Exactly a month ago Canon came out with the announcement of its latest mirrorless camera, the EOS M5.
If you are a DSLR user and is seriously considering something lighter for those weekend trips, or the odd outing, the EOS M5, in many ways, could be the camera that you were looking for.
- Canon EOS M5 EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Kit
Canon M5 vs. Canon EOS 80D
The EOS M5 borrows many of its features from the very dependable EOS 80D. It has the same dual-pixel CMOS auto-focusing mechanism that the EOS 80D has and essentially has the same imaging sensor.
Related Post: Review of the Canon EOS 80D
It is powered by DIGIC 7 image processing which results in better dynamic range than the previous models.
But is it the mirrorless option that would be perfect for you? Let’s dive right into its spec sheet and find out more about what it can do in this Canon M5 review.
Review of the Canon M5: Tech Specs
The EOS M5 is powered by a 24.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, the same as the EOS 8oD.
Image processing is powered by DIGIC 7 image processor. The sensor features Canon’s dual pixel CMOS auto-focusing technology, the first time Canon uses this in mirrorless systems.
This technology basically is about splitting each sensor into two photo-diodes. Each photodiode captures light coming in from one specific side of the lens.
These two images are then analyzed and focusing is set. Roughly, 80% of the surface of the sensor is covered by such dual pixels.
This is a much faster auto-focusing technology when compared with traditional contrast detection systems that powers DSLR cameras in live-view mode. Traditionally, mirrorless as well as point & shoot systems have always used only the contrast detection auto-focusing system.
Continuous Shooting Speed
Another advantage of the dual pixel auto-focusing technology is its utility when shooting moving subjects. With so many AF pixels, subject tracking becomes that much easier. Even with full auto-focusing on the EOS M5 has an impressive performance of 7 fps.
With AF lock the continuous shooting speed is 9 fps.
The EOS M5 has a wide ISO sensitivity of 100-25600. Low ISO dynamic range is often a topic of discussion for pro shooters. That is something that often separates the men from the boys so as to speak when it comes to digital cameras. The EOS M5 with its DIGIC 7 image processing engine should be able to handle low light situations well and produce decent dynamic range even when shooting at ISO 100.
Built-in 5-axis image stabilization of the M5 works for video recording. Lenses designed for Canon’s mirrorless systems have their own image stabilization systems built into them. Those work when you are shooting stills.
Viewfinder and LCD Screen
For obvious reasons, mirrorless cameras don’t have an optical viewfinder (OVF). The live-view as seen by the sensor is projected onto an electronic viewfinder (EVF). The EVF of the M5 is a high-resolution 2.36m-dot electronic viewfinder. The views through the EVF is bright and clear and is thus the primary composing window.
The M5 also has a 3.2” tilting touchscreen LCD display at the back of the camera. The screen tilts a full 180 ˚ and swivels all the way facing front to assist selfies and those sort of imagery. The screen has a resolution of 1,620,000 dots and gives 100% coverage of the frame.
The touchscreen allows most of the functions of the camera to be tweaked through it. But what you would enjoy using no doubt is the ability to switch focus point using the click and drag motion.
The EOS M5 shoots full HD videos at 60 and 50 fps. That seems to be the standard these days. But with an APS-C sensor, one would have thought that the M5 should have been able to shoot 4K videos as well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.
Canon M5 vs. Sony a6300
Related Post: Review of the Sony a6300
Full-time movie AF does give the ability to keep a subject in focus even when it is moving. Built-in stereo sound recorder allows for the camera to record stereo quality sound recording. Option to plug in an external stereo recording jack has also been provided.
Touch to focus works in video mode as well. This gives you the option to switch to the face you need in focus when working with a scene with two protagonists who are not on the same focal plane.
Build Quality and Ergonomics
This Canon M5 review would be incomplete without a reference to the camera’s build quality and ergonomics. The EOS M5 is built well. Being a mirrorless camera there is the obvious lack of bulk which also is a plus point for these systems.
Having said that at 427 grams the M5 isn’t lightweight either. It is comparable to many of the entry level smaller DSLR systems in the market. The grip on the right of the lens mount is not too pronounced but the rubberized material is good enough for a firm grip. There is no weather sealing on the EOS M5.
In as much as buttons and dials are concerned the EOS M5 has a bundle of these. You would be hard pressed not to think that this is a compact or advanced point & shoot camera.
The small frame, DSLR-like features and the presence of so many buttons and dials does put the EOS M5 in the same category as something like the Panasonic GH4.
The M5 comes with Wi-Fi capabilities. The Wi-Fi button is placed a little precariously on the hand-grip just away from view if you are looking at the camera from the straight back or straight front. If you don’t need Wi-Fi to be turned on you could still end up turning it on accidentally while holding the camera grip.
The M5 has NFC connectivity as well. Pairing it with compatible mobile or tablet devices is easy and you could start sending out images and videos instantaneously.
The New Canon ESO M5 Compared to Similar Mirrorless Camera Models by Sony & Panasonic
These lenses will set you back by another $299 to $499. You could, however, choose to opt for any other lens in the mirrorless lineup.
Related Post: Best Mirrorless Cameras under $1,000
To conclude this Canon M5 review one could point out some of the obvious shortcomings of the camera, mainly the lack of 4K video recording and that continuous shooting speed is slightly less than that of the Sony a6300, its chief competitor.
However, the EOS M5 does have Canon’s dual pixel CMOS auto-focusing, a first for Canon’s mirrorless systems. It lacks weather sealing but does have a promising touchscreen 180 ˚ display.
Overall, we feel that the EOS M5 is a good competitor for the Sony Alpha a6300, but the a6300 will not feel outclassed or outplayed, just yet.
Summary of Canon EOS M5 Key Features
- Same auto-focus mechanism and sensor as Canon EOS 80D
- 24.2 MP, APS-C CMOS Sensor
- Continuous Shooting of 7 to 9 frames per seconds (fps)
- ISO up to 25,600
- Built-in 5-axis Image Stabilization
- Touchscreen which tilts 180 degrees
- HD Videos at 50-60 fps
- Weight: 427 grams
- WI-FI and NFC Connectivity
- Read the DP First Look Review here or here.
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