The EOS M50 is Canon's latest mirrorless camera, extending its M-series range from three to four.
While it shares a similar silhouette to the flagship EOS M5, the EOS M50 sits further down the range, slotting in between the entry-level EOS M100 and the more mid-range EOS M6, and is designed to appeal to new and novice users.
The EOS M50 borrows some features and ideas from existing models, but it also has a few innovations of its own – so could the EOS M50 be Canon's most well-rounded mirrorless camera yet?
- First Canon camera to get the DIGIC 8 processor
- 4K video capture
- Improved Dual Pixel CMOS AF system
The EOS M50 features a 24.1MP APS-C CMOS sensor, with a sensitivity range running from ISO100-25,600, which can be expanded to 51,200. Interestingly though, this doesn't appear to be Canon's latest 24MP sensor, with the newer chip providing 24.2MP effective pixels.
That said, the EOS M50 is the first Canon camera – DSLR, compact or mirrorless – to feature the company's latest DIGIC 8 image processor. The arrival of the new processor means the EOS M50 is capable of shooting 4K movie footage (up to 24fps) – something that's been lacking from a lot of recent Canon cameras. It also enables the EOS M50 to shoot 4K timelapse footage, and allows users to pull stills from 4K footage, with the files equivalent to 8MP.
Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF system has always impressed when we've tested it on other models, and the arrival of the DIGIC 8 processor has enabled Canon to improve AF performance further.
This includes greater coverage of the frame, while there are now 143 AF points at your disposal (the top-of-the range EOS M5 has 49 points). There's also Eye AF, which as the name suggests can lock onto a subject's eyes – useful for portraits, and handy for selfies or vlogging.
Something else that will appeal to vloggers is the vari-angle touchscreen display. The screen is hinged at the side of the body, and can be pulled outwards to face the subject, while it also means the display can be angled through a wide arc of positions to suit pretty much any shooting angle.
As well as the rear display, the EOS M50 also incorporates a built-in electronic viewfinder with a 2.36 million-dot resolution that appears to equal that of the pricier EOS M5.
The EOS M50 has a wealth of connectivity options, with Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy all present. The latter enables for a low-power, constant connection to be maintained between camera and smart device, allowing you to seamlessly transfer images.
Another first for a Canon camera is the move to the CR3 14-bit raw file format, while there's also a new C-RAW option, which creates full-resolution raw files while saving approximately 30% to 40% on the file size of standard raw files.
Build and handling
- Limited body-mounted controls
- Excellent touchscreen
- Refined user interface
The EOS M50 borrows many styling cues from the EOS M5, primarily the central positioning of the electronic viewfinder (EVF). There’s also a small built-in flash tucked away in the raised hump where the EVF sits.
With the chassis constructed from strong polycarbonate, the EOS M50 weighs only a little less than the EOS M5, while the leatherette-effect textured handgrip is nicely proportioned for the camera.
While the EOS M5 is focused more towards the enthusiast photographer, with a host of body-mounted controls, the more beginner-friendly EOS M50 is a little more sparse in this respect.
Rather than three dials on the top of the camera, the M50 just has a single mode dial (even the dedicated compensation dial of the EOS M6 has disappeared), making it feel very accessible for the new user.
The controls have also been streamlined on the rear of the camera. There's no rear scroll wheel; instead there's a four-way control pad and a couple of other dedicated controls, including AF, but your entry point to most of the M50's shooting settings will either be via the 'Q' (short for Quick Menu) button or the touchscreen.
The EOS M50 also gets Canon's overhauled graphical user interface, which we first saw on the EOS Rebel T7i / EOS 800D. Designed to help new users, the interface explains settings, and what effect different adjustments will have on the final shot. It's possible to disable this feature in the menu if you wish, and stick with Canon's more traditional menu system.
- Brisk AF performance
- Improved focusing coverage
- Touch and drag AF works well
Canon got a bit of stick for the autofocus performance of its original EOS M mirrorless camera, but things have come a long way since.
The uprated Dual Pixel CMOS AF system in the EOS M50 performed very well in the time we had to try the camera out. Focusing is brisk, while there's also the option to touch and drag the AF point with your thumb on the rear display while you have the camera raised to your eye; this makes quick AF area selection very straightforward, while you don't have to use the entire screen real estate either – if you want, you can set this function to half or a quarter of the display in the menu.
- Decent burst shooting speeds
- Large and bright EVF
- Battery life could be better
Thanks to the new DIGIC 8 image processor the EOS M50 can shoot at up to 10fps in Single AF mode, and should you want to track your subject in Continuous AF this drops to a still very strong 7.4fps. It actually performs better than the EOS M5 in this respect.
The electronic viewfinder on the EOS M50 is also very good – the refresh rate delivers a smooth display, while the decent magnification means it doesn't feel too cramped.
The battery life of the EOS M50 is a little disappointing though. It's just 235 shots, so you're probably going to want to get a second battery if you're planning on shooting for extended periods.
Priced at $ 899.99 / £649.99 with Canon's EF-M 15-45mm lens (US and Australian pricing is yet to be confirmed), the EOS M50 is competitively priced, and will be going up against the like of the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III.
Our first impressions of the EOS M50 are very encouraging. While it's a shame it doesn't sport Canon's latest-generation 24MP sensor, the arrival of the DIGIC 8 image processor should make up for that to some extent.
In many ways, it's a better-specced camera than the EOS M5, with faster burst shooting speeds, an improved AF system and 4K video capture. The vari-angle screen also offers that bit more in the way of flexibility over the EOS M5's tilt-angle mechanism.
The absence of some extra body-mounted controls may be a bit of a disappointment for more experienced users, but for the EOS M50's target market of new users it does make the camera feel very accessible.
We'll need to do a full test of the EOS M50 to confirm our early impressions, but it does feel like this could be Canon's most refined and feature-packed mirrorless camera yet.