Canon EOS M5

CANON LAUNCHES AN EOS M MIR­ROR­LESS CAM­ERA WITH A BUILT-IN VIEWFINDER — AND IT’S ABOUT TIME.

TechLife Australia - - WELCOME - [ ROD LAWTON ]

WHILE CAM­ERA MAK­ERS like Panasonic, Sony, Olym­pus and Fu­ji­film have been forg­ing ahead with their high-pro­file mir­ror­less cam­era ranges, Canon has been quietly pottering away on a dif­fer­ent path. Its M-se­ries mod­els to date have been con­ser­va­tive boxshaped shoot­ers with a mod­est M-mount lens range. The EOS M5 is dif­fer­ent. It’s shaped more like a minia­ture SLR and has a built-in elec­tronic viewfinder.

The EOS M5 is Canon’s flag­ship mir­ror­less cam­era, re­plac­ing the EOS M3 at the top of its lineup. Canon says the aim with this cam­era is to pro­vide en­thu­si­ast pho­tog­ra­phers with the speed, qual­ity and han­dling of an EOS cam­era in a much smaller body. The new model presents Canon fans with an in­ter­est­ing dilemma: it’s a frac­tion of the size of the Canon EOS 80D SLR, but it has the same sen­sor and many of the same fea­tures.

It’s a tiny cam­era, but it still packs in a 24.2MP APS-C sen­sor. The res­o­lu­tion is the same as the ex­ist­ing EOS M3, but the M5 has the more ad­vanced Dual CMOS AF sys­tem found in the EOS 80D, where each pho­to­site is split into ‘left’ and ‘right’ parts to of­fer on-chip phase-de­tec­tion aut­o­fo­cus. This AF sys­tem works across 80% of the width and height of the frame. This sen­sor is matched up with a Digic 7 im­age pro­ces­sor, which of­fers in-cam­era dif­frac­tion cor­rec­tion for sharper im­ages at su­per-small aper­tures and im­proved noise re­duc­tion.

The EOS M5 can tackle ac­tion, too, at an im­pres­sive nine frames per sec­ond if the focus is locked on the first frame, or 7fps with aut­o­fo­cus. The specs don’t in­clude the buf­fer ca­pac­ity, but Canon has posted a video in­tro­duc­tion quot­ing a buf­fer ca­pac­ity of 20+ raw im­ages. The M5 doesn’t shoot 4K video, but it can shoot full HD at up to 60fps for smooth 2x slow-mo­tion ef­fects. It also has five-axis dig­i­tal sta­bil­i­sa­tion. De­signed prin­ci­pally for en­thu­si­asts rather than pros, the lenses col­lec­tively cover fo­cal lengths of 11–200mm, and they all come with Canon’s STM step­per mo­tor aut­o­fo­cus tech­nol­ogy, for smooth operation while film­ing video. It also has Wi-Fi and NFC built in, as well as al­wayson Blue­tooth LE.

For such a small cam­era, the EOS M5 han­dles re­mark­ably well. One of the con­trol di­als is for cus­tomis­able cam­era func­tions. You press the cen­tral but­ton re­peat­edly to choose the func­tion, then turn the dial to change the set­ting. It works re­ally well, but ini­tially only two func­tions are as­signed to it, and you have to dig pretty deep in the cus­tom set­tings menu to find out how to add more. If you don’t know where to find a par­tic­u­lar set­ting, chances are it’s on the cam­era’s Q Set screen, which dis­plays a row of set­tings icons down the left and right of the screen.

The mem­ory card and bat­tery sit next to one an­other un­der a door on the base of the cam­era — a bit of a nui­sance when you’re chang­ing cards, but a com­mon com­pro­mise in small cam­era bod­ies. This lens has a plas­tic rear-mount­ing plate, which isn’t un­usual on low-cost kit lenses, but it’s dis­ap­point­ing to find the more ex­pen­sive 18–150mm kit lens op­tion also has a plas­tic mount, mak­ing them both feel a lit­tle cheap. They’re not es­pe­cially fast, ei­ther, at just f/6.3.

The M5’s touch­screen focus works well, but if you use the viewfinder and the touch-focus fea­ture on the main screen at the same time, it’s all too easy to touch the screen ac­ci­den­tally.

While Canon’s Dual Pixel aut­o­fo­cus is bet­ter than reg­u­lar con­trast aut­o­fo­cus, it seemed to hunt and fail some­times in poor light sit­u­a­tions. The im­age re­sults are very good, al­though the re­sponse of the Eval­u­a­tive ex­po­sure me­ter­ing sys­tem proved hard to pre­dict. Very bright sub­jects led it to un­der­ex­pose now and again, so we had to dial in some pos­i­tive ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion to re­store bright­ness to the scene. The dy­namic range proved good but not ex­cep­tional in both our lab and real-world tests.

At ISO 1,600, the EOS M5’s im­ages look crisp, colour­ful and rel­a­tively noise-free at this set­ting. They’re a lit­tle nois­ier and softer at ISO 3,200 and more so at ISO 6,400 — which is prob­a­bly about as far as you’d want to go. The re­sults at ISO 12,800 are still OK, but at the max­i­mum set­ting of 25,600, the com­bined ef­fect of noise, smooth­ing and gen­eral soft­ness is pretty ex­ces­sive.

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