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: Verdict
With the EOS M5, Canon has finally made the kind of mirrorless model that its users have been asking for. With its built-in electronic viewfinder and plentiful set of controls, it should appeal strongly to enthusiasts in a way the firm’s previous models patently haven’t, while its Dual Pixel autofocus works remarkably well even with old EF-mount SLR lenses. This means it certainly has a lot of potential for persuading Canon’s dyed-in-the-wool DSLR users to try out mirrorless technology for the first time, especially with the EF lens adapter included in the box.
The camera handles well, too, with all those buttons and dials making it quick and easy to change exposure settings, although those with larger hands might find it all a bit cramped. One aspect where it falls painfully short, however, is focus area selection; it’s inexcusable for a body costing over £1,000 not to have a dedicated control for this function. However, image quality is very good indeed, and the camera gives you all the information you need to override its automated systems on the rare occasions they get things wrong.
But while there’s a great deal to like about the EOS M5, in some ways it does feel rather behind the times. The relatively noisy shutter and lack of a silent electronic option makes it less discreet than we’ve come to expect from recent mirrorless models, and the inability to show a live view feed during continuous shooting is also a few years out of date. And while the relatively small viewfinder, tilt-only screen and non-weathersealed construction would be forgivable if the camera’s cost was closer to the similarly-specified Fujifilm X-T10 or Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, the fact is that cameras like the Panasonic G80 and Sony A6300 simply give you much more for your money.
Indeed, the huge problem for the EOS M5 is its price, and this makes it difficult to rate. I suspect Canon would argue that you’re paying for a sophisticated sensor and processor, and to be perfectly honest I think we’re going to have to get used to all new cameras looking much more expensive in the immediate future. But right now, £1,049 body-only is simply too much to pay in this competitive sector. However, if the price were to drop closer to £800 then the EOS M5 would be a much more serious contender.