07.02.32Canon EOS M50 Review
The Canon EOS M50 (EOS Kiss M in Asia) is an entry-level mirrorless camera that features an electronic viewfinder, fully articulating touchscreen, single control dial and a 24MP APS-C sensor – the same used by its M-series siblings. It has Canon's latest DIGIC 8 processor and offers expanded Dual Pixel AF coverage, 4K/24p video capture (with a 1.7x crop) as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC.
In a lot of ways it's a beefier, viewfinder-sporting M100, the brand's most affordable M-mount offering. And it will likely appeal to the same crowd: beginners and/or those stepping up from a smartphone as their primary photography device. But what's really exciting about the M50 is what it might indicate about future developments in EOS M and Rebel-series cameras.
One year ago, we met with Canon executives in Yokohama, Japan – you can read the full interview here. At the time, they promised the brand's main strategic focus going forward would be connectivity and video. The M50 is a clear indication that Canon is making good on that promise. This is the first Canon camera that will automatically send photos to your smartphone after each shot and the first M-series to offer 4K. But before you get too excited about that latter bit, it's worth noting that 4K comes with a heavy 1.7x crop, and Dual Pixel AF is not available in 4K (contrast detection AF is available).
The M50 is the first Canon to use the new CR3 Raw format
Dual Pixel AF can be used in all other video modes, including 1080/60p. It still covers 80% x 80% of the sensor but now with 99 selectable points (up from 49 on previous M cameras). And with certain lenses (18-150mm, 28mm macro and 55-200mm) that coverage increases to 88% x 100% with 143 points.
The M50 is the first Canon to use the new CR3 Raw format, which has an updated compression option called C-Raw (compressed full resolution, rather than the downsized 'Small' and 'Medium' Raw formats).
Other new features include an Eye Detection mode, only available in AF-S, as well as a new silent shooting scene mode. The M50 also has a new gyro sensor that communicates movement to the lens-based IS system for better shake compensation, as well as dual Sensing IS (using data from the image sensor to compensate for shake when shooting stills or video).
Though the M50 is an entry-level camera, it's priced a bit higher than a lot of other entry-level offerings. Below we've compared it to some of its Canon peers as well as similar-priced mirrorless cameras.
* with select lenses
As you can see, the M50 stacks up quite nicely compared to other offerings at this price point, though battery life is the one area where it falls behind a bit.
Pricing and availability
The Canon EOS M50 is priced at $780 body-only in either black or white. It also ships in a variety of kits, including with the EF-M 15-45mm for $900, as well as with both the EF-M 15-45mm and EF-M 55-200mm for $1250.
Body & Handling
In terms of design, the M50 is a cross between the M100 and the M5: there's only one control dial, like the M100, but the camera offers an EVF, hotshoe and mode dial, like higher-end M-series cameras. Overall, it fits into Canon's mirrorless line nicely as a slightly beefier entry-level alternative to the M100.
Compared to EOS M100
Without the grip and EVF hump, the M50 would be about the same size as the EOS M100. It's not as coat pocket-able as its little sibling, but at ~350g (body only) it certainly won't weigh you down much. The build quality feels solid in hand, despite the plastic construction. We also found it a lot easier to hold than the M100 thanks to the grip.
Top of camera
The top of the M50 features a hotshoe and mode dial, both omitted from the M100. There's also a customizable function button, video record button and on/off switch. The camera's one and only control dial is around the shutter release.
Back of camera
The back of the M50 is more reminiscent of the higher-end M5 than the M100, offering dedicated AE lock and AF frame selection buttons. Like all M-series cameras, there's a Quick Menu button (also accessible via the touchscreen) where many core functions can be adjusted.
The buttons are on the small side and the video recording button, which is flush with the top plate, can be difficult to find and easy to press accidentally.
The 2.36M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder is similar in spec to other cameras in this class and we have no issues with it.
The touch LCD on the M50 is fully articulated and can be flipped around to function as a selfie screen – useful for vlogging.
Canon's touch functionality is among the best in the business. In addition to the usual tap-to-focus, menu navigation and image playback features, the M50 also offers a Touchpad AF option that lets you move your focus point when you're using the viewfinder. You can choose from absolute or relative movement as well as the area on the LCD that's active, so you don't end up 'nose focusing'.
The EOS M50 uses the same LP-E12 battery as the M100, but battery life is a skimpy 235 shots per charge – 60 less than the M100. You can turn on an 'Eco mode' that gives you around 370 shots per charge, but even with that other cameras (like the Sony a6300) last longer.
Despite offering a micro-USB port, the battery can only be charged using the supplied charger. That's a shame, since most of its peers can be charged over USB.
by Dan Bracaglia
We loved the EOS M100 for its small size, connectivity and ease of use. With the M50, buyers now have an easy-to-use Canon mirrorless option with a more substantial grip and a lovely electronic viewfinder. There's only one control dial, so this camera is clearly geared toward entry-level users. But before you dismiss it, consider for a moment that this is actually one of the most exciting Canon cameras to be launched in some time. Why? Because it indicates what's to come for all Canon entry- and enthusiast-level cameras in the near future.
The M50 is the result of Canon listening to its users and the needs of beginners as a whole.
4K is here, at long last. For years Canon shied away from bestowing UHD capture on anything but its high end DSLRs, even while other brands included it in all their offerings. Unfortunately, despite having the latest processor, there are some serious limitations to 4K capture, including a 1.7x crop (on top of the native 1.6x crop imposed by the APS-C sensor, which equates to a 2.7x total crop (relative to full-frame) and not being able to use Dual Pixel AF. But I'm hopeful that the latter shortcoming doesn't carry over to other new models.
Better connectivity via instant sharing is also the new reality for Canon entry-level cameras. Once paired with a smart device, the send-to-smartphone feature on the M50 is truly awesome. Other brands have already introduced this type feature in some of their models, and it's one I've come to really like. The question is, will the promise of Canon colors and instant sharing be enough to win over the 'my smartphone is good enough' crowd? It's hard to say. But if the instant sharing works reliably, I could see the M50 converting some folks.
The M50 is the result of Canon listening to its users and the needs of beginners as a whole
It's also exciting to see Dual Pixel AF coverage increased with certain lenses. We've long been impressed by how fast and accurate it is and it will be interesting to see the results of putting the M50 through our standard AF tests. The new Eye Detection AF mode also sounds promising. Sadly, it only works in AF-S and won't track an eye, so it's only useful if your subject stays reasonably still.
In all, the M50 is the result of Canon listening to its users and the needs of beginners as a whole. Moreover, it looks like a super fun camera to use. The limitations are a bit of a letdown, but overall it's a clear sign of more versatile M-series cameras to come – so maybe hold off buying that M6 for a little while.
Canon EOS M50 Specifications
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