The Canon EOS M50, also known as the EOS Kiss M in Asia, is an affordable mirrorless camera with a single control dial, a fully articulating touchscreen, an electronic viewfinder, and a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor. This sensor is the same one that is used by the other cameras in the M-series.
In addition to having the most recent version of Canon’s DIGIC 8 processor, it features an increased Dual Pixel AF coverage, and the ability to record 4K/24p video (with a crop factor of 1.7x), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC.
It’s essentially a more robust and viewfinder-equipped version of the M100, which is the brand’s most reasonably priced M-mount product.
And it will probably appeal to the same kind of people: people who are just starting out in photography or those who are upgrading from using their smartphone as their primary camera device. The most interesting aspect of the Canon EOS M50, however, may be what its release may portend for the evolution of subsequent cameras in the EOS M and Rebel series.
When we were in Yokohama, Japan, a year ago, we had a meeting with officials from Canon; you can read the complete interview here. At the time, they assured us that moving ahead, the connection and video will be the primary strategic emphasis of the company. The release of the M50 is a resounding demonstration that Canon is living up to its promise.
It is the first M-series camera from Canon to provide 4K resolution, and it is also the first Canon camera that will instantly transfer photographs to your smartphone after each shot. However, before you get too excited about that last part, it is important to note that 4K comes with a hefty 1.7x crop and that Dual Pixel AF is not accessible in 4K. (contrast-detection AF is available).
Dual Pixel AF can be utilized in all other video modes, including 1080/60p recording, and the M50 is the first Canon camera to employ the brand-new CR3 Raw format. It still covers 80% by 80% of the sensor, but there are now 99 available locations to choose from (up from 49 on previous M cameras).
Additionally, when using particular lenses (such as 18-150mm, 28mm macro, and 55-200mm), this coverage may grow to 88 percent of the whole area with 143 points.
Compressed full resolution, as opposed to the scaled ‘Small’ and ‘Medium’ Raw formats, the M50 is the first Canon camera to employ the brand-new CR3 Raw format, which features an upgraded compression option dubbed C-Raw.
A new quiet shooting scene option has also been added, in addition to other new features such as an Eye Detection mode, which is only accessible in the AF-S mode. The M50 also has a brand new gyro sensor that connects movement to the lens-based image stabilization technology for improved shake adjustment, in addition to dual Sensing image stabilization (using data from the image sensor to compensate for shake when shooting stills or video).
Body & Handling
The M50 is a hybrid between the M100 and the M5 in terms of its physical design. There is just one control dial, much like the M100, but the camera also has an electronic viewfinder, a hot shoe, and a mode dial, just like the more advanced M-series cameras. Overall, it is a great addition to Canon’s mirrorless range and serves as a little more robust option to the M100 at the entry-level price point.
The top of the camera.
Both a hot shoe and a mode dial can be found on the top of the M50, however, the M100 lacks both of these features. In addition to that, there is a button for customizing the function, a button for recording video, and an on/off switch. The sole control dial for the camera is located around the button that triggers the shutter.
The rear of the camera
In comparison to the rear of the M100, the back of the M50 is more evocative of the higher-end M5, since it features distinct buttons for AE lock and AF frame selection. There is, like with other M-series cameras, a Quick Menu button (which may also be accessed through the touchscreen), which allows users to make adjustments to a large number of the camera’s most important settings.
The buttons are on the smaller side, and the video recording button, which is flush with the top plate, can be difficult to discover and easy to push by accident. Additionally, there are a few other buttons that are flat with the top plate.
The 2.36 million dots OLED electronic viewfinder is on par with other cameras in its class in terms of specifications, and we have no complaints about it.
The touch LCD of the M50 has complete articulation and can be rotated to serve as a selfie screen, which is convenient for vlogging.
The touch functionality offered by Canon is among the very finest in the industry. In addition to the conventional tap-to-focus, menu navigation, and image playback functions, the M50 furthermore has a Touchpad AF option, which enables you to shift your focus point even while you are looking through the viewfinder.
You have the option of selecting absolute or relative movement, and you can also select which part of the LCD screen will be active. This prevents you from accidentally “nose focusing” on an object.
The Canon EOS M50 makes use of the same LP-E12 battery as the Canon EOS M100 does; however, the battery life of the EOS M50 is only 235 shots per charge, which is 60 shots fewer than the Canon EOS M100. Even though you can set it on an “Eco mode” that provides you around 370 photos per charge, competing cameras, such as the Sony a6300, have longer battery lives than this one does.
Despite the presence of a micro-USB connector, the battery cannot be charged by anything other than the charger that was included in the package. It’s a pity because the vast majority of its competitors can be charged over USB.
Format RAW brand new
Since 2004, Canon has been making use of the CR2 Raw format, and with the release of the EOS M50, they have transitioned to the CR3 format. The availability of a new C-RAW format, which stands for compressed Raw, is the primary advantage of CR3. According to Canon, the file sizes of C-Raw images are around 40 percent less than those of a standard Raw file, with only a modest decrease in quality.
We took a deeper look at the process of utilizing C-Raw and discovered that, unless you are brightening shadows by many stops, there is no reason not to use C-Raw on a daily basis. This was the conclusion we reached after conducting our investigation.
Canon’s Digital Photo Professional and Adobe Camera Raw are both prepared to work with it, however it may take some time until your preferred Raw editor supports it.
Dual Sensing IS
In addition, Canon has improved the functionality of its image stabilization system, which is referred to as Dual Sensing IS. Because the M50 uses both the information from the gyroscopes contained inside the camera as well as the information from its CMOS sensor to detect motion, you are provided with two sources of data rather than just one. Canon asserts that you will get an additional half stop of shaking reduction when using their product, which is not a significant amount but is nevertheless an improvement.
This function is only accessible on three EF-M lenses, and they are the 15-45mm F3.5-6.3, the 55-200mm F4.5-6.3, and the 18-150mm F3.5-6.3. This is in keeping with a similar motif that is seen on the M50.
We made an effort to determine whether or not it made a difference, but the outcomes of our tests were inconclusive.
Access to wireless functions
The EOS M50 comes with a few unique connectivity-related capabilities that aren’t available on any of Canon’s previous cameras. To begin, what has remained the same: Wi-Fi, near-field communication (NFC) for connection with Android smartphones, and Bluetooth are all features offered by the M50.
Photos may be sent wirelessly to a variety of online photo sharing and social networking platforms; but, before doing so, they are required to go via Canon’s own cloud service.
The camera makes use of Bluetooth for a number of different purposes. It gives you the ability to couple your phone and camera without requiring you to choose an SSID or scan a QR code beforehand. In addition to this, it ensures that a connection is always maintained between the phone and the camera, even when the camera is switched off.
If you want to see images on the camera and transfer them to your phone, all you have to do is tap the button in the app, and the M50 will start the Wi-Fi connection, making it simple for you to complete the remaining steps.
The new tool is called Auto Transfer, and it is compatible with both Macs and PCs as well as cellphones. Once you make a few adjustments, the M50 will automatically transmit a photo to your phone as soon as it is shot (JPEGs only – no videos either).
The easiest and most time-effective method to share photographs with other people is to use the Auto Transfer feature. Be aware that this is an option that can only be used once since the function will be disabled once the camera is turned off. It would be preferable if the setting could be saved.
When both of your devices are connected to the same wireless network, you also have the option to automatically transfer photographs from your camera to your personal computer. This is a convenient method to clear off your memory card after a long day of shooting. It is at this location where movies and Raw files are transmitted. During the period that we had access to the camera, we occasionally had to switch the camera off and then back on before the transfer could begin.
It is important to note that maintaining a continuous Bluetooth connection will cause the battery to deplete more quickly, particularly if you keep the connection established even while the camera is turned off.
The M50 includes an extremely fundamental Auto ISO system, in which the sole choice is to specify the maximum ISO that it will utilize. It is not possible to specify the lowest shutter speed that the camera will use before increasing the ISO, which may be extremely helpful for those who struggle to hold the camera steady at slower shutter speeds, such as 1/30 of a second.
There is also no ‘rate of change’ option available, which is a feature that can be found on many other Canon cameras that instructs the camera on how rapidly to increase its sensitivity. For instance, if you wanted to catch activity, you would require a faster shutter speed, and increasing the ISO is the only way to achieve that, so you would choose a rate of change that was quick.
Quality of the Image
The actual world is full of a wide variety of textures, colors, and sorts of details, which our test scene attempts to replicate. In addition to that, it features two modes of illumination, so you can witness the effect of various lighting circumstances.
The 24-megapixel sensor used in the EOS M50 may also be found in practically all other recent APS-C Canon cameras, including DSLR models. On the other hand, the M50 is the first camera to feature the Digic 8 processor, which may have an effect on the quality of JPEG images.
Raw images captured by the EOS M50, the EOS M6, and the EOS M100 are very identical to one another in terms of the amount of detail that is captured and the colors that are rendered. When the high ISO performance of the M50 and the M6 are compared, you will see that there is really little difference between the two.
However, the Fujifilm X-T20 has a sizeable advantage over both Canons and the Sony (although it is unclear how much of this is due to chroma noise reduction in the demosaicing process). Sony’s APS-C offerings show slightly less noise at high ISO, while the Fujifilm has a sizeable advantage over both Canons and Sony. Above ISO 12800 on the M50, noise reduction in Raw begins to take effect (and above ISO 6400 on the a6300).
The colors in Canon’s JPEGs have always been attractive, and the yellows produced by the M50 have a discernibly lower amount of green than those produced by earlier versions in the M-series. On the other hand, the reds in our studio scenario are noticeably less vibrant, despite the fact that this was not reflected in the shots taken in the real world.
In addition, the auto-white balance is somewhat more yellowish in dim light compared to the M6 and the M100. If you look very closely, you could notice that the M50 captures more fine information at the base ISO than the M6, however, this is only the case if you look very closely. The JPEGs produced by Sony and Fujifilm both do a better job of preserving the finer details.
The M50 is a little bit better at high ISOs than the M6, but yet again, Fujifilm’s X-T20 seems cleaner and sharper, and Sony’s context-sensitive method probably gives the best results. The M50 has a built-in electronic viewfinder.
It appears that Canon continues to forgo context-sensitive noise reduction, which results in greater noise and less low contrast detail. This method can be thought of as a “worst-case scenario” scenario.
Because it adds very little noise to the detail that is obtained in the shadow areas of the image, a camera that has a very low noise floor is able to capture a high amount of dynamic range. This is because it captures very little noise in those areas.
This has some intriguing repercussions, one of which is that it reduces the amount of signal amplification that the sensor needs in order to stay above the noise level (which is what ISO amplification conventionally does). This is an alternative way of working in circumstances that would normally need higher ISO settings.
In this case, we have done something that may appear to be counter-intuitive: we have used the same aperture and shutter speed at different ISO settings in order to determine how much of a difference there is between shooting at a particular ISO setting (and making use of hardware amplification) and digitally correcting the brightness at a later time.
This has the benefit that each shot should display the same level of shot noise, and any changes must have been caused by the electronics inside the camera.
Even while it has improved much since the days of the Rebel T6s, the sensor of the M50 is not entirely ISO invariant. When compared to just using the higher ISO that is necessary to attain correct midtone brightness, shooting at the base ISO and then brightening the image adds additional noise to the final product.
When compared to sensors with better performance, such as the Nikon D7200, there is less of a performance differential when shooting at high ISO vs brightening photos taken at lower ISO. You would be able to shoot at a lower ISO and brighten while still maintaining highlight data, which is often lost at higher sensitivity if the M50 were invariant.
If you shoot at ISO 800 and then brighten your Raw file by 2EV, you’ll get results that are nearly equivalent to those you would receive if you shot at ISO 3200 in-camera with the same focus plane exposure. This is because Canon is always working to improve its performance in this area. The first option, however, will provide you with two more stops of highlighting data after the fact.
Even if the M50’s dynamic range and ISO invariance aren’t the best in their class, the camera nevertheless pulls in a reasonable performance. This is especially impressive when considering the difficulties presented by the split-pixel construction of the Dual Pixel AF sensor.
During this test, we are going to examine how forgiving the Raw files of the EOS M50 are when the exposure is pushed. In order to do this, we first exposed our scene with progressively lower exposures, and then, using Adobe Camera Raw, we brought them back up to the appropriate brightness level. By looking at what happens in the shadows, it is possible to evaluate the exposure latitude, which is effectively the same thing as the dynamic range, of the Raw files.
The results are only directly comparable between cameras that have the same sensor size, such as the Fujifilm X-T20 and the Sony a6300. This is because the changes in this test noise are primarily caused by shot noise, and this is primarily determined by the amount of light the camera has had access to.
However, this will also be the case while shooting in the real world if you’re limited by what shutter speed you can hold stable, which is why this test is useful because it provides you an indication of the amount of processing latitude different formats allow.
It is well knowledge that Sony’s sensors are extremely flexible, which means that it is possible to brighten shadows without a significant increase in noise. When pushed to 4EV or beyond, the a6300 has a performance edge over the M50; however, when pushed to 3EV or less, there is not a discernible difference in performance between the two devices.
When the scene was pushed 5 stops and higher, our specific camera displayed some magenta-colored banding. This is something that the ordinary M50 customer would most likely never accomplish.
The EOS M50 is Canon’s first camera aimed at consumers that is capable of recording 4K (Ultra High Definition) video. This is accomplished at a maximum bitrate of 120Mbps utilizing the H.264 codec together with IBP compression and at a frame rate of either 24p or 25p. In order to take photos in 4K, the mode dial on the camera has to be set to the specific video setting.
Unfortunately, the 4K capabilities of the M50 suffer from not one but two significant flaws. First, its normally outstanding Dual Pixel AF technology cannot be used at that resolution since it is deactivated. The rationale given by Canon is “technical reasons,” however they do not elaborate. We believe the problem stems from both processing and heat-related difficulties. As a result, the only autofocus mode available to you is the standard contrast-detect mode, which has a significantly lower level of capability.
Second, while shooting in 4K, the M50 has a considerable crop factor that only becomes more pronounced when digital image stabilization is used. And keep in mind that this is in addition to the crop factor of 1.6x that is inherent to an APS-C-size sensor. You can see the cut of the settings for 4K and 1080p below, along with the basic and enhanced levels of image stabilization (IS).
To help put everything into perspective, let’s imagine you’re shooting with the kit lens, which has a focal range of 15-45 millimeters and is already comparable to 24-72 millimeters on a 35mm camera. When shooting video in 1080p with the regular IS, the equivalent focal length range increases to 26-79mm, which isn’t too awful. However, when you switch to advanced IS mode, that focal range expands to 32-102mm equivalent.
Even worse is 4K, which has equal focal lengths of 41-122 millimeters without image stabilization and 42-126 millimeters with normal image stabilization. If for whatever reason you wanted to utilize improved IS, the focal length would have to be increased to a ridiculous 54-162mm F13-23 equivalent. Even if you only want to record 4K video with the usual IS, you will still need the widest lens possible, which at the moment is the EF-M 11-22mm, which is still comparable to a 31-62mm F11-F16 Equiv. lens when those settings are used.
The rise in crop factor is not the only aspect to consider when deciding whether or not to use the digital IS modes: They also did a number on the image quality, as you will see later down the page.
We pitted the EOS M50 against Sony’s a6300, which boasts superior 4K video quality, in part due to in-camera oversampling, as well as no crop factor while shooting at 24 frames per second and a crop factor that is still respectable when shooting at 30 frames per second.
You don’t need to be an expert camera critic to see that the video quality of the M50 is noticeably inferior to that of the Sony, particularly in terms of its inability to catch small details (and this is with movie IS turned off). If you switch on the regular IS feature on the M50 (there is no corresponding feature on the Sony), you will notice a considerable decrease in the image quality. You don’t need to look much farther if you want to see what occurs when you utilize the improved IS mode.
Now, let’s have a look at the video quality at 1080p, which is something the Sony a6300 has trouble with. Even while using the regular IS mode, the M50 is capable of capturing noticeably more information than the Sony. When enhanced IS is enabled, the EOS M50 loses whatever edge it may have had over other cameras. This should not come as a surprise.
We hypothesize that the camera samples a smaller portion of the sensor when digital IS is enabled, and then scales the data back up, which results in a softer 4K image and a decrease in image quality.
For instance, while shooting at 4K with the usual IS setting, the M50 may be sampling an area that is around 3430 pixels wide, and then scaling it back up to 3840 pixels. As is the case with still images, you cannot create anything from nothing, which results in a decline in the quality of the video.
Even with all of the image stabilization turned off, the 1.7x crop factor indicates that the M50 is only reading 3530 pixels wide while recording 4K video. This explains why the 4K footage was so blurry to begin with.
When shooting in 4K, the Canon EOS M50 has a significant issue with the rolling shutter, which is noticeable when moving the camera or shaking it very little.
When there are many straight lines in the backdrop, rolling shutter effects such as the one you can see above can be quite disturbing to the viewer. Now, let’s take a look at the ‘Jello’ effect, which occurs when even minute movements of the camera (most likely the wind striking the tripod in this case) intensify the impact of the rolling shutter.
This effect can be seen when a person is walking down the street. Due to the fact that contrast detection is being used, this example also demonstrates how difficult it is for the camera to focus.
When it comes to capturing 4K video on the M50, unfortunately, both of these problems are run for the course. We assessed the rolling shutter to be towards the bottom of the list among currently available cameras. It was almost on par with the levels of the Sony a6300 4K/30p, which is partially justified by the fact that it oversamples and has a more fair crop (1.2x).
The camera does a good job, but it is not the best in its class when it comes to keeping random movement in focus, just as it does an excellent job of keeping approaching things in focus while taking still shots.
The same is true for video, with the exception that you do not always have access to the Dual Pixel technology that is responsible for the camera’s exceptional focusing abilities. There is a significant difference between having Dual Pixel AF at resolutions of 1080p or below and not having it at 4K, which is one of the primary selling points of the camera.
This sample was captured with a Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS II lens that has been modified. When the subject comes nearer to the camera, it will be more challenging for the camera to maintain a sharp focus on them.
Dual Pixel AF really shows off its abilities in 1080p, as it is able to maintain focus on the subject even when it is briefly obscured. Even though there was a lot of hunting after that as the camera struggled to maintain the target in focus, the contrast-detect system wasn’t distracted by a moving item either.
In addition to the lens-based shaking reduction that is considered the industry standard, there are also two digital IS modes available: enhanced and standard. We used our studio setting to illustrate the efficiency of each of them at 1080p, as well as the cropping that was necessary.
The narrative is conveyed in the video. When the conventional digital IS is turned on, the lens-based IS helps smooth things out, making the digital IS seem quite steady. When compared to the leap that occurs when switching to enhanced IS, the difference in field-of-view that occurs when using the lens or normal IS is not very noteworthy. As you observed farther up the page, utilizing enhanced IS is not a good option because of the significant decrease in quality that it causes.
Tools for Capturing
It is important to highlight the capturing tools that come included with the M50. In any mode, you are able to record at resolutions up to 1080/60p; but, in order to record in 4K, you will need to switch to the mode that is specifically designated for video on the mode dial.
There are not many controls; you may change the volume of the built-in or an external microphone, engage an auto-leveling function, or switch on a wind filter.
If you are using the manual exposure mode, you have the option of using exposure compensation in conjunction with Auto ISO to keep the aperture and shutter speed from changing. There is also the option of focus peaking.
We do not take joy in being forced to write so many critical comments about a camera, but Canon has truly let us down with its first non-professional camera that is capable of shooting in 4K.
It is possible that a number of issues, including processing power and heat dispersion, are to blame for the poor quality and the high crop factors, but the reality of the matter is that practically every other camera in this class is capable of producing 4K footage of a higher quality.
Canon EOS M50 Specifications
|Body type||SLR-style mirrorless|
|Max resolution||6000 x 4000|
|Image ratio w:h||1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9|
|Effective pixels||24 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||26 megapixels|
|Sensor size||APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)|
|Color filter array||Primary color filter|
|ISO||Auto, 100-25600 (expands to 51200)|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||51200|
|White balance presets||6|
|Custom white balance||Yes|
|File format||JPEG (Exif v2.31)Raw (Canon CR3 14-bit)|
|Optics & Focus|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View|
|Autofocus assist lamp||Yes|
|Number of focus points||143|
|Lens mount||Canon EF-M|
|Focal length multiplier||1.6×|
|Screen / viewfinder|
|Articulated LCD||Fully articulated|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Minimum shutter speed||30 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/4000 sec|
|Exposure modes||ProgramShutter priorityAperture priorityManual|
|Flash range||5.00 m (at ISO 100)|
|External flash||Yes (via hot shoe)|
|Flash X sync speed||1/200 sec|
|Continuous drive||10.0 fps|
|Self-timer||Yes (2 or 10 secs, custom)|
|Exposure compensation||±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV steps)|
|Modes||3840 x 2160 @ 23.98p / 120 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 60 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 30 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p / 30 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1280 x 720 @ 120p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC1280 x 720 @ 60p / 26 Mbps, MOV, H.264, AAC|
|Storage types||SD/SDHC/SDXC slot (UHS-I compatible)|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|Wireless notes||802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth|
|Remote control||Yes (via smartphone)|
|Battery description||LP-E12 lithium-ion battery & charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||235|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||390 g (0.86 lb / 13.76 oz)|
|Dimensions||116 x 88 x 59 mm (4.57 x 3.46 x 2.32″)|
The Canon EOS M50 has an astounding array of features, including Canon’s most recent processor, an improved autofocus system, and streamlined wireless capabilities. It is a wonderful pick for individuals who will mostly be capturing still shots and who want a little more horsepower than the entry-level EOS M100 has to offer. If this describes you, then we are confident in recommending that you go with the M50.
Those who will mostly be capturing still photographs and need a little more power than the entry-level EOS M100 might consider purchasing this model.
If you’re interested in the M50 because of its capacity to record 4K video, you should know that you’re probably going to be dissatisfied with the results. Instead, you should look into alternatives like the Sony a6300, Fujifilm X-T20, Panasonic G85, or Olympus E-M10 III.
Pro & Cons
- The first non-professional Canon camera capable of capturing in 4K
- The APS-C sensor, which has 24 megapixels, provides excellent image quality.
- Additional autofocus points and an expanded phase-detection coverage area are available with specified lenses.
- The newly developed C-Raw format reduces file size while having only a negligible impact on image quality.
- The short life of the battery
- Because of the substantial cut in 4K, filming at wide angles is almost difficult.
- There is no Dual Pixel AF available while filming in 4K.
- 4K footage is noticeably weaker than its competitors, with extremely noticeable rolling shutter and ‘jello.’
- Even greater video cropping is possible because to digital IS, despite a discernible decline in image quality.