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Canon EOS M5 review: Canon’s best CSC yet

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1399
inc VAT

Classy and capable, the EOS M5 proves that Canon is serious about mirrorless cameras


  • Elegant controls
  • Compatible with EF-S lenses (via an adapter)
  • Versatile 18-150mm kit lens


  • No 4K video
  • Limited number of EOS-M lenses

Canon EOS M5 review: Image quality

With the same sensor as the Canon EOS 80D, the M5 gets off to a good start for image quality. Colour reproduction in JPEGs is excellent, and details at low ISO speeds are smooth, clean and natural. Noise levels are kept in check as the ISO speed goes up, and it had no problem seeing off the Panasonic GH4 for photo quality in low light.

The Canon EOS M5, Sony a6300 and Fujifilm X-T2 all use 24-megapixel APS-C sensors and are hard to separate in our studio tests at slower ISO speeds (the X-T20 uses the same sensor and processor as the X-T2 so we can expect similar results here, too). The X-T2 edged ahead by ISO 1600, though, and showed a clear lead by the time I’d reached ISO 6400.

Canon EOS M5, Sony a6300, Fujifilm X-T2, Panasonic GH4, JPEG details

^ Noise reduction at ISO 12800 takes its toll on fine details. The Fujifilm X-T2 comes out on top here

Real-world tests revealed superb handling of dense, subtle textures such as foliage, skin ad hair. The surprisingly fast ISO and shutter speeds sometimes took the edge off fine details but pictures still looked pretty good at ISO 1600 so it wasn’t a significant problem. There was a slight softness towards the edges of frames with the 18-150mm kit lens but, again, it wasn’t a big issue. The 28mm macro and 50mm f/1.8mm EF-S lenses both produced excellent results in their specialist fields.

Canon EOS M5 sample 1

^ Lots of dense detail and subtle variations of colour in this brightly lit shot. Focus trails off slightly towards the edges of the frame with the 18-150mm kit lens, though. (1/400s, f/5.6, ISO 100, 45mm equivalent)

Canon EOS M5 2

^ This high-contrast scene is handled well by the metering system, with the overcast sky just short of clipping and nicely exposed foliage. The 1/250s shutter speed is excessively fast, raising the ISO speed to 400. There’s a very slight loss of fine detail as a result. (1/250s, f/3.5, ISO 400, 29mm equivalent)

Canon EOS M5 3

^ The moving subjects in this scene means the 1/250s shutter speed is justified. Picture quality is holding together well at ISO 1600. (1/250s, f/6.3, ISO 1600, 118mm equivalent)

Canon EOS M5 4

^ This brightly lit indoor shot exhibits detailed, natural skin and hair textures and a rich colour palette. (1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 200, 35mm equivalent)

Canon EOS M5 5

^ Noise is more noticeable at ISO 2000. The camera has sensibly given up trying to raise the shutter speed to avoid blur as this would lead to lots more noise. (1/40s, f/5.6, ISO 2000, 83mm equivalent)

Canon EOS M5 6

^ It’s still turning in passable shots at ISO 12800 — just about. (1/15s, f/3.5, ISO 12800, 29mm equivalent)

Canon EOS M5 7

^ Switching to a 50mm f/1.8 lens (connected via a mount adapter) gives great low-light performance and a shallow depth of field. (1/320s, f/1.8, ISO 500, 80mm equivalent)

Canon EOS M5 8

^ The new 28mm macro lens incorporates dual LED lights to illuminate subjects. I stopped down to f/8 to keep more of the subject (some cherry tomatoes with an outbreak of mould) in focus. The resulting ISO 2500 setting hasn’t damaged quality too much. (1/60s, f/8, ISO 2500, 45mm equivalent)

Canon EOS M5 review: Verdict

The Canon EOS M5 has plenty of weaknesses. It lacks 4K, which makes it a no-go for anyone who’s serious about video, and that’s a big disappointment considering how well appointed its other video features are. The relatively small viewfinder is another aspect that takes the shine off, and the relative sparsity of EF-M lenses is a major drawback.

Yet, there are signs of life here. Compatibility with EF-S lenses (via an adapter) may swing the pendulum back the other way for Canon SLR owners, and the controls and ergonomics are mostly excellent, particularly the Touch & Drag AF system.

Canon will need to do more than this to warrant a five-star review, but the EOS M5 is its most credible mirrorless camera to date and, I hope, a taste of great things to come.

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Canon EOS M5 specifications

Sensor resolution24 megapixels
Sensor size22.3×14.9mm (APS-C)
Focal length multiplier1.6x
Optical stabilisationAvailable in lenses
ViewfinderElectronic (2,360,000 dots)
Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverage100%
LCD screen3.2in (1,620,000 dots)
Orientation sensorYes
Photo file formatsJPEG, RAW (CR2)
Maximum photo resolution6,000×4,000
Photo aspect ratios4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1
Video compression formatMP4 (AVC) at up to 35Mbit/s
Video resolutions1080p at 24/25/30/50/60fps, 720p at 50/60fps, VGA at 25/30fps
Slow motion video modesN/A
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)29m 59s
Exposure modesProgram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed range30 to 1/4,000 seconds
ISO speed range100 to 25600
Exposure compensationEV +/-3
White balanceAuto, 6 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
Auto-focus modesMulti, flexible spot, face detect, tracking
Metering modesMulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash modesAuto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modesSingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, HDR, time lapse
Kit lens
Kit lens model nameCanon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM
Optical stabilisationYes
Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths)8.3x (29-240mm)
Maximum aperture (wide-tele)f/3.5-5.6
35mm-equivalent aperturef/5.6-9
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus (wide)25cm
Closest macro focus (tele)45cm
Lens mountCanon EF-M
Card slotSDXC
Memory suppliedNone
Battery typeLi-ion
ConnectivityUSB, micro HDMI, 3.5mm microphone, wired remote
WirelessWi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth
GPSVia smartphone app
HotshoeCanon E-TTL
Body materialPlastic
AccessoriesUSB cable, next strap
Weight427g (body only)
Dimensions (HxWxD)89x116x61mm (body only)
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price including VAT£1,399
Part code1279C048AA

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