Canon EOS M5 Performance

Timing and Performance

Very good overall performance for its class.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~1.2 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Play to Record,
first shot

~1.2 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Powering on and taking a shot was a little faster than average for a mirrorless camera, taking about 1.2 seconds. Switching from Play to Record and taking a shot also took about 1.2 seconds.

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single-point (center) AF

0.143 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Full Autofocus
Single-point AF
TTL flash enabled

0.432 second

Time to capture while forcing flash to fire. Preflash metering pulses from flash often slow shutter response.

Manual Focus

0.132 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".


0.056 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

In terms of the Canon M5's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times using the EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens, its full autofocus shutter response was quite fast a mirrorless camera. We measured only 0.143 second for full AF shutter lag using single point (center) AF. That's faster than many mirrorless cameras and faster than some prosumer DSLRs as well. Enabling the built-in flash added considerable delay for the pre-flash metering, though, resulting in a capture lag of about 0.43 second.

Shutter lag with manual focus was good at 0.132 second. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure resulted in a lag time of only 0.056 second, also quite good for a mirrorless camera.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.

Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.53 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames.

Single Shot mode

0.58 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames.

Early shutter


Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.11 second
(9.22 fps);
27 frames total;
4 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 27 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.18s or 5.45 fps when buffer was full.

Continuous mode

0.11 second
(9.29 fps);
18 frames total;
8 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 18 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.44s or 2.25 fps when buffer was full.

Continuous mode
RAW + Large/Fine

0.11 second
(9.36 fps);
17 frames total;
10 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 17 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.57s or 1.76 fps when buffer was full.

Flash recycling

2.5 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were quite good, taking about 0.5 second for best quality JPEGs, and about 0.6 second for RAW+ L/F JPEG files. (Note that we no longer test single-shot mode with just RAW files, as the results are usually somewhere in between JPEG and RAW+JPEG modes.)

Full-resolution continuous mode speeds were very good at between 9.2 and 9.4 frames per second depending on the file type, easily meeting Canon's 9 fps spec, though keep in mind that's with AF and AE locked at the first frame. Canon says up to 7 fps is possible with continuous AF, however we don't test that in the lab.

Buffer depth for best quality JPEGs was decent at 27 frames, though our test target was designed to be difficult to compress, so you might do better with typical real-world scenes. Also note that the buffer-full rate was pretty good at almost 5.5 frames per second. When shooting RAW files, buffer depth dropped to 18 frames, and 17 frames for RAW+JPEG. Buffer-full rates were about 2.3 and 1.8 fps respectively.

Buffer clearing times were good considering the resolution and buffer depths, ranging from 4 seconds after 27 best quality JPEGs, to 10 seconds after a max-length burst of RAW+L/F JPEG frames. You cannot view just-shot images while the buffer is clearing, but you can change some settings such as focus and ISO sensitivity.

The Canon M5's built-in flash took an average of 2.5 seconds to recharge after a full-power discharge, which is good.

Bottom line, the Canon M5 generally offers very good performance for its class with decent startup time, fast autofocus, low shutter lag, quick single-shot cycle times and swift burst modes, though buffer depths at the highest burst speed, while good, aren't anything to write home about. Still, the EOS M5 is by far the best performing Canon mirrorless to date and overall performance is quite competitive with most rivals.


Battery Life
Below average battery life for mirrorless ILC.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Still Capture,
(CIPA standard, LCD or EVF)

The Canon M5 uses a custom LP-E17 rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a dedicated battery charger. Battery life is a bit below average for a mirrorless camera, rated at only 295 shots per charge with 50% using flash, and much lower than typical DSLRs. We recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand.

The table above shows the number of shots the Canon M5 is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))


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