Canon EOS M50 review: 4K mirrorless camera with smartphone features

Compact device with wifi and Bluetooth will appeal to photographers of all levels

Canon EOS M50
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Price: €629
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When was the last time you used a compact camera? The humble point-and-shoot camera, once the staple of birthday parties, First Communions and weddings has been replaced for the most part by your smartphone. The leap in quality in your Android or iPhone has rendered the need for a separate camera almost obsolete.

But occasionally there are times when you would like to have a camera that will do a bit more. Like proper zoom, or better action shots. While phone cameras have come on in leaps and bounds, there are still some situations where they struggle. And that’s where Canon’s EOS M50 comes in.

Ignore the fact that for a certain number of Irish people, the M50 tag will trigger flashbacks of tailbacks and rush hour traffic. This M50 is far more useful. It’s a 4K mirrorless camera, with a 24 megapixel sensor and Canon’s Digic 8 processor. What’s the difference between this and point-and-shoot cameras? The mirrorless camera is, as the name suggests, minus the mirror mechanism you find in a digital SLR. However, you get the interchangeable lenses and the decent sensors that a DSLR boasts, but the lack of a mirror means it can be in a smaller, more compact frame.

Fold-out touchscreen

Lookswise, the EOS M50 resembles a traditional 35mm camera. It has a rubberised grip, and a fold-out touchscreen that doubles as a viewfinder. There’s an electronic viewfinder too.


Reasonably compact, it wouldn’t fit in my pocket, but it could easily slip into a coat pocket and it won’t exactly weigh you down. Basically, it ticks all the right boxes.

When it comes to taking photographs, you have a few options. Full auto mode takes over for you, picking out the best settings for your current shooting conditions. If you are a beginner or too used to your smartphone doing all the heavy lifting, it’s the easiest and fastest way to get going. Point, press and the camera will make all the decisions.

There are aperture and shutter priority modes, preset modes for special scenes such as portraits and landscapes. There’s even a silent mode to cut out the sound of the shutter if you are sneakily taking photographs of your sleeping children, or at least that’s what the camera’s menu appears to imply. It shoots video – up to 4K in resolution – and black and white still, and there is even the option to apply creative effects such as saturation and background blur to your images.

If you are a bit of a control freak and know your apertures from your ISO, you can shoot in manual mode and opt to save in Raw format. It means a bit of work processing them afterwards, but you can apply creative effects after shooting too, instead of having to choose them beforehand.


A hybrid auto mode allows you to create a digest movie, with clips of scenes before each shot combined into a short movie.

All those modes mean you should find something in there that suits your particular style of shooting, and see you produce some good images.

The touchscreen comes in handy for a few things. First of all, it’s far bigger than the electronic viewfinder. Secondly, you can touch to focus. Third, it can help you frame some awkward shots, if things are at an awkward angle, for example. And finally, you can touch to shoot. That’s a feature that can be disabled if you find it too irritating.

In the same way that the smartphone has evolved to become more like a camera, the camera has also taken on some of the smartphone's functions. It's not unusual to find a camera that packs in wifi and Bluetooth to help you share your images with the world (or, preferably, a few friends and family, since no one needs to see every holiday photograph on Facebook). The EOS M50 features both Bluetooth and wifi, so you could hook it up directly to your home network, or connect to the Canon app with your smartphone and do a bit of quality control before sharing.

The good

The image quality of this camera is something that will surpass your smartphone. The zoom lens is decent quality and you can swap it out for another M mount lens if needed.

Images can be transferred off the camera over wifi and shared to social media, or just with family.

The not so good

There is no internal storage. It’s not a hardship to use a card but in dire straits, a little extra storage on board would be welcome.

The rest

4K is just one resolution option for your video; unless you invest in a big memory card, I suggest you explore the great but slightly lower quality options, or you’ll run out of space for all your video creations quite fast.


Small yet perfectly formed.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist