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Canon EOS M50 Review - Best VLOG Mirrorless from the Red Brand!

OPPO
Video Logging/VLOG-ing has risen to popularity and the new Canon EOS M50 may be their best because of the tilt screen, 4K recording, and Dual Pixel autofocus!
The APS-C sensor from Canon!
The APS-C sensor from Canon!

When Canon announced the EOS M50, it quickly gained attention being the first camera  under USD 1,000 or under PHP 52,000 from Canon that can record 4K, with Dual Pixel autofocus (up to 1080p) and a fully articulating touch screen display.

Let's see if it lives up to the hype!

Unboxing/Accessories

Inside the box!
Inside the box!

Inside the box are the camera body, kit lens, body strap, lens cap, battery, battery charger, power plug wire, and documentation.

Build Quality/Design

Some lenses have plastic or metal mounts!
Some lenses have plastic or metal mounts!

Out of the box the camera is pretty. The textured dark grey texture with its unique curves is eye catching and the solid feel of the body has this heft that is not normally found in mirrorless cameras in this price range.
Mic and NFC on the left side
Mic and NFC on the left side
WiFi button, micro USB port and mini HDMI ports
WiFi button, micro USB port and mini HDMI ports
Flash, record button, control dial, shutter button, drive mode dial and function button!
Flash, record button, control dial, shutter button, drive mode dial and function button!

What I like about the EOS M50 right away is the placement of the four main dials (aperture, drive, exposure compensation and directional dials) are all easily accessed by your right thumb and right pointing finger but due to the small body, this may be troublesome for people who have big and long fingers. It's perfect for people with small hands.

Solid feel of the body and this heft that is not normally found on mirrorless cameras at this price range!

The shutter button is surrounded by the aperture dial and beside the two is a customizable function button.

The record and review button are on furthermost right part of the thumb rest which forces me to loosen my grip in an awkward manner that made me feel like I may drop the camera. Otherwise, the ergonomics of this camera is good.

The included kit lens the EFM 18-55 f/3.5 to 5.6 kit lens is small, lightweight but has the same hefty dark gray textured outer shroud similar in build with the body. As such we get that feeling of reassurance that this lens body won't scratch or break easily. Because of its lightweight it balances well with the EOS M50 body which is great for one handed operation.

If you are coming from a Canon SLR, the controls and workflow are similar enough that you won't need a huge time to adjust. 

I however am not a fan of how Canon and Nikon are moving the aperture ring away from the lens and into one of the dials in the body. I like the ability to see my aperture without looking at the LCD and the ability to switch it a labelled aperture ring. I understand that they chose this for their reasons but I find myself to be more efficient when I can turn the aperture ring on the lens with labels on it. Otherwise the aperture dial on the body is of no problem.

Display Quality

Fully articulating touch display!
Fully articulating touch display!

It is equipped with an 3-inch 1,040-dot tilt type Touch LCD monitor and is your live viewfinder. 

The colors and resolution on the screen is very good. We almost never experienced visible lag with the screen nor did we experience in accurate color rendition. The touch screen on here is smooth, accurate and responsive. This is one of the better touch screens on a mirrorless camera on the market now. 

It has a tap to focus option where you can tap anywhere on the screen and it will focus on as best as it can. This is one of the best touch screen implementation on a mirrorless camera yet. It is quick, responsive and accurate. We never had an instance where in it misread a tap or a gesture. Great Job Canon!

Battery Life

At the bottom is the battery and SD card latch and the tripod screw mount!

Specs sheet say that it is rated for 235 shots with the LP-E12 which is nearly half of the 410 rated shots for the Fujifilm X-A2 and X-A3. This maybe so if you were shooting with RAW + JPEG and if you were constantly changing settings or always checking your pictures via slideshow (chimping). 

In our day to day shooting we were getting around 400 to 450 shots when shooting stills only. When we shot some footage it would drop depending on how long the video recording lasted.

The OEM charger would charge the battery from empty to full around 90 minutes. It doesn't have USB port charging so you can't charge the camera directly from a power bank or other power sources.

Performance

The Canon EOS M50 is the company's best performing APS-C mirrorless camera yet.  Like the EOS M3, we liked  that the ISO is quickly accessible from the directional dial.

My personal settings are the same with my review with the EOS M3, where I went partly-full-manual mode. Depending on the subject, I adjust my ISO, aperture and shutter speed when the subject isn't moving quickly. If the subject is unpredictable then I set the camera to aperture priority where the aperture is set by me and the rest is set by the camera. 

Of course, you can choose to go full Auto. To turn this on, you will have to go to the drive dial and select the scene intelligent auto where the camera will determine everything for you or hybrid auto where it will still try to determine but you can intervene with your own settings. Full auto works 7 to 8 out of 10 times. This isn't a sports, action or  wild life camera so we weren't surprised that it struggles with fast moving objects. As such I go full manual or shutter priority.

HDR, landscape, portrait, Manual Video modes are also available just like most cameras today.

If you're moving from a Canon DSLR, you'll feel right at home with the dials and touch screen!

I took it out for several photography runs. I went out with friends, took pictures of the people I care about, the food I ate and the places I went to. I even shot video footage. I tried the 4K 24/25FPS but the crop was so large (1.7x) that unless I was using an ultra-wide lens, it wouldn't make sense for v-logging. The 1080p 60fps on the other hand doesn't and is high resolution enough to even get all the pores in my face. Both resolutions feature Canon's signature colors and contrast. It gets so sharp that up close, my pores and other blemishes were all showing. Click on the video footage below to see for yourself. 

Autofocus speed is quick on body side and when coupled with the EFM lenses, it is good. The EFM 22 mm F2 when focusing however is a little noisy. It's not loud but you can hear the parts moving when focusing and may bother some people who will use it for video.

Autofocus accurately focuses 9 out of 10 times. Those times where it struggles are when there is very little light sources or when the dual pixel autofocus can't keep up with the fast moving object. I almost never switch to manual focus unless doing landscape or studio work. 

It also has the amazing focus peaking from the EOS M3 we reviewed. It is accurate and easy to use. We hope Canon continues to have focus peaking in their cameras.

The built in flash is hidden on top of the mount. It can be released by a toggle on the left side of the camera. It fires once every second so don't expect to burst fire. It is powerful enough to light up until 5 meters away at ISO 100. Like the EOS M3, it has a maximum Flash X sync speed at 1/200 of a second. This means that this camera has very limited options for high speed sync. 

It even has a full size 3.5 mm microphone jack if you want to plug an external microphone. The on-body microphone is great where it can record crisp audio. It doesn't have any isolation features so it will also pick-up ambient noise, so we recommend getting an external microphone.

What isn't this camera for:

1. It can shoot up to 10 fps but the dual pixel struggles to keep up so it isn't for SUPER FAST Actions like sporting events (Racing, Horseback riding). It will also be a hit or miss when trying to take pictures of your kids running around as at the max 4FPS is without autofocus. You would have to manually set the focus and predict where the subject will be going to. We HIGHLY recommend to use Sandisk Class 10 UHS-I SD Cards to avoid lock-ups and bottlenecks! 
2. The lower frames per second can be overcome to a limited extent by using the flash. When you do turn on the flash, the burst shots become 1 fps as the flash needs to recharge with each shot. 
3. It has limited long exposure features which limits its use for hardcore landscape photography.

Camera Samples

BGC view
BGC view
Nature
Nature
Twinning
Twinning
Vibrant colors
Vibrant colors
Daylight portrait
Daylight portrait featuring our friend form Speed Magazine
Decent for portraits
Decent for portraits
Bokeh goodness with the 22 f/2.0
Bokeh goodness with the 22 f/2.0
Indoor chandelier 1
Indoor chandelier 1
Indoor chandelier 2
Indoor chandelier 2
Chicken is always good
Chicken is always good
Details on the raspberry in lowlight
Details on the raspberry in lowlight
Details in the lowlight
Details in the lowlight

For still image quality, the EOS M50 produces great images. The images from the EFM 22mm F2 prime lens were our favorites. It renders superior sharpness, contrast and color when compared to the kit lens. The EFM 18 to 55mm performs okay as a kit lens where the colors and contrast are okay. Though we wish the kit lens would be sharper. In fact, most people would be happy with the images it produces. We just preferred the prime when we compared them side by side with the zoom kit lens.

Whether you are shooting on auto or manual but as long as your technique is sound, taking images with this camera is ways better than any smartphone today. 

The dual pixel autofocus does wonders for focusing and nailing the shot most of the time. It just struggles with fast moving subjects or when there is little to no light.

Video Quality

The EOS M50 is the most capable mirrorless camera Canon has made for v-logging because of the dual pixel autofocus and the full articulating touch screen.

The footage is great and because of the STM lenses and dual pixel, the transitions between focus areas are smooth, silent, beautiful and accurate.

There is an Electronic Stabilisation to make up for the lack of In-Body image stabilisation but it introduces another crop factor. It is good enough if you forgot to bring your gimbal for quick shoots but for better quality footage, we still recommend having a gimbal.

Writer's Note / Recommendations: In September of 2018, Canon announced one more lens for the Canon EOS EFM line, the 32mm F1.4 STM. It is a great addition to the affordable EFM line but the rate of lens expansion from Canon isn't as fast as the competition and if you are serious with your photography and videography, a wider lens selection for the best lens for the situation could pose a problem. Not just because of the lack of lenses but also because adapting Canon's DSLR lenses are a mixed experience. Some lenses are small enough to be balanced enough while others are not. Native lenses are an advantage, I wish Canon would shell out more native lenses for their mirrorless line.

Competition: The mirrorless camera that competes with Fujifilm X-T100 which we reviewed here. This camera is priced higher with the kit lens but it has the unbeatable dual pixel autofocus, full sized 3.5mm microphone jack and the articulating touch screen  as the advantage over the Fujifilm X-T100.

Pros - Build quality is solid and hefty, full 3.5 mm microphone jack, better fully articulating touch screen, good right handed ergonomics, native EFM lenses are priced affordably, WiFi and NFC to smartphone transfer, 10fps burst
Cons - No USB charging, may have to buy the more expensive Canon SLR lenses for better image quality, wish they made room for a 3.5 mm headphone jack to check audio

Verdict

The EOS M50 is one of the most compelling cameras Canon has ever released for their mirrorless line. It produces great image quality in stills and video and is easy to pick up and learn. 

Though the video in 4K is crippled and it doesn't have a headphone jack, the 1080p 60fps with EIS is good enough for most people. The fully articulating touch screen, the dual pixel autofocus and the STM lenses provide one of the best focus transitions in video that is automatic.

We highly recommend it if you need a capable photo and video hybrid APS-C mirrorless camera and don't mind the lens collection.

Build - 4
Display - 4.25
Ergonomics - 3.75
Image Quality - 4
Video Quality - 4
Audio Quality - 4
Average - 4/5
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