Canon EOS M5 Review

The Canon EOS M5 is the most enthusiast-friendly EOS M yet. It’s a 24MP mirrorless camera built around a Dual Pixel APS-C sensor, giving it

Paul

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The Canon EOS M5 is the most enthusiast-friendly EOS M yet. It’s a 24MP mirrorless camera built around a Dual Pixel APS-C sensor, giving it depth-aware focus across most of the frame. On top of this, it adds a built-in electronic viewfinder, a good number of external controls (including twin control dials), and a well-implemented touchscreen.

This level of direct control puts it comfortably ahead of Sony’s a6000 and a6300 and more on par with Panasonic’s GX85 (GX80 in some markets) and GX8 enthusiast models. These cameras aim to offer stills and video capabilities in relatively small bodies but with a reasonable level of direct external control.

Last updated on January 19, 2024 10:06 am

Key Specifications

  • 24MP Dual Pixel APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • 2.36M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder
  • 1.62 million dot rear touchscreen that can tilt.
  • In-lens image stabilization and electronic video stabilization work together to provide 5-axis IS.
  • Continuous filming at 7 frames per second (9 fps with focus and exposure locked)
  • Wi-Fi paired with Bluetooth that is constantly linked

Despite all those buttons and dials, the Canon EOS M5 is a very approachable camera. It’s the implementation of this touchscreen that, in general, we’re most impressed with. Much like the system developed by Panasonic, the M5 not only lets you use the rear touchscreen to position focus but also allows its use as a touchpad to move the focus point when you’re shooting through the viewfinder. Combined with decisive autofocus, this has proven significant for both stills and video shooting.

The camera has four dials: two main dials on the top, a dedicated exposure compensation dial, and a fourth dial encircling the four-way controller on the back of the camera. This is a much higher level of direct control than offered on the simpler EOS M-series models shown previously, suggesting Canon expects the user to take more hands-on control of the shooting experience.

While the lack of 4K video capability is a disappointment, using the touchscreen to re-position the focus point with high confidence that the camera will smoothly glide the focus to the right moment is highly desirable.

The touchscreen-plus-Dual-Pixel-AF combination is also helpful for stills shooting – you can use the touchscreen to drag the focus point around the screen and select between available faces if shooting or recording in face detection mode.

The other significant benefit of the M5 finally receiving Canon’s Dual Pixel AF system is that it is now able to focus adapted EF and EF-S lenses very effectively – overall performance isn’t quite the same as an 80D in Live View mode, but its leaps and bounds ahead of any previous M camera.

You’re also no longer limited to the small central focus area offered when using comparable Rebel / EOS x-hundreds DSLR models, and focusing is almost DSLR-quick and decisive.

The other significant advantage of the M5 finally receiving Canon’s Dual Pixel AF system is that it can now effectively focus on adapted EF and EF-S lenses. As a result, while the overall performance of the M5 is not entirely on par with that of an 80D in Live View mode, it is leagues and leagues ahead of any previous M camera.

You are no longer restricted to the narrow central focus area provided by similar Rebel / EOS x-hundreds DSLR models. The focus is nearly as rapid and decisive as it is with DSLRs.

Body Handling

The M5 is the EOS M camera most suited for photography enthusiasts. We say this because it resembles a DSLR in design and has dual command dials and a specialized exposure compensation dial.

These offer a quicker manner of engaging with the camera’s exposure settings than prior versions or, for that matter, the majority of Canon’s entry-level DSLRs, which tend to feature a single command dial. This is because these have two command dials.

It is interesting to note that the camera borrows several features from the Gx X family of PowerShot compacts (such as the G7 X II), the most notable of which is the inclusion of a ‘Dial Func’ button, which, when pressed, reassigns one of the command dials to a different function.

However, if you discover that you don’t need to change the function of the dials very often, you may set them in the main menu and then repurpose the ‘Dial Func’ button to do something else. Again, this is an option if you don’t need to alter the function of the dials very often.

The following functions can be assigned to the Dial Func. Button on your camera: Standard (which will set the dial to its default assignment for that exposure mode), ISO, White Balance, Metering Mode, AF mode, and Drive Mode.

It is also possible to modify the other dials such that they have various functions based on the exposure mode that is now selected. For example, some of our editors had a problem with how the Exposure Compensation dial was positioned about the customizable control dial, and they desired to be switched. However, your experience may be different.

The M5 provides more personalization options than the Rebel models, priced in the same range. However, to your benefit, Canon has made the list of customizable functions universal across nearly all assignable buttons (with some specifics regarding the shutter and start buttons, effectively allowing for back-button focus), so you are not left wondering what can be customized, and in what manner.

Touchscreen

The EOS M5’s touchscreen interface and how it merges with the camera’s Dual Pixel AF technology are the most notable features of this camera. Because of the architecture of the Dual Pixels, a significant portion of the sensor can give depth information to the AF system. This allows the camera to typically leap right to the proper focus distance rather than having to seek to locate it.

When it comes to how the touchscreen operates when the camera is held up to your eye, it is pretty evident that Canon has learned a great deal from Panasonic (although they still haven’t equaled the smoothness of Panasonic’s implementation).

Much like on a Panasonic, you have the option to have the autofocus point move to the location that you press on the screen, or you can have it behave more like a computer mouse and be dragged relative to its current position instead. However, Canon significantly improves upon this capacity in two different ways.

The most significant difference is that Canon enables you to choose which part of the screen is active, right down to which half or which quadrant you decide to work with. Whether you shoot with the camera to your left or right eye, you can ensure you do not mistakenly enable ‘nose focus’ by preventing yourself from accidentally using the feature.

Note, however, that if you shoot with your left eye, you may discover that working the control knobs on the right shoulder of the camera brings your thumb uncomfortably near to poking yourself in the face. But, again, this is something to remember if you shoot with your left eye. Put another way, using the viewfinder with your left eye, even tho its position in the camera is far less comfortable than using it with your right eye.

The second significant advantage of touchscreens is that when the camera is set to face detection mode, you can drag your finger across the screen to tell the camera to refocus on and follow a different face in the scene. This feature could be beneficial when recording video and performs very consistently.

When the screen is folded out, the eye sensor might be annoying since the net will turn off if you move your hand in front of it. For example, if you want to put an AF point on the net. It is a nuisance that may force you to manually assign a custom button to switch between the touchscreen and the EVF. The somewhat pronounced latency does not help that the camera shows while transitioning between the two display modes.

Furthermore, it is a problem that is avoided on Olympus OM-D cameras and Sony’s a6500; those cameras stop the eye sensor as soon as they detect the screen being turned out, which, to be honest, ought to be standard procedure at this point.

Lenses with a specific adaptation

The EOS M5 is compatible with Canon’s EF-EOS M adapter, which is not much more than a solid chunk of metal with some electrical connections and sells for the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $199 (adapters made by third parties cost a good bit less, but we haven’t tried them).

The actual story is how well-adapted EF and EF-S lenses now function on the M5 compared to how well they worked on prior M models. They generally work roughly as well as on an EOS 80D when using the Live View option.

Autofocus is speedy and decisive owing to Dual Pixel technology, but it is not flawless. As you might anticipate, larger lenses might lead to an imbalanced sensation; however, larger telezooms built for two-handed photography, such as the 70-200mm F4L, balance pretty nicely.

Auto ISO

In a manner that defies explanation, Canon has made it such that the Auto ISO behavior of the EOS M5 is inferior to that of the EOS 80D and even the G7 X Mark II.

You are only allowed to select the maximum ISO speed the camera can use. In contrast, the camera chooses the shutter speed it thinks is appropriate for the situation, which is not always the case and usually results in the shutter speed being locked at 1/60 with the 15-45mm kit lens, regardless of where you are in the zoom range.

On the G7 X II, you have at least some control over the ‘Rate of Change’ of your shutter speed (though selecting ‘Fast’ will lock the camera at 1/1000 sec as its slowest speed). The 80D goes two steps further by letting you specify your slowest allowable shutter speed manually and by allowing you to choose the lowest ISO speed you’d like to use. Both of these features are available on the G7 X II.

Although it is possible to shoot in full manual mode, during which you can select the ideal shutter speed and aperture for the shot, as well as use exposure compensation to adjust the level of brightness, we have high hopes that this lack of control will be addressed in a future firmware update because it significantly reduces the utility of Auto ISO in general.

Autofocus

The Canon EOS M5 employs the same Dual Pixel autofocus system as the company’s EOS 80D, so it should provide performance that is broadly comparable to that of the EOS 80D. However, lenses will be dependent on lenses (Canon’s EF-M 22mm F2 pancake lens is particularly slow to focus), so performance may vary depending on the specific lens used. In any event, let’s examine the results of the Canon EOS M5 in its testing.

Dual Pixel AF

The EOS 70D was the first Canon camera to have this particular iteration of Canon’s “Dual Pixel AF” architecture. At each pixel point, it has a pair of photodiodes that look to the left and a team that looks to the right.

This indicates that the camera can distinguish between light entering the left-hand side of the lens and light entering from the right, which enables the camera to determine the distance to objects and how to concentrate on them by analyzing the disparity between the two points of View (a process known as phase detection).

This phase-detection technology can only be used throughout 80 percent of the width of the sensor by the camera since the left-hand facing pixel halves at the left-hand edge of the sensor can’t look through the lens aperture (and vice versa at the other side). The accessible and active region of the Dual Pixel AF system is displayed in the graphic that can be found above.

Autofocus with face detection for both static and moving images

Check out the demonstration, but also look at the reel that can be found on the Video portion of our website. You’ll see even more evidence of how unique Canon’s face identification can be there. While the camera loses focus on Dan’s face, the M5’s autofocus technology is sufficiently sophisticated to continue tracking Dan’s head, precisely where Dan’s face was when it was in focus.

It instantly understands that fact once his face is returned to View and continues without stopping. It’s incredible to think about.

Autofocus and overall performance in real-world conditions

The focusing and overall performance of the EOS M5 will be more than enough for most users. Still, the camera has a few peculiarities preventing it from being the finest mirrorless choice available for capturing fast-moving subjects.

The M5 made shooting a victory parade a little more complicated than needed, even though it shouldn’t have been that challenging for a camera of this class to begin with.

At this point, the shutter blackout (either in the viewfinder or on the LCD) is more protracted than most rivals; it is sufficiently lengthy to be a concern even while shooting subjects moving at moderate speeds and at medium-speed focal lengths.

Following the taking of a single shot or a burst of images, the live feed has a brief lag, which causes the Touch & Drag AF feature to become inoperable for the duration of the lag.

This may lead you to become disoriented and for your autofocus point to move all over the place, depending on how your ‘Touch & Drag’ settings are configured.

If you take your finger off the shutter button and mash it (perhaps to capture an unexpected moment), you will be greeted with a substantial delay before the camera fires, even if your subject hasn’t changed much in depth. The most responsive experience will result from intentionally half-pressing before shots or keeping the shutter half-pressed between images (because focus and exposure are already locked).

Unfortunately, there is no way to fix this problem by enabling back-button focus (also known as manual focus) and shooting in full manual mode. This will not resolve the need for the camera locks, both the stress and the exposure.

As mentioned in the introduction, the EOS M5 is the first camera in the M-series to realize the potential of adapted EF and EF-S lenses fully. Moreover, these lenses behave almost exactly as they would on the 80D in Live View, which means they are significantly more usable and reliable than the older ‘Hybrid CMOS AF III’ system used on the M3 and the M10.

However, it is essential to note that the EOS M5 provides a more snappy live view experience than the EOS 80D in practically every manner, even down to the seven fps burst shooting with autofocus. This is the case regardless of any other factor (9fps with it locked).

When shooting bursts with the M5, you are only presented with a slideshow of the most recently captured image. This is in contrast to many of the M5’s mirrorless competitors, which offer some form of a ‘live feed’ while shooting bursts, which makes it easier to track moving subjects and capture decisive moments.

The Canon EOS M5 has a battery life rate of 295 shots, below average for the class. However, switching to Eco mode increases that number to 410 pictures since it turns the screen off after 10 seconds of inactivity and dims it after two seconds.

The built-in flash employed for these testing is guaranteed to hinder the M5. However, in actual shooting situations, a battery will survive a day of moderate use if the flash and playback watching are kept to a minimum.

Quality of the Image

The most recent version of our test scenario emulates photography in both daytime and low-light conditions. You may switch between the two by pressing the ‘lighting’ buttons at the very top of the widget.

The camera is left in its default Auto setting for the low-light testing, but the daytime scene’s white balance is manually adjusted so that the resulting grays are neutral. Raw files require human editing to rectify errors. We provide three distinct viewing sizes, which are as follows:

Complete, Print, and Compare are the three viewing modes available, with Full and Comp providing “normalized” comparisons through matching viewing sizes. The ‘Comp’ option selects the camera with the highest possible resolution shared by the other cameras being evaluated.

Raw

Raw captures a high level of information at low ISO settings and is generally comparable with other formats available on the market (and is nearly identical to the older EOS M3 at lower ISO values as well).

The EOS M5 falls around one stop short of the competition while shooting in reduced light and at higher ISO levels, which is a substantial gap given the industry’s current state.

JPEG

As we would expect from Canon, JPEG colors are typically attractive, with properly saturated reds that aren’t over the top and yellows that avoid nasty green shifts.

However, as is customary with Canon, the noise reduction is clunky, even at lower ISO levels. This is seen by the blurring away sufficient information, especially in scenes with low contrast.

The rough sharpening that Canon employs does not assist in bringing out fine details, and it can result in an ugly haloing around the edges of the image.

These problems get much more severe as the ISO levels are increased. We observe that the Canon leaves substantial noise behind while simultaneously continuing to blur away sufficient information in other areas.

The range of available energies

We have observed considerable improvements in dynamic range performance from Canon in its most recent large-sensor cameras. These improvements are most likely the result of Canon’s transition to on-chip analog-to-digital conversion (first seen in their EOS 80D).

The Canon EOS M5 likely uses the same sensor as the Canon 80D. If this is the case, then both cameras’ exposure latitude and ISO invariance performance will be the same. To summarize, this positions the Raw dynamic range of the M5 somewhere in the middle of its top competitors and Canon’s earlier attempts with APS-C cameras.

This is a typical example of how the reviewer might edit a picture to get the most out of a camera’s dynamic range while avoiding the overly-saturated effect associated with HDR photography. Modifications made to the above image:

White balance set to daylight; exposure adjusted to +0.85; highlights toned down to -100; shadows brought up to +80; whites brought up to +23; blacks toned down to -77; minor boost applied to sharpness and luminance noise reduction.

Video

Because it does not support 4K video recording and does not include zebra pattern exposure warnings, the EOS M5 is likely to dissatisfy serious video enthusiasts. These are undoubtedly surprising omissions, considering the vast number of direct rivals that provide them. Still, where the Canon falls short in terms of specifications, it more than makes up for it in terms of how easily it can be used.

Sample reel, in addition to the practicability

When it comes to working with video, the touchscreen is exceptionally well-implemented. If you give the camera complete control over focusing decisions, it will perform very well. It will focus very smoothly as objects of potential interest enter the frame at different depths, but you won’t have any direct control over how quickly the camera will refocus. On the other hand, if you give the camera complete control over focusing decisions, it will perform very well (this also goes for tapping to rack focus from one point to another in the scene).

Face identification performance is a particularly intriguing aspect of the camera to investigate. For example, suppose the M5 cannot locate your subject’s face. In that case, it will intelligently switch to tracking the issue itself (for example, see the sample video on the page devoted to focusing) and continue monitoring the part of the scene previously occupied by the face.

Therefore, even if your subject is looking away from the camera (for instance), the camera will still track their head. Additionally, as was discussed previously, if your scene contains more than one face, you can shift the camera’s focus to another to telltale you would like it to monitor.

The image stabilizer is also remarkable, giving optical (in-lens) and digital (in-camera) stabilizing options. Of course, when these more sophisticated options are enabled, there is a trade-off in cropping and quality, but the film produced is exceptionally smooth.

Video Stills

While it is unfortunate that the EOS M5 does not support 4K capture, a trend is becoming apparent, as seen in our studio scenario. Cameras capable of highly high-quality 4K capture are, in a sense, “phoning it in” regarding their 1080p recording capabilities (the Sony a7S II is included as an example of just how excellent 1080p output can be).

This makes sense because you can always record in 4K and downsample the image afterward; nevertheless, for those who don’t necessarily have the time for that extra step or don’t want to pay for more storage, 1080p might still be an essential alternative.

First, we can see that the M5 has excellent control over false color, reveals more information than the a6300, and is somewhat less crisp than the Panasonic G85. All of these observations can be made immediately.

It is expected that performance will suffer substantially with the digital image stabilization turned on (although it may be worth the trade-off for the smoother film). This pattern continues with the ‘Enhanced IS’ setting, which offers the smoothest footage of the three options.

Additional video notes

Interestingly, the only two modes available for taking films are automated and fully manual, but happily, the latter mode offers Auto ISO along with exposure adjustment.

This is extremely important if you want complete control over the shutter speed and depth of focus for the film you are recording. Still, you also want the camera to be able to adjust its “gain” when you go from one set of lighting circumstances to another.

In addition, the Canon EOS M5 features an HDMI output capable of delivering Full HD video and microphone input that can still be used even if the screen can only tilt rather than entirely articulate.

If you manually focus, you will have access to focus peaking; however, no zebra is patterning to warn of overexposure, and you will not be able to examine an electronic level or histogram while recording. Only be able to do so before you begin.

If you shoot at 24 frames per second (p/s), the rolling shutter is very easy to control; if you shoot at 60 frames per second (p/s), the rolling shutter is virtually nonexistent.

Overall, the EOS M5 presents something of a challenge regarding the video. However, despite it not even being near state-of-the-art in terms of its specifications and video-shooting assistance, it makes it exceedingly simple to record the smooth, correctly focused film and has the beautiful color for which Canon has become famous.

The M5 is a capable and casual video companion if you don’t require higher quality. As for us, we continue to feel that well-taken 1080p film is more watchable than badly shot 4K footage, and if you don’t need it, the M5 is a great option.?

Canon EOS M5 Specification

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Body materialMetal
Sensor
Max resolution6000 x 4000
Other resolutions3:2 (6000 x 4000, 3984 x 2656, 2976 x 1984, 2400 x 1600), 16:9 (6000 x 3368, 3984 x 2240, 2976 x 1680, 2400 x 1344), 4:3 (5328 x 4000, 3552 x 2664, 2656 x 1992, 2112 x 1600), 1:1 (4000 x 4000, 2656 x 2656, 1984 x 1984, 1600 x 1600)
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels24 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors26 megapixels
Sensor sizeAPS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorDigic 7
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 100-25600
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Image stabilization notes5-axis for video only
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, standard
File formatJPEG (Exif v2.3)Raw (Canon CR2, 14-bit)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View.
Autofocus assist lampYes
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points49
Lens mountCanon EF-M
Focal length multiplier1.6×
Screen/viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3.2″
Screen dots1,620,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live ViewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder resolution2,360,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modesProgramShutter priorityAperture priorityManual
Built-in flashYes
Flash Range5.00 m (at ISO 100)
External flashYes
Flash X sync speed1/200 sec
Continuous drive9.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 secs, custom, remote)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpotPartial
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV steps)
WB BracketingNo
Videography features
Modes1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 35 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 24 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 24 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC1280 x 720 @ 60p / 16 Mbps, MP4, H.264, AAC
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC card
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (micro-HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portNo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11/b/g/n with Bluetooth and NFC
Remote controlYes (Wired, wireless, or smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLP-E17 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)295
Weight (inc. batteries)427 g (0.94 lb / 15.06 oz)
Dimensions116 x 89 x 61 mm (4.57 x 3.5 x 2.4″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
GPSNone

Final Verdict

Canon has taken a significant step forward with releasing the EOS M5, which sends a message that the company will take the mirrorless market more seriously than they ever have before or possibly view it as more high-end.

At first glance, the M5 appears to be a pretty impressive package, featuring Dual Pixel autofocus, a 24MP sensor with improved dynamic range over its predecessors, an abundance of controls that are easily accessible from the outside of the camera, an electronic viewfinder (EVF), and an advanced touchscreen interface. However, despite how fantastic all of that may seem, there is still potential for improvement with the EOS M5.

The native lens selection, the behavior and performance of an action and burst shooting, the auto ISO control and the video specification are all behind the competition. The outright image quality, in terms of dynamic range and high ISO performance, is also below the competition. This is a difficult pill to swallow compared to specific other cameras that may provide a leg up in these areas for a significant amount less money.

On the other hand, the EOS M5 impresses with its use and accessibility, making it suitable for Canon novices and seasoned photographers. Even while it cannot record in 4K, it makes it much simpler to film both fluid and perfectly focused videos. In addition, the JPEG colors are still superior to those of any other format, adapted lenses function more effectively than ever, and the camera has a satisfyingly solid feel in the palm.

More than anything else, the M5 represents Canon’s continued commitment to the EOS M system, which we are happy to see. We should emphasize that for people who think they may want to get into shooting video as well as stills, the EOS M5 will make that significantly more accessible than the majority of its competitors.

The M5 is a reliable and competent camera that can handle various photographic situations. Unfortunately, when seen in the broader context of the market for mirrorless cameras, we can’t help but feel a bit let down by the M5 in general. We are already looking forward to seeing what the next iteration of the EOS M will offer.

Canon EOS M5 Price

Last updated on January 19, 2024 10:06 am

Canon EOS M5 FAQs

Is Canon M5 reasonable?

Yes, the Canon M5 is a good camera, particularly for those looking for a portable and lightweight choice that provides excellent picture clarity and sophisticated features.

What is the price of the Canon M5?

The cost of a Canon M5 can range from $800 to USD 1,200, contingent on the merchant and any current deals available; however, the price is typically in this price range.

Is the Canon M5 a mirrorless camera?

The Canon M5 is, in fact, a mirrorless camera, which differs from conventional DSLR cameras in that it does not contain a mechanism for reflecting light.

What kind of camera is Canon M5?

The Canon M5 is a mirrorless camera that is both small and lightweight. It has an image sensor that is APS-C sized and a variety of sophisticated features, such as Dual Pixel CMOS AF, a touchscreen LCD that can be angled in different directions, and built-in WiFi and Bluetooth communication.

How to use Canon EOS M5?

You can find instructions on using the Canon EOS M5 by consulting the user guidebook that arrived with the camera or looking up tutorials online. The camera provides a selection of automatic as well as manual photography options, in addition to a wide range of features and parameters that can be personalized.

Is the Canon M5 weather sealed?

The Canon M5 is weather-sealed to a certain degree, which means it is resistant to some levels of humidity and grime. However, you are not advised to use it when there is heavy rain or extreme weather without the appropriate protection.

Does EOS M5 have WIFI?

The EOS M5 has built-in WiFi connectivity, which enables you to transmit photographs and videos to your smartphone or computer wirelessly and remotely operate the camera using an app on your mobile device.

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