Canon M50 Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Canon M50's image quality at various ISOs to that of its bigger brother, the Canon M5, as well as to several other ILC competitors in its class or price range: the Fuji X-T100, Nikon D5600, Panasonic GX9 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 M50, Canon M5, Fuji X-T100, Nikon D5600, Panasonic GX9 and Sony A6300 -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Canon M50 to any camera we've ever tested!

Canon EOS M50 vs Canon EOS M5 at Base ISO

Canon EOS M50 at ISO 100
Canon EOS M5 at ISO 100

Here at base ISO, we can see the M50's image quality is very similar to that of its slightly bigger and more expensive brother, the M5. Looking very closely, though, it appears the M50 applies slightly stronger noise reduction by default, as flatter areas appear a little smoother.

Canon EOS M50 vs Fujifilm X-T100 at Base ISO

Canon EOS M50 at ISO 100
Fujifilm X-T100 at ISO 200

Above we compare the M50 to another 24-megapixel APS-C camera, the Fuji X-T100. Both images contain visible sharpening haloes along high-contrast edges, but the X-T100's are much more obtrusive, however the Fuji image is much crisper and more detailed. When looking closely at the images, you can see that the X-T100's image has higher luma noise than the M50's in the shadows, but keep in mind its higher base ISO. The X-T100's image however has lower chroma noise than the M50's. Contrast is much higher from the Canon in our tricky red-leaf swatch giving the impression of greater detail, however the two cameras capture about the same amount of subtle detail. Both cameras produce pleasing color but the Fuji's colors are warmer and generally more saturated.

Canon EOS M50 vs Nikon D5600 at Base ISO

Canon EOS M50 at ISO 100
Nikon D5600 at ISO 100

The image from the Nikon D5600 is sharper, crisper and slightly more detailed than the M50's at base ISO, thanks to the D5600's lack of an AA filter, as well as more aggressive sharpening. We do see higher luminance noise from the Nikon, though, with more obvious sharpening haloes as well. Aliasing artifacts are more visible from the Nikon in general, however it did a pretty good job at avoiding visible moiré patterns we often see in our notorious red-leaf swatch, while still resolving more of the fine thread pattern. We do see indications that the M50's AA filter is fairly weak, though, as ironically moiré patterns are more visible from the Canon in the red-leaf swatch. The Nikon's colors are warmer and more saturated, but not as accurate overall as the Canon's.

Canon EOS M50 vs Panasonic GX9 at Base ISO

Canon EOS M50 at ISO 100
Panasonic GX9 at ISO 200

The 24-megapixel APS-C Canon M50 has a slight resolution advantage over the 20-megapixel MFT Panasonic GX9, but it isn't resolving significantly more detail in most areas here. (The majority of the resolution advantage is in the width of the image because of its wider 3:2 aspect ratio, as we frame this shot vertically.) The GX9's image is however significantly sharper than the M50's, while containing thinner sharpening haloes. The Panasonic shows higher noise levels (but keep in mind its higher base ISO), yet it does show some minor artifacts from its area-specific noise reduction already here at base ISO; for example rougher edges. The GX9 tends to show more aliasing artifacts as well, thanks to the lack of an optical low-pass filter. Both cameras produce nice colors, though the Panasonic's are a bit brighter in general, while the Canon's are a little more accurate overall.

Canon EOS M50 vs Sony A6300 at Base ISO

Canon EOS M50 at ISO 100
Sony A6300 at ISO 100

In this comparison, we pit the Canon M50 against Sony's popular 24-megapixel APS-C mirrorless, the A6300. The Sony has either a very weak or no AA filter which helps maximize sharpness and detail, and its processing produces a crisper, more detailed image without the obvious sharpening haloes produced by the Canon's default settings. However we do see stronger aliasing artifacts from the A6300, especially in the red-leaf fabric. Color is noticeably better from the Canon, though.

Canon EOS M50 vs Canon EOS M5 at ISO 1600

Canon EOS M50 at ISO 1600
Canon EOS M5 at ISO 1600

Here at ISO 1600, we can see that the M50's default noise reduction has been tweaked, and it's not necessarily for the better. As you can see, fine detail and contrast in our tricky red-leaf swatch has been noticeably reduced compared to the M5 and subtle detail in the mosaic crop is softer, though there are fewer artifacts around high-contrast edges, and noise "grain" in flatter areas appears slightly smoother and more consistent.

Canon EOS M50 vs Fujifilm X-T100 at ISO 1600

Canon EOS M50 at ISO 1600
Fujifilm X-T100 at ISO 1600

The Fuji X-T100 produces a much sharper, crisper, cleaner and more detailed image here at ISO 1600 compared to the Canon M50, though with more obvious sharpening haloes. Colors continue to be brighter and more vibrant from the Fuji as well.

Canon EOS M50 vs Nikon D5600 at ISO 1600

Canon EOS M50 at ISO 1600
Nikon D5600 at ISO 1600

The Nikon D5600 still manages to produce a sharper, crisper image at ISO 1600 though with more noticeable sharpening haloes, however the Canon M50 arguably does a bit better in our tricky red-leaf fabric, at least with contrast. Noise levels are similar, however the Nikon's more aggressive sharpening makes luminance noise somewhat more conspicuous in flatter areas.

Canon EOS M50 vs Panasonic GX9 at ISO 1600

Canon EOS M50 at ISO 1600
Panasonic GX9 at ISO 1600

The GX9 continues to produce a much crisper image with better fine detail in most areas here at ISO 1600. The Panasonic's more sophisticated noise reduction also leaves behind much less noise in the flatter areas than the Canon's, however its area-specific algorithm does produce some unwanted artifacts in the form of rough edges and a "grain" that has a more "digital" look. Still, it's an easy win for the GX9 here.

Canon EOS M50 vs Sony A6300 at ISO 1600

Canon EOS M50 at ISO 1600
Sony A6300 at ISO 1600

Like we saw at base ISO, the Sony A6300 delivers a much sharper image with better detail at ISO 1600, though aliasing artifacts are more visible. Noise levels are comparable, however the noise "grain" from the Canon is more consistent and film-like, while the Sony's noise reduction processing produces some darker pixels and other artifacts which give flatter areas a less natural look.

Canon EOS M50 vs Canon EOS M5 at ISO 3200

Canon EOS M50 at ISO 3200
Canon EOS M5 at ISO 3200

Similar to what we saw at ISO 1600, the M50 produces a softer image overall and it doesn't do quite as well as the M5 with our troublesome red-leaf swatch, though fine detail in our mosaic crop has fewer artifacts and the noise "grain" pattern is a little smoother.

Canon EOS M50 vs Fujifilm X-T100 at ISO 3200

Canon EOS M50 at ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-T100 at ISO 3200

There's really no contest here at ISO 3200, with the X-T100 producing a much crisper, detailed image with better color and lower noise levels, at least in the shadows and mid-tones. In brighter areas, the Canon is actually cleaner, likely in part due to its far less aggressive sharpening. The M50 also produces better contrast in our troublesome red-leaf swatch, though fine detail is actually a bit better from the Fuji.

Canon EOS M50 vs Nikon D5600 at ISO 3200

Canon EOS M50 at ISO 3200
Nikon D5600 at ISO 3200

Once again, the Nikon D5600 delivers a much sharper, slightly more detailed image than the M50 at ISO 3200. Overall noise levels appear just a bit lower from the Nikon, but its more aggressive processing means the "grain" pattern isn't quite as uniform as the Canon's. The Nikon renders a lot more fine detail in the red-leaf fabric, but some of it is distorted and false, and contrast is a little better from the Canon.

Canon EOS M50 vs Panasonic GX9 at ISO 3200

Canon EOS M50 at ISO 3200
Panasonic GX9 at ISO 3200

Once again, the GX9 delivers a crisper, more detailed image than the M50 here at ISO 3200, while at the same time controlling luminance noise much more effectively in flatter areas.

Canon EOS M50 vs Sony A6300 at ISO 3200

Canon EOS M50 at ISO 3200
Sony A6300 at ISO 3200

The Sony A6300 also continues to produce a much crisper, more detailed image than the M50 at ISO 3200, however its context-specific noise reduction generates more artifacts in flatter areas and along edges than Canon's more traditional approach to noise reduction. The M50 blurs our tricky red-leaf fabric lot more here at ISO 3200, but much of the Sony's apparent detail in that fabric is false. Still, the Sony easily wins this battle.

Canon EOS M50 vs. Canon EOS M5, Fujifilm X-T100, Nikon D5600, Panasonic GX9, Sony A6300

Canon
EOS M50
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
EOS M5
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Fujifilm
X-T100
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon
D5600
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Panasonic
GX9
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A6300
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. High-contrast detail is also important, pushing the camera in different ways, so we like to look at it, too. Here we see again that the M50 performs very similar to the M5 at base ISO, but higher ISOs are unfortunately a little softer compared to the M5, and indeed the rest of this group. The three other APS-C models, the X-T100, D5600 and A6300 all come out ahead, and while the Micro Four Thirds GX9 produced the lowest contrast of the group, detail and sharpness hold up better than the Canons' as ISO rises.
 

Canon M50 Print Quality Analysis

Very nice 30 x 40 inch images at ISO 100/200/400; a good 11 x 14 inch print at ISO 3200; and a nice 5 x 7 at ISO 12,800.

ISO 100 and 200 prints are quite good at 30 x 40 inches, showcasing nice fine detail and accurate color representation. At the 24-megapixel resolution, you can certainly print larger sizes at these low ISOs as well, and will only be constrained by the resolution itself at your desired viewing distance.

ISO 400 is also capable of delivering a solid print at 30 x 40 inches. Fine detail is not quite as crisp as the prints at base ISO and 200, but it's still a very natural-looking print. If your images need the ultimate in crispness and depending on your print settings and subject matter, it may be best to remain at 24 x 36 inches here, but again we can very much give our "good" seal to 30 x 40 inches at this ISO.

ISO 800 yields a good printed image up to 20 x 30 inches, which is still a fairly large size for this ISO given the class and cost of the camera. There is now a mild trace of noise in some flatter areas of our test target apparent on closer inspection, and a common reduction of contrast detail in our tricky red-leaf fabric swatch, but overall a good image at this size. Critical applications may warrant a size reduction to 16 x 20 inches here as needed depending on your subject matter.

ISO 1600 is capable of delivering a solid print up to a maximum of 16 x 20 inches, which yet again is par for the course for most of the better APS-C cameras these days at this sensitivity. There is a touch more noise apparent in some of the shadow areas behind our test target bottles, as the noise reduction and sharpening algorithms from the DIGIC 8 processor try and work the optimal compromise, but this is a common occurrence for most APS-C cameras at this ISO and print size. Once again, for your most critical applications, moving one size down to 13 x 19 inches will solve most issues you may have here.

ISO 3200 is often the turning point for APS-C cameras regarding image quality, and the EOS M50 is no exception, as we must go down two full sizes here to achieve a good print. The camera can deliver a nice 11 x 14 here, but there is still a mild amount of noise present in some flatter areas of the image. So while the 11 x 14 prints here do pass our good grade, remaining at ISO 1600 and below is your best bet for maximum print quality at this size of print.

ISO 6400 turns in an 8 x 10 inch print that just passes our good grade. There is still full color representation in the image overall, and decent fine detail throughout, but traces of noise are apparent in the flatter areas of our test target. The noise levels are acceptable for good prints, but not likely for your most critical applications.

ISO 12,800 delivers a solid 5 x 7 inch print, which is a fairly good size for an APS-C sensor. The images here won't win any awards, but nor will they be a letdown for gifts to family and friends, as the colors and detail at this size are still enough to earn a good seal.

ISO 25,600 yields a good 4 x 6 inch print, which is a nice feat. The image is similar to the 5 x 7 at ISO 12,800 in that it's not suited for critical applications, but is "good enough" for casual printing purposes.

ISO 51,200 does not deliver a usable print and is best avoided.

The Canon M50 delivers a good showing in the print quality department as expected. The print sizes don't exceed predecessors in the line per se, and the new processor seems to yield a bit more detail in some areas but at the expense of a bit more noise in others. Your mileage may vary depending on your in-camera sharpening and noise reduction settings (we used defaults) if using JPEGs, but for the most part you can expect solid printed images at large sizes up to ISO 1600. Shooting any higher in ISO and you'll need to pay close attention to your print sizes as relates to overall sharpness and noise, so we recommend remaining at ISO 1600 and below for critical printing purposes. But given the reasonable price of the camera and the ergonomically friendly size, this is a strong showing for overall print quality from the EOS M50.

 



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