Best Travel Camera

The Canon EOS M50 is a versatile, capable and compact, mirrorless camera with 24.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 8 image processor. Feature rich with a solid feel polycarbonate body construction.

General

Mirrorless Cameras

Let’s put it in perspective by comparing the new mirrorless technology with existing, tried and tested DSLR (digital Single Lens Reflex) technology.

A DSLR camera uses a series of mirrors to get the image to the optical viewfinder, through which you look when you take the photo. The mirror is lifted, light is allowed to hit the sensor and the photo is taken.

Mirrorless cameras don’t have these mirrors, making them inherently more compact and lighter. Instead of the optical view finder, a digital preview of the photo is shown on the rear screen or electronic view finder (EVF).

Canon and Mirrorless Technology

Canon, being the last among the big names to release a mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses has substantially advanced the complete package of their mirrorless cameras since the release of their first (EOS-M) in July 2012.

The EOS M50 was released in March 2018, almost 6 years later. The available lenses for Canon mirrorless cameras are limited but this is overcome by the EF-M to EF lense mount adapter without adding much bulk and without losing any functionality.

The M50

Shooting Modes

The M50 has a plethora of shooting modes. The 6 most notable are, Scene Intelligent Auto, Shutter priority AE (Automatic Exposure), Aperture priority AE, and Manual exposure. 

Scene Intelligent Auto mode turns it into a brilliant point and shoot that quickly and effectively adjusts settings to suit most scenes, allowing a complete novice to take great photos while Manual allows you full control.

Electronic View Finder and Back Screen

For the more advanced users, the M50 EVF has multiple overlay options, including a liveview image with full info or a histogram. It is a 0.39-type OLED Electronic Viewfinder with 2,360,000 dots. The back screen is a vari-angle, 7.5 cm (3.0”) Touchscreen LCD (TFT) with 3:2 aspect ratio and 1,040,000 dots.

In my opinion, the EVF and back screen images are good representations of your final photo. I would have missed the convenience of the EFV in low light situations when you don’t want the back screen light-on.

The back screen is a fully articulated, vari-angle type, meaning it can be hidden (turned in), face the front of the camera or any position in between. This allows a user to see the image if they are shooting themselves or have the screen positioned comfortably for interesting shots.

Crop Factor

Something to note is that with crop sensors such as the M50, you have a crop factor of 1.6x. Crop factor is there so we can figure out the actual field of view of a lens based on an equivalent focal length when using a sensor smaller than 35mm (which is the baseline for lenses).

This effectively gives you a telefocal effect on a lense – for example, changing a 50mm to a 75mm. If you will be doing a lot of wide angle photography, perhaps with landscapes, crop factor is definitely worth exploring further.

From my experience with shooting scenery/landscapes and wildlife, this didn’t affect me negatively, in fact, it improved my zoom capabilities. You can easily hold the M50 at arms length with the 15 – 45 mm Canon kit lense and take a group photo.

Video Shooting Mode

One of the major pro’s is the M50’s capability of shooting continuous 4k video at 24fps, Full HD at 60 fps and HD video at 120 fps – giving users the ability to add high speed or UHD footage to projects. If you are of the vlogger persuasion, this, along with the 3.5 mm microphone jack, would appeal to you.

The crop factor does play a role here as the video crop factor is 2.56x. Holding the camera at arms length with the kit lense, filming yourself can crop the edges of your face. This is a definite con because it means to vlog UHD/4k, you will need another lense (some kits do come with a wide angle lense) or you need to switch to Full HD or HD, which reduces the crop to a manageable level.

Not forgetting the usage limitation of the improved Dual Pixel CMOS AF to Full HD and below, 4k having contrast-detection AF, which is not bad on the M50.

Connectivity

The M50 has wireless LAN with dynamic NFC support as well as Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity. Paired with the mobile app you can remotely adjust camera parameters (ISO, aperture, focus points and more), activate camera and download images and videos to your mobile device. I’ve used this feature to take group photos from around 10m away and it worked brilliantly.

There are three connecting ports; HDMI, micro-USB and a 3.5mm microphone jack. Although the micro-USB cannot be used for charging.

PROS.CONS
Continuous 4k video shooting at 24fps4k video only has contrast-detection AF
Lightweight Adapter required to use many/3rd party lenses (Mirrorless camera tech is new)
Very good image qualityHigh crop factor when shooting 4k video
Adaptable – Hot shoe, 3.5 mm microphone jack, wireless connectivity, HDMI.

When comparing it to some of its competitors among the other big names as well as other Canon cameras, it is extremely competitive among the crop sensor cameras available, it is definitely one of the best. 

Canon M50Canon M100Canon M5Sony a6300Fujifilm X-T20Nikon D5600
Body with basic kit lenseR8,695.00R5,795.00R9,995.00R16,795.00R14,995.00R12,195.00
Resolution24MP24MP24MP24MP24MP24MP
Sensor sizeAPS-CAPS-CAPS-CAPS-CAPS-CAPS-C
StabilizationLens IS + digitalLens ISLens ISLens ISLens ISLens IS
EVF2.36M-dotNoNo2.36M-dot2.36M-dotOptical viewfinder
AF system (live view)Dual Pixel w/121 pointsDual Pixel w/49 pointsDual Pixel w/49 pointsHybrid AF w/425 PDAF pointsHybrid AF w/91 PDAF pointsHybrid AF w/39-point PD AF points
LCD3″ fully-articulating3″ tilting3″ tilting3″ tilting3″ tilting3.2″ fully-articulating
Number of control dials113222
TouchscreenYesYesYesNoYesYes
Burst speed (with AF)7.4 fps4 fps7 fps11 fps8 fps5 fps
Video4K/24p & 1080/60p1080/60p1080/60p4K/30p4K/30p1080/60p
WirelessWi-Fi + NFC + BTWi-Fi + NFC + BTWi-Fi + NFC + BTWi-Fi + NFCWi-FiWi-Fi + NFC + BT
Battery life235 shots295 shots295 shots400 shots350 shots970 shots
Dimensions (mm)116x88x59108x67x35112x68x45120x67x49118x83x41124 x 97 x 70
Weight387 g (black)302 g390 g404 g383 g465 g

Final Thoughts

This is a versatile, well priced camera that outperforms the more expensive flagship Canon EOS M5. It feels solid and is a serious competitor. Even though it is 4k/UHD capable, it has some, manageable, limitations, resulting from crop factor.

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Acronym:
AE – Automatic Exposure
EOS – Electro-Optical System
M – Mobility
AF – Auto Focus

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