M50 Mark II First Impressions

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RLight Senior Member • Posts: 3,450
M50 Mark II First Impressions
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Background:

For some time I've been seeking the ultimate point and shoot to go along with my larger rigs (full frame), and I've had some good success with the M platform for such a purpose. This started perhaps around when the Sony RX100 III came out (which coincidently is when I also bought my first FF setup the 5D Mark III with L's), a camera when it was released I knew was a game changer with it's large sensor, fast lens and pop-up EVF. However at that time, Sony was notorious for bad handling, bad colors, and lack of "fun". At the same time, Canon had a newly announced EOS M + 22mm on fire sale for $249 state-side at various Fleebay outlets. Its problem was speed, it was slow with autofocus and FPS capability in RAW shooting in particular. However, its image quality was full frame-level with that 22 attached and the fun factor, straight out of color quality, was high. Over time Canon has evolved with mirrorless full frame, more advanced M options and G Powershot options that don't lack the speed of initial offerings at the time in this class.

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I've skipped around with cameras owning virtually every EOS M and many Powershots and even non-Canon options along the way (shame the Nikon 1 and DL series btw). Recently I've ditched the M6 Mark II for the G5X mark II and then going back to the G1X Mark III (image quality of the 1" wasn't satisfactory), I re-attempted the M6 Mark II as a point and shoot only with the 15-45 stock lens as a replacement for the G1X Mark III but found it too heavy, and the lens I had with that particular kit was a bit soft (which is a common complaint for the 15-45). On a hunch, I thought I'd try the M50 Mark II, which frankly I should've months ago but that's another story. What pushed me to? The G1X Mark III is a bit sluggish when it comes to autofocus for my needs of tracking my kids, and likewise, being familiar with what DIGIC8 has to offer, the improvements in auto-exposure and video quality in 1080P are significant (which I do quite a bit of amateur video. Also, the 22mm f/2 pairing indoors on the M, is a big draw, as is the desire to have access to reach again. Okay, enough fluff, unto the camera...

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First impressions:

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The M50 Mark II is notably lighter and smaller vs the M6 Mark II + EVF-DC2 attached (I kept the EVF on about 90% of the time on the M6 Mark II). The EVF-DC2 can "dig" into you when slung, and the weight of the M6 II although not much more, adds up fast. The M50 Mark II is more "fun" with it's traditional DSLR layout and more M-like in price, weight and the fully articulating screen.

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The auto-exposure of the M50 Mark II is quite a bit smarter than the M50 Mark I, or, the M6 Mark II. Gone are the huge jumps to 1/250 (or higher) for detected movement (which bleed your ISO in low light), or, the shutter dragging of 1/60 resulting in motion blur of animate subjects. This is a camera that can help you take better shots in AUTO if you're new to photography, or, even if you're experienced like myself, sometimes it's nice to just shoot without thought of the technical side of things. The guided menus and creative assist options are nice touches for novices to dedicated cameras making taking control of exposure simple as at times you do still need to take control despite the advancements of scene detection of the M50 Mark II for creativity (super-fast or slow shutters to liquify or freeze movement, or blur or sharpen your subjects in isolation via aperture control).

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Small sidetones: the shutter noise is nice compared to the M6 Mark II's "machine gun", but, that nice fully articulating screen is hard to pull out even though it's VERY handy.

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Regarding autofocus, there's been a lot of speculation on this forum as to which is better (the M50 Mark II or M6 Mark II). I'll see if I can shed some light on this subject for those curious as one who's actually shot both.

The M50 Mark II is smarter with the latest firmware/algorithms, and it shows. It picks up faces/eyes farther away, holds them more reliably, finds them faster. It's also quicker to "discard" false AF locks (detected subjects the camera thinks are desired, but aren't what you desired) which is a huge plus vs the M6 Mark II and former M's as it's annoying to manually override "bad" AF locks semi-frequently resulting in missed shots. This is another welcome improvement of better software/programming I hope gets passed up/down to other M's over time. I've found however, sports-like shooting and in low-light things change in favor of the M6 Mark II. In low-light, the M50 Mark II is notably improved vs the M50 Mark I in terms of aquition, but, said advantage is akin to what I would do with the EOS M3: I'd drop to single shot, small AF zone to improve the low-light sensitivity, the M50 Mark II does this automatically except it appears to use the acquired AF spot from L+Tracking modes except with automatically tracking eyes, etc. Like the M3, in continuous shooting (AI-Servo), the M50 Mark II with it's slower scan rate and lesser ISO performance, gets "beaten" by the M6 Mark II if you're shooting in AI-servo (tracking) in low light. It'll grab the subject, but it takes time to lock, a lot of time in lower light vs the M6 Mark II. Likewise, I've found the M50 Mark II doesn't fair so well with the swing test on high FPS tracking, but, dialing back to focus priority FPS (slower frames per second though) does help the hit-rate substantially. It's no match for the M6 Mark II here where the M6 Mark II passes the swing test with flying colors, in high speed or tracking priority modes at that. It's also notable that the tracking priority FPS mode makes a difference on hit rate on the M50 Mark II, but it doesn't on other M models. While I'm on the topic of the swing test and sports shooting, C-RAW is recommended for RAW shooters as the buffer on the M50 Mark II fills very quickly, even with my top-notch Sandisk UHS-I 256GB Extreme Pro card (cream of the UHS-I crop). As such, on the old M50 Mark I I recommended C-RAW with high speed FPS, AI-Servo full time. Now, I recommend C-RAW, tracking priority continuous FPS, AI-Servo on the M50 Mark II for best results in general shooting. If you're a DPP4 post-processor (I am), I do stick to normal RAW for all but FPS intensive scenes as you loose DLO when you shoot C-RAW, and DLO makes a substantial difference with the EF-M 15-45, 22mm f/2, 55-200, in fact pretty much all the EF-M glass except maybe the stellar 32mm f/1.4 for that matter, and even the latter could use some DLO in my book.

Overall I'd say the two (M50 Mark II and M6 Mark II) are in fact tied with regard to autofocus capability. Really it depends what you're shooting and what conditions. Yes, the M50 Mark II is a step forward vs the original M50, but, software alone although impressive, can't completely mitigate the slower scan rate of the older 80D sensor tech vs the newer 90D sensor of the M6 Mark II. If you're shooting candid photos of people? M50 Mark II. General shooting? Yes, the M50 Mark II eliminates false positives quicker than the M6 Mark II, but, at times it won't comply on an AF lock that the M6 II would, and, in low light or speed shooting? The M6 II wins too. It's a shame Canon hasn't released newer firmware for the M6 II to pass down these software advancement to marry both the newer sensor with newer software. Alas I feel this will happen in a newer body, should Canon decide to make another M for that matter which is another subject for discussion as I don't assume anything.

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Of note, the ISO default max speed is now 12800, which is good as that's the first thing I override.

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Likewise, I find the noise reduction on the M50 Mark II aggressive even on "low". When DPP4 registers 4-4 (luminance and chroma noise reduction) for both ISO400 and 1000, I find 4-4 appropriate for the latter, but certainly not the former. Like always, you'd be best to either hand-jam in DPP4 and tune to taste your noise reduction as at times I was concerned I had a "soft" copy of the 55-200, well maybe I do, but at ISOs over 800, or frankly any ISO on this camera, you need to fine tune the noise reduction for best results.

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Overall I like the new M50 Mark II, and sincerely hope Canon hands down the new firmware improvements in metering/exposure and autofocus to higher and lower end models in the future. Likewise, the DSLR-like form factor is refreshing as is the lighter footprint (vs M6 II + EVF). I likewise hope Canon does an M5-like refresh with integrated viewfinder someday.

Couple samples for the moment till I have more time to shoot... And more time to post...

 RLight's gear list:RLight's gear list
Canon G1 X III Canon EOS R Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS STM Macro
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