Canon EOS M50 Review
|ISO 160 | 1/60 sec | F2.8 | EF-M 22mm F2 STM lens @ 35mm equiv.
Photo by Jeff Keller
At first glance, the Canon EOS M50 could pass for a smaller, less expensive version of the company's EOS M5. Despite the surface similarities, the real changes are inside. The M50 is the first Canon camera to use the Digic 8 processor and the only non-pro model to support 4K video capture. The M50 also has an improved version of its Dual Pixel AF system, a new Raw format and improved wireless functionality.
The M50 is a camera that anyone
can pick up and use
The M50 sits in a category best called 'entry-level plus', which are relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use cameras for those who want something better than their smartphone. Its peers range from Micro Four Thirds cameras from Olympus and Panasonic to those with larger APS-C sensors from Sony and Fujifilm.
Like the true entry-level EOS M100, the M50 is a camera that anyone can pick up and use, thanks to a simplified interface and smart Auto mode. Once users are ready to move on to more advanced controls, they'll find that the M50 has a full suite of them.
Where the EOS M50 falls behind most of its peers is with regard to its most-advertised feature: 4K video capture. While it's nice to finally see a non-pro Canon that can shoot at 4K, it quickly became clear that this feature is not ready for primetime. That's a shame, because the M50 does many other things quite well.
Body, handling and features
The EOS M50 is just a bit larger than the entry-level M100 but has an SLR-style design like the more expensive EOS M5. The body is made of composite materials, though it doesn't feel cheap. Not surprisingly for an entry-level camera, there's a single control dial, so you may need to press (or tap) something else first before you can change a setting. The buttons on the camera are quite small, and the video recording button, which is flush with the top plate, is hard to find and easy to press accidentally.
You can compose your photos on either a 2.36 million-dot OLED viewfinder, which is on-par with other cameras in this class, or on a 3" fully articulating LCD. The LCD is touch-enabled and offers the features that normally come along with it, including tap-to-focus, menu navigation and image playback. There's also an AF touchpad feature for setting the focus point when your eye is to the finder.
C-Raw reduces file sizes by about 40% with essentially no reduction in image quality
Not only is the M50 the first Canon camera to sport the Digic 8 processor, it's also the first to use the CR3 Raw format, which includes a new compact C-Raw option. C-Raw reduces file sizes by about 40% with essentially little to no reduction in image quality (there's a slight dynamic range cost).
The EOS M50 has excellent wireless capabilities. You can pair devices using NFC, Bluetooth or the 'old fashioned way'. Bluetooth keeps the two devices connected, even when the camera is turned off. The constant connection is also used for automatic image transfer to your smartphone (which is actually done over speedier Wi-Fi). The EOS M50 can also be set up so that it sends all of your photos and videos to your computer when they're on the same network.
Autofocus and Performance
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ISO 320 | 1/200 sec | F6.3 | EF-M 15-45mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM lens @ 58mm equiv.
Photo by Jeff Keller
The EOS M50 has the most advanced Dual Pixel AF system of any of Canon's M-series cameras. First, both the coverage area and total focus points have increased to 88 x 100% and 121 points, respectively. This improvement is limited to just three M-series lenses, though, and If you're not using one of them you still get more points than on previous models, 99 versus 49, though the coverage of 80 x 80% is unchanged.
Canon has also improved subject tracking on the M50. Previous M-series models had quite varied continuous AF performance in bursts: while the M6 performed well, the M100's AF performance limited it to mostly single, not burst, shooting. The M50 appears to have improved on the M6: its Dual Pixel AF system does a good job of subject tracking even at 7.4 fps or in low light, though it's not best-in-class.
The M50's official battery life number is 235 shots per charge, which is among
the worst in its class
The camera is able to shoot continuously at up to 10 fps with single AF and 7.4 fps with continuous AF. In S-AF mode the buffer fills up after about 7 shots when Raw is being used and about twice that with C-Raw. If you're sticking to JPEG you can fire off a little over 30 shots in a burst. If you're in continuous AF you'll get a few extra shots before the buffer fills.
The M50's official battery life number is 235 shots per charge, which is among the worst in its class. If you turn on 'eco mode' you can fire off 370 shots per charge, which is still less than what Sony's a6300 (for example) offers at default settings. The M50 cannot be charged over USB, which is a glaring omission in the year 2018.
As mentioned above, the EOS M50 is the first non-professional Canon camera to capture 4K video. Unfortunately, there are so many tradeoffs that come along with shooting at this resolution that the much-anticipated feature is a major disappointment.
On the positive side, the camera offers full manual controls, exposure compensation with Auto ISO, and audio level adjustment to go along with its external mic socket.
And now the bad news. To start, the video quality just isn't very good. It's softer than most of its peers and suffers from strong rolling shutter. The latter manifests itself in two ways: straight lines will 'lean' as the camera is panned, and if the camera shakes, the video takes on a 'jello' effect.
If you want to do any wide-angle video capture, 4K is out of the question
On top of that, the M50's crop factor in 4K is a whopping 2.7x (including the standard APS-C crop,) which means that the company's widest EF-M lens, the 11-22mm F4-5.6, is equivalent to 30-60mm F11-F15 equiv. in 4K. Thus, if you want to do any wide-angle video capture, 4K is out of the question. If you turn on the camera's digital IS modes the crop gets even larger and quality drops precipitously. The 4K footage also appears to be upscaled from 3.5K footage at best, given the crop factor.
For reasons described by Canon as 'technical' – likely related to heat and processing power – Dual Pixel AF is unavailable when shooting 4K. Thus, you end up with standard contrast detection, which means you'll frequently see the video 'wobble' as the camera tries to maintain focus. Dropping down to 1080p will bring Dual Pixel back, with much better AF performance. Video quality at this resolution is a lot more competitive, assuming that digital IS is off.
|ISO 100 | 1/320 sec | F7.1 | EF-M 15-45mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM lens @ 40mm equiv. | Converted from Raw | Photo by Barney Britton|
On a more positive note, the M50's image quality is very good. As is typical with Canon cameras, colors in JPEG images are very pleasing, and we noticed that yellows have lost the greenish cast of previous models. Plenty of detail is captured at base ISO, and high sensitivity JPEG performance is competitive, though Raws are slightly noisier than the best cameras in this class. The M50 does allow you to pull up shadows to a certain degree but, again, not as well as some of its peers.
The Final Word
The Canon EOS M50 offers an impressive feature set, an updated AF system, slick wireless capabilities and Canon's latest processor. It's is a good choice for those who will primarily be taking still photos and want a little more horsepower than the entry-level EOS M100. If that's you, then we can definitely recommend the M50.
It's is a good choice for those who will primarily be taking still photos and want a little more horsepower than the entry-level EOS M100
If you're considering the M50 for its 4K video capability, you'll likely be disappointed with the results, and it's best to consider competitors such as the Sony a6300, Fujifilm X-T20, Panasonic G85 or Olympus E-M10 III instead.
Canon EOS M50 (EOS Kiss M)
Category: Mid Range Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
As a stills camera, the EOS M50 is a solid choice for photographers who want something more advanced than an entry-level camera, without going overboard. Its image quality, improved AF system and wireless connectivity are all impressive, and the new C-Raw format is a nice bonus. If 4K video is what you're after, the M50 is not the camera for you due to its high crop factor, rolling shutter and mediocre AF performance.
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