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Canon EOS M5

Canon EOS M5

4.0 from 1 review

Some compromises, but also some surprises

I mostly shoot Canon (plus a few older film cameras). Canon has been notoriously slow to the mirrorless market, and their first few mirrorless releases were ordinary to say the least. But the M5 arrived with a fair bit of fanfare - an integrated electronic viewfinder, a great sensor (same as the 80D) and a few other bits and pieces that set it apart.

I also got the EF-M 22mm f2 lens to go with it.

Compared to my 5Ds and 5D IV, it's a much smaller package. Very light. In fact, it almost felt a bit too small in my hands, and this took me awhile to get used to. I'm still not sure that I'm used to it. But, the weight savings mean that I can chase my kids around at the playground, get some nice shots, but also not have a very heavy camera to deal with. I still haven't quite worked out the best solution for putting it away to keep playing with my kids yet. It's not pocketable, bumbags look daggy, and neck straps mean that it swings around a bit. I'd appreciate any thoughts there!

As I mostly shoot full frame, going to an APS-C sensor means some changes on my part that I had to get used to - thinking in different mm focal lengths, etc. That's not too bad if you're using primes. The EF-M lens selection is dismal at the moment (although new ones are on the way according to the rumour sites, including a fast 50mm equivalent). I'd been disappointed with the quality of the shots that I saw on the screen, particularly in low light, even with the relatively fast EF-M 22mm f2. With an official adapter, I can use my EF glass. I have a few L series lenses that I've tried on it, and it really makes a HUGE difference in image quality. My 35mm f1.4L II comes out with gorgeous shots. Of course, these are much bigger and heavier, so you start to lose that weight saving.

Having said that, I really like the look and feel of the 35mm f1.4L II on the front of the M5. I'm not sure why. It just feels good. It's front heavy, yes, but if you hold the lens rather than just the body, it somehow feels - right.

Performance is a little sluggish. Touch AF can take a moment to respond (although using it is quite nice). Compared to DSLRs, seeing something pretty close to the final image on the screen or in the EVF looks great, rather than an approximation through the pentaprism of the DSLR. But what you see on the screen often isn't quite accurate compared to how it will look on your computer - some images appear washed out or overexposed in parts, when they're actually fine. Don't trust what you see on the back screen too much.

The battery compartment is a little annoying, because it won't open with some tripod adapter plates. I was shooting video with this at my brother's wedding and had to change the battery. Having to remove the tripod plate slowed the process significantly, and I ended up missing a little bit of the start of the wedding dance. Frustrating to say the least. That said, the video quality looked superb, even in lower light, and even though it maxes out at 1080p - no 4K here.

The single card setup means that it can't really be used for pro work (I had to use two cameras for video for the dance, rather than rely on the camera backing itself up onto two cards).

Burst shooting and seeing each individual shot appear in the EVF is wonderful. This camera still has blackout between individual shots if not burst shooting - Sony doesn't.

All in all, I like the camera, especially if I'm using EF L glass on it. There are still too many limitations to use it professionally, but it provides a glimpse of where Canon is going. Those features, along with the just-released M50 (that shows even more glimpses of the future), look promising for the future. I hope the full frame mirrorless, when they release it, will not be compromised.

If you're not wedded to Canon, you'll do better in mirrorless with Sony, although you'll pay much more. If you have Canon lenses and want a lighter solution, then this'll do OK, but I'd consider waiting for the inevitable higher end mirrorless that will follow the M50 into the market, and will carry some of those features into their higher end of the line up. If you can really wait, I'd wait to see what Canon's full frame mirrorless can do.

It certainly doesn't take bad shots. But as Canon's best mirrorless, it shows they're a few years behind the competition.

Date PurchasedJan 2017

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