M For Mirrorless; Canon’s EOS M Range cameras compared

The EF-M range of mirrorless cameras is still going strong, but which model is right for you?

All the headlines over the last couple of years have been about Canon’s range of full-frame RF-mount mirrorless cameras, such as the original EOR R, the more entry level RP and, of course, the highly-specced R5. However, Canon’s other range of mirrorless cameras is still going strong. The crop sensor EF-M mount cameras offer photographers and videographers a lightweight option and plenty of impressive features. Let’s take a look at the individual models to see which one is right for your photography…

Canon M5

The M5 was launched back in 2016, but still offers a huge amount of features and technology and holds its own as a genuine alternative to heavier DSLR cameras today. Packing a 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, the M5 offers the same megapixels as a DSLR like the 80D but is around half the size and weight. Paired with the sensor is Canon’s DIGIC 7 image processing unit, which includes in-camera Diffraction Correction, and Auto Lighting Optimizer. This allows photographers to capture 14-BIT RAW files that will be able to be printed up to A3 in size or allow for some cropping without overly compromising image quality.

One of the most important features on the M5 relates to the autofocus, as the M5 offers Canon’s acclaimed Dual Pixel AF technology, which provides fast and accurate autofocus – the same technology can be found on high-end cameras like the Canon 5D Mark IV. Although the AF points are limited to 49 points, there is Face detection AF, which should help when shooting portraits and the large 3.2-inch LCD is touch sensitive, so users can simply tap the screen to establish a focus point.

Other features of the M5 include built-in Wi-Fi/NFC and Bluetooth, enabling users to connect the camera to a smartphone and upload photos while on the go. There’s also a quick start-up time of one-second and unlike the M200, there is a built-in Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), which will come in handy when trying to frame up a scene in bright sunshine. Weighing just 427g and measuring 115.6 x 89.2 x 60.6 mm, the M5 is light enough to carry around all day. Unfortunately, the M5 is not the best option for shooting video as it only offers Full HD at 60p and no slow motion option either.

Canon M6 Mark II

The Mark II replaced the original M6 in 2019 and is the highest resolution option in the whole M range – offering photographers a whopping 32.5-megapixels from the APS-C CMOS crop-sensor. This extra resolution will be very useful to landscape photographers who want to make huge prints from the 6960 x 4640 pixels, which is the maximum file size. Along with big prints, users will be able to crop heavily on frames without compromising image quality and the M6 Mark II also boasts an impressive ISO range of 100-25600, which can expand up to 51200, which will allow users to keep shooting in low light conditions.

When it comes to autofocus, the M6 Mark II offers 143 AF points and Canon’s acclaimed Dual Pixel AF technology, along with Face Detection, Eye detection and tracking AF. Images can be lined up using the 3-inch touch-sensitive LCD, which is tiltable 180 degrees up and 45 degrees down but the big difference between the M6 Mark II and the M5 is that there is no Electronic Viewfinder (EVF). That said, if an EVF really is important, photographers can buy an optional accessory EVF that fits onto the hotshoe.

The M6 Mark II also trumps the M5 when it comes to video specifications as well, and offers 4K at 30p or Full HD all the way up to 120p, enabling videographers to use this footage to create slow motion sequences. While there’s no port for headphones, there is a port for an external microphone, enabling enhanced audio to be recorded. Other features of the M6 Mark II include a battery capacity of 305 shots or 410 shots when used in Eco mode and a decent burst rate. In fact, the M6 Mark II can fire off up to 14 frames per second, which will be of great interest to wildlife and sports photographers. Despite the impressive features,  the M6 Mark II is still lightweight, tipping the scales at just 408g and measuring only 119.6 x 70.0 x 49.2mm.

Canon M50 Mark II

The newest addition to Canon’s range of crop-sensor mirrorless cameras is the M50 Mark II, which was launched in 2020 and replaced the original M50. In truth, this was an incremental upgrade, but the good news is that the Mark II retained all the great features found on the M50, including the 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, but also the 2360k-dot Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) and the 3-inch touch-sensitive vari-angle LCD. 

Weirdly, although the M50 Mark II sits in the middle of the mirrorless range, it actually is more of an all-rounder and excels in the video department, making it a popular choice for Vloggers and even film-makers needing a small B-camera that can get into spaces where other cameras can’t. In fact, the dimensions of the M50 Mark II weigh in at 116.3 x 88.1 x 58.7mm and 387g (388g if you choose the white colour option). The M50 Mark II can shoot 4K video up to 25p and Full HD up to 60p, plus there is a 120p option at Standard HD. Amazingly, there is also a 3.5mm external microphone port so videographers can use a hotshoe mic or radio mic to capture enhanced audio.

Further boosting the M50 Mark II’s all-rounder credentials is an impressive max burst rate of 10 frames per second, which should be enough to capture split second action sequences. This will be of interest to sports and wildlife photographers who are tired of carrying around a heavy DSLR – imaging attaching the small M50 Mark II to a big telephoto lens like the 400mm f/2.8 via a EF/EF-M adaptor. Other features include an autofocus system that offers 143 points and can focus in low light (down to -4EV). The M50 Mark II is so versatile that it can even be used as a webcam, should you need to give a presentation over the internet and the camera can be used to Live Stream to YouTube also. 

Canon M200

Launched in 2019, the tiny M200 can rightly be considered the most entry-level option from the M-mount range, but still packs a number of impressive features that will come in handy for a photographer who wants to carry a lightweight camera everywhere but still capture great imagery.

Built around a 24.1-megapixel APS-C sensor that delivers a maximum file size of 6000 x 4000 pixels (which should be enough to make prints up to A3 in size), the M200 shoots both JPEG and RAW file formats, offering users more options when it comes to editing images in post-processing software such as Lightroom. The big reason to choose the M200 over the other M range cameras is the tiny dimension and lightweight properties. Tipping the scales at only 299g, the M200 measures just 108.2 x 67.1 x 35.1mm, making it suitable for stashing in your jacket pocket and carrying around all day.

Packing Canon’s DIGIC 8 processor unit, the M200 features 143 AF points to help lock on to subjects quickly and accurately and there’s a decent battery life on offer as the M200 can capture 315 shots on a single charge (or 485 shots when used in Eco mode). 

The M200 isn’t the fastest camera and with a maximum burst rate of 6.1 frames per second the M200 won’t be the best option for action photography such as sports or wildlife. Images are lined up using the 3-inch touch-sensitive LCD, which features a tilting design that can be flipped all the way up for selfies or Vlogging. Speaking of video, the M200 is well specced for its size and can record 4K video up to 25p or Full HD up to 60p. There is a 120p option to capture slow motion sequences, but this is only available at standard HD.