Canon EF-M - A manual focus camera that takes only Canon EOS EF lenses

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by jdm_von_weinberg, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Canon EF-M
    A manual focus camera that takes only Canon EOS EF lenses

    This one could fit into "Modern Film Cameras" except that it is completely manual focus, even though its lenses are AF lenses. I think it really belongs here in Classic Manual Cameras on that account. This is the camera so many here have asked for, but never bought when it was available.

    "If you build it, he will come." so sayeth the Field of Dreams (1989) ( ). Every six months or so, somebody posts here ( more frequently by far if other photography websites are included) a plea for a major modern camera maker to produce a camera without all the bells and whistles, so that those sanctified people who shoot manual-only could buy a camera without having to pay for the extras.

    Canon must have been listening. They actually built it -- "it" being essentially a 1989 Rebel/EOS 1000 with no flash (only a hot shoe) and with the AF circuits absent or perhaps only disconnected.
    A few other features, in addition to the AF, are also found on the Rebel camera are omitted on the EF-M, including a built-in flash.

    The Canon EF-M was released to the non-Japanese world in September, 1991, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, a subsequent event that seems largely unrelated. I do know that many here like to see connections, however, post hoc ergo propter hoc. ;)
    Note: the camera is NOT an "EOS EF-M" because it does not use the EOS (Electro-Optical System) AF, merely the EF mount. It is just plain old Canon EF-M -- the only one of its kind, the Uncas of Canon non-autofocus EF mount cameras.

    There is less general information on this camera than one might expect, but this may reflect its unsuccessful market career. Wikipedia's article is at and is little more than a 'stub'. The Canon on-line Museum has merely the specifications as noted. The inimitable Butkus (may his line be prosperous) has a manual for the camera. NK Guy at has written his own "unofficial" manual which gives some additional information about the camera and some of his speculations.
  2. But where were all the people who said they'd wanted it? Apparently in one of those alternate universes, very likely, where the Edsel is Ford's leading line of cars.

    I have no ads for the camera and I do not know the original price, even in yen, since this camera was never sold in Japan so the Canon Camera Museum ( ) lists no price. Presumably it was cheaper than the Rebel, but of course the AF circuitry in such a camera is not expensive, once its mass manufacturing costs are 'amortized'. "Take control" was the motto. Apparently not all that many people wanted THAT much control. One post indicates that one Japanese shop re-imported it and offered it for 18,000 yen for body only ( ). The price in Japan for the Canon EOS 1000 was much higher than that ar 47,000 yen for body only ( ). I found one new in box example offered on eBay at around US$100, but I bought a used one for about $30. It did turn out to have a partially flawed viewfinder information panel, but it is still usable and for the price, I'm not complaining. It often sells used for around $90, but my $30 price is not uncommon for those with patience.

    The Rebel/1000 price at its introduction in Japan was 69,000 yen with EF 35-80mm f/4-5.6. The 'normal' lens for the EF-M was listed as the EF 50mm f/1.8, but the manual shows the same 35-80mm zoom in many examples. Needless to say, one EF lens that will not work with the EF-M is the original Power Zoom 35-85mm which lacks a focus ring altogether!

    Canon at the link above gives the specifications:

    The fixed, pentaprism viewfinder has a magnification of 0.75x (50mm at infinity) and 90% coverage. The matte focusing screen has a combination rangefinder. The 7-segment LCD within the image area displays numerals and text for the shutter speed, aperture setting, incorrect exposures, exposure level, film speed, AE lock, and flash ready.

    Three-zone evaluative metering. partial metering at center, and center-weighted averaging metering are also provided.​
  3. Type 35mm focal-plane shutter SLR camera

    Picture Size 24 x 36 mm

    Normal Lens EF 50mm f/1.8

    Lens Mount EF mount

    Shutter Vertical-travel, focal-plane electronic shutter. 2 sec. - 1/1000 sec., B. X-sync at 1/90 sec. (hot shoe). Built-in electronic self-timer (with beeper).

    Viewfinder Fixed eye-level pentaprism. 0.75x magnification and 90% coverage. Microprism/split-image combination rangefinder with New Laser Matte screen.

    Viewfinder Information Seven-segment LED displays numeric values and text. Shutter speed, aperture setting, incorrect exposure warning, exposure level, film speed, AE lock, flash ready, and other indications.

    Metering & Exposure Control Composite SPC for TTL full-aperture metering (3-zone evaluative, 9.5% partial at center, centerweighted averaging) with shutter speed-prority AE, aperture-priority AE, Intelligent program AE, and metered manual. Metering range at ISO 100 and f/1.4: EV 2 - 20. Film speed range: ISO 6 to 6400 (settable manually in 1/3-stop increments).

    Power Source One 6 V 2CR5 lithium battery

    Film Loading & Advance Align film leader at mark, then close the camera back for prewind loading. First, the entire roll is wound on the take-up spool. Then each time a picture is taken, the film advances back into the cartridge. Film transport with the built-in motor. Film advance speed: 1 fps.

    Film Rewind After the last frame is exposed, the film is rewound automatically.

    Dimensions & Weight 148 x 97 x 68 mm, 390 g
  4. The Canon EF mount has the electrical contacts to the lens, but these control only the aperture set on the lens, since focus is completely manual. It is essential, of course, to turn off AF on lenses without full-time manual focusing capabilities.
  5. By the way, note that the mount is another of those PLASTIC mounts like the EOS 700. ;)
    Despite its intentionally basic form, this was actually quite sophisticated. As is the case with most of the EOS film cameras, L on the aperture dial is "off". If the shutter speed dial AND the shutter aperture dial are both set to "A", then the camera operates as a program-exposure camera with both the speed and aperture being selected automatically. If, however, a specific shutter speed or aperture is chosen on the appropriate dial, then the camera operates as a shutter-preferred or aperture-preferred camera.
    If both dials are turned to settings, the camera is totally manually and exposure is chosen by turning one or both dials and noting the under- or over-exposure on the display in the viewfinder. Exposure compensation has its own control, together with buttons on the back that otherwise are exposure-lock and self timer controls.
  6. One feature of the Canon EF-M is more-or-less unique, however. It has a special viewfinder screen that is designed for MANUAL focus with EF lenses. This consists of a fairly bright ground glass, with a central micro-prism ring and, within that, a prism rangefinder. Many people seem to have found this a source for a finder that could, with some difficulty, be installed in other EOS cameras, film and digital. It's my impression that it is actually superior to the MF screens offered by Canon today for some of their digital cameras. In any case, broken or not EF-M cameras have been plundered to get this screen - perhaps another reason for it's maintaining value pretty well, both in terms of utility of the screen and destruction of the relatively few of them that are out there.
  7. Of course, I suppose the only mystery about this camera so far as this report is concerned is how well it works with my variously reworked eyes, mark ii. Does the manual focus work, in other words?
    Yeah, I guess so. It seemed easy to focus. Of course, it is absolutely crucial that you remember to turn off the AF on the lens if it is not one of the newer USM series. Otherwise, you may experience what is known as the dread AF "crunch" as you destroy the AF mechanism in the lens.

    Here are a few examples. These are all shot with a Canon EF 35mm f/2 lens in manual mode. I thought about using my Canon EF 24-105mm lens, but to be honest putting a 670g lens on a 390g camera body doesn't balance out all that well. :)

    The film was Walgreen's version of Fuji 200 C/N film. These are "un-shopped" except for adjustment of the scans for exposure and 'spotting' some of the inevitable film 'spots.' Exposure adjustment and some color adjustment is necessary because of the scanning process and settings. The negatives were of good, on-the-dot density.
  8. By the way the first pictures here were Tv, Av, and M (to put it in current terms), but the later images were program.
  9. The winter has been so mild, and so warm recently that many trees are starting to bud. They will be punished, I'm afraid.
  10. The library has also moved to completely electronic access, which is even more fortunate for those of us who work from home (retired :).
  11. Not all the students here have gone conservative, perhaps fewer than nation-wide, given the "red-brick" character of the place. The faculty are definitely more conservative than in the aftermath of the GI Bill of WWII.
  12. That's all folks ;)
  13. Oh, I'm sorry I didn't notice that the specs got misaligned somewhere in the conversion to html. The left column is centered on the right, rather than at the top), but I think you can work it out. If not, send me an email (not a message); and I'll send you a small Excel spreadsheet.
  14. Nikon made a similar camera, the N6000. Even with manual focusing, the EF-M still took lenses which had no aperture rings. You had to make those settngs on the camera body. I have thought about getting a N6000 but N90S bodies cost so little, have so many more features and have interchangeablee focusing screens. Pentax made the ZX-M, another manual focus camera which worked with AF lenses. I think these cameras were made because the camera companies did not want to retool to make mechanical manual focus cameras for the student markert. The EF-M had a standard screen which was easier to focus manually with than the one usually found in an AF camera. With a Nikon N2020 or N90S you can just change the screen and turn off the AF. Today, if you want a reliable manual focus camera it's easy to buy a Nikkormat or Minolta SRT or Canon FTb and just have it serviced.
  15. I bought an EFM at a table top sale a few years ago for £10, and was immediately impressed by the beautifully simple two-knob control system, almost (but not quite) to the extent of changing to Canon from my old favourite Minolta system. However I soon realised the control system was unique to the EFM and not typical of EOS cameras in general. There was a special thyristor flashgun made for this unit, since it didn't have TTL flash control, can't remember the designation. Thanks for the post and interesting images.
  16. Thanks JDM. I knew nothing about this at all. I wonder if it sold well. I should imagine that it would have been more robust than the autofocus bodies?
  17. Thanks JDM. Well written and great photos as always. I was not aware of this little piece of camera history. Thanks for taking the time to post about it. Incredibly informative.
  18. Sounds somewhat similar to the Pentax ZX-M/MZ-M (I bought of those new about 9 years ago and mine is still going strong), which was also a manual-focus body with a plastic lens mount which was released in the autofocus era. Like the ZX-M, I'd guess it was marketed as a student camera.
  19. I should have mentioned, although it is in the links given, that at the time it was issued, the speculation was that this was to meet a hypothetical demand for MF cameras for schools. Canon themselves never really said, so far as I know.
  20. Thanks JDM. I briefly considered one of these a while back, but the plastic lens mount put me off, and I promptly forgot all about it. Now I'm thinking "Hmmm..."
  21. Sounds to me like the worst of both worlds - the blobby plastic body and plastic lens mount of a consumer SLR, and usable only with AF lenses used manually - undamped focusing action and no aperture ring. Having never used one, I can only hope that it's actually better than it sounds.
  22. I dug out my brochures for the original Rebel and EF-M. The EF-M was clearly a direct descendent of the Rebel. Their external dimensions are identical, as are most of their basic specifications. In the brochure, Canon states that the EF-M is a "manual-focus SLR that gives photographers the 'hands-on' experience they need." "That's why Canon has introduced the EF-M. A manual-focus SLR that lets you learn by doing." It further states that the Speedlite 200M (presumably M="manual") was made specifically for the EF-M. Interestingly, there is a photo of the EF-M with the EF 35-80mm 1:4-5.6 lens, the latter of which has an accessory "Focusing Adapter" attached to the bayonet mount at the front of the lens. The purpose of this accessory seems to have been to make manual focusing easier. Good luck trying to find one of these rarities!
  23. As for the price of the EF-M, a mail order company advertised the following prices for EOS bodies in a June 1993 photo magazine:
    EF-M: $169.95
    Rebel: $159.95
    Rebel S: $239.95
    Elan: $299.95
    A2E: $689.50
    EOS-1: $989.50
  24. To add to Gordon's post. Here is an ad from B&H Photo in the Nov 1992 issue of Pop Photo magazine.
    Here are the Canon EOS prices.
  25. Here are the Canon FD prices from the same ad.
  26. JDM,
    A very interesting post on a rather obscure camera. I couldn't find any ads or announcements. It just seemed to appear and then as quickly was gone. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.
  27. Thanks for the good write-up of the EF-M, JDM.
    I have one bought to use with my M-42 lenses (needs an M42-EF adapter, works with lenses that have manual stop down).Compared with my Praktica MTL-5, the EF-M:
    Weighs less (490g vs 560g).
    Gives aperture priority AE.
    Has a built in winder.
    Has a more accurate meter.
    But in the event, due to my interest in the now inexpensive old Prakticas , the EF-M has not had much use.
  28. Thanks all, especially for the ads and pricing information. I guess that I'll have to bring my photo magazine reference library up to post 1989, if I keep this up.
    In my case, the Prakticas came first, but I've now got at least one representative of each generation of them, and now this EF-M sort of completes my accumulation of the mainline EOS film cameras.
    One thing about my collection(s), in ten years time -- I am convinced -- they will mostly be worth just as little as when I bought them. I've had fun shooting them all, though.
    I've considered going for the earlier digital cameras, but there are very few of those that you can pick up for $30.
  29. Now that's a new one for me, JDM; I've certainly never seen one in the flesh and I can't recall having ever come across a reference to the camera. Thanks for a comprehensive and enlightening post....I don't think I'll be hunting an EF-M down, however!
  30. I nearly bought one last year, thinking it was a old Canon EF.
    After searching the web and seeing pictures of it I saw that it was a manual EF mount camera.
    I hesitated but didn't buy it because I thought that it would be to difficult to focus manually with such small focus rings on the EF lenses.
  31. One thing you have to givbe the EF-M is that the focus screen is as good as any they ever had in the MF era. I think it's better than the ones made for MF on the Canon EOS 5D. for example.
    I think the confusion with the older FD-mount EF camera is a common problem, insofar as anything about this camera is common.
  32. Great post, JDM. When my family owned a camera shop we carried EOS, but we never stocked the EF-M. I remember reading about it. By then the majority of our SLR customers wanted autofocus and the "oh-so-slow" wide to tele kit lens rather than a fast 50. Thanks for posting.
  33. By the way, in addition to this post here on Classic Manual, here are the links (for the record and future searches, if any) to my earlier reports on EOS film cameras - mostly on the EOS forum, but also on Modern Film Cameras:
    EOS 650
    EOS 620
    EOS 630
    EOS 10S
    EOS 700
    EOS 5 =A2e
    EF-M - (this post)
  34. It is interesting which similar EOS888 .which aim S.East Asian low income market. EOS 888 no Av Mode just shutter dial.the kit lens is 38~76mm.
    In 90's other similar cameras have Pentax MZ-M ,Rioch XR ,minolta a 101 (base entry camera and X300s made in China for MD lens since MD and PK lens much user by Seagull is MD lens)
  35. I just bought one of these from ebay for £30, with the 35-80mm zoom lens included. It's compact (compared to an EOS 3) and very neat. The screen for focussing is very good - especially so far as the micro prism collar is concerned. With the 50mm F/1.8 lens it's a nice light little package.
    I'll be shooting the second half of a roll of film today (the 'first' half was used in an Nikon F4S) and am looking forward to seeing the results.
  36. Bad news - the shutter has the 'gooey gunk' problem very common on the 650 series. Apparently the only fix is a new

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