It’s been a long wait, but finally Canon has launched its first really serious SLR-style mirrorless camera. Andy Westlake finds out how it stands up in this competitive market
Canon EOS M5 review: Autofocus
Previous Canon EOS M-series cameras have been a noticeably sluggish when it comes to autofocus, but with its Dual Pixel AF and snappy processor, the EOS M5 is an entirely different matter. With native EF-M lenses it’s very comparable to other recent mirrorless models, acquiring accurate focus on static subjects in the blink of an eye. Because the AF system uses the main image sensor rather than a separate light path as in DSLRs, AF is also exceptionally accurate, with no tendency to front or back focus, as long as you pick a focus target with suitably high contrast.
More impressively, the EOS M5 also works very well with legacy EF-mount DSLR lenses on the Canon EF-EOS M mount adapter, and not just those with high-powered USM motors. We tested it with everything from a modern Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art back to the original micromotor-driven EF 50mm f/1.8, including a Micro USM-powered EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, and even an old Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 EX DG. All autofocused quickly and decisively, much as they would on DSLR, and I’d have no hesitation using EF lenses for everyday shooting. Indeed the only point where the EOS M5 struggled was when trying to autofocus with slow EF lenses in low light. Compared to Canon’s previous mirrorless models, it’s a huge step forward.
Manual focus hasn’t been neglected, with a focus peaking display available in a choice of three colours and two sensitivity levels. It can either be set to display whenever you’re using manual focus, or toggled on and off using a function button. A magnified view is also available by pressing the AF area button and spinning the front dial, but unusually can’t be made to engage automatically whenever you turn the focus ring.