Home Cameras/Lenses Canon Photokina 2016: Hands on with the Canon EOS M5 mirrorless camera

Photokina 2016: Hands on with the Canon EOS M5 mirrorless camera


The EOS M mirrorless camera from Canon has never been a great success. Although it was a perfectly nice little touch-screen camera it just didn’t grab the imagination as Canon imagined it would. I suspect part of the problem was the lack of an electronic viewfinder or any way to fit one as an accessory.

I tested the EOS M two years ago and really liked it, despite all the naysayers. I had two lenses with it and now regret selling them because there’s a new, much nicer version on the market.

It’s refreshing to meet the new Canon EOS M5 which takes a whole new approach to how a mirrorless camera should look. Instead of trying to ape the rangefinder/compact genre, Canon has done what it does best: It has turned the EOS into a mini DSLR lookalike. Judging by the scrum of people waiting to get this little camera in their hands during Photokina I expect it will be turn out to be a success.

With a substantial grip and uber-DSLR styling, the M5 feels just like one of the smaller DSLRs in the Canon range although it is smaller and lighter (only 427g). While all the existing EOS M-mount lenses can be used, an adapter is available to handle Canon-mount glass, something that is obviously attracting a lot of interest among existing Canon users. For the first time they have a really competitive, small and light mirrorless option and I can see it appealing.

 The new EOS 5M with a standard Canon-mount prime mounted via the adapter
The new EOS 5M with a standard Canon-mount prime mounted via the adapter

I had the opportunity to grab the EOS M5 on the Canon stand at Photokina earlier this week and was impressed. It has a full set of controls (unlike the earlier EOS M models), a really well-implemented touch screen and quick autofocus. The Canon Dual Pixel autofocus system and it is one of the most impressive. The camera has the same 24MP APS-C sensor as the EOS 80D and the same ISO range of 100-16000, pushable to 25,600.

The EOS M5 will be available from November and will come with either the 15-45mm (24-75mm in 35mm terms) zoom or an all-new 18-150mm (28-240) zoom. The body will cost £1,049 and £1,149 with the 15-45mm or £1,399 with the 18-150mm. It makes a lot of sense for anyone with an existing arsenal of Canon glass but it could also tempt mirrorless fans from the likes of Sony or Fuji.


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  1. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the short synopsis. I have never used the Canon EOS M cameras for exactly the reasons you stated. First, there was no EVF and second, there was no way to add one. At the time, I owned the Canon 5d and loved it but getting older, I wanted a lighter rig for travel and frankly for everything.

    I am intrigued by the new Canon EOS M5. I like the fact that it has a built in EVF and having used my friend’s 80d, once you set up the AF, it is wonderful.

    I have three concerns, however. First, I worry that Canon only has cheapie lenses for the M series. What lenses did you own that you got rid of? I ask as when I played with an M at my local photo shop, the lenses seemed really slow to focus. Could not tell whether it was the lenses or the camera but…. which leads me to the concern. To me, the next step to cementing the EF-M mount would be the introduction of some more enthusiast-orientated lenses, rather than trying to push people towards mounting EF and EF-S lenses, via an adapter, as Canon is currently attempting. Third, I wonder whether the images out of this camera will have the magical look that I still feel the images out of the Canon 5d did.

    Best and look forward to your response and your shooting with the camera down the road.


    • Hi Ed, that’s a very important point about the lenses. It’s significant that the demo cameras at Photokina mostly had good prime glass mounted via the adapter. I agree the old EOS M lenses were basic. I had the standard zoom and the pancake (which was actually quite good). With a new camera appealing to the enthusiast they need to up their game on lenses and I am afraid it could be a long job. If they don’t devote energy (and investment) to widening the range then the whole EOS M project could fail. They have a long way to go to compete with Sony and, especially, Fuji, on the APS-C mirrorless front.

      I would like to get my hands on one but since we are really only interested in mirrorless (and rangefinder) cameras I haven’t wooed Canon. Perhaps I should get in touch.


  2. I read somewhere that Canon omitted an M4 because of some Japanese supersition. Maybe they should have avoided M5 because of some German supersition. They could have gone for the M6 which sounds altogether better!

  3. I considered the old model before plumping for the X-T2. Clearly Canon have had to up their game and this new version sounds looks like a genuine competitor. Although I note your response below Mike concerning the limited range of lenses, since Fuji have an excellent range already.


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