Although the limitations imposed on the 4K video mode are frustrating, the M50 is the best Canon mirrorless camera to date. Crucially, the autofocus system, which was so bad in the early days of EOS M, is now very good (provided you limit yourself to shooting stills or Full HD video) and the quality of the results is excellent.
Provided you don’t have your heart set on shooting 4K video, the M50 is a great little camera for vloggers and anyone who wants a small camera with a viewfinder paired with a large (APS-C format) sensor. It might not be the Canon’s flagship mirrorless camera, but the technology inside it is the most advanced that Canon has put in a mirrorless model.
- Excellent image quality
- Superb implementation of touch-control
- High-quality viewfinder built-in
- 4K video mode crops the frame
- Plastic feel
- Limited lens range
What is the Canon EOS M50?
The Canon EOS M50 is a 24Mp APS-C format mirrorless camera that sits between the Canon M100 and M6 in the manufacturer’s line-up. However, unlike both of these cameras (and like the flagship M5), it has an electronic viewfinder built-in.
Further good news is that Canon has finally realised that people now expect more than Full-HD recording capability and the M50 is 4K enabled, but that comes with some limitations. Other notable features include a vari-angle touchscreen and Canon’s latest incarnation of its processing engine – DIGIC 8.
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Sensor and Processing Engine
Inside the M50 is an APS-C sized CMOS sensor with 24.1 million effective pixels. That means it has the same size and resolution sensor as many DSLR cameras but because there’s no mirror, it’s smaller.
The M50’s sensor is paired with Canon’s new DIGIC 8 processing engine and for the first time in a Canon M camera, or a consumer-level EOS camera, it’s possible to record 4K (3840 x 2160) video.
For stills, this sensor and processor combination enables a native sensitivity range of ISO 100-25,600 (expandable to ISO 51,200). If you’re shooting 4K video the available sensitivity range drops to ISO 100-6,400, but for Full-HD movies, it’s ISO 100-12,800 (expandable to 25,600).
Further testament to the processing engine’s power is the 10fps (frames per second) maximum shooting rate for up to 33 jpegs or 10 raw files. This is in Single AF mode (S-AF) though, so it’s only useful with subjects that stay in one place – you could use it to photograph the stages of a golf swing for example. If you want to track a moving subject, you need continuous focusing (C-AF) and you’ll have to drop to 7.4fps for up to 47 Jpegs.
In addition to the CR3 14-bit raw file format, Canon has given the M50 a new C-RAW file format that sets the camera to capture full-resolution images but reduces the file size by about 30-40%.
The M50’s sensor is a Dual Pixel CMOS AF device, which means that it has phase detection points on it so the camera has the same type of focusing system as a DSLR. However, in 4K recording mode, the focusing switches to contrast detection which tends to be a bit more indecisive.
According to Canon, the number of autofocus points available depends upon the lens, but the maximum number is 143. The active point can be selected automatically or manually, either individually or in zones.
In Single or One Shot AF (S-AF) mode, there’s also Eye AF focusing, which when activated works when Face + Tracking mode is selected, looking for eyes and usually focusing on the nearest one.
Find out how the autofocus system performs in the Performance section of this review.
Canon has given the M50 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity to enable it to be connected to a smartphone or tablet via the free Canon Camera Connect app for iOS and Android.
The Bluetooth is the low energy type and can be kept on constantly to enable the camera to be ‘woken’ by a paired smartphone and then controlled remotely or images transferred. Also, as with Nikon’s SnapBridge-enabled cameras and the Fuji X-E3, it’s also possible to set the M50 to transfer images and video automatically to a phone so they are ready to share online quickly after shooting.
Images and video can also be stored on Canon Irista or synced automatically to a computer running Canon’s Image Transfer Utility 2.
|Camera Name||Canon EOS M50|
|Date announced:||26th Feb 2018|
|Price at launch:||£539.99/€629.99 body only, £649.99/€759.99 with the EF-M 15-45mm lens|
|Sensor size:||APS-C (22.3 x 14.9mm)|
|Effective pixel count:||24.1 million|
|Sensitivity range:||Stills: ISO 100-25,600 expandable to 51,200, 4k Movies: ISO 100-6,400 , Full-HD Movies 100-12,800 expandable to 25,600|
|Reflex AF system:||N/A|
|Live View AF system:||Dual Pixel CMOS AF system with up to 149 points|
|Max shooting rate:||One shot AF: 10fps for up to 33 Jpegs or 10 Raw
Servo AF: 7.4fps for up to 47 Jpegs
|Max video resolution:||4K - 3840 x 2160 (23.98, 25 fps)
Full HD - 1920 x 1080 (59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 23.976 fps)
HD - 1280 x 720 (119.9, 100, 59.94, 50 fps)
|Storage:||SD, SDHC, SDXC (UHS-I compatible)|
|Viewfinder:||0.39-type 2,360,000-dots OLED EVF|
|Screen:||Touch-sensitive vari-angle 3.0-inch LCD with 1,040,000 dots|
|Dimensions:||116.3 x 88.1 x 58.7mm|
|Weight:||Black: 387g, White: 390g (CIPA testing standard, including battery and memory card)|