A few days ago, Canon announced the release of a new camera of the mirrorless variety. The Canon EOS M50. Overall it seems like a ok camera at a reasonable price, but I would argue that it would almost have been better if it was just a little bit worse.
First off, the M50 has a 24.1MP APS-C sensor which is relatively large and touts Canonʻs class leading Dual Pixel Auto-Focus. Its even on par with the Sony a7R III with the ability to shoot 10 shots per second in burst mode. Not bad for a camera costing less than $800. Plus, you get that gorgeous Canon color science to go along with it.
But heres where it gets muddy. One of the highlighting features of this camera is 4K video recording. At first, that sounds fine and dandy, until you discover all of the compromises that come along with it.
The M50ʻs APS-C sensor is what we refer to as a crop sensor. This means that you have to multiply the focal length of any lens you put on this camera by 1.6x. This means that the 15-45mm kit lens option is the full frame equivalent of a 24-72mm. Considering that 24-70mm is one of the most popular focal lengths on full frame cameras, this sounds pretty awesome right? The problem is that the moment you switch to 4K video recording on the M50, it imposes an additional crop of 1.6x again. Thats a 2.56x crop factor. That same kit lens now becomes the equivalent of ~38-115mm. With an extremely sparse EF-M lens lineup, the widest being 11-22mm (~28-56mm equivalent), you basically give up all possibility of shooting any truly wide shots in 4K.
Dual Pixel Auto-Focus?
Lately, Canon users have been in constant unrest, going back and forth on weather or not the camera juggernaut has been doing enough innovation to keep its users feeling like they have the best gear in their arsenal. In the video realm, there have been just a few factors that have kept Canon relevant at all. Canonʻs color science, usability, and Dual Pixel Auto-Focus. To date, I haven’t used a camera that is as easy or as enjoyable to use as the focus tracking on our Canon 5D mark IV. Of course itʻs not perfect, but its a delight to use. The M50 is packed with that same focusing technology! Of course though, the moment you switch to 4K recording, that feature is disabled. What a kick in the testies.
Now back to my original point. This is a pretty solid camera otherwise, with 1080p at 60fps, even 720p at 120fps, and 24.1MP photos at 10fps. It has a very well articulating touch screen, high resolution OLED viewfinder and extended ISO up to 51,200. All of these are pretty solid considering its sub $800 price tag. Its probably a perfect camera for vloggin or BTS if you ask me.
If Canon would have released this camera without any 4K functionality, they definitely would have received a lot of criticism regardless, but it would have been relatively clear that the M50 was not meant to compete with other 4K mirrorless cameras like Sonyʻs A6500, or even Panasonicʻs GH5 (both of which are well over $1000). Take away the 4K video mode in the M50 and it becomes a highly capable HD camera with a relatively large sensor, high photo frame rate, incredible auto-focus, all for less than $800 (body only). If Canon had made the M50 just a little but worse, it would be so much better.
The Canon M50 was announced on February 25th and is expected to be release on March 28, 2018 and will be available in black or white.