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Canon EOS M5 Expert Review - Verdict

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Canon EOS M5 Hands On (3)

Value For Money

The Canon EOS M5 is available for £1049 body only, £1149 with 15-45mm lens, or £1399 with 18-150mm lens. This makes it quite expensive, compared to similar offerings from other manufacturers. The following all feature an electronic viewfinder (EVF), with some offering 4K video (Panasonic Lumix GX80, Sony Alpha A6300), and others offering a weather sealed camera body, including the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Have a look at more compact system cameras in our Best Premium Mirrorless Cameras (with EVF), or have a look at the Best entry-level Mirrorless Cameras (some may have EVF). You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Canon EOS M5 Verdict

If you can look past the plastic build quality, and plastic construction of the lenses available for the camera, then you have a neat and compact system. However, there is a premium price on this camera, which makes the alternatives feel like better value for money.

If you're happy using an adapter, then you can use a wide range of Canon EF lenses on the camera, which may be necessary as there are (so far) a fairly limited range of lenses available, compared to what is available for other mirrorless camera systems. If we look at the main mirrorless camera systems, there are over 130 lenses for Micro Four Thirds (Panasonic, Olympus), 120+ for Sony E-mount, 50+ for Fujifilm X-mount, and around 20+ lenses available for Canon EF-M lens mount if we include third party lenses, so Canon has some catching up to do. 

With the Canon EOS M5 you get good noise performance, excellent colour typical of Canon cameras, rapid focus, and a compact system. You also get improved continuous shooting speed of 9fps, which catches up with the competition.

This all sounds great, and would be competitive with a Panasonic Lumix GX800, if it was priced at around £599 with lens (like the EOS M3 was), but instead the camera is £1049 body only, or £1149 with lens. Pricing it higher than the E-M5 Mark II (with metal body, weather sealing, faster continuous shooting, etc) and nearer to high-end mirrorless cameras like the Fujifilm X-T2, (also with a metal body, weather sealing, optional battery grip), the competitors at this price range have larger electronic viewfinders, and added value features like in-camera image stabilisation (Olympus, Panasonic), 4K video recording (Panasonic, Fujifilm X-T2, Sony), and more. 

If we did a comparison table with all of the mirrorless cameras (which you can do for yourself in the equipment database) there would be little to say that this camera is better than other cameras on specifications alone, apart from the 3.2inch screen and Bluetooth. Others offer faster shutter speeds, an electronic shutter, better battery life, 4K video, weather-sealing, metal body, larger viewfinders, and more importantly a much wider range of lenses. 

Despite all this, we like the Canon EOS M5 a lot, it's compact, stylish, easy to use, and takes great photographs. It's also the best Canon EOS M series camera yet, and if you have a range of Canon EF lenses, then the M5 with adapter will make a great choice. The Canon EOS M system is certainly one to keep an eye on, and if Canon continues to introduce new lenses, hopefully at a more rapid pace, then they could quite quickly begin to catch up with others on the market. However, the limited range of native EF-M lenses means that the more serious photographers are likely to want to look elsewhere.

Canon EOS M5 Pros

  • Excellent colour reproduction
  • Compact camera body with good handling
  • 3.2inch tilting touch-screen
  • Built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC
  • Dual-axis electronic level
  • Quick focus

Canon EOS M5 Cons

  • No panoramic mode
  • Lacks weather-sealing or metal build quality of competition
  • New lenses have been introduced at a slower pace than other companies
  • Can't quite match other APS-C cameras for noise performance

Features5/5
Handling4/5
Performance4/5
Value3/5
Overall Verdict



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Photographs taken using the Canon EOS M5

gathering inballon twoballoon eveningHotel Cavalletto VeniceCamera ObscuraThe back streets of Venice.Photographer on the hunt in Venice.ProudPerspectiveBonsai - Norfolk StyleDouble TroubleTree PoseHelloHarvest MouseA Taste Of Spring

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Comments


ChrisV Plus
12 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
15 Sep 2016 11:24AM
This is perhaps the camera the M series should have been in the first place. Had they released it five years ago, I might have been tempted. But the price? Plastic build, no weather sealing, no 4k. The adapter in the box makes up a little bit I suppose, but I think this is way, way overpriced to be a big hit.

Interesting in that it's showing a direction of travel for Canon [with no similar offering from Nikon at the moment especially with a discontinued One Series]. I think the CaNikon duopoly may find themselves playing serious catchup in a few years time as mirror/prism cameras become an ever smaller niche.

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alan53 11 United Kingdom
15 Sep 2016 11:57AM
The original leaks and rumors for the M range were for 2 bodies – entry level with no VF (which we got, the original M), and a higher spec body with EVF, which never appeared for whatever reason.

So your “Had they released it five years ago” line is very much to the point, ChrisV, although it would have been 18MP with a worse EVF if they had! I’m sure this one will be a great success though….
themak 5 1.0k Scotland
15 Sep 2016 12:29PM
As it's up against the likes of the X-T10 (or its successor), I'd agree it's well overpriced. With the limited range of dedicated lenses, I don't see it appealing to many who don't already have a large collection of EF lenses.
ChrisV Plus
12 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
15 Sep 2016 1:01PM

Quote:

...although it would have been 18MP with a worse EVF if they had! I’m sure this one will be a great success though….



You're right, but then 5 years ago 18mp and a lower res EVF would have matched up [or exceeded] what was on the market at the time. Now the EVF on this looks [on paper at least] slightly sub-par. Similarly on the spec-sheet 24mp looks class-matching [with the APSc XTs and A6300s], but we'll have to see how well it performs. The ISO range looks modest, but especially these days the range doesn't necessarily indicate performance. ISO several billion [now I'm exaggerating] on the top end Nikons is pretty meaningless even if they are probably marginally better than anything else at more sensible levels. It will be interesting to see if the sensor in this Canon is as ISO invariant as their very latest models, or is more akin to their less efficient [and now quite backward looking] pack.
15 Sep 2016 3:00PM
Awaiting the reviews and firesale, way too pricey, weather sealing, 4K and a new more powerful battery would have possibly justified the price

It has a high end price without high end features, not too sure who their target market is, initially it may sell well, and will in my view require price drops for sales to be sustained, so a mark ll wont be too far off

At £800 with the new zoom lens I would have pre ordered, but will stick with the M10 for now and see what happens
Niknut Plus
9 2.2k 76 United Kingdom
15 Sep 2016 5:35PM
What a little beaut !!!.....look forward to the full review !!!!!.Smile
pablophotographer 7 1.2k 348
15 Sep 2016 10:15PM
Thank you Canon, now skip the sensors and give us a film SLR again Smile
RJPhoto 6 16 1 United Kingdom
16 Sep 2016 11:22AM
Agree with the others, way, way overpriced for this spec. But then, isn't that true of their DSLR's? How much for a 5D MKIV??? Olympus are cheaper and offer pixel shift to get much larger files. Ok, so the Canon has a bigger sensor, but who will buy this and what size will they print to? They say in the blurb that it will appeal to professional photographers as a take anywhere compact camera. Really? I can see the appeal, but not at this price, and not with this limited spec compared to others. To be honest, like most other pros, if I was to go down the mirrorless route, I'd get the Sony A7rII - better dynamic range, great selection of lenses, adaptors for Sigma and Canon lenses and full frame. I think Canon are too late to this game with this offering; Olympus, Fuji and Panasonic are way ahead with the compacts, and Sony is way ahead with the pro level.
banehawi Plus
15 2.0k 4006 Canada
16 Sep 2016 7:35PM
Dont know about anyone else, but I didnt see many cameras covering the Olympics that werent Canon or Nikon.

Its seems fashionable to never respond positively to any Canon camera, but somehow they still dominate all sports and many professional events.

Amazing, isnt it.
RJPhoto 6 16 1 United Kingdom
17 Sep 2016 9:33AM
That's because Canon sponsored the Olympics, providing all the cameras, lenses and technical assistants, all the photographers had to do was turn up (for want of a better term).

I'm a Canon user myself and always have been (too many years to mention) but I'm getting really annoyed with their lack of technical progress compared to other manufacturers then charging astronomical amounts for their new kit. If I could afford to switch brands to someone like Sony or Pentax I would, but when you've got several cameras and too many lenses to mention due to the diverse range of subjects I photograph, it isn't currently feasible, annoyingly.
18 Sep 2016 7:27AM
As a Canon user for over 35 years, I was looking forward to true M5. 80D sensor in a compact package with decent tracking AF? Yes please!
BUT.
The lack of weather sealing, available on other manufacturers compact form cameras, and the lenses as well, at the price initially being charged is very disappointing. This could have been the ideal take everywhere camera. And where are the new fast lenses?
Brexit, the changes in currency and general material costs have increased prices across the board - Sony were first, the RXRii is now £1000 more expensive, the A7Rii £500, and most lenses increased by 30%. Canon are just following the market, but unfortunately my slarary and disposable income hasn't, so lovely camera, but not just now.
JackAllTog Plus
10 5.5k 58 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2016 9:28PM
Love the idea of this - hope the M lenses are up to spec.
"The shutter sound is quite loud," eh - surely you can turn the sound off?
Will adapters allow the olympus/panosonic lenses to work - i guess not as the required image circle is too big.
I'd love to see it with a EF-M 28mm.
banehawi Plus
15 2.0k 4006 Canada
27 Sep 2016 6:38PM
So, in a wrap up of Photokina on another popular photo review site, the Canon M5 was selected as the camera of the show. Not bad. Well done Canon
themak 5 1.0k Scotland
28 Sep 2016 2:32PM
I see Wex is offering £60 for an Eos M traded in for this - pretty extreme depreciation even by digicam standards.
JackAllTog Plus
10 5.5k 58 United Kingdom
19 Oct 2016 5:27PM
I'm still looking forward to a full ePhotozine review of the actual product. Come on Canon send one over .....
banehawi Plus
15 2.0k 4006 Canada
19 Jan 2017 3:18PM
Is there a full review planned soon Joshua? Many other sites are ahead of EPZ with this review.
joshwa Plus
8 885 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2017 4:37PM
Hi banehawi and JackAllTog - the camera is due in to the office very soon. Thanks Josh
banehawi Plus
15 2.0k 4006 Canada
4 Feb 2017 3:30PM
Finally! Thanks Josh.
Niknut Plus
9 2.2k 76 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2017 4:23PM
What a great piece of kit !!.....with impressive IQ & noise control, & impressively compact !!

Downside ?............a) Price.......b) Another lens mount

Keep the EOS lens mount, & get the price down.......the 100D gives this M5 a run for it's money, though the IQ isn't as good.....& I'm not
investing in a new series of lenses !!........don't suggest an adapter mount, that's just adding bulk !!

Apart from that it's a real beauty, & wouldn't turn one down as a gift !!! (hint, hint !!!).WinkGrin
banehawi Plus
15 2.0k 4006 Canada
6 Feb 2017 9:32PM
A few comments. The use of an adapter is smart, allowing access to the entire Canon line which work with full electronic functionality; this also suggests there are more M lenses planned. The M lenses are alow very, very light, perfect for all day carrying or travel/

Its odd that the adapter (which is includes at no cost in the early release kits) seems to be seen as a negative here, whereas adapters in general are hailed as brilliant for Sony, and the m4/3 lenses for their ability to extend the range of lenses. Im confused.

The body is a very strong polycarbonate composite, quite different from what we normally consider "plastic".

The lens attachment not being metal seems odd, but when the target audience is one that wants light, small, very high IQ, you do what you need to meet the demands.

Price I think is too high, and this is not at all unexpected at launch. Its not unique to any one vendor, and cost should come down. If they simply unbundle the adapter, thats 250 USD off the price.

The kit lenses, though not perfect, are vastly superior that the offerings from Sony, as an example.
8 Feb 2017 2:36PM

Quote:That's because Canon sponsored the Olympics, providing all the cameras, lenses and technical assistants, all the photographers had to do was turn up (for want of a better term).

I'm a Canon user myself and always have been (too many years to mention) but I'm getting really annoyed with their lack of technical progress compared to other manufacturers then charging astronomical amounts for their new kit. If I could afford to switch brands to someone like Sony or Pentax I would, but when you've got several cameras and too many lenses to mention due to the diverse range of subjects I photograph, it isn't currently feasible, annoyingly.

8 Feb 2017 2:41PM
I know this comment is a bit late in the day, but with respect to the Canon sponsoring the Olympics, they are just carrying on what Nikon did back in the early 70s, give their cameras to just about any press hack who wanted one. In our laboratory we compared the performance of professional Canon and Nikon film cameras at the time and the Nikon was found wanting in both the camera mechanics and the lens performance. Otherwise, I am with you, Canon do seem to be lagging behind the rest of the market in everything bar price.
8 Feb 2017 9:42PM
Well in contrast to the other reviewers, I OWN a EOS M5. I have also owned a M and a M3. I had the M3 with at the EVF. With the M i used a Hood type loupe which was great.
Both the M5's forebears were panned by various critics. I happen to like all the models that came out.
The main reason? Colour, quality and usability. I agree, the focussing could have been faster, but for the majority of landscape, travel and street photography applications the M3 and M were excellent
The M5 is brilliant at focussing.
I use the M5 with a 18-150 lens as a travel camera. I also take with me the excellent 11-22 and the diminutive 22mm F2 EOS M lenses. I also take a EF 200mm 2.8 lens with the adapter and an extender 1.4 for bird and nature images. This keeps my kit nice and compact.
Sure it is expensive, and sure there is competition out there BUT there is a good choice of native canon lenses that work extremely well with the M5 and I don't regret my purchase one little bit.
My suggestion is to try and take advice from people who are using the camera- in spite of what the media says, there are a lot of satisfied M5 users out there.
9 Feb 2017 7:07AM
People are forgetting that one reason behind the premium price for the M5 is Canon's Dual Pixel AF technology, which is featured in only a few other Canon models. It was a hit in the 70D, 80D and certain full-frame models. It is the reason why the M5 is "brilliant in focusing" in both video and stills, resulting in excellent tracking and near-perfect "keeper" ratios. Reportedly, Dual Pixel technology is still the highest regarded AF invention in the industry by professional photographers, ahead of Fuji's own superb multi-scenario AF tech, Panasonic's Depth-from-Defocus and Lightspeed, Nikon's 3D tracking, and similar offerings from Sony and Olympus.
ElSid 11 9 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2017 5:29PM

Quote:Keep the EOS lens mount, & get the price down.......the 100D gives this M5 a run for it's money, though the IQ isn't as good.....& I'm not
investing in a new series of lenses !!........don't suggest an adapter mount, that's just adding bulk !!



Keep the EOS lens mount how? The camera is mirrorless meaning you don't need the 42mm of lens registration distance required to keep a lens clear of that flappy mirror thing. To keep the standard EF or EF-s mount would still require the actual mount to be 42mm from the sensor in order for the lenses to focus. this would inevitably add bulk very similar to that of the adapter and the end result would look just as daft as Sigma's new SA mount mirrorless model, a skinny camera with a big fat tube at the front....


Quote:The body is a very strong polycarbonate composite, quite different from what we normally consider "plastic".



Absolutely and it's perfectly durable. I have a plastic bodied EOS D30 that has stood up to considerable use in the 12 or so years I've had it. Compare that to the metal bodied 20D which developed quite large areas of bare metal from rubbing on hands and clothes after just a couple of years. Indeed the 'quality' difference between the two was so non-existent I didn't even realise the 20D was metal bodied until it was pointed out to me.


Quote:The lens attachment not being metal seems odd, but when the target audience is one that wants light, small, very high IQ, you do what you need to meet the demands.



The mount in the second picture at the beginning looks pretty metallic to me...Wink
StrayCat 15 19.1k 3 Canada
15 Nov 2017 6:44AM
A bit late joining, but I just finished researching Canon cameras and settled for a D77, with the same specs as the M5, plus. I will be using a heavy lens, so I decided to go with a little bigger body. I paid $800 Canadian for the D77, new. The M5 was $10 more from the same supplier. The battery life is over twice what the M5's is, and no adapter for the lenses I want. I won't have the camera for another week or so, just ordered it tonight. The M5 was tempting, but I couldn't imagine it stuck on the back end of the Canon 300mm f4L, the D77 will be right for me. I had a 550D several years ago and the only reason I got rid of it at the time was the very slow frame rate, it was comfortable to use. I count myself in the enthusiast group, and having just done some extensive research on camera and lens brands, I don't see where all the complaints come from. Take a look at the prices of the competitors and their lenses, I believe this camera is cheaper than most other brands. I came close, but there are a couple of important factors that tilted my choice to the 77D. I should say that I also considered the 80D and the 70D, but it wasn't price that helped me decide, it was the fact the D77 has the Digic-7 processor, which, according to what I've read, is a big part of the great focusing system.

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