EOS M5 One Year and > 6000 Photos: Experience Review of an Awesome Piece of Gear

February 24, 2018  •  1 Comment

Introduction

End of December 2016 I bought my EOS M5. I added some native  lenses to this Camera - there are not so many but those are pretty good ones. And since that I literally stopped shooting with my µ43 gear and the EOSM5 became my "always with me" gear. And one more thing: When i take my EOS 5DMkIV with me - the M5 was the APS-C body and not the 7D MkII.... 

2018_02_24EOS 5D Mark IV9616.jpg2018_02_24EOS 5D Mark IV9616.jpg Yes: this camera is used... a lot....

I am pretty happy to see that some other reviewers start to identify this camera as that what it really is: an awesome peace of gear - and definitely a really great camera.

What did I do with the M5

First of all: a lot of traveling as well as product photography. Additionally I used the camera on family events like weddings...

The M5 has seen quite a bit of the planet:

  • USA
  • China
  • Japan
  • HongKong
  • Italy
  • France
  • UK
  • Switzerland

Most of the trips came along with my regular business, but some of the trips had been with the family.  I do want to share some of the Very best photos from all these trips here....

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This Photo was shot in San Francisco with the Zeiss Milvus 50mm f1.4. The amazing part of this Selfie was: It was really cold.... 170319_M5_0689.jpg170319_M5_0689.jpg

Shanghai... Top of Shanghai... Shot with the Samyang 12mm f2

 

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Tokyo... this time at the harbor.... Again the Samyang 12mm f2.

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Rome... St Peter. Again: the 12mm f2....

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This is a product shot: Thin Disks for Thin Disk Lasers... This time the lens is the EF-M 28mm f3.5 macro STM

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This 3 girls I shot with the EF 35mm f1.4L USM MkII

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The Magic Calanques close to Cassis in the Provence, France. A panoramic shot with the EF-M 22mm f2.0

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Again the EF 35mm f1.4L USM MkII - on another wedding.....

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This shot I do love due to the color rendering. Not much processing... It was shot during a test period of the brand new Zeiss Milvus 35mm f1.4... More about this lens in my review. Location: Marstal, Denmark...

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Hongkong.... Victoria Peak. Shot with the Samyang 12mm f2

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The Latvian Ethnological Open Air Museum in Riga.... here a little baby swing... this photo shows the dynamic range of the M5... The lens in this case: the EF-M 22mm f2.0

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A little bit of a fun shot... The Moose in front of the fence.... shot with the EF 200mm f2.8.... in Jackson

171104_M5_0212.jpg171104_M5_0212.jpg Flims Switzerland. This is Lake Cresta, one of 2 really magic lakes there. Shot with the Samyang 12mm f2.

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London, Princess Ann at the Graduation of the University College of Ostheopathy... shot with the EF-M 22mm f2...

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Newcastle in Northern Ireland. Lens: EF-M 22mm f2

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Christmas Cookie preparation... The EF-M 28mm f3.5 macro delivers shots you cannot perform otherwise....

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With the EF 85mm f1.4 IS USM I added another really great lens to the portfolio - this portrait show the nice and beautiful bokeh of that lens.... 

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Night shots... Even in this discipline the M5 delivers... The lens: the Samyang 12mm f2.0...

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And finally: San Francisco again. This view is just amazing. Shot with the EF 50mm f1.4....

Panoramic shots

I do live panorama shots. I do own a couple of panorama heads - depending on the tripod size. The good thing on the M% I can use the lightest tripod for traveling: my Gitzo...

Pano San Francisco schmal_CR1.jpgPano San Francisco schmal_CR1.jpg San Franciso, shot with the 22mm f2.0.

New Buybridge complete_CR1.jpgNew Buybridge complete_CR1.jpg San Francisco again. This time shot with the Zeiss Milvus 50mm f1.4. The magic of this Panorama is the resolution in the original file: ca 1/4 Gigapixel....

170317_M5_0609_CR1 Panorama.jpg170317_M5_0609_CR1 Panorama.jpg

HDR Panorama on Shanghai with the Samyang 12mm f2...

Focal length distribution

When I look at all the photos I shot with my M5 and put in the "Best of M5" folder for this review It is maybe interesting which focal range I do prefer:

Best of my EOS M5: Distribution of focal length
focal length [mm] No of shots
12 12
22 12
28 8
35 10
50 18
85 3
200 2

 

Interestingly is the distribution of the  50mm shots -which represents my preferences. The majority is shot with the Milvus followed by the EF 1.4. The reason is pretty simple: the bokeh of the f1.4 is more pleasant....

 

The M5 as Travel Camera: What's with my Travel Bag

If you think the title is wrong - it is not. Because it starts with the bag itself. I do travel a lot - more than 1/3 of the year I am traveling- mostly to conferences and trade shows all over the world. And I always do have my travel gear with me.... I do use a Thule Crossover Daypack. Here I have my business gear with me - My notebook, iPad, documents, sunglasses, power supplies etc. And in this backpack I do carry my camera gear. Additionally. In the time to the µ43 cameras I carried the camera in the sunglass compartment and the lenses in little Manfrotto poaches. With the EOS M5 I changed the system. I added a Tenba "Tools BYOB"/"Packlite Flatback Bundle 13" to my bag portfolio. And this fits into my Thule backpack.

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What's in this bag?

  • spare battery (definitely needed (!))
  • battery charger incl. power cable
  • Remote control (IR + Cable)
  • Canon Speedlite 430 EXiii RT
  • Canon RT Trigger Remote
  • EFM 28mm f 3.5 macro
  • Samyang 12mm f2.0
  • EF 50 mm f1.4 USM - with the EF-EFM adapter
  • EF 85mm f 1.4 L IS USM

Quite a lot - and all needed.

The camera itself has the EFM 22mm f2.0 mounted and it is unprotected above the Tenba bag in the same compartment that the Tenba.

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During the time of usage I do had some changes.... 

  • For the 50 mm range I used as well
    • The Milvus 50mm f1l4
    • The EF 50mm f1.8 
  • For the 85mm range I used the 100mm f2.8 macro before the 85mm was released.

And there is another setup possible.... Carrying to bodies in the Thule back. Than I used the 5D4 with the 35mm f 1.4 L USM MkII, skipped the 50mm lens and added the 200mm f2.8 L USM instead: yes - this fits in the little Thule Corossover and the Tenba as well!!!

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And bleibe it or not all this stuff goes into the Thule Backpack:

180112_5D4_1078.jpg180112_5D4_1078.jpg This is really handsome. 

In the backpack is a 15" Macbook pro as well as an iPad (meanwhile sometimes the bigger one as well) and all the stuff I need to run my Stuff like chargers, adapters etc...

What I cary separately: The tripods. I do use 2 different steps here: my tiny Gitzo or in some cases the bigger and more sturdy Triopod from Novoflex. But this comparison I will do in a separate blog post.

In some cases - like being in Rome my setup was even simpler: the M5 on me, and 2 little Manfrotto poaches - on for the 12mm Samyang and one for the 50mm lens with adapter... for shooting in environment like Rome: what do you really need more?

Shooting Experience

After so many photos in so different environments I still stoked obey this camera. The size and weight make this camera to a perfect companion. The rating IQ to weight is hard to top. But that's not all. There are a couple of other things which makes this camera outstanding.

Autofocus

The Autofocus of this camera is one of its greatest assets. The technology Canon uses is called "Dual Pixel AF". A brief description of the technology you find in Canon´s Professional Network site CPN and how it works Canon USA has a pretty nice Article how DPAF works. What amazes me here is shooting sport and wildlife... even birds in flight works pretty well....  170423_M5_0179.jpg170423_M5_0179.jpg

Manual Focusing with MF Lenses

You may wonder why I choose this topic. I do own a variety of Zeiss Milvus lenses. Which are awesome. In comparison with my DSLR´s shooting with the M5 the accuracy of focusing is mach better and the process is much easier.

Especially shooting through the EVF. There is a special feature which allows you to magnify the viewfinder and moving the area of interest just with the finger on the touch screen of the camera. Amazingly you can choose which area you want to use to do so. I use my left eye when I look through the EVF. Therefore the upper left corner of the screen is suitable for me. For people using the right eye the right corner will be better...

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The photo above was shot in a restaurant in Tokyo (Shibuya station - for the insiders...) actually under the rails.. an amazing place... The light: pretty low - ISO 2000, f 2.0 and 1/50s... You are so much more confident shooting manually than with autofocus....

Dynamic range

The starting point of buying the M5 was the dynamic range of the 7DMkII - especially in comparison to the 5DMkIV - which was a big step up closing the gap to the Sony sensors for Sony themselves and for Nikon.

180128_M5_0717.jpg180128_M5_0717.jpg The M5 delivers... I is amazing to see how much detail you find in the shadow areas. The shot above is an excellent example. When you look at the photo straight to of camera it is pretty black in the shadows... but here you see much more... and still a bit of the sky.... On this topic: full success.

Specialties of the EOS-M lens portfolio...

There not much in that portfolio. Not many 3rd parties support that mount - what I do not understand. I would expect at least Sigma to show up with there nice DN Art lenses - which I do own for µ43 and I do like very much. But the Touits from Zeiss as well as the Loxias would fit as well. Samyang did a great Job with the awesome 12mm f2.0...

If it comes to prime lenses: Canon just offers 2 native EOS-M Mount lenses: the 22 and the 28 macro. Both are awesome! They are very light, very compact and they deliver en excellent performance.

2018_02_24EOS 5D Mark IV9618.jpg2018_02_24EOS 5D Mark IV9618.jpg Isn't this a tiny little camera? It is even smaller than most of the µ43 cameras which all have a smaller sensor... With 22mm focal length @ f2.0 this is definitely a street photography...

 

A very special shot with the EF-M 

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A very interesting lens is the EF-M 28mm f3.5 macro IS STM which I reviewed earlier... A lens which delivers very special photos - which you cannot get with any other camera on the market....

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There are a couple of native EOS M zoom lenses. They are slow - but pretty good performers. I tested them here and there in camera stores. For people who don not have the highest need for fast glass will have very good options. 

When it comes to fast glass: the only choice so fare are the full format lenses - either from Canon or others...

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The adapters are a story of its own. Using Canon´s L-glass - this is a bit rediculous. Do you agree? The issue here is: This combo delivers outstanding results - and with the Milvus 35mm f1.4 the combo looks even more crazy....

But the result is really outstanding. And than we should admit: what is the difference using this glass on the M5 instead of the 7DMkII or an 80D etc... The advantages are still there: the light body, the zoom in the EVF etc....

What do I like?

There is a lot to say.... The quality of a camera is not represented by adding up specs and data. It is much more about handling, ease of use, how the camera feels in your hand, software issues as well the menu structure and functionalities the camera as well as the support you get f.i. from the applications in computer and apps on smartphone and tablet - in my case iOS devices.

But there is more... 

170610_M5_0344.jpg170610_M5_0344.jpg This Photo was shot with the Milvus 50mm f1.4. Whats special? not the f2.0 I used bit more the flash @ 1/500s using High Speed Sync. HSS is an issue, especially shooting people under high constrast conditions. A killer against µ43 where this feature you get only with the GH5´s. Normal cameras do not offer this feature....

180109_M5_0223.jpg180109_M5_0223.jpg Another topic is the versatility of the camera using -let me call it advanced gear.This is a bit of artistic,.. The amazing thing of the M5 is that you get the full control of the flash accessories - which was needed to perform this photo....  it is just fun to use the possibilities this camera offers. 

Another topic is drag and touch release. I do lie this feature on the 5DMkiV but the implementation here is even better. 

What is really bad with the M5

First of all: not much. But a there are things which are hard to digest. For instance:

  1. The EXIF data of non Canon Lenses are not stored. My Milvus lenses were detected on my 5D MkIV  and on the 7DMkII - but not on the M5. I asked Canon and they told me: not our fault, not our problem... WHAT??? 
  2. Another topic is build quality. If you are used to the single digit Canon´s the M5 is pretty flimsy... and I lost the aperture correction dial recently - it just fall off...
  3. Tethered shooting is a bit weird: It is possible only with the app. The camera does not connect to the EOS Utility. And as soon as you are connected you cannot use the camera dials anymore.

2018_02_24EOS 5D Mark IV9617.jpg2018_02_24EOS 5D Mark IV9617.jpg What`the dial falls off?

And the other critique points I mentioned in my earlier review is still valid: lot of space for improvement, Canon.... I just repeat what said there:

  • no IBIS
  • no 4k Video
  • no fully articulated screen
  • no weather sealing
  • no tethered shooting 
  • no connectivity to Mac or PC to the EOS Utility
  • relatively slow autofocus (But it is working for Birds in Flight)
  • smaller viewfinder

PLEASE CANON: IMPROVE!!!

Verdict

The EOS M5 is a camera I like to shoot with. It is not only the form factor I like - it is the way how I can work with the camera. The great points are

  • Image quality
  • The handling
  • autofocus speed and accuracy 
  • most of the needed functions are there
    • HDR
    • time lapse
    • HSS
  • fairly good video performance 

Interestingly: since I have the M5 I used my µ43 gear just for video - and here it is really helpful... But for photography the M5 is the preferred one.

Miscellaneous

I do have to places for the photos in this review, The sample shots of the EOS M5 are in the link and the photos of the M5 you find here.

The product shots typically are made with the EOS 5DMkIV...

And one topic I do have to admit: Yes: this camera is used mainly with awesome glass as well - which I love to use and which has an influence to the results as well

 


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