Wednesday, August 10

Canon EOS M50 review: a safe mirrorless camera

Consumers demand mirrorless cameras because they are generally just as good and versatile as DSLRs, but they are smaller and lighter. While that’s one of the draws of the 24.1 MP Canon EOS M50, it’s not the only one.

For example, there’s the bright and clear electronic viewfinder and the versatile rotatable LCD touchscreen, two powerful tools to help you compose your shots or videos exactly the way you need.

But for all its attributes, $ 899 (with an EF-M 15-45mm f / 3.5-6.3 IS STM lens) is a tall order when there are so many other great mirrorless cameras available.

Layout and controls

Although the Canon EOS M100, the company’s entry-level mirrorless camera, has only a few exterior controls, the advanced M50 has more, making it more suitable for enthusiasts who want to quickly change settings. However, like the Sony A6300 and A6500, the M50 doesn’t go overboard and potentially overwhelms beginners.

The Canon EOS M50 measures 4.6 x 3.5 x 2.3 inches and weighs 13.7 ounces (including battery and memory card), making it larger and heavier than the base EOS M100 (4, 3 x 2.6 x 1.4 inches and approximately 10.7 ounces). but the M50 adds an electronic viewfinder, fully rotatable LCD, and a hot shoe.

On the other hand, the Sony A6300, one of our favorite mid-range mirrorless cameras, measures 4.7 x 2.6 x 1.8 inches and weighs 14.25 ounces. I also liked that the grip on the M50, which the M100 lacks, helps you stabilize your camera.

The M50 has a crisp and clear Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) as well as a highly responsive rotatable LCD touchscreen, including touch-to-focus and touch-to-shoot functions.

If you shoot a lot of action and sports, you’ll enjoy the 10-frame-per-second burst modes.

Overall, I really liked the options in the guided menu system, which is an extra layer of information to keep you from getting lost in the menus. (When you press the menu, you have four setting options: shooting, playback, function, and display level, along with descriptions.) The best thing is that you can delete it if you don’t want to.

The M50 has other impressive features. For example, if you shoot a lot of action and sports, you will enjoy the 10 frames per second burst modes, which worked quite well for me, whether for capturing JPEG, RAW, or a combination of RAW and JPEG files.

As you will find on most kit lenses, the EOS M50’s kit lens (EF-M 15-45mm f / 3.5-6.3 IS STM) offers only 3x optical zoom, with a setting maximum aperture of f / 3.5-6.3, which can be a problem in low light or when trying to capture a shallow depth of field.

It’s also important to note that at the time of writing Canon only has seven lenses that are natively compatible with the M50, while Sony has 41 E-mount lenses that work with its A6000 series cameras.

Image quality

The M50 uses a 24.1 MP APS-C size image sensor to capture photos and videos. Overall, my test shots and real-world sample images were sharp, with sharp details and strong, accurate, and vibrant colors.

In my bright light test image, even the small size text in the color tables was sharp and legible. The gray tones on my value scale rendered very well, even in the low light image, showing that the camera does well at capturing dynamic range. I also found that in many cases the M50 kept noise to a minimum, even in low light.

I noticed that the camera sharpened the JPEG test shots slightly – you will notice a subtle outline around the colored rectangles in the color tables, which is not visible in RAW files. (All bright and low light images in my reviews are captured as JPEG and RAW, when available.)

The camera has a fairly wide ISO range (ISO 100 to 25,600, with the ability to expand to a high ISO of 51,200). In both test and sample shots, most ISO settings were reasonably clean.

However, as you can see from my high ISO selfie composite photo, at the expanded ISO 51,200 setting, images become speckled with color and pattern noise, obscuring details.

Video quality

While the EOS M50 has been available on other mirrorless cameras for a while, it is Canon’s first to offer 4K video.

Regardless of whether I was shooting at full resolution or 1080p, my test clips were nice, but the image stabilization didn’t feel as solid as what I found on Sony cameras. The result was a slightly more edgy video.

Wireless sharing

Like the M100, you can control the M50 via the Camera Connect mobile app (Android and iOS). It was easy to set up my iPhone 7 (via Wi-Fi), compose my image on my smartphone, and then shoot photos, as well as change other settings such as ISO and drive mode / self-timer mode.

Battery duration

Canon claims that the EOS M50 shoots around 235 shots (using the LCD or EVF) in normal mode (according to the CIPA standard). That’s quite a bit lower than what you’ll get with the Sony A6300, which gives you 400 shots using the LCD screen or 350 using the EVF.

MORE: Best Mirrorless Cameras From Beginners to Pro

For video recording, the M50 can record 85 minutes, or for continuous shooting, approximately 130 minutes (using the LCD screen or EVF).

Bottom line

The Canon EOS M50 does a very good job in many ways, but it doesn’t topple Sony’s A6300 from the top spot, due to poor battery life and mediocre image stabilization in video mode. And Sony’s system also offers more lenses at the moment. But the M50 will meet the needs of most photographers, from newbies to more experienced shooters.

Credit: Terry Sullivan / Tom’s Guide

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