Canon EOS M50 Review
|Full model name:||Canon EOS M50|
(22.3mm x 14.9mm)
|Viewfinder:||EVF / LCD|
|Native ISO:||100 - 25,600|
|Extended ISO:||100 - 51,200|
|Shutter:||1/4000 - 30 sec|
|Max Aperture:||3.5 (kit lens)|
4.6 x 3.5 x 2.3 in.
(116 x 88 x 59 mm)
includes batteries, kit lens
|Full specs:||Canon EOS M50 specifications|
EOS M50 Summary
If you're shopping for an affordable mirrorless camera with a solid build, good ergonomics and (via an optional adapter) first-party EF-mount lens support, the Canon M50 has a lot to offer. Sporting a next-gen DIGIC 8 processor, the M50 is both swift and shoots great photos. While there are some drawbacks to its new 4K video capture functionality, the M50 deserves a close look. Find out if you should buy one in our Canon M50 review!Pros
Comfortable ergonomics and solid build; Versatile EVF and tilt-swivel, touch-screen LCD; Good image quality; Great performance for its class; New C-RAW format saves on raw file size; 4K video is an M-series first.Cons
Somewhat limited dynamic range; JPEGs a little soft at base ISO, and more so at higher ISOs; Warm white balance under incandescent light; Poor battery life; Raw buffer is still shallow (but C-RAW helps).Price and availability
The Canon EOS M50 first became available in April 2018 in multiple configurations, and a choice of black or white body colors. The M50 body itself has a suggested list price of around US$680 as of April 2019. The most affordable kit comes with an EF-M 15-45mm lens, and that lists for around US$800. For US$1,150 list, you can purchase the M50 with the 15-45mm lens and an EF-M 55-200mm zoom, a combination which is available only in black. Finally, there's a Video Creator Kit for about US$900, which includes a Rode on-camera mic and a 32GB SD card in addition to the 15-45mm lens. All of these list prices, incidentally, are US$100 less than those at launch.Imaging Resource rating
4.0 out of 5.0
Canon M50 Review
The Canon EOS M5 was released in November of 2016, and when we reviewed it, we asked if it was the mirrorless camera that Canon enthusiasts had been waiting for. For us, it came close and was certainly Canon's best, most well-rounded mirrorless camera yet. The new Canon EOS M50 continues the trend of M-series improvement, and addresses some of the M5's small list of issues, though it doesn't replace that camera, but instead slots below it in Canon's lineup.
The Canon M50 marks a couple of firsts for Canon. It is the first Canon camera with the new DIGIC 8 image processor. It's also the first Canon M camera to include 4K video recording. Further, the Dual Pixel CMOS AF has been improved, which is significant considering how good it already was. While these are notable additions, the M50 shares a lot with its more expensive sibling too, including the same 24-megapixel APS-C image sensor. Canon is still positioning it as an entry-level camera in general, though, but it's one which is more full-featured than prior entry-level M cameras. Let's take a closer look at what's new.
M50 Key Features
- 24.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
- Native ISO range of 100-25,600
- First Canon camera with new DIGIC 8 image processor
- Up to 10 frames per second continuous shooting
- Improved Dual Pixel CMOS AF
- 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen
- 0.39-inch OLED electronic viewfinder
- 4K UHD video recording
- Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth
Camera Body and Design
There are stylistic similarities between the new Canon M50 and its bigger brother, but there are also many differences when you look closer. Starting on the rear of the camera, the M50 has a slightly smaller display than the M5 (three inches versus 3.2 inches), but this comes with the tradeoff that the M50 has a vari-angle display, whereas the M5 has just a tilting display. In both cases, they offer touch functionality. The M50's three-inch display has approximately 1.04 million dots while the M5's has 1.62 million. The M50 doesn't have a control dial around the four-way pad and the power switch has been relocated. Further, the dedicated movie record button has been moved from the back of the camera to the top deck on the M50.
Speaking of the top of the camera, this is where the two cameras vary the most. The M5 has a main dial around the shutter button, a multi-function button, an exposure compensation dial, a function dial with central button, a flash release button, and a locking mode dial. The M50 simplifies things greatly by removing the exposure compensation and function dials, and the flash release button (it now has a manual popup flash). There is a main dial, a multi-function button and a non-locking mode dial, but to the left of the electronic viewfinder, there are no dials or buttons whatsoever.
The M50 has dimensions (width x height x depth) of 4.6 x 3.5 x 2.3 inches (116.3 mm x 88.1 x 58.7 mm), and it weighs 13.7 ounces (387 g) with the battery and an SD memory card inserted. The white version weighs three grams more. By comparison, the M5 is 4.6 x 3.5 x 2.4 inches (115.6 x 89.2 x 60.6 mm), a little narrower despite having more dials, but a little taller and deeper. The M5 is around 1.3 ounces or 37 grams heavier as well.
Sensor and image quality
The M50 employs the same 24.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor as its sibling. It has the same native sensitivity range as the M5 of 100 to 25,600, however it can now be expanded to ISO 51,200 as well. Further, the M50 supports the next-generation CR3 raw format and it offers a new C-RAW lossy compression raw option. C-RAW image files are about 40 percent smaller in size when compared to losslessly-compressed raw files. This leads to some performance gains, as we can see in the next section.
Performance improvements driven by first DIGIC 8 processor
As the first camera with a DIGIC 8 processor, you might expect big performance improvements across the board for the M50. There are speed improvements, but they aren't massive. The camera can shoot at up to 10 frames per second with single-shot autofocus, and 7.4 frames per second with continuous autofocus. This is about a frame per second faster than the M5 for single-shot AF and 0.4 fps faster for continuous AF.
According to Canon, the M50 can shoot 10 raw or 33 JPEG images at 10 fps before it slows. (In our lab testing, the M50 did have a 10 frame raw or raw+JPEG buffer, but it managed 36 JPEGs before slowing.) However, by shooting in the new lossy compressed C-RAW format you can increase raw buffer depth to 16 frames at 10 fps.
By way of comparison, the M5 managed only 27 JPEGs in the lab at just over 9 frames per second, but its lossless raw buffer depth was still deeper than the M50's C-RAW buffer at 18 frames. (However, keep in mind the slightly slower frame rate.)
When looking at autofocus, the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system in the M50 has also been upgraded compared to its sibling. It now includes 143 selectable focus points, although there's a catch: Not every EF-M lens can utilize all 143 points.
The EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM, EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM and EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM lenses can all use 143 points, which covers 88% of the horizontal image area and 100% of the vertical image area. The rest of the EF-M lenses, including the standard EF-M 15-45mm kit lens, can only use 99 points which cover the same 80% width and 80% height of prior Dual Pixel CMOS AF cameras. There are also many EF and EF-S lenses which can use 143 points when adapted to the EOS M50 with the optional Canon-sold adapter.
The M50 also offers Eye Detection and touch-and-drag autofocus features, the latter operated via its rear touch-screen display. The working range of the autofocus system is manufacturer-rated as -2 to 18 EV (at ISO 100 with the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM lens), and the M50 has a built-in AF assist LED lamp. Further, if you want to use manual focus, the M50 does offer focus peaking.
Overall, the DIGIC 8 is an interesting update to the M50, and it does deliver some improved performance, although perhaps not quite as much as you might expect from a next-generation processor.
The Canon M50 includes numerous shooting modes, and has been designed to be accessible for users new to photography, or at least new to an interchangeable-lens camera, but it also offers advanced users intuitive physical controls. In addition to standard program, aperture priority (Av), shutter speed priority (Tv) and manual shooting modes, there are also scene modes and the camera also includes a new silent mode as part of its scene mode selection. The silent mode results in there being no shutter sound whatsoever using an electronic shutter.
If you want to process your raw files in the camera, the M50 now offers that feature. If you'd like to transfer your images, you can do so via the M50's built-in Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth. You can transfer images automatically, as well.
Canon EOS M50 Wi-Fi Demo Video
With respect to shooting specs, the M50 has a shutter speed range of 30 to 1/4,000 second in program, aperture- or shutter-priority and manual modes, although some shooting modes have different limitations. The camera has a built-in manually-deployed flash which has a flash sync of 1/200s and a guide number of only 16.4 feet (5m) at ISO 100. The camera relies upon a 384-zone metering system and offers evaluative, partial, spot and center-weighted average metering modes.
Video: Canon EOS M50 is the first M-series camera with 4K video
4K video has been a long time coming to the Canon EOS M series, but it finally arrives with the M50. Let's look at the good news first: the camera can record 4K ultra-high definition video at 23.98 frames per second. Further, it can shoot Full HD video at up to 60 fps, and HD video at up to 120 fps.
When recording 4K ultra high-def video, which has four times the pixels of Full HD video, the M50 can still record for up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds, which is an impressive recording limit for 4K in this class. The bit rate of 4K video is 120 Mbps. There are some downsides, though. 4K is limited to a 24p capture rate, it's cropped from the center by a factor of about 1.6x on top of Canon's 1.6x APS-C crop, and autofocus is contrast-detect only.
When recording Full HD video, Dual Pixel AF is available, the bit rate drops to 60 Mbps at a 60p framerate, and the maximum clip length remains the same, at just under 30 minutes. For the high speed HD video mode at 120 fps, the clip length tops out at almost 7.5 minutes at 52 Mbps. Further, the M50 records stereo sound with its dual internal mics, and includes an external mic input, which is nice. It's worth noting that the maximum sensitivity during 4K video is ISO 6400 while for 1080p and below, the maximum is ISO 25,600.
While there are some drawbacks with the M50's implementation of 4K video, it's great that Canon has finally included it in an M-series camera.
Ports, storage and connectivity
The M50 has a Micro-B USB 2.0 port, a Micro HDMI Type-D port -- which supports HDMI output of the shooting screen without sound while recording -- and a 3.5mm stereo microphone jack. It does not, however, have the M5's wired remote jack. Images and video are stored on SD/SDHC/SDXC cards via a single card slot with support for UHS-I, just like the M5.
The M50 uses Canon's 7.2V 875mAh LP-E12 lithium-ion battery pack, which is CIPA-rated to 235 shots in regular shooting with either display, and 370 shots in Eco Mode. The M5 utilizes a larger 1040mAh LP-E17 battery, which is rated for 60 more shots in regular shooting modes.
Sibling Rivalry: Where does the M50 sit in Canon's lineup?
The M50 is an interesting camera for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Canon is positioning it as an entry-level camera in its press materials. When you look at its specs and feature set, it's somewhat surprising to see it described as entry-level. It has a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, 10 frames per second shooting, Dual Pixel CMOS AF, 4K video, Vari-angle touchscreen and a built-in electronic viewfinder. Build quality feels solid and despite losing some physical controls compared to its more expensive big brother, it is arguably the most capable M-series camera Canon has released to date.
For Canon shooters with an array of EF and EF-S lenses, the M50 will presumably work as well with the adapted lenses as other M-series cameras have, which will help alleviate the biggest weakness of the M system -- the lack of good native glass. There's a lot to like about the M50. If this is the new entry-level EOS M camera, we like where Canon appears to be headed with the line.
Canon M50 Field Test
Canon's first 4K-capable M-series camera has many new tricks up its sleeve
The Canon M50 is a well-designed camera that is quite easy to use. It may not have as many physical controls as the M5, but the M50 does have a very useful vari-angle touchscreen display. Further, the M50 also has an electronic viewfinder, something the Canon EOS M6 lacks. The viewfinder works well too, particularly in conditions when the light is too bright to easily see the rear display. With that said, thanks to the excellent fully articulating design of the rear display, it is not difficult to orient in such a way that you can eliminate the glare. The articulating display also makes working at unusual angles very easy, such as shooting from down low or holding the camera up high.
Canon M50 Image Quality Comparison
See how the Canon M50's IQ compares to competing ILCs
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 Print Quality Analysis
But how does it do on paper?
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.
Canon EOS M50 Conclusion
Find out if it's time to reach for that wallet!
Canon's latest M-series mirrorless camera marks a couple of important firsts -- one of them for its series, and the other for a Canon camera of any kind. The first M-series model with 4K video capture, and the first Canon camera with a DIGIC 8 processor, the M50 is an affordable mid-range model aimed at smartphone photographers ready for a capable, interchangeable-lens upgrade.
The most affordable EOS mirrorless with DIGIC 8, 4K, or an EVF
Approachable yet versatile, the EOS M50 will fit the bill nicely for many photographers in need of a compact, affordable interchangeable-lens camera that'll give them plenty of room to grow. It's not quite the lowest-priced EOS mirrorless camera of the moment, but it's not far from it, with a current street price on the order of US$630 body-only. By way of comparison, the most affordable mirrorless model in Canon's lineup -- the EOS M100 -- has a street price of about US$450, although that admittedly includes a 15-45mm lens. But just another US$20 or so is enough to add that same optic to the M50 kit, for a final pricetag of just US$200 more than the entry-level model.
In the Box
The Canon EOS M50 15-45mm kit retail box (as tested) ships with the following items:
- Canon EOS M50 body
- EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens
- Front and rear lens caps
- LP-E12 battery pack
- LC-E12 battery charger
- Hot shoe cover
- Body cap
- IFC-600PCU USB interface cable
- EM-200DB neck strap
- One-year warranty
Buy the Canon EOS M50
$799.00 (40% more)
32.5 MP (26% more)
$899.00 (47% more)
26.1 MP (7% more)
Also has viewfinder
$1799.00 (73% more)
26.1 MP (7% more)
Also has viewfinder
$449.00 (7% less)
16.1 MP (50% less)
Also has viewfinder