Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot

  • 24.2-Megapixel Imaging Sensor
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF
  • DIGIC 7 image processor
  • 5-Axis image stabilization
  • 2.36-Million Dot Electronic Viewfinder
  • 3.2-Inch, tilt-type Touch LCD screen
  • Touch & Drag AF
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • iAuto mode
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • Built-In WiFi with NFC
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Hot Shoe for powered accessories
  • Accespts EF and EF-S lenses with an adapter
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
Pros
  • iAuto and Program shooting modes are accurate and easy in all situations
  • Dual Pixel AF is very fast
  • Burst shooting went beyond the claims of Canon
  • Great image quality at the lower ISO settings
  • 5-Axis image stabilization was a help when shooting handheld stills
  • Touch AF is great for selecting an AF point while shooting with the EVF
  • Controls are easy and familiar to Canon DSLR cameras
  • Both EVF and LCD are great for shooting in all lighting conditions
  • Good shooting performance
  • Average Battery Life for a Mirrorless ILC
  • HDMI output
  • Microphone Input
Cons
  • High ISO includes a lot of noise
  • Touch AF can be difficult when turned on as it will change the AF point every time the LCD is touched (If you are not intending to use this feature)
  • Limited lens selection for the M-Mount system
  • 5-Axis IS was a little disappointing when shooting handheld video
  • Adapter adds weight in order to use larger lenses
  • Large price tag for a limited system
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 1.9 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 2/10 to 5/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 0.52 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 1.40 seconds
  • High Speed Burst = 10fps (Slows slightly after 15 images)
  • High Speed Burst w/ Flash = 1.5fps
  • High Speed Burst (Cont. AF)= 7.7fps
  • All of our tests were completed using a Sony UHS-1 32GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO Auto (6400 for bust shooting), Spot Metering, 1-point AF, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The M5 is Canon's first relevant Mirrorless ILC. It boasts above average performance, great image quality at lower ISOs, and is loaded with features. Limited M-mount lens availability and high price are things to consider.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for a compact EOS system that is very easy to travel with while providing you with the performance that surpasses the Digital Rebel line.
Canon has taken the EOS M line of cameras to the next level with their M5 model. The M5 brings some serious improvements to the line; increasing the image quality, power, and features that are offered. Sporting a 24.2-Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS imaging sensor with dual-pixel CMOS AF, DIGIC 7 image processor, 5-axis Image Stabilization (when using a lens with built-in IS), WiFi, Bluetooth, 2.3-Million Dot EVF and much more; Canon has really loaded up this mirrorless body. They didn't skimp on power either. The DIGIC 7 processor can capture up to 7fps in burst shooting and Full 1080p HD video at 60fps. It also helps to power the Dual-Pixel AF system, giving you incredibly fast and accurate AF and focus tracking capabilities. All of this combined into one compact camera body sounds almost too good to be true.

Offering two different ways to connect the camera to your smartphone, Canon included Bluetooth connectivity along with WiFi to give you another fast and reliable option. Once a Bluetooth connection has been established, your smartphone can be set to automatically connect to the camera, allowing for some basic control of the camera. You can then switch to the direct WiFi connection to use the smartphone as a viewfinder, control the camera, download images, or even send them directly to a wireless printer. All of these tasks are completed through the Canon Camera Connect app.

Slightly larger than the last EOS M cameras, the M5 is a bit easier to handle and operate thanks to the hand grip on the right side and EVF for a true DSLR feel. Two command dials offer total control over shooting settings, and allow you to easily make exposure adjustments. The shooting mode dial locks into place to avoid accidental mode changes. Its AF-lock and AF selection buttons sitting under your right thumb on the back even give it Canon's signature layout feel.

Composing and viewing your images is accomplished with either the 3.2-inch, 1.6-Million dot Tilting Touch LCD screen or the incredibly high-resolution OLED EVF. The LCD offers a familiar feel to anyone that is used to a compact point-n-shoot and would like to continue with this option of shooting. The touch screen allows for easy setting selection and touch AF and touch to capture options. The LCD screen is easy to see in all lighting conditions; offering assistance when shooting over or around an object, composing accurate selfies and even making it easy to walk and record at the same time. The LCD screen, along with the EVF, show real-time adjustments to your exposure settings. This means that you will know exactly what effect your adjustments will have on your image, even before you press the shutter release.

The 2.3-Million dot OLED EVF offers smooth and accurate views with 100% accuracy. Again this leaves you with no doubts about what you are going to be capturing. The resolution is so high, it creates an image that looks almost as good as an OVF, but with the same amount of shooting options and information on the screen as the LCD. Canon has developed an outstanding feature that allows you to touch & drag your AF point via the LCD screen when you are shooting with the EVF. It allows you to adjust and follow a subject without having to take the camera away from your eye or press any other buttons to make the changes.

EOS M5 performance was actually a little surprising as it outperformed Canon's claims. The camera was able to capture its first image after being turned on in just under 2 seconds. Shutter lag is almost non-existent, as with most cameras these days. The AF system is very fast, taking on average, between 2/10 and 1/2 second to achieve focus and capture the image. The shot-to-shot delay in single shot mode comes out to approx. 1/2 second, but jumps to 1.4 seconds when you add the pop-up flash. Burst shooting is where the camera really shines; capturing high-speed burst images at 10fps before slightly slowing after about 15 images. Continuous AF even captured at 7.7 fps and adding the flash to the single AF produced 1.5fps. All of our tests were completed using a Sony UHS-1 32GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO Auto (6400 for burst shooting), Spot Metering, 1-point AF, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.

Outdoor sample images show excellent color and exposure with very sharp autofocus in both iAuto and Program shooting modes. With samples from both modes, we see very little difference in the overall images. This means that, when the M5 uses its scene modes on images, they maintain a realistic and pleasing outcome, instead of over-saturating the colors (which we see a lot). We did not notice any noise present in these images, which we did not expect to with the low ISO settings and outstanding lighting conditions. We did not see any ghosting, aberrations or other flaws either, just leaving us with some excellent image quality. Composing your images is assisted by the EF-M lens. Currently, Canon has 7 EF-M lenses to choose from, all of which are STM lenses that assist with smooth AF both during single image shooting as well as video capture. Adapters are available to allow the use of all of Canon's EF and EF-S lenses as well, letting you find the perfect lens for any shooting situation.

Indoor images show the same excellent color and exposure, while retaining sharpness. At the lower ISO settings, 100 through 400, noise is not noticeable at all. At 800 you start to notice and it shows a little more at 1600. While the noise becomes present, it is not a problem at these settings. Most of the fine details are also still present at these settings as well. After 1600, the noise increases very quickly and the images become unacceptable after ISO 6400. Assisting with these low-light images, Canon includes a pop-up flash unit. While it is very compact, it can be useful in close-range images to assist with lighting or help to fill in harsh conditions. For more power and performance, a Canon Speedlite Flash can be attached to the hot shoe.

Shooting portraits with the EOS M5 is very simple when you have the face detection AF turned on. The camera is outstanding at detecting and following faces within the frame, even when they are not directly facing the camera. Once the camera has detected a face, it will constantly adjust the AF and exposure to ensure that is correct for your subject, no matter how much they move. This makes it easy to the photographer to point-n-shoot without worrying about a constantly moving subject. When detecting more than one face, the camera will choose a main face and do what it can to make the adjustments to accommodate the others as well.

Canon offers several creative shooting modes as well. Starting with the Creative Assist mode, the camera allows you to adjust settings based on how you want the image to look, without knowing the photography settings and techniques to do it manually. They also have included several preset creative modes for specific outcomes that might not be possible by capturing a single image or without some post-production work on a computer. These modes can take the place of all of this work, but with far less control than doing it yourself. We have included several samples of the preset modes on our sample images page.

Capturing video is as easy as hitting the dedicated video recording button at any time, no matter what shooting mode you are in. The camera will use preset controls for these videos, but you will never miss the action switching camera modes. For more control, the EOS M5 features a fully manual video shooting mode that gives you a great deal of control if you are looking for it. Our samples were shot in the video mode under Program. The Servo AF (tracking) in these videos is outstanding, but the Image Stabilization is a little lacking for our handheld videos. While it did help, the 5-Axis stabilization does compete with other similar I.S. systems. This could also be the reason that our samples play back a little shaky and unclear at times. Other than that, the quality of the video looks great, with outstanding exposure and color. Sound is typical for a built-in microphone, but the M5 does have a port to add an external microphone for better quality.

Powering the EOS M5 is a 7.2V, 1040mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. This battery is enough to capture up to 295 images shooting with either the EVF or LCD screen on a single charge. This can be increased to over 400 images by enabling ECO mode. While this is not a very good battery life compared to a DSLR, it is about average for a mirrorless camera, as the EVF's use as much if not more than the LCD screens in contrast to the DSLR's OVF which hardly uses any power at all. With ECO mode enabled, you should have no problem getting through an adventurous day of shooting. As always a spare battery of two is recommended to have on hand at all times. Canon makes this pretty easy, including a portable charger with the camera.

Bottom Line

The Canon EOS M5 is their first real contribution to the mirrorless camera world. With a fast AF, great burst shooting and the quality you expect from Canon; this camera definitely outshined previous M models. Compatibility with all of Canon's lenses and flashes offers you a great selection, but the use of an adapter for the larger lenses defeats the purpose of carrying the smaller camera. With only 7 lenses specifically for the M-mount, these selections are limited, and the pricing is a little steep.

Pick up an EOS M5 18-45mm kit for $1,099 or the 18-150mm kit for $1,479.

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