The Canon M50: Another Day, Another New Camera Launch

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They have finally done it. Canon have put 4K in a mirrorless camera!

There have been a lot of announcements recently such as the Sony A7Riii and the Fujifilm X-H1 but now it’s Canon’s turn. The Canon M50 is the first mirrorless camera from the manufacturer that is able to record video in 4K, making it one of our favorite Canon cameras for vlogging. It’s something other manufacturers like Sony have been doing for a good few years now, but Canon have finally caught up.

The M50 is a clear contender to take back a chunk of the vlogging camera market from the likes of Sony and Panasonic who have slowly become the go-to choice for one-man-band movie makers.

One of it’s main features is the flip out screen that flips out to the side and rotates 180 degrees (like it should), unlike previous Canon models which have flipped up, down and in any strange/awkward direction possible to make using it with a tripod or external microphone at the same time about as easy as tying your shoelaces with oven gloves on.

The other main features of the M50 are its compact size due to it being a mirrorless body with an APS-C size sensor, an external microphone input and of course its party piece, 4K video.

All of this lends itself perfectly to being used for vlogging. It’s also fairly priced at around $779 for the body only, or $899 with the 15-45mm kit lens.

Basic specs

  • 24.1MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • 2.36m-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • Touchscreen
  • 4K at 24fps, 1080p at 60fps & 720p at 120fps
  • 143 Contrast Detection AF Points
  • 99 Phase Detection AF Points
  •  Eye Detection AF which locks onto a subjects eyes to make sure they are always in focus

Things to take into consideration

  1. The Canon M50 uses what they call Dual Sensing Image Stabilisation. Which basically means there is a chip inside the camera that works with stabilised lenses to help give you the smoothest image possible. It senses when the image is shaky and works with the lens’s built in stabilisation. So as long as you’re using a lens with OIS then you should be just fine, but the body doesn’t have full in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) built in like you find on the more premium models.
  2. The dual-pixel phase detection auto focus doesn’t work in 4K mode, it will revert to contrast detection. This is a bit of a problem as the Canon dual-pixel phase detection AF is amazing and couldn’t work any better, the same can’t be said for contrast detection. Long story short, it hunts for focus a little in 4K mode.
  3. You already have to deal with a 1.6x crop as the M50 has an APS-C sized sensor but in 4K that crop increases even more. In 1080p mode a 15mm lens would give you an equivalent focal length of 24mm but in 4K 15mm becomes more like 35mm. Something to take into consideration.

Small camera, small files

The Canon M50 has an all new DIGIC 8 processor in it which is the reason it’s able to record in 4K. The DIGIC 8 also produces much smaller RAW files than previous iterations of Canon mirrorless cameras, namely the M5. They have done away with the older M-RAW and S-RAW file formats, which cut down on file size at the expense of maximum quality, and replaced them with the new C-RAW format which uses the .CR3 extension. C-RAW stores maximum data but in a file roughly 40% the size of the old M-RAW files.

All in all the M50 is Canon’s attempt at catching up in the mirrorless market as for years they have been lagging behind. Their first serious attempt, the M5, was ok but lacked a lot of basic features other camera brands were including as standard. It’s sure to do well but does it give photographers and videographers the same level of flexibility other manufacturers do?