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M5 or M6 or M50


Hi Guys. As subject line - I want something for a bit of general photography and maybe video. I'm usually attracted to price - that being that if its more expensive it must be better. But is this right in this case? There's a significant difference in price between the M5 and M6 and yet the M6 is the later product. And what about the M50? So... any thoughts?


@amfoto1 wrote:

The M5, M6 or M50 are all 24MP, APS-C mirrorless cameras using EF-M mount lenses...


The M5 might be considered the most "pro-oriented", Canon's first mirrorless model to have a built-in electronic viewfinder and fairly direct access to major camera functions via assorted dials and buttons. It's also the earliest of these three, intro'd in mid 2016, using a Digic 7 processor and generating CR2 raw files.


The M6 came slightly later, in early 2017, but is much the same camera, except it doesn't have a built in viewfinder and doesn't have as many direct controls (would mean more "menu diving" to set things up). Canon offered a couple accessory viewfinders for use with earlier M-series.... I don't know if they work with the M6. (Those viewfinders also sit in the hot shoe, so when using them, I suppose you wouldn't also be able to use an accessory flash.)


The M50 is the most recently announced, is Canon's second model to feature an electronic viewfinder, and the first of the M-series to use the new Digic 8 processor. It's also the first of this series to offer 4K video and has enhanced connectivity features. Other than those features, the M50might be considered positioned below the M5 in the line-up, doesn't have as much direct access to camera controls. I seem to recall it's also the first to use a new "CR3" raw file format.


FYI, there's also currently the M100, which was intro'd before the M50 and is the most "entry level" and lowest priced of the current line-up. It doesn't have a viewfinder or any means of adding an accessory one (it has no hot shoe, so I suppose also cannot be used with an accessory flash).


All the models use the Dual Pixel AF system (DPAF), which embeds a number of pairs of AF sensor pixels in the image sensor itself, to provide phase detection auto focus that's a big improvement over the contrast detection focus method used on the earlier models. (DPAF was first introduced on the 70D, if I recall correctly, for use in Live View. It's now found on nearly all the current DSLRs, too.) I seem to recall that the M5, M6 and M100 have something like 40 AF points (pairs of pixels, I guess). While the M50 has increased that to around 120 AF points. A neat thing about the M5 is that you can set up the Touch Screen for AF point selection, even limiting it to one corner of the screen (so you don't "select" AF points when your nose touches the screen!) That's sort of like a "virtual joystick" (like the joysticks used for AF point selection on the more advanced DSLRs).  I don't know for certain, but imagine the other models are similar.


Of them all, the M5 is the one I'm most likely to consider... for it's controls AND because some of the newer models are not supported by the post-processing software I use most. I'd rather not have to update my software any further (Lightroom 6 and Photoshop CS6), and some of the models would necessitate that. But I know I can use that with it and the M5's layout and design is closest to what I'd want, anyway.


I wish the M5 could be fitted with a battery/vertical grip. One of my concerns with any mirrorless is that most use smaller batteries.... plus they're hard on them. They are CIPA rated for under 300 shots per charge (my 7DII are are rated for 670, but with a battery grip, dual batteries and some simple power saving measures I regularly get 2500+ shots per charge). An electronic viewfinder is blank unless it's powered up.... drawing on the batteries. Those that don't have a viewfinder rely upon "Live  View" on the rear screen, which also draws a lot of battery power. Plus they use a small LP-E17 battery with about 1100 mAh capacity (versus the larger LP-E6N with close to 1900 mAh each, used in my DSLRs). Putting a battery grip on a compact mirrorless camera might seem counter-intuitive, but if it were available I'd do it for the vertical controls, as well as the add'l shots between charges. See Fujifilm XH1 and XT2 battery grip arrangements, for example. (I also wish those grips... and tripod feet on the lenses with tripod rings, the way Tamron is doing.... had a built in Arca-Swiss dovetail. Fuji also makes grips without batteries, but with A-S dovetail for XT10, XT20 and XT2.)


The biggest concern might be the lens selection. There simply aren't a lot available for the M-series cameras... seven or eight Canon EF-M, I think. Most are zooms, too... few have very large apertures... and all are STM autofocus drive. So far there are few third party autofocus lenses for M-series yet, either.


But I'm more interested in using the camera for manual focus lenses... and there some interesting options available for those. It's also possible to adapt and use a lot of vintage rangefinder and SLR lenses on the M-series cameras. I have a number of those in my camera collection that I'd love to be able to shoot digital with. Thanks to their electronic viewfinder, these cameras have "focus peaking" to aid with manual focusing.


The EVF also can be helpful in low light conditions, where an optical  viewfinder would be too dim.  And an EVF can give a form of "exposure simulation", which can be great for things like street photography.... simply use the projected image to adjust settings without having to move the camera from your eye. A "real time" histogram might be neat, but this is close and a lot more practical.


I know Canon and Nikon are scrambling to develop full frame mirrorless cameras, too, in order to compete with Sony who have pretty much had that market niche to themselves for several years (well, okay, Leica makes some FF mirrorless, too). While it will be interesting to see what they do with those, personally I'm more interested in the smaller APS-C format cameras as a compact, lightweight, unobtrusive camera for candid portraits, street photography, travel and similar. At least for now I'll continue using my APS-C DSLRs for sports/action/wildlife and my full frame DSLR for landscape, architecture, etc.


Mirrorless have their pluses and their minuses. For example, an electronic shutter can operate silently (any  sound might be up to the user... I want a camera that moos or quacks! Smiley Very Happy) and has the potential to achieve faster shutter speeds fairly easily. Some MILC already have 1/16000 and 1/32000 (that's about the upper limit right now, though, due to sensor tech and the "rolling shutter effect"). But at the same time, there's no electro-mechanical shutter or mirror "protecting" the sensor, plus the shorter lens register (around 18mm versus 44mm with DSLRs) puts the sensor pretty far forward and susceptible.


While I expect the full frame mirrorless that Canon and Nikon will come up with will be superb cameras, I'm also concerned about yet another lens system. Early ads from Nikon appear to show something different from their F-mount.... larger diameter and with four bayonet lugs rather than three. But they've struggled to deal with AF, VR and electronically controlled apertures, while trying to maintain backward compatibility with their 1959 mount. Canon's switch to the EF mount around 1990 eliminated those problems.


But we already have three different Canon lens mounts: EF, EF-S and EF-M. If a fourth is created just for the full frame MILC, how long will it be until a series of lenses are developed for use on the cameras? It's taken five years for 7 or 8 EF-M to come available. Sure, we will probably be able to adapt EF lenses.... but I wonder if that couldn't be avoided simply by Canon making their FF mirroless EF lens compatible.


After all, while APS-C mirrorless and the lenses for them can be very compact, there's nowhere near the same size/weight savings with lenses for full frame MILC. Compare a Sony E-mount full frame capable 24-70mm f/2.8 or 70-200mm f/2.8 or 100-400mm with comparable Canon EF.... they're virtually the same size and weight!


I've seen some Sony shooters using their cameras with adapted Canon L-series/EF lenses... and the small/light camera behind a rather bulky lens just looks pretty awkward and unbalanced (in fact, one of the reasons I use vertical/battery grips on all my DSLRs is to add mass to the camera for better balance with some of the larger lenses I use). So, to me it would make the most sense for Canon's new mirrorless to simply use the existing EF lens series, with the same mount and lens register.  That would make the cameras immediately usable with about 60 existing lenses... a fully developed and comprehensive system, and far more selection than offered by any other mirrorless system... rather than having to wait years for native lenses to be developed for the camera. Besides some minor savings of size/weight that a full frame MILC might bring, there are enough other advantages to mirrorless to make them well worthwhile.


While I'm sure there will be a FF Canon mirrorless in the future, I wouldn't wait for it. And I don't for a minute think that a full frame Canon mirrorless will ever make APS-C MILC "obsolete". Even now, FF DSLRs are actually a relatively small part of the marketplace, while APS-C make up the bulk of what people buy and use.



Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7DII (x2), 7D(x2) some other cameras, various lenses & accessories

Wow, thank you for this most comprehensive response - certainly food for thought!  I'll mull things over for a few weeks and then make a decision I suspect!


Well, the EOS R has certainly thrown a spanner in the works with my dilema!

@TheRogue wrote:

Well, the EOS R has certainly thrown a spanner in the works with my dilema!

If you want a full frame camera, much like what you use now (5DIII), then the new EOS R makes sense.


PROS: makes full  use of the lenses you already have (24-70mm, 50/1.2, 70-200/2.8 IS, via adapters), sealed magnesium shell, sensor/image similar to 5DIV (30MP vs 22MP in your current camera), pretty impressive new AF system (5655 AF points cover nearly the entire image area, claimed to be the fastest AF system ever put in a camera), same batteries and charger as you use now, inexpensive SD memory cards. Can use EF-S lenses in crop mode (cannot use EF-M lenses, but you don't have either of these types of lenses).  $2299 for an EOS R body seems quite reasonable, considering EOS R specs are much like a 5DIV's (currently $3099 on sale, list price $3499). 4K video capable (I heard it's 1.6X crop, but don't know for certain).


CONS: a lot fewer shots per battery charge (BG-E22 grip avail. to help), not much reduction in size/weight vs what you have especially when using adapted EF lenses, adapter required to use EF/EF-S lenses (though Canon added value by making one adapter with a drop-in filter drawer and another with a programmable control ring that can be used for various functions), single memory card slot.


The APS-C format M5 or M6 or M50 are much smaller and lighter... and can use EF-M lenses which are also small and light. HOWEVER, there are only seven EF-M lenses currently avail. (one more coming soon).... part of the weight savings is because M-series cameras and the lenses are rather "plasticky" (compare to magnesium shell 5D-series and new EOS R). Adapter required to use your EF lenses on these mirrorless too, but there are a bunch of different adapters avail. to allow a variety of vintage lenses to be used on these (there no doubt will eventually be for the RF-mount too... but currently aren't). FInally, the most expensive of these, the M5, is currently selling for $829.


Lots of other differences... both pro and con.



Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7DII (x2), 7D(x2) some other cameras, various lenses & accessories



"Well, the EOS R has certainly thrown a spanner in the works with my dilema!"


You are correct, sir.  The EOS R is and will be a game changer. It is just the beginning............................

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

I wonder how long it will be before the Mk2 comes out!

@ebiggs1 wrote:

"Well, the EOS R has certainly thrown a spanner in the works with my dilema!"


You are correct, sir.  The EOS R is and will be a game changer. It is just the beginning............................

"Be not the first by whom the new are tried,

 Nor yet the last to lay the old aside."

                                                              - Alexander Pope

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA


I went trough the same doubt...
M5 is nowaday hardly available and only overpriced resellers online are left

I grab an M50 in a shopping center demo stand and the feeling was pretty cheap, despite it hosts DIGIC 8 and has an impressive ISO extension.


I am not interested on movie so I do not consider the 4K a plus, also I am coming from a "compact" camera without viewfinder, the Powershot G3X, and I got well used to the touchscreen and display composition.


I ended to buy a M6, since apparentely among local shops it was available as kit 18-150 and 15-45 at aproximately the same price I got it from online shop in "body only" option for 415 EUR.

I am using it with EFM 15-45 for daily use or EF-S 18-135 IS USM for "special occasion". The second one is slightly sharper but I cannot see a real advantage for quality and seems a very little less brighter.


Indeed a longer tele can make a difference and also it has the main advantage that 67mm filters fit the barrel, exactly the same size I had for the G3X.

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