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  1. #1
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    Canon M5 Mirrorless - Short Term Review

    After lugging the Canon 80D around on my company bike trips last year, I was determined to find a mirrorless solution that would reduce the size and weight of my camera setup. I went back and forth quite a bit, and even purchased a few different mirrorless systems (Sony A6000, Olympus E-M10ii, Fuji X-T20) that I ended up selling pretty quickly. All of the systems seem to have their flaws, and all have their selling points.

    I'm a Canon guy, which is the #1 reason I ended up with the M5... familiarity. Reason #2 was total cost of the camera and lenses. And reason #3 was the feature set, IQ, etc. A few thoughts after using it for a month:

    - It's tiny. The camera plus the lens (I have both the 18-150 and the 11-22) is smaller than the 80D by itself. I can't even tell it's in my backpack, to be 100% honest. That was the main goal when I switched over, since I'll be using this for 4-5 days straight and 20+ mile rides regularly.

    - The IQ is as good as the 80D, from what I can tell. Check out the pictures below for some examples.

    - The AF system isn't as good as the 80D, but it's a compromise and it's damn close. AI Servo locks on pretty easily and focuses quickly- in my unprofessional opinion, I'd say it's 80% as good as the 80D, which is one of the best systems out there in an APS-C body.

    - The lenses are very light, and are a fraction of the cost of competitors. As mentioned, I have the 18-150 and the 11-22. I paid about $600 (refurbished) total for both. The comparable Sony lenses would be double that, at least. Same with Fuji, if not more expensive.

    - I absolutely love the touch-screen AF point selector. It's as seamless as using a small joystick, if not better since it works with bike gloves. The customizable buttons are nice as well- I've got one each set up for AF mode and burst rate. And then there are two easy-to-use dials to control Aperture and ISO.

    - 9 FPS is a nice little feature to have too.


    Some example photos from a recent MTB trip to Spain:


























  2. #2
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    Great pics of beautiful scenery. The riding looks awesome as well.

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    Nice write up man and pics. I'm a working pro who shoots Canon for a living. My only previous experience with mirrorless camera was with a Fuji XT-1 which ended up with a disappointment. I've been eying the M5 for travel and MB photography mainly for the size, dual pixel, and IQ. Man I love Canon's color.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, I'm pretty sold on mirrorless for my second camera (the ones I take on my MTB trips). I would love to invest in a Sony- or Canon! - full-frame mirrorless setup, but their FF lenses cost way too much and an adapter slows down the AF beyond acceptance. Right now my "main" camera for portraits and vacation photos is a 6D with an arsenal of L-lenses, and it's tough to give up. I love the pictures that come out of the 6D too much to give it up for the 6DII or the 5D4.

  5. #5
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    Nice pics and review!

    I was in a similar situation last year and ended up going with the Olympus OMD EM5 mkII. I was really close to going with the M5- I have a Canon G7x mkII and that's my go-to for riding. Canons are awesome and so easy to navigate.

    I love all the programability and creative features on the Olympus (live time, in-camera stacking & layering, shortcut buttons etc). Also, the pro lenses are incredible! But with so many programming options it's a steeper learning curve than many other brands.

    I had a run of Sony's (nex6, A7) and I could never go back to a camera without a touch screen.

  6. #6
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    That's the one thing I'm going to miss once I get into Canon's mirrorless a bit more.... higher quality, fast lenses. Of course I can use an adapter (and I have one) with Canon EF glass, but it's not the same. A fast f/2.8 or f/4 zoom like the Sony 16-70 would be awesome. Olympus definitely has a nice selection available for somewhat reasonable prices.

  7. #7
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    Bump for a killer little mirrorless camera. I've been using it a lot lately, and it impresses me more and more every day. I just wish Canon would come out with a solid f/4 lens option (like the Sony 16-70 f/4) so I could sell off my full frame after our upcoming vacation.

    A few recent shots from Moab and Fruita:










  8. #8
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    Love the shots. I think one of the toughest parts of taking photos mountain-biking is making the trail or riders look interesting. IE an angle which doesn't make a steep trail look flat etc. Which you've done really well.
    I have a Sony RX100 IV which has been good, but Sony's menus are painful.
    What did you get rid of the Sony A6000 for? I've been thinking it would be logical step up (6500) to get a bit more range as obviously the RX100 is a compact camera.

  9. #9
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    Honestly, it was because their lenses are so damn expensive. This is my second camera setup, so I didn't want to spend a fortune. I bought the M5, the 18-150 and the 11-22 for about the price of the A6500 by itself (the camera I'd compare the M5 most closely to). The A6000 was a decent little camera, but the 18-200 is about $450-500 used and the 10-18 is at least that much too. I think if you look at camera vs camera, the A6500 beats out the M5. But when you factor in the "ecosystem", I'll take Canon every day.

    I also like the basic Canon EF-M adapter (around $70) that allows me to use all my EF lenses on the M5. I don't do it often, but it opens up opportunities since I have a Canon full-frame setup (16-35, 24-105, 100-400).

    Edit to add: I picked up the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4 lens in hopes that it will be a good alternative when I need a higher-quality lens than the 18-150mm. I'll report back when I get enough shots with it!

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    Ah Antonio, what a cracking guide. How did you like Ainsa??

  11. #11
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    Ainsa was pretty damn gnarly... but we also had some wet weather that made it even more so. I wasn't a fan of some of the trails, but others I'd love to ride in different conditions. The town itself was beautiful.

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    Got the M5 out yesterday with the adapter and a couple of new lenses. First, the Canon 55-250mm STM with AI Servo. Keep in mind, the rider was probably going about 15-20 mph in this shot:



    Next, the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4 (spot focus, not AI Servo) with the rider coming through this "slot" full speed:



    I'm very impressed with the image quality, usability, and size of the setup overall. There's not much I would change, considering I can now carry around my camera and three lenses (the 11-22 EF-M, too) easier than my previous 80D and 18-135 STM combo. I think the only potential weakness is shooting these types of shots in low light... but I don't really ever have to do that, living out west where the sun shines every day.

  13. #13
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    A couple more with the 55-250 on my M5. Not MTB-related, but you can see how sharp and awesome this lens is. I'll put it right up there with any of the shots from my previous 6D or 5D4.




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    My Canon EOS M with some regular lens.

    Canon M5 Mirrorless - Short Term Review-img_4019-converted-768x512.jpg

    Canon M5 Mirrorless - Short Term Review-img_4035-converted-768x512.jpg

  15. #15
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    Bump, as the M5 continues to deliver. There are a couple upgrades I hope happen soon in the MkII version, but for now there are no real complaints. The EF-M 11-22 is an amazing lens, I wish Canon would release something similar in quality and optics in the 15-70 f/4 range as well. These were all taken with either the 11-22 or the 18-150.















  16. #16
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    Waiting to see what people get from the Canon R's.

  17. #17
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    Probably something similar to the 5D Mark IV, since it's the same sensor (I believe, right?).

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