Photos

Canon EOS M50: Easy snaps with just one hand

The Canon EOS M50 is the first M series camera to offer 4K video recording.
The Canon EOS M50 is the first M series camera to offer 4K video recording.

The lightweight Canon EOS M50 offers superb image quality at a reasonable price

The EOS M50 is the latest model in Canon's EOS M mirrorless interchangeable lens camera series. It sits between the entry-level M10 and the flagship M5.

While this 24.1-megapixel camera is a mid-range model, it actually features Canon's latest Digic 8 image processor (compared with M5's Digic 7 image processor) and has an expanded ISO sensitivity range of up to ISO 51,200.

The M50 has up to 143 autofocusing (AF) points - depending on the lens used - and an improved version of Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology found in its predecessors.

It comes with an electronic viewfinder (EVF). This allows you to compose photos more easily, especially under the sun's glare.

It is the first EOS M series camera to feature a multi-angle touchscreen display that can be flipped out to one side and rotated, so you can compose photos from creative angles or take selfies.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $1,099 (with EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens)

    IMAGE SENSOR: 24.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS

    DISPLAY: 3-inch tiltable LCD with 1,040,000 dots; electronic viewfinder with 2,360,000 dots

    SENSITIVITY: ISO 100 to 51,200

    SHOOTING SPEED: Up to 7.4 frames per second

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

    WEIGHT: 354g (body only)


    RATING

    FEATURES: 5/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The touchscreen display also allows for Touch and Drag AF, which lets you easily move the AF point on the LCD panel by using your thumb or finger, while composing a photo through the EVF.

The M50 is also the first M series camera to offer 4K video recording. But the 4K videos can be recorded in 25 frames per second (fps) only. And only contrast-detection AF is available during 4K video recording, compared with the combined phase-detection and contrastdetection AF when recording in full high-definition or shooting stills.

Available in white (the version tested) and black, the M50 looks like a miniature DSLR camera and is compact enough to stuff into any backpack. Even with the attached EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens (used for this review), it is really lightweight at a mere 522g. Great for bringing along on your travels.

While its body is made of plastic, it feels quite solid. A grey rubberised band runs from the front contoured front grip to the ergonomic rear thumb rest. This gives you a good grip on the camera.

The button layout is designed for easy one-handed operation. All the buttons and dials are on the right of the camera, with the mode dial, command dial and dedicated video recording button on the top right. At the right rear are directional, menu and other functional buttons. You can easily reach these when holding the camera with one hand.

Making camera control even easier, the menu interface comes with built-in guidance for those who are not familiar with Canon's menu. If you are a Canon oldie like me, you can turn this guidance mode off.

Operation wise, the M50 is slightly quicker than most mirrorless cameras, which take about two seconds each to start up and shut down. The M50 needs only 1.2 seconds to power up and 1.4 seconds to shut down.

Using an SD card with a writing speed rated at 95MB per second, the M50 was able to capture 9 RAW still images in 1.4 seconds before the buffer ran out. Just as advertised.

Its AF is lightning quick in bright sunlight, locking onto a focus almost immediately. But in dim lighting conditions, it can take up to 2.5 seconds to secure a focus even with the AF assist light.

As you might expect from a Canon APS-C image sensor, the image quality of the M50 is superb. Still images show great sharpness, excellent details, accurate colour reproduction and good dynamic range.

Image noise performance is great too. I see no noise artefacts all the way to ISO 3,200. Even at ISO 6,400, at which there is visible image noise, photos are still good enough for Web use and small prints. But anything above ISO 6,400 is not recommended, as images look soft with detail loss due to the amount of noise present.

Videos shot using the M50, whether 4K or full high-definition, are top-notch. But the AF is slightly slower during video shooting and my clips have a fair bit of ambient and wind audio.

Battery life is slightly below average. It is able to shoot only 235 still images on a full charge, while most mirrorless cameras can manage about 300 still images.

• Verdict: For smartphone users looking for that mirrorless camera upgrade, the Canon EOS M50 is a great choice with its reasonable pricing, compact lightweight body and superb image quality.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2018, with the headline 'Photos Easy snaps with just one hand'. Print Edition | Subscribe