Over the last few years, so-called “mirrorless” hybrid cameras started appearing on the market. This new family of cameras is very similar to the “DSLR” family of digital reflex cameras, apart from the lack of a mirror in front of the shutter. This difference enables these devices to be smaller and lighter without compromising on image quality. The interchangeable lenses designed specifically for this new type of equipment are also less bulky, and therefore lighter.
I had never worked with a hybrid before trying the Canon EOS M5. Since I was used to handling robust cameras and massive lenses, I wasn’t sure I would appreciate this miniaturized material. In order to take the time to try out the camera and its lenses, I decided to go for a walk in a quiet place and do some landscape photography. With end-of-day light and a cloud-scattered sky, I had everything I needed to test the M5. I needed a few moments to adapt, but the transition was quick and natural. The M5 is an aptly named hybrid; in automatic mode, it is very easy to use and its handling is similar to a compact camera, while in manual mode, it offers all the features of a reflex, and the advanced functions are quickly accessible thanks to the various buttons and scroll wheels.
The sensor and processor
Once the sun had set, the brightness quickly decreased. Although I had to use a high sensitivity to continue taking shots, I wasn’t worried because the M5 handles digital noise well. It benefits from the same new technologies as Canon's latest reflex cameras, such as a 24-megapixel APS-C format sensor and the latest Digic 7 image processor.
The viewfinder, touch screen and autofocus system
Replacing the optical viewfinder with a digital viewfinder is the M5’s most distinguishing feature relative to a digital reflex camera. The optical viewfinder has certain advantages; among other things, it allows to customize the information visible during shooting. In my case, I preferred to use the back screen in “live view” mode to achieve my framing. It has a very bright swivel touch screen, making it a pleasure to use. Moreover, the dual pixel CMOS autofocus system is particularly easy to control using the touch screen; you simply press the screen to choose where you want to focus, and the camera follows the subject if it changes direction.
Those who, like me, don’t like to use the digital viewfinder can opt for the EOS M6, which except for the viewfinder, has basically the same characteristics as the M5. Since the screen consumes a lot of energy, the battery drained much more quickly than I had expected. In this context, it is essential to bring along a spare battery if you plan to use it for several hours.
I first tried the EF-M 18-150 mm lens. Whether photographing a wide-open landscape or focusing on a detail, this lens is so versatile that it allows you to switch from a wide angle to a telephoto shot in a single movement. Its only flaw is that it is not very bright, especially when used in telephoto mode, but this is the trade-off for such versatility.
For lovers of wide-angle shots, the EF-M/11-22 mm is ideal. It doesn’t offer the same versatility as the previous lens, but it offers a very wide angle, better optics and its construction is more robust. This lens is perfect for wide-open spaces or fabulous landscape!
The EF-M 28 mm macro is surprising; like most fixed focal lenses, it offers better sharpness than a zoom in addition to being much brighter. What sets it apart from other lenses in its class is the presence of LED lighting built into the lens itself. This extra lighting placed around the glass is useful in macrophotography when the scene is a bit too dark and you want to bring out the background subject.
Although EF-M lenses have been specifically designed for EOS M hybrid cameras, it is nevertheless possible to choose from Canon’s entire range of EF and EF-S lenses thanks to a lens mount adapter. I decided to finish my shooting session using one of my professional L-series lenses.
The EOS M5 is a camera for advanced amateurs that is very impressive. Its lightness and versatility make it the perfect camera for everyday use; there is no excuse for not having it with you at all times.
To summarize, the M5 offers:
- a 24-megapixel APS-C format CMOS sensor,
- a Digic 7 image processor,
- a 2.36-million dot “OLED” electronic viewfinder,
- a 3.2-inch, 1.62-million dot rotating touch screen,
- dual pixel CMOS automatic focus technology,
- built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth and GPS wireless connections,
- full HD video definition, up to 60 fps,
- a burst speed of 9 frames per second.