Canon EF-M APS-C
size sensor
image of Canon EOS M5
Front side of Canon EOS M5 digital camera Front side of Canon EOS M5 digital camera Front side of Canon EOS M5 digital camera Front side of Canon EOS M5 digital camera Front side of Canon EOS M5 digital camera
Basic Specifications
Full model name: Canon EOS M5
Resolution: 24.20 Megapixels
Sensor size: APS-C
(22.3mm x 14.9mm)
Kit Lens: 3.00x zoom
(24-72mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 25,600
Extended ISO: 100 - 25,600
Shutter: 1/4000 - 30 seconds
Max Aperture: 3.5 (kit lens)
Dimensions: 4.6 x 3.5 x 2.4 in.
(116 x 89 x 61 mm)
Weight: 19.6 oz (557 g)
includes batteries, kit lens
Availability: 11/2016
Manufacturer: Canon
Full specs: Canon EOS M5 specifications

EOS M5 Summary

Equipped with a 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and DIGIC 7 image processor, the Canon EOS M5 offers similar image quality as its predecessors but much improved overall performance. Considering also its inclusion of Dual Pixel CMOS AF, a built-in electronic viewfinder and larger 3.2-inch touchscreen, the Canon EOS M5 is Canon's best mirrorless camera yet.


Enthusiast-oriented compact camera body; Good image quality in most situations; Built-in electronic viewfinder; Impressive Dual Pixel CMOS AF; Very good overall performance.


High ISO image quality and dynamic range aren't quite up to par with some of its competition; No 4K video recording; Native EF-M lens selection is still limited; Below average battery life.

Price and availability

Available since November 2016, the Canon EOS M5 costs just over US$900 for the body only, which is a nice value. The camera is also available in two kits, one with a 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens for around $1,050 and the other with a 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 lens for nearly $1,200. Each kit are nice options for those looking to get their first EOS M camera, but the latter kit is certainly the more versatile option.

Imaging Resource rating

4.5 out of 5.0

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Canon M5 Review

by Mike Tomkins, Jeremy Gray, Zig Weidelich and Dave Pardue
Preview originally posted: 09/15/2016

Last updated:

12/30/2016: First Shots posted
02/09/2017: Field Test posted
02/15/2017: Performance test results posted
04/26/2017: Image Quality Comparison and Print Quality posted
05/03/2017: Review Conclusion posted

Canon EOS M5 Review -- Product Image

About four years ago, Canon made a tentative first step into the mirrorless camera market with its EOS M, sporting a brand-new EF-M lens mount. You could be forgiven if you missed that camera or its followups the M2, M3 and M10, though, because they weren't big sellers in the US market. (In fact, the M2 wasn't even officially offered for sale here.)

So what held the series back stateside? Although image quality was good, sluggish performance and a very limited lens selection held the EOS M-series back compared to its rivals. So too did the lack of a viewfinder in the EOS M, M2 and M10, while the M3 relied on an expensive $300 external viewfinder accessory. The Canon EOS M5 addresses those concerns -- and for the first time, it looks to be an EOS M-series camera that's truly aimed at enthusiast use!

Although it shares quite a bit with its predecessor the EOS M3, including a 24-megapixel resolution from an APS-C image sensor, a tilting touch-screen LCD monitor and in-camera Wi-Fi / NFC wireless networking, the Canon EOS M5 looks to be a near-ground up redesign. Externally, it sports a brand-new, somewhat SLR-like body complete with a built-in electronic viewfinder, a larger and higher-resolution LCD monitor, and a reworked control layout.

Canon EOS M5 Review -- Product Image

Inside, there's a newer image sensor and processor that should offer better image quality and performance, and the sensor also now supports Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, allowing swift and accurate phase-detection autofocus across most of the image frame. The new sensor and processor also allow much faster burst performance even with continuous autofocus tracking active, although raw depth is still a question mark.

The Canon EOS M5 also boasts a new low-power, Bluetooth Smart connection which can remain active at all times, much like Nikon's competing SnapBridge wireless tech, which is also based around Bluetooth Smart technology. The EOS M5 uses this low-power, short-range connection to pair via higher-power, longer-range Wi-Fi for faster transfers and remote control with a live view feed, but can rely on Bluetooth alone for remote control without a live view feed, or to control playback on a large screen over HDMI.

Canon EOS M5 Review -- Product Image

The Canon EOS M5 began shipping in November 2016 in the US market, and is sold either body-only, or in two kit bundles with lens. Body-only pricing is in the region of US$980, while a kit with the EF-M 15-45mm/F3.5-6.3 IS STM zoom lens is available for around US$1,100. A second kit with the new EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens is also available, priced at around US$1,480 or thereabouts.


Canon EOS M5 Technical Insights

A detailed look under the hood

by Mike Tomkins |

Canon EOS M5 tech section illustrationSensor
At the heart of the Canon EOS M5 is a new 24.2-effective megapixel, APS-C format CMOS image sensor which is similar to that featured in the Canon EOS 80D DSLR. The chip, which has the same effective resolution as that in the EOS M3, has a total resolution of 25.8 megapixels. Dimensions are 22.3 x 14.9mm with a 3:2 aspect ratio, for a pixel pitch of 3.72m.

Output from the Canon M5's sensor is handled by a new DIGIC 7 image processor. That's a step up from the DIGIC 6 processors used in the EOS M3 and 80D, and we're told to expect image quality that's slightly better than that from the 80D as a result.

Canon EOS M5 Field Test

Canon finally delivers an enthusiast-oriented mirrorless camera

by Jeremy Gray |

Canon EOS M5 field test photo In the four and a half years since Canon launched the original Canon EOS M, signaling its entry into the mirrorless ILC market, the options available to photographers looking for a mirrorless camera have increased considerably. Canon's follow-up models, such as the M3 and M10, while certainly not bad cameras by any means, do come up short in some important areas. The lack of a built-in electronic viewfinder and sluggish overall performance, for example, place them at a notable disadvantage compared to competing offerings.

Canon's latest mirrorless camera, the Canon M5, not only includes a built-in EVF and faster performance, but it adopts an SLR-style camera body and new sensor. Without eschewing the excellent usability and user interface of the M3 and M10 cameras, the M5 presents itself as a camera very much ready to compete against the pillars of the modern mirrorless market, especially with cameras aimed at more advanced photographers. On paper, the M5 is (mostly) the mirrorless camera Canon shooters have been waiting for. But can it reach its potential and help Canon finally plant themselves firmly in the saturated market? Let's find out.

Canon EOS M5 Image Quality Comparison

See how the Canon M5's IQ compares to other enthusiast ILCs!

by Zig Weidelich |

Canon EOS M5 image qualityHere we present crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing Canon M5's image quality to that of its DSLR sibling, the Canon 80D (for those wondering which of these two enthusiast Canon ILCs to get), as well as against several enthusiast ILC models at similar price points or in similar categories: the Nikon D7200, Olympus E-M5 II, Panasonic GX8 and Sony A6300.

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved, click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page...


Canon M5 Conclusion

Canon EOS M5 Review: Conclusion -- Gallery Image
Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM: 200mm (320mm eq), f/6.3, 1/320s, ISO 125.
This image has been cropped. Click for full-size image.

Generally speaking, Canon's mirrorless offerings have not compared particularly well against similarly-priced competition. With the EOS M5, however, Canon has changed that and delivered a new and improved mirrorless camera that is poised to attract the attention of enthusiasts. The EOS M5 includes an impressive built-in electronic viewfinder, new sensor and faster processor in a compact SLR-style body.

Impressive, though not class-leading image quality from the Canon M5

JPEG images were a bit soft at default in-camera sharpening but still showed some sharpening artifacts. The camera exhibited minor to moderate loss in detail due to in-camera noise reduction, even at low ISO settings. Nonetheless, image detail is good overall. Processed RAW images offer similar resolving capabilities, but careful processing can produce sharper images with fewer sharpening artifacts than the camera's JPEG files. Considering color, the camera delivers slightly below average saturation levels but excellent hue accuracy in its JPEGs. Color balance with Auto white balance when shooting outdoors tended toward the cooler side, but indoors in tungsten lighting it was too warm.

Canon EOS M5 Review -- Gallery Image
Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM: 32mm (51mm eq.), f/7.1, 0.1s, ISO 100.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image.

At high ISOs, the Canon M5 offers good performance given its image sensor. While not quite as good as some rival cameras, the M5 nonetheless delivers a nice 16 x 20 inch print at ISO 1600 and an acceptable 5 x 7 print even at ISO 12,800. At ISO 100-400, the M5 makes a very nice 30 x 40 inch print, which is quite impressive. While print quality proved not to be a step up over the EOS M3, the M5 is generally on par with much of its APS-C competition.

Canon EOS M5 Review -- Gallery Image
Canon EF-M 15-45mm: 15mm (24mm eq.), f/8.0, 3.2s, ISO 100.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image.

Canon's first "Dual Pixel" mirrorless camera offers swift AF in most situations

The EOS M5 utilizes Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF system, which worked well in most situations. The 49-point hybrid autofocus system has phase detect AF points covering 80 percent of the image sensor's width and height, providing good, reliable coverage.

With the large 3.2-inch touchscreen and a good autofocus system, it's quick and easy to touch and drag the AF point around the display. You can use the display to move the AF point while using the electronic viewfinder, as well, but this setting needs to be enabled as it is not available by default.

While the autofocus performance is generally good, offering fast, accurate AF in many situations and good performance in the lab on a tripod, low-light autofocus did not impress out in the field, at least with slower zoom lenses. The AF system is only rated to work down to -1 EV with an f/2 lens and with many of the native EF-M lenses having rather slow apertures, it results in a system that is not ideal for low-light autofocus. Manually focusing is improved with the EOS M5 over previous cameras with the inclusion of focus peaking.

Canon EOS M5 Review -- Gallery Image
Canon EF-M 55-200mm: 200mm (320mm eq.), f/6.3, 1/160s, ISO 100.
Click for full-size image.

Continuous autofocus performance is quite good in the EOS M5 thanks to the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system. Subject tracking can keep up with moving subjects well and is even adept at refocusing on a selected subject after it exists and reenters the frame.

Overall, autofocus performance is generally a strength of the Canon EOS M5. While not perfect in every scenario, it handles most shooting conditions and situations well.

Faster DIGIC 7 image processor brings big improvements for the M5

With its DIGIC 7 image processor, the Canon EOS M5 offers very good overall performance for its class. While its startup time to first shot of 1.2 seconds is about average, every other aspect of its performance impressed in our lab.

Full autofocus shutter lag was 0.143 seconds, which is faster than many mirrorless cameras and even faster than some prosumer-oriented DSLRs. Looking at continuous shooting performance, the M5 captured JPEG images at 9.2 frames per second and RAW images at 9.3 fps during our testing. These are impressive speeds, although shooting with continuous autofocus drops the burst rate down to 7 fps. Buffer depths were okay as well, at 27 and 18 frames for JPEG and RAW images, respectively. Capturing both RAW and JPEG images simultaneously resulted in slightly faster continuous shooting speeds, which is unusual but certainly not problematic, and buffer depth dipped very slightly to 17 frames. The buffers for JPEG, RAW and RAW+JPEG cleared in four, eight and 10 seconds, respectively. It is worth pointing out that when shooting JPEG images and you fill the buffer, the capture rate drops to still rather quick 5.5 fps.

Canon EOS M5 Review -- Gallery Image
Canon EF-M 55-200mm: 200mm (320mm eq.), f/6.3, 1/500s, ISO 1600.
This image has been cropped. Click for full-size image.

Overall, the EOS M5 offers impressive performance across the board. While buffer depths were not as impressive, relatively speaking, as the rest of the camera's continuous shooting performance, its speed is very good and the EOS M5 -- along with the very similar EOS M6 -- is the best performing Canon mirrorless camera yet, by a large margin.

Canon M5 lacks enthusiast-level video features, including no 4K

One area where the M5 comes up short for some users is in the video department. The camera offers good quality 1920 x 1080 video at up to 60 frames per second, but it does not offer any 4K video recording, nor are there any high speed or slow motion video recording modes. While the camera doesn't include many videographer-oriented features -- there are no zebra exposure warnings or a headphone jack, for example -- it does offer users the ability to easily capture nice video thanks to a friendly interface and solid AF/AE performance. We lament the lack of high-end video features in the EOS M5, but for many users, it should prove plenty capable.

First EOS M camera with a built-in EVF handles well

More oriented toward enthusiasts than previous EOS M cameras, the M5 impressed us with its physical controls and overall form factor. It remains a compact despite being larger and heavier than its predecessors, but the increase in size is due in part to its built-in electronic viewfinder and more sophisticated controls.

Canon EOS M5 Review  -- Product Image Front

We were impressed by the EVF, which is a 0.39-inch type OLED display with 2.36M dots. It is sharp and worked well. Prior M cameras have had optional electronic viewfinders which could be attached via the hot shoe, but having it built-in is important to many photographers. The display was upgraded as well, going from 3.0 to 3.2 inches and having 1,620,000 dots versus 1,040,000 dots of resolution. The touchscreen display worked well in the field, although it proved slightly difficult to use in bright light, but the ability to tilt it helped some with that.

With a variety of controls, including a twin-dial design, the Canon EOS M5 behaves like a downsized DSLR. It is much more compact than a DSLR, but this APS-C mirrorless camera puts a lot of controls at your fingertips. Overall, we think that the EOS M5 is the best mirrorless body, both in terms of functionality and usability, that Canon has released.

Canon EOS M5 Review  -- Product Image Back
Summary: Canon's best mirrorless camera so far

The Canon EOS M5 offers image quality comparable to many other APS-C cameras, and the body itself offers a lot of physical controls plus (for the first time in the EOS M series) a built-in electronic viewfinder. Dual Pixel CMOS AF and a DIGIC 7 image processor combine to help the M5 deliver good performance across the board. Despite a few shortcomings, including a sparse EF-M lens lineup (although you can use EF/EF-S lenses with a separate adapter) and lack of 4K video, the EOS M5 is the best mirrorless camera that Canon has produced so far and easily earns a Dave's Pick.

Canon EOS M5 Review -- Gallery Image
Canon EF-M 55-200mm: 200mm (320mm eq.), f/6.3, 1/100s, ISO 100.
This image has been modified. Click for full-size image.

Pros & Cons

  • New 24-megapixel sensor offers much improved dynamic range compared to the M3
  • Good high ISO performance for its class, though not quite as good as some of its APS-C competition
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF system works well in most situations
  • Excellent color and hue accuracy
  • HTP and ALO useful in high-contrast scenes
  • In-camera HDR mode
  • Fast startup
  • Very fast single-shot autofocus
  • Low prefocused shutter lag
  • Fast single-shot cycle times
  • Fast 9 fps burst mode
  • Decent buffer depths even when shooting RAW files, much improved over the M3
  • Good buffer clearing times
  • Built-in high-res EVF with very good coverage
  • Tilting 3.2-inch touchscreen display
  • Built-in flash and hot shoe
  • Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth
  • Twin-dial controls work well
  • Compact body
  • Great touchscreen
  • User-friendly interface
  • Microphone input
  • Compatible with EF and EF-S lenses (via an adapter) and Canon Speedlights
  • Dynamic range still not as good as some APS-C rivals
  • Default JPEG processing could be better, especially at higher ISOs
  • Auto and Incandescent white balance settings too warm in tungsten lighting
  • Auto white balance a bit cool in daylight
  • Otherwise good autofocus system can struggle in low light with slower lenses
  • Shooting speeds limited to 7fps with continuous autofocus
  • Video features are lacking
  • No 4K UHD video recording
  • No headphone jack
  • Native EF-M lens selection is very limited
  • Weak flash with narrow coverage (typical for the class)
  • Below average battery life


In the Box

The Canon EOS M5 15-45mm kit retail box (as tested) ships with the following items:

  • Canon EOS M5 body
  • EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens
  • Front and rear lens caps
  • LP-E17 battery pack
  • LC-E17/LC-E17E battery charger
  • Hot shoe cover
  • Body cap
  • IFC-600PCU USB interface cable
  • EM-300DB neck strap
  • Camera Instruction Manual booklet


Recommended Accessories

  • Large capacity SDHC/SDXC memory card. Look for at least a Class 6 speed grade card if you plan on shooting video, and consider a fast UHS-I card to minimize buffer clearing times.
  • Extra LP-E17 battery pack
  • Additional lenses
  • Canon EF-M Lens Adapter Kit for EF / EF-S lenses
  • External Speedlite flash
  • External monaural or stereo microphone
  • Micro (Type-D) HDMI cable
  • Medium size camera bag


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