I have always wanted to take on photography as a hobby but have never been able to afford it. My kids are grown and grandbabies are here so I thought now would be a great time to splurge a little and start a hobby I have always dreamed about. I am not a rich man but have given myself around a $1000 (give or take) to find a good starter camera. If I love the hobby like I think I will, I can grow in the future but for now this is a good starting point.
The main reason I am starting this hobby now is in the next 2 years I will be crusing to Alaska and Mexico, going to Hawaii and Disney World. I want to have a nice camera to capture these events as well as grandkids sporting events (13 yo, 10 yo, and 6 yo). I plan to use my camera equally for photographs and for video.
I have been researching via youtube and online courses so I know some of the basics and have a VERY general undertsanding of the terminology. At this time I am planning on either the SL3 or the M50 (leaning towards SL3 for cost reasons... want to keep them low if possible). I want to list the positive and negatives, as this newbie understands, so I know how important the pros and cons are for my situation so I can make a well educated choice.
I apolgize for this being so long but I am hoping to get myself better educated before the Black Friday sales come!
The M series is becoming obsolete in terms of further development but may very well still end up being unique as a compact, high-performing ILC system, at least among offerings from Canon.
I agree that the M-series has had its merits. I had (actually have as they have not been sold) 3x M5 bodies and most M-series lenses, and they served a very specific purpose for me when I could barely walk and had to carry very light gear, but wanted a decent sensor, and interchangeable lenses.
That said, it is clear that Canon want to move users from that platform onto their new R-series 50 and 100 series bodies, plus some smaller and more economic lenses - this is very apparent through the focal lengths that echo the same ranges as those in the EF-M range - while the EF-M offered 15-45 and 55-200, RF-S offers 18-45 and 55-210mm and I think both offer and 11-22 range as well.
There is a difference in bulk and weight with the R-series being bigger in both, but the R-series bodies are a clear step up in body features such as focus, tracking, and some video features.
I don't disagree with anything you said there, though the RF-S 11-22mm has only been rumored, not announced yet. It remains to be seen if Canon will fill out the line of RF-S lenses with some primes, though, in order to make the R50/R100 true and complete replacements for the M series. They're in the business of selling things, though, and I'll admit that if I were coming into the market today with the same knowledge I had a year ago when I bought the M50, I would likely go with the R50 or R100 rather than jump to another brand, so they've accomplished that much. (Knowing what I know now, though, I would buy the M50 all over again. 🙂)
Kevin, the M-series might be good for you, but the question is whether it is appropriate for the OP, who is seeking advice on what camera to kickstart their photographic journey. So, with that in mind, what advice would you give to the OP?
The original post is 2 1/2 years old, so anyone's advice might be different today than it would have been then. But what's interesting is that I was in much the same position and making essentially the same comparisons just a year ago. I also think the OP is much like me in terms of their budget and future options for upgrading or augmenting their camera gear. In other words, whatever they buy now they're going to be sticking with for a long time, at least five and perhaps ten years. Photography is not our profession and isn't even a serious hobby. We just want something that can do better than a cell phone camera for capturing the sights (and sounds) we're expecting to experience and perhaps let us get creative in ways that a cell phone camera doesn't.
My advice until three months ago would have been to go with the M50 Mark II, without qualifications. It has better auto-focus capabilities, it's more compact (which I've found means I can take more lenses and other equipment with me when I'm trying to travel light) and of course includes the general benefits of being mirrorless (e.g. a viewfinder that can display an image even in very low light, same auto-focus mechanism no matter how you're taking the shot, lighter weight, etc.).
Before I gave them advice today, I would probably want to ask them some more questions first and make sure they have a good understanding of the ramifications of the options available to them. If after that they express a strong interest in having a system that is both compact and light and has some good options for prime lenses, I might very well still recommend the M50 to them. If either one of those factors is less of a concern, I would probably steer them toward the low end of the R series.
Whether the M series is or was a good system is moot at this point as it will be dropped. Just a matter of time. Canon has no good reason to continue it instead directing all their efforts to the R series. Today I would not buy one nor advise someone else to. Go for any of the R cameras as a more logical choice.
The M series was nothing more than a Powershot on steroids. IMHO as always.
The M series will be dropped from further marketing/production, but that doesn't mean that all the M series cameras and lenses out there will suddenly quit working or even that you won't be able to buy any EF-M lenses. Having lots of options for add-ons or being able to take your lenses with you when you upgrade to a new body is important for professionals and serious hobbyists, but those are not really factors for most people getting in at the low end of the market.
I agree with you about the fact that if a camera or lens produced satisfactory results, it will continue to do so and has in itself no connection to newer technology. I personally shoot with the Canon D30 (2000) and D60 (2002), and the Nikon Df (2013) which IMHO still holds its own against the latest tech.
For me, in approaching this discussion, at least that is not the issue in this scenario. It's not about defending your M50II and in some way suggesting you need to upgrade. It's about what gear should someone consider when starting out with no gear at all. As you said yourself the options change, but while I have had a significant investment in M-series gear, I have seen the writing on the wall for several years now, since the R-series bodies and lenses really started to gain traction. It was clear when no new models came out for lenses or bodies and some began to drop off the list that Canon was rationalizing their line-up: really, it made no logical sense to run three different types of lens mount and lens series in the current shrunken market. I have had my M-series gear with the local camera store for a while now, and absolutely no interest has been shown except for the sale of the EF-M 18-150 STM.
The same principle holds for the DSLR range. I have sold or put up for sale most of my DSLR gear, but have retained a couple of bodies and several lenses, because I like shooting with them. While Canon have made it clear they will continue to manufacture items for which there is market demand, they have produced nothing new in those bodies or lenses since about 2018-19. Some great optics have been retired from production: the EF 70-200L f/4 MkII is a brilliant lens but disappeared after a relatively short time - I have one and intend to keep it. The same can be said for an increasing list of DSLR lenses. It is clear that Canon are putting their effort into the development of the R-series bodies and RF/RF-S lenses, with an expanding line-up of less expensive but highly capable bodies and lenses coming to market.
I am not, nor was I ever trying to say you should give up your beloved M50II - that is for you to decide and I wish you well with :it if it suits your needs - then it is still valid. It is a different situation entirely for others with a situation like this OP. While I recognize that this started some time ago, it appeared in my list as having new replies and I find that people looking for advice will often search for threads that deal with a similar to their own, so I think this discussion is valid, and I guess so do you if you are still responding.
My point is that whether a platform is on its way out or whether the gear one buys will have resale value in five or ten years or even if it will be usable with future models of lenses/bodies is almost completely unimportant to someone like me. What's important to us is that we get the system most suitable to our needs that's available now at a price point that we can afford. We're likely to buy most of the lenses we're ever going to have either immediately or within a few months, so buying into something that is currently lacking some pieces we would want but that might have them in two or three years is not the best decision for us. That is why I would recommend the M50 to some people even today. If EF-M lenses become scarce or Canon announces a couple nice RF-S primes, then my recommendation could well change. (Or if another brand steps up and offers what the M50 does with an even more modern/future proof platform, I might suggest newbies look there.)
I think there are some people - perhaps even yourself - who would have tried to steer me away from the M50 a year ago, because it was "on its way out," meaning steering me towards something like the T7 or perhaps the SL3 (both of which I actually did look at at the time). That would have been a terrible way for me to go, though, as I would have missed out on the benefits of compact gear and mirrorless technology for probably the rest of this decade. The fact that the lenses I would have acquired could be adapted to more modern bodies would not have mattered a whit, because that's a benefit I would not have realized for a long time, if ever.
You are simply defending your ger and your decision of going with the M series. It is a fools game to advise new to phonography folks to buy or invest in old almost dead tech. I think the R50 has virtually sealed that debate. If the OP wants that type camera than the R50 serves the purpose far better than a M or SL3 would.
No one ever said the M line of gear will stop functioning the day it is officially ended. It will always work as well as it ever has. But as of 6/1/2023 do you start out with it? No, logic says no you wouldn't.
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