Traveling Through Italy with the EOS M3

February 12, 2016

As a long time professional photographer I definitely have a love affair with gear. Especially cameras and lenses, with a preference towards big heavy pro camera bodies. Maybe it’s because I’m a small woman standing at 4’11” tall. There is something about the way a solid heavy camera feels cradled in my hands. However, a full day of carrying my pro equipment while traveling gets a little tough on the shoulders. I sacrificed my shoulders on many trips because no small point-and-shoot camera could give me the versatility that my DSLR could. That was right up until Canon released the EOS M3....

My first introduction to the camera was an email about a future release and as I started to read the specs on the camera my heart was fluttering with a new camera crush. In addition to the size I was impressed that the camera had its own line of compatible lenses. BUT, the game changer for me was being able to use all of my Canon professional lenses with the optional adapter. The idea of a compact camera with 24 megapixels that I could use with lenses I already owned was a HUGE benefit for me.

This year, I spent 16 days in Italy and the EOS M3 was in my handbag all the time. It was so great knowing that if I wanted to travel super light, the EF-M 18-55mm kit lens would be more than enough to suit my needs. For days when I was feeling extra creative or just went out for the sake of shooting interesting images, I could throw a 100mm macro 2.8 lens in my bag and it still wasn’t too heavy. Being a little infatuated with this camera, I wasn’t shy about pairing it with pretty much every lens I own. The 24-105mm f4.0L IS may have been the lens I used the most because of the zoom range. I also loved my primes (fixed focal length lenses) on the M3 --the 135mm 2.0L is amazing on this incredible capture device. With 1.6 crop factor the 135mm turns into a 216mm f/2.0 lens. The size of the 135mm is fairly compact and easy to carry around. It’s an incredibly sharp lens and when matched with the EOS M3, my creativity is endless.

The M3 really changed my travel experience from feeling like I was being weighed down by my equipment to feeling free to create as I wished. There have been times when I have struggled with the choice between carrying my heavier 5D Mark III or settling for my iPhone camera. I would often use both so I could stay up to date on social media with my iPhone pictures while shooting the same thing with my 5D Mark III so I could have a much higher quality RAW file. Now that I have the M3, I would never dream of leaving the house without it. As a matter of fact, it is still in my medium sized handbag on a daily basis. You never know when a great shot will present itself.

Aside from the size, the DSLR-like features, and the compatibility with all my EF lenses, the other feature that I absolutely love about this little gem is the built-in Wi-Fi and being able to send images to my phone right away for social media sharing. As a professional photographer, I was annoyed with myself using my phone for images I wanted to instantly share on social media.

The photo above was taken with the EF-M 18-55mm at 1600 ISO 1/4000 sec. at f/4.5 The focal length was 30mm. One of my favorite things about Italy is the texture everywhere you look. Also, the streets are so tiny if you aren’t careful you will miss it. This image represents the tiny streets, the texture and the color you will see on nearly every street in Italy.

For this photo, I pumped up the ISO to 3200 for capturing the night scene with plenty of detail. I was able to hand hold the camera at a 1/4 of second with incredible results.

The portrait of my good friend (below, left) was taken as she looked out the hotel window when she first arrived. The EF-M 18-55mm was already on the camera when I noticed the gorgeous light on her profile. ISO 320 - 1/320 sec. - f/4.5 at 30mm. The details between highlights and shadows are beautiful.

This statue (above, right) is one of my favorite images from my trip. This was taken with the M3 using my EF 135mm f/2.0L. The statue was high above me set into the front of the church. I was able to capture incredible detail in the clothing by using this lens. I shot this at ISO 400 1/4000 sec. at f/2.0. This image is all about focusing on the details in the clothing while allowing the face to go out focus.

Sometimes a journey is all about the small details. Italy is all about bicycles...I absolutely loved the color and the details of this bicycle. The 100mm macro f/2.8L lens is perfect for this type of detail work. It was a beautiful bright day out and so my settings for this image were ISO 100 1/60 sec. at f/4.0 +0.33 exposure compensation. I am a big fan of using exposure compensation when using Aperture Priority (AV Mode) with evaluative metering. While looking at the image I know that the background is brighter than the foreground and a boost in exposure would help ensure that the flowers would not be underexposed. Using one quick dial at the top of the camera I can make that adjustment quickly.

My 24-105mm f/4L IS is a perfect addition to this camera as well. The image of the masks to the right was shot with the 24-105 at 93mm. ISO250 - 1/125 sec. at f/5.0. The details and the colors in the masks are just stunning.

At first I just wanted a small, compact and lightweight camera to toss in my handbag for traveling and sightseeing -- but I honestly believe I could add this to my pro bag and use it for portraits if I needed to or simply as a backup camera in my bag. This camera is a lot like me…small and mighty. It’s packed with 24.2 Megapixels. Back in the day, I shot many weddings with a prehistoric digital camera that had a whopping 3 Megapixels. In addition to the phenomenal quality of the images, I can also use any of my lenses that I would use on a 5D Mark III. Combine those two things with high ISO’s and Wi-Fi to my phone and I can tell you without a doubt that if the M3 was the only camera in my bag and I suddenly had to create a family portrait that could be enlarged to a 30x40, I would have full confidence in accomplishing the task.

To sum up my top five reasons that I love the Canon EOS M3….

1. Quality of RAW images with 24.2 Megapixels

2. Small and compact (fits in my handbag)

3. With adapter I can use all of my pro lenses

4. WiFi to my iPhone

5. High ISO

The CDLC contributors are compensated spokespersons and actual users of the Canon products that they promote.

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