15 September 2016
Canon’s EOS M5 is their most serious mirrorless camera yet, but it can’t shoot 4K
The EOS M5 is the first Canon mirrorless camera with a built-in electronic viewfinder. The M5 looks a bit like an SLR, and it’s the first of the EOS-M range that can really compete with mirrorless offerings from Panasonic and Sony for video. You can use compact EF-M lenses designed for the M system, or standard Canon EF lenses with an adapter. The M5 can shoot Full HD 1080p slow motion and time-lapse, but not 4K.
Like Canon’s 80D DSLR, the M5 has fast dual-pixel autofocus for video. It adds a useful ‘touch-and-drag’ mode which lets you select focus points using the screen while looking through the electronic viewfinder. The screen tilts up for low angle shots, and down 90 degrees for high angle shots and selfies.
It also has ‘five axis’ image stabilisation (with IS lenses). This combines in-lens optical image stabilisation with digital stabilisation in the camera body.
You can buy it body only, or as a kit with a 15-45 or 18-150 zoom lens.
Compared with other Canon cameras
If you can live without the fast autofocus and image stabilisation, the EOS M3 (reviewed) is less than half the price. But an electronic viewfinder costs an extra $200/£200.
The 80D SLR is much bigger, but it has better battery life and a headphone jack.
Compared with rival mirrorless cameras
Canon have a good reputation for reliability and usability, and better colour rendition than its rivals, but the M5 can’t shoot 4K.
The Panasonic G85 (US)/G80 (Europe) is similarly priced, also has in-body stabilisation and can shoot 4K. But Panasonic colours aren’t as good, and the smaller MFT sensor isn’t as good for low light and creative shallow focus.
The Sony A6300 is a similar price to the M5, shoots 4K and also has an APS-C sensor. But it’s known for overheating when shooting 4K.