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Canon M vs T2i

The Canon EOS M and the Canon EOS Rebel T2i (labelled Canon 550D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2012 and February 2010. The Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the T2i is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 17.9 megapixels.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon M
versus
Canon T2i
Canon M   Canon T2i
Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF-M mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
17.9 MP – APS-C sensor 17.9 MP – APS-C sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-12,800 (100 - 25,600) ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800)
No viewfinder, LCD framing Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 1040k dots 3.0" LCD – 1040k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4.3 shutter flaps per second 3.7 shutter flaps per second
230 shots per battery charge440 shots per battery charge
109 x 66 x 32 mm, 298 g 129 x 98 x 62 mm, 530 g
Canon M:
Check Ebay offers
Canon T2i:
Check Ebay offers

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M and the Canon EOS Rebel T2i? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon M and the Canon T2i are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Canon M can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the T2i is only available in black.

Size Canon M vs Canon T2i
Compare Canon M versus T2i top
Comparison Canon M or T2i rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon T2i is considerably larger (76 percent) than the Canon M. Moreover, the T2i is substantially heavier (78 percent) than the Canon M. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Canon M nor the T2i are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the Canon M gets 230 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the T2i can take 440 images on a single charge of its LP-E8 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon M 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599i
2.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
3.
 
Canon M100 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 302 g 295 n Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499i
5.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
6.
 
Canon G7 X 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699i
7.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
8.
 
Canon SL1 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549i
9.
 
Canon T5i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649i
10.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
11.
 
Canon T3i 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599i
12.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
13.
 
Panasonic GF6 111 mm 65 mm 38 mm 323 g 340 n Apr 2013 499i
14.
 
Panasonic G3 115 mm 84 mm 47 mm 336 g 270 n May 2011 599i
15.
 
Sony NEX-3N 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499i
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Canon M was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 14 percent) than the T2i, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

In terms of chip-set technology, the Canon M uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC V) than the T2i (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon M and Canon T2i sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 17.9 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the Canon M and the T2i have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the Canon M is much more recent (by 2 years and 5 months) than the T2i, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Canon M has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Canon EOS M has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel T2i are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.

Canon M versus T2i MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon M APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
2.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
3.
 
Canon M100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
4.
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
5.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
6.
 
Canon G7 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671
7.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
8.
 
Canon SL1 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
9.
 
Canon T5i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
10.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
11.
 
Canon T3i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
12.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
13.
 
Panasonic GF6 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
14.
 
Panasonic G3 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
15.
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the T2i has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Canon M relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M and Canon T2i in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon Mnone n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.3/s n n
2.
 
Canon T2ioptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
3.
 
Canon M100none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 6.1/s Y n
4.
 
Canon M10none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6/s Y n
5.
 
Canon T6soptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
6.
 
Canon G7 Xnone n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2/s Y Y
8.
 
Canon SL1optical n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9/s Y n
9.
 
Canon T5ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
10.
 
Canon T4ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
11.
 
Canon T3ioptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
12.
 
Canon T1ioptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4/s Y n
13.
 
Panasonic GF6none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2/s Y n
14.
 
Panasonic G31440 n3.0 / 460 swivel Y 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
15.
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n3.0 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The Canon M has a touchscreen, while the T2i has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the Canon M and the T2i write their files to SDXC cards. The Canon M supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the T2i cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS M and Canon EOS Rebel T2i and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon MYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
2.
 
Canon T2iYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon M100-stereo / mono--micro2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon M10-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T6sYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon G7 X-stereo / mono--micro2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
8.
 
Canon SL1Ymono / monoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T5iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon T4iYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon T3iYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon T1iYmono / mono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Panasonic GF6-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
14.
 
Panasonic G3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
15.
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereo / mono--micro2.0---

Both the Canon M and the T2i have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T2i was replaced by the Canon T3i, while the Canon M was followed by the Canon EOS M3. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M or the Canon T2i – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Advantages of the Canon EOS M:

  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC V vs DIGIC 4).
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.3 vs 3.7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (109x66mm vs 129x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 232g or 44 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (14 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 5 months of technical progress since the T2i launch.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel T2i:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (440 versus 230) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2010).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Canon M is the clear winner of the match-up (10 : 4 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

Canon M 10:04 T2i

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon M and the Canon T2i place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Canon M or the T2i. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon M3/5+....4/54/5 Jul 2012 599i
2.
 
Canon T2i..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
3.
 
Canon M1003/5+....4/53.5/5 Aug 2017 499i
4.
 
Canon M10..........4/5 Oct 2015 499i
5.
 
Canon T6s5/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
6.
 
Canon G7 X4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699i
7.
 
Canon G164/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
8.
 
Canon SL14/5+..78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549i
9.
 
Canon T5i......76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649i
10.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
11.
 
Canon T3i3/5o..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599i
12.
 
Canon T1i..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
13.
 
Panasonic GF6..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Apr 2013 499i
14.
 
Panasonic G33/5+ +..75/1004.5/55/5 May 2011 599i
15.
 
Sony NEX-3N3/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon M:
Check Ebay offers
Canon T2i:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon M vs Canon T2i

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon M Canon T2i
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF-M mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2012 February 2010
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 699
    Sensor Specs Canon M Canon T2i
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 22.3 x 14.9 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 332.27 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 26.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 17.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 5184 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.31 μm 4.31 μm
    Pixel Density 5.39 MP/cm2 5.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC V DIGIC 4
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 65 66
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.1 22.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 11.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 827 784
    Screen Specs Canon M Canon T2i
    Viewfinder Type no viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon M Canon T2i
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4.3 shutter flaps/s 3.7 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I no
    Connectivity Specs Canon M Canon T2i
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon M Canon T2i
    Battery Type LP-E12 LP-E8
    Battery Life (CIPA)230 shots per charge440 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 109 x 66 x 32 mm
    (4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
    129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    Camera Weight 298 g (10.5 oz) 530 g (18.7 oz)
    Canon M:
    Check Ebay offers
    Canon T2i:
    Check Ebay offers

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