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Canon EOS M5 may be the company's first competitive mirrorless camera

With much improved performance specs over the sluggish older models, the M5 looks like it might be a solid addition to the line and a decent alternative to Canon's similarly priced Rebels.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
2 min read

With the EOS M5, Canon takes a step toward offering a mirrorless model that might finally compete with its entry-level dSLRs as well as other interchangeable-lens competitors. The camera has the specs and the features to surpass the EOS Rebel T6s/760D, at roughly the same price. I can't help but wonder if it's a tacit acknowledgement that while entry-level dSLRs are still selling, the popular ones are around $600 or less, so it doesn't matter anymore to Canon if they cut into the next price tier up.

Canon plans to ship the body and a kit with the EF-M 15-45mm f3.5-6.3 IS STM lens in November for $980 and $1,100, respectively. I don't have non-US pricing for anything yet, but those directly convert to roughly £740/AU$1,310 and £830/AU$1,470. A kit with the EF-M 18-150mm f3.5-6.3 IS STM lens for $1,480 (£1,120, AU$1,980) will follow in December; you'll be able to buy the 18-150mm lens for $500 (£378, AU$670).

Shop for Canon EOS M5 (with 18-150mm STM lens)

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Canon's new EOS M5 mirrorless looks more like a dSLR

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That new EF-M 18-150mm lens is a compact substitute for the older 18-135mm IS STM, with a longer maximum focal length of 240mm-equivalent, intended as a general-purpose option for the single-lens customer.

What's notable

  • The sensor. One of the biggest complaints about Canon's previous mirrorless models (like the M3) has been sluggish performance. Canon incorporates its Dual Pixel CMOS into the M5, the same sensor that's in the 80D, which should provide much better autofocus speed and tracking performance than the hybrid CMOS in the M3 and T6s/760D. It also facilitates the M5's finally competitive continuous-shooting rating, 7fps with autofocus and autoexposure, and Canon claims its image quality will match or surpass that of the 80D.
  • Image stabilization. With the M5, Canon joins the club of mirrorless manufacturers offering hybrid (optical plus sensor shift) stabilization, with 5-axis compensation.
  • Design. It has a far more dSLR-like appearance. This is the first Canon mirrorless to incorporate a built-in electronic viewfinder and a real grip. The touchscreen display tilts down for selfies.
  • Features. Canon picks up Olympus' formerly unique capability of using the back LCD as a touchpad when you use the viewfinder to select autofocus areas. Like some of Nikon's cameras, it also adds Bluetooth for maintaining a persistent low-energy connection between the camera and your phone, in order to quickly wake Wi-Fi for remote shooting and file transfers.

My take

It's nice to see Canon finally taking mirrorless seriously and the M5 looks like the company's first real contender in that market.

But it still has to face the similarly priced Sony A6300, which has several advantages, including faster continuous shooting with a sophisticated autofocus system, the ability to shoot 4K video, better battery life, a more compact body and support for a larger selection of lenses without requiring an adapter. However, Canon's hybrid optical stabilization system does get a win over the A6300; Sony stuck with optical-only for that camera.

Comparative specs

Canon EOS M3Canon EOS M5"Canon EOS T6s EOS 760D"Sony A6300
Sensor effective resolution 24.2MP Hybrid CMOS III24.2MP Dual Pixel CMOS24.2MP CMOS Hybrid CMOS III"24.2MP Exmor CMOS 14 bit"
Sensor size 22.3 x 14.922.3 x 14.9 mm22.3 x 14.9mm23.5 x 15.6mm
Focal-length multiplier 1.6x1.6x1.6x1.5x
OLPF YesYesYesYes
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 12800/ISO 25600 (exp)ISO 100 - ISO 25600ISO 100 - ISO 12800/25600 (exp)ISO 100 - ISO 25600/ISO 51200 (exp)
Burst shooting "None with continuous AF/AE (4.2fps with fixed focus and exposure)""7fps 26 JPEG/n/a (9fps with exposure and focus fixed on first frame)""5fps 8 raw/940 JPEG ""11fps 44 JPEG/21 raw"
"Viewfinder (mag/ effective mag)" "Optional EVF (DVF-DC1) 2.36m dots 0.48 in/12.2 mm 100% coverage""EVF 0.4 in/10 mm 2.36m dots n/a""Optical 95% coverage 0.82x/0.51x""OLED EVF 0.4 in/10 mm 2.4 million dots 100% coverage 1.07x/0.7x"
Hot Shoe YesYesYesYes
Autofocus "49-point Phase-detection AF"49-point phase-detection"19-point phase-detection AF all cross-type center dual cross to f2.8"425-point phase detection, 169-area contrast AF
AF sensitivity 2 - 18 EV1 - 18 EV-0.5 - 18 EV-1 - 20 EV
Shutter speed 30 - 1/4000 sec.; bulb; 1/200 x-sync 1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/200 sec x-sync1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/200 sec x-sync30-1/4000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 x-sync
Metering 384 zonesn/a63-segment 7,560-zone RGB+IR1,200 zones
Metering sensitivity 1 - 20 EV1 - 20 EV1 - 20 EV-2 - 20 EV
Best video "H.264 Quicktime MOV 1080/30p, 25p, 24p; 720/60p, 50p""H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/60p, 30p, 24p""H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p, 25p, 24p; 720/60p"XAVC S @ 100Mbps; UHD 4K 2160/30p, 25p, 24p; 1080/120p
Audio Stereo; mic inputStereo; mic inputStereo, mic inputStereo, mic input
Manual aperture and shutter in video YesYesYesYes
Maximum best-quality recording time per clip n/a4GB/29:59 mins4GB29 minutes
Clean HDMI out n/aYesYesYes
IS Optical"Hybrid 5-axis"OpticalOptical
Display "3-inch/7.7 cm Tilting touchscren 1.04m dots ""3.2 in/8cm Tilting touchscreen 1.62m dots""3 in/7.7 cm Articulated touchscreen 1.04m dots""3-inch/7.5cm Tilting, flip-up touchscreen 921,600 dots"
Memory slots 1 x SDXC1 x SDXC1 x SDXC1 x SDXC
Wireless connection Wi-Fi, NFCWi-Fi, NFC, BluetoothWi-Fi, NFCWi-Fi, NFC
Flash YesYesYesYes
Wireless flash Yesn/aYesYes
Battery life (CIPA rating) "250 shots (875 mAh)""295 shots (1,040 mAh)""440 shots n/a""350 (VF), 400 (LCD) (1,020 mAh)"
Size (WHD) "4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in 110.9 x 68.0 44.4 mm""4.6 x 3.5 x 2.4 in 116 x 89 x 61 mm""5.2 x 4.0 x 3.1 in 131.9 x 100.9 x 77.8 mm""4.7 x 2.6 x 1.9 in 119 x 66 x 48mm"
Body operating weight "13.3 oz 376 g""15.1 oz (est.) 427 g (est.)""20.0 oz (est.) 565 g (est.)""14.3 oz (est.) 405 g (est.)"
Primary kit "$600 AU$840 (with 18-55mm STM lens) £530 (with 15-45mm lens)""$1,100 (with 15-45mm lens)""$1,050 £844 (est.) AU$1,350 (with 18-135mm STM lens)""$1,150 £1,350 (with 15-60mm PZ lens)"
Release date "April 2015 October 2015 (US)"November 2016April 2015March 2016