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).

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 M3 Canon EOS M5 Canon EOS T6s
EOS 760D
Sony A6300
Sensor effective resolution 24.2MP Hybrid CMOS III 24.2MP Dual Pixel CMOS 24.2MP CMOS Hybrid CMOS III 24.2MP Exmor CMOS
14 bit
Sensor size 22.3 x 14.9 22.3 x 14.9 mm 22.3 x 14.9mm 23.5 x 15.6mm
Focal-length multiplier 1.6x 1.6x 1.6x 1.5x
OLPF Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 12800/ISO 25600 (exp) ISO 100 - ISO 25600 ISO 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)
26 JPEG/n/a
(9fps with exposure and focus fixed on first frame)
8 raw/940 JPEG
44 JPEG/21 raw
(mag/ effective mag)
2.36m dots
0.48 in/12.2 mm
100% coverage
0.4 in/10 mm
2.36m dots
95% coverage
0.4 in/10 mm
2.4 million dots
100% coverage
Hot Shoe Yes Yes Yes Yes
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 EV 1 - 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-sync 1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/200 sec x-sync 30-1/4000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 x-sync
Metering 384 zones n/a 63-segment 7,560-zone RGB+IR 1,200 zones
Metering sensitivity 1 - 20 EV 1 - 20 EV 1 - 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 input Stereo; mic input Stereo, mic input Stereo, mic input
Manual aperture and shutter in video Yes Yes Yes Yes
Maximum best-quality recording time per clip n/a 4GB/29:59 mins 4GB 29 minutes
Clean HDMI out n/a Yes Yes Yes
IS Optical Hybrid
Optical Optical
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
Tilting, flip-up touchscreen
921,600 dots
Memory slots 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC
Wireless connection Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi, NFC
Flash Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wireless flash Yes n/a Yes Yes
Battery life (CIPA rating) 250 shots
(875 mAh)
295 shots
(1,040 mAh)
440 shots
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
(with 18-55mm STM lens)
(with 15-45mm lens)
(with 15-45mm lens)
£844 (est.)
(with 18-135mm STM lens)
(with 15-60mm PZ lens)
Release date April 2015
October 2015 (US)
November 2016 April 2015 March 2016