Turns out, Canon's EOS M exists, and it sounds awesome. Unveiled on Monday, the Japanese company's first offering into the mirrorless market is a resounding statement to Sony's immensely popular NEX line, which recently released the NEX F3. Canon's new monster is compact, attractive and a big reason why we get excited about digital photography. It's late to the party, but boy was it worth it.

If Canon's new T4i got zapped with a shrink ray, the new EOS M would be the result. Or better yet, if the company's fantastic S100 got together with Canon's latest DSLR well, you know. Equipped with an 18-megapixel APS-C image sensor and Digic 5 image processor, the EOS M promises to not only capture fantastic still images, but excellent videos as well; You'll get shallow depths of field, impressive low-light performance and a wide dynamic range.

And the best part? You can pick one up in October with a 22mm f/2 STM kit lens for $799.99. Say it with me: First. Day. Purchase.

Beautiful on the Outside

Built with a magnesium and stainless steel build, the EOS M is a micro-tank disguised as a camera. There's no bulk, no superfluous dials, buttons or add-ons; the cam, with kit lens attached, weighs in at under a pound. That's insanely light for anyone looking to use this while walking.

There's no built-in flash, which also saves weight. The exclusion might be an annoyance for some, but there's a hotshoe so you can attach any flash you already own, or Canon's Speedlite 90EX, which will retail for $150. Kind of a bummer, but with an ISO range or 100-6400 (expandable to 12800 in H mode) for video, and ISO 100-12800 (expandable to 25600 in H mode) for stills, low-light situations shouldn't be much of a problem.

The EOS M also comes with a 3-inch Clear View LCD touchscreen (approximately 1,040,000 dots), with multi-touch capabilities. That means users can swipe, pinch-to-zoom and easily scroll between photos without the encumbrance of repetitive button clicks.

Even Better on the Inside

The EOS M is equipped with so many specs and features you'll wonder how Canon managed to pack them into such a tiny piece of hardware. In addition to its pro-grade DSLR sensor, the shooters comes with Scene intelligent Auto mode, EOS Full HD Movie mode with Movie Servo AF — perfect for Canon's new Stepping Motor tech — and multi-shot Noise Reduction.

For video, the EOS M's AF ability will allow users to lock onto their subject automatically through three different methods — Face Detection & Tracking AF, Multi-Point AF and Single-Point AF.  Couple that with its STM lenses, and Mom will be a silent ninja capable of shooting pro-level video — 1920 x 1080p at 24, 25 and 30 frames per second — at your next Soccer game.

The M-Series

In conjunction with the EOS M's arrival, Canon is introducing a new M-series of lenses designed specifically for its new mirrorless. First up, the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM kit lens. The f/2 aperture means your lens will be wide open to let in the most light available, which will be great for shooting indoors. (Think of aperture like your eyeball's pupil.)

There's also a new EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, which provides city dwellers with more flexibility with stills and videos. Or…

The EOS M supports every single one of Canon's EF and EF-S lenses with an optional Mount Adapter EF-EOS M. Your options are nearly limitless.

Add it to Your Holiday List

Canon waited quite a long time to jump into the mirrorless market but, at least on paper, the EOS M looks to be worth the wait, and a candidate for top support among the options already out there. It's powerful, compact, and support Canon's full lineup of EF and EF-S lenses. But is the $800 price tag low enough to attract users who don't want to shell out for a full-fledged DSLR? That's a question we can't wait to answer when the EOS M hits in October.

[via Canon USA]

Canon EOS M Gallery