It might now be over eighteen months old, but the Canon EOS M50 remains a popular mid-range mirrorless camera for those who want something that’s fun, approachable and versatile enough for video shooting.
With the release of the impressive new EOS M6 Mark II, though, it’s arguably no longer the sweet spot in Canon’s EOS M line. That new model has taken the place of both the EOS M5 and EOS M6, which the EOS M50 sat below when it launched in February 2018. So is it still worth considering?
The answer is yes, depending on your budget and shooting preferences. The EOS M50 is considerably cheaper than the EOS M6 Mark II and represents good value for money, particularly for stills shooters. Unlike the new flagship, it has a built-in viewfinder, which is great for shooting photos in all conditions.
Where the EOS M6 Mark II justifies its higher price is with its uncropped 4K video, new 32.5MP sensor and superior burst shooting. But if you’re looking to upgrade from a smartphone or basic compact camera, the EOS M50 remains a good choice, albeit with the same, familiar limitations.
Canon EOS M50 (Specs)
- Sensor: 24.1MP APS-C CMOS
- Lens mount: Canon EF-M
- Screen: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots
- Burst shooting: 10fps
- Autofocus: 143-point AF
- Video: 4K
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth
- Battery life: 235 shots
- Weight: 390g
Check Out: Best Canon EOS M50 Lenses
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- Dual Pixel CMOS AF for fast, accurate autofocus that helps you get the photo you want right as the moment happens
- 241 Megapixel APS C CMOS sensor and the DIGIC 8 Image Processor delivers incredible color, clear details, and stunning range
- Vari angle Touchscreen LCD has a flexible tilt range ideal for high angle and low angle shooting, and reviewing your photos
Canon EOS M50: Build and handling
Rather than the compact-style look that the previous EOS M series CSCs have followed, the EOS M5 looks like a mini DSLR, thanks in part to its built-in EVF sitting relatively central above the lens – there’s also a small built-in flash tucked away in the raised hump of the camera. It’s certainly very petite, but not so small that it’s an issue when you pick it up.
Taking its styling cues from both EOS DSLR and mirrorless ranges, the subtle two-tone finish of the EOS M5 gives the camera a premium look, with the metallic grey coordinating that of the lenses in the EF-M array.
Despite appearances though, the chassis is normally constructed from strong polycarbonate and not aluminum alloy and weighs in at 427g body-only with battery and card. In the hand, while there’s no getting away from the noticeable plasticky feel, particularly when you tap the top plate, the modest hold is fine and comfy, with Canon’s pleasing textured rubber coating enhancing the feel.
The EOS M5 is the most enthusiast-focused mirrorless camera we’ve seen from Canon today, with numerous body-mounted controls. As we’ve noticed on additional EOS mirrorless cameras the shutter button is certainly ringed by a front side control dial, while there’s an exposure payment dial at the rear (similar to that seen on the likes of the Fuji X-T2).
Taking inspiration, though, from Canon’s range of G-series enthusiast compacts may be the addition of a Dial Func. button, which is efficiently a control dial with an additional button in the center.
Whereas Canon DSLRs with top-plate LCDs have four buttons dotted along the very best for access to ISO, WB, etc, on the M5 you simply have to press this central switch, which will then enable you to toggle through the settings (White Balance, ISO, Metering mode, AF mode, and Travel mode), and select one by pressing the key again.
Canon EOS M50: Autofocus
While we’ve mentioned, Canon’s original EOS M got quite a kicking for its sluggish AF overall performance. There was no issue with its accuracy; the problem was with the time it took to lock onto subjects, and it wasn’t anywhere near as snappy as its rivals. Factors have improved since then with the M3 and M10, and the M5 things take factors up a sizeable notch.
The camera uses Canon’s newest Dual Pixel CMOS AF system, in which all the pixels on the surface of the sensor are made up of two different photodiodes, which are read separately for phase-detection AF, and together for imaging.
Focusing is nice and quick, as the ability to touch and drag the AF point together with your thumb on the trunk display while you have the camera raised to your eyesight makes quick AF area selection very straightforward. You don’t have to swipe across the whole display either – if you want you can arrange this function to half or a quarter of the display in the menu.
Coverage is pretty good too, with 80% of the image region covered and 49 AF points at your disposal (on a grid of 7 x 7), while the face and subject tracking can also be specified.
Canon EOS M50: Performance
With some help from the new DIGIC 7 image processor, the EOS M5 is capable of shooting at a burst rate of 7fps, with full AF functionality and metering, and it can sustain this for up to (approximately) 31 JPEG documents, before dropping in speed to 4fps, continuing at this rate until the card is full. Should you want to shoot faster than this, 9fps is possible, but focusing and metering will become locked once the shutter offers been fired; this rate can be sustained for 26 JPEGs.
The EOS M5’s metering system offers the choice of evaluative, partial, center-weighted and spot metering modes, with the default evaluative option working well (as with the shot above), although it’s worth remembering that this is hooked up to the chosen AF point, so in some scenes, you might need to dial in a few exposure compensations.
The EVF is very good – it has a decent 120fps refresh rate, even though the 0.62x magnification isn’t the biggest out there the look at doesn’t feel cramped when you raise your eyes up to it, and it compares favourably with rivals like the Fujifilm X-T10 and Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II.
The rear LCD’s touchscreen interface is excellent, tying in seamlessly with the M5’s body-mounted controls to offer quick access to just about any core setting you want – tap the Quick Menu button and you can select and adjust every key setting.
Swiping to scroll through images is a breeze, while the pinch-to-zoom feature makes it easy to quickly assess image sharpness, and, because we’ve talked about, tapping to change the AF point works a treat.
At times, it’s been hard to see where Canon has been heading with its mirrorless EOS M series. The entry-level M100 is so basic as to be a bit off-putting and the new EOS M200 is hardly more appealing, while the only other option so far with a viewfinder – the EOS M5 – is really rather expensive. The alternative is the new EOS M6 Mark II, which does not have a viewfinder built-in but can have one clipped on to its accessory shoe – and many resellers are bundling one as standard. The EOS M50 is different. It comes with a viewfinder built-in and the key point is that it’s at an affordable mid-range price. It still doesn’t feel like a breakthrough camera compared to some other mirrorless options, but it does at least feel as if Canon has caught up.
In fact, on the features-to-cost front, it’s sneaked ahead. Where else will you get a 24MP APS-C mirrorless digital camera with a viewfinder at this price? The EOS M50 has some strong Micro Four Thirds rivals, but the only additional APS-C candidate in this price range is the Sony A6000, and that’s a four-year-old camera aimed at a very different kind of user. Food for thought.
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Last update on 2020-10-22 / We may earn an affiliate commission