M5 vs. M50?

Started May 21, 2018 | Questions thread
Helen Veteran Member • Posts: 7,380
Re: M5 vs. M50?

ex human wrote:

I'm considering one of these due to the compactness and recent price drops. I'm not really clear on what differentiates these two. They seem very similar in design, features, and pricing. If anyone has a quick answer I'd be much obliged.


I have both. The M5 is the top model in the range, whilst the M50 is positioned as a "premium beginner" model (kind of!) and is the latest introduction, and so has benefitted from a new processing engine (DigiC 8). This has led to quite a few differences in the way it operates, which for me are beneficial, even though it is officially aimed lower and I am an enthusiast who enjoys extra features.

Physically they are quite similar as you noticed - a similar overall size and shape. The EVFs are identical - the LCD monitors are different - the M50's is slightly smaller (the M5's is unusually large for the camera's size) and whilst the M5's is a tilt-only screen, it can face forwards too by angling it vertically UNDER the camera. The M50 has a more typically-Canon side-hinged fully articulating, rotating screen, which can of course also face forwards, but equally can be parked with the screen inwards for protection if required. Unusually for this particular type of screen, it is more securely parked within the body than typical whichever way it faces when not unfolded, as the bottom edge of the screen IS surrounded by the bodywork - most of this type are not and waggle a bit. I find the EVF and LCD saturation on the M50 to be correct for me, and a good match for each other - with the M5, the EVF is overly contrasty and over-saturated (for my taste) whilst the LCD seems washed out - I cannot get them to match and it is annoying at times.

As a higher-end model, the M5 has more physical controls - it has two control dials on top (the one around the shutter release and the top-mounted dial on the same side, with a function control switch in its centre - this dial I find slightly awkward to reach, but not all users will), and a rotating/pressable ring around the 4-way control on the back - the M50 only has the control dial around the shutter release - the 4-way buttons on the rear are just that, buttons. I use the shutter-release control dial the most on the M5, which is perhaps why I feel less limited by the lack of the other two dials than I expected with the M50.

The M50 lacks a physical exposure compensation dial on top too - one uses one of the 4-way buttons to tell it to go into exposure compensation. As I am not someone who particularly demands a full-time physical dial for this, its omission doesn't bother me. The M50 lacks a lock on the mode dial, though as it is the type on the M5 that requires holding down to turn the dial at any time, I don't regret its loss (I prefer a toggle on/off lock if there is one) and I don't seem to turn the mode dial by accident on the M50 - perhaps some users would. Unfortunately the M50 does lack both of the two user-configurable custom setup positions on the mode dial that the M5 has, which is unfortunate if you like to have customised setups at the ready. It has also jettisoned the in-camera sweep panorama mode if you like that.  I prefer that the mode dial and power switch are for right-hand use on the M50, rather than left as on the M5.  The M50 has simple fixed strap loops on the body - the M5 has the more "classic" style strap lugs which a metal loop on the strap hooks onto - the particular locking design of the strap lugs for the M5's original strap is one that I occasionally accidentally unlock (no disasters so far!) but I expect many people don't hold the strap the way I do, which is what causes this.

Some packages of the M5 include the free EF/EF-S to EF-M mount adapter to use DSLR lenses on the camera, though note that the packaged version does not include the removable tripod mount included with the separately-bought version (it still can take it, it's just not included).  However, if you want the adapter, it's well worth looking for these packages.  In my country you cannot buy it with the M50 in a kit.

Both cameras have exteriors made entirely of polycarbonate aside from metal items such as the hotshoe etc. - the dials of the M5 seem to be metal while I think they're only metal plated on the M50. The M5 is covered in larger areas of rubberised leatherette than the M50, which arguably makes it feel a bit more solid, but I actually always felt it seemed plasticky for its elevated original price (at which I bought it) whilst the M50 is a lot cheaper so it seems more reasonably that it feels this way (my M50 is the white version, which has a really thick, glossy enamel finish and doesn't resonate as much as the sandpaper-like finish of the black M50; the M50 is painted with a smooth, satin graphite). The built in flash of the M50 requires lifting to use; the M5 has a mechanical button to pop it up, but both operate similarly.  I suspect the M50 may be a shade less robust than the M5 but this may be purely subjective.

The M50 has a lower battery capacity as it uses the cheaper LP-E12 versus the M5's LP-E17, though the LP-E12 isn't a chipped battery so is probably easier to find satisfactory third-party replacements for.

The M50, being newer, has quite a number of subtle operation differences (check a REALLY long set of posts I did a month or two ago about how the menus differ). It has 4K video but with well-publicised limitations (a very strong crop, doesn't use its DPAF autofocus for 4K). I do like that it has the option of using it for silent stills shooting - this is in a special scene mode, so limited to program exposure and with quite a few of the customisations unavailable, but still better than not having the option at all, which is how the M5 is. I also like that the M50 has regained the ability to show the exposure meter "live" for a duration of your choice when you are using single-shot AF and single shooting, whereas the M5 would only activate the meter in these settings on half-pressing the shutter button, at which point AE was automatically locked anyway. Let go on the M5, and the info would disappear. On the M50, it dynamically updates (still locks on half-press) which I MUCH prefer.

There are lots of other subtle differences and I have no doubt missed a lot out; all I can say is that for me, the M50 is much more to my taste, contrary to my expectations. Before that, the M5 was the nicest M-series I'd used, but still lacked a number of things compared with other brands that I'd come to value, and seemed a particular shame given its high price when I got it. The M50 closes that gap considerably and was much cheaper (practically half the price) which no doubt colours my opinion, but I find it much more rewarding to use (I like the straight out-of-camera results a bit better too).

Obviously it would be best of all if you could handle both in a store to get an idea of which feels most comfortable for you, but I hope this helps a little. Sorry it's not a quick answer, though!

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