2.0" Huff is a portrait photographer based in San Francisco. Her tutorials can be found here on the BorrowLenses Blog, 500px, Shutterfly, Snapknot, and SmugMug. She specializes in studio lighting. Follow her work on 500px.

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