So, I’ve been busy. However, there are some things that I would like to share – as I’ve been asked over and over again “What camera do you recommend buying for a mini-budget?” – as it has become a regular question, I thought to do a little write up, just to clear the air.
(Please note: this isn’t me getting annoyed at people asking me for advice, I really enjoy helping you all out when I can, with tips, tricks, and gear insights. I figured I can make a nice reference for all to quickly look at before forking out money without the knowledge.)
I recently purchased the Canon EOS M50 camera to add to my collection of tools. Some may ask: “why have you gone for a non-pro camera and not invested in something insane, like you normally do?” Well, here is the thing: I wanted to have a camera with me at all times, regardless of the situation and having a big, heavy, metal pro-camera hanging around my neck at all times isn’t really my idea of “fun”. I found that I had missed having a camera with me, as moments during the day, at work, at parties, etc. I had missed some moments that I would’ve like to have captured.
Pro-point: As a Cameraman/Photographer, I wasn’t super stoked to always have my pro-gear with me, even though that is my job, it isn’t something that I can tolerate 100% of the time in life to do. It is nice just to pack up the gear and go to a concert without anything in the hands and just enjoy! (Sometimes you need to accept not taking that shot always!) HOWEVER …
This is where the M50 falls from the shelf, into my hand, and out the door I went with her. For 600,- Euros, I got this little performer with the crappy-but-decent kit-lens AND an M->EF adapter! Pretty damn good, if you ask me. It is an entry-level camera, but for what it has inside the plastic body, is really damn good! The technology is simply up-to-date: the Digic-8 processor; new 2018 APS-C (1.6x crop) sensor; 4K (cropped) video; ISO +; Dual-Pixel Auto-Focus with face detection; 8 frames per second on hi-fps mode; Wi-Fi/Bluetooth – for shooting with your mobile phone / transferring files to devices (like I do for posting to IG or quickly to clients or friends) which I really like; and, the new CR3 – which is Canons new compressed RAW thingy. However, you can still use the normal RAW which can get you up to a whopping 30mb RAW-Photo! That for post-processing is bloody alright! AND, a flippy-screen which rotates all around for your bendy/hard-angles experiences.
What I’m trying to say here, is that this camera offers amateurs -> everything to get started and learn; enthusiasts -> a heap of rad stuff to play with and get creative; pros -> “quite a controversial statement here, but I will clear this up for you all …” A camera that is a necessity to have with you at all times, just in case. As what this little beauty does, is fill the gaps where some of the pro-cams fail to easily plug.
My explanation to my previous statement here: “I wouldn’t use the M50 for the jobs where you need to have your buttons close to your fingers, as she can be a little fiddly when it comes to wanting to change the settings quickly and back-n-forth. It has frustrated me a little in some settings of work. I photographed several clients now with the camera and have been able to finish the job with beautiful photos, but to some stress of they annoying little AF selections and not being able to change them quickly – maybe there is another way, but I didn’t have time to think. However, switching to MF (manual focus) was a life-saver with the “focus-peaking” becoming available in this mode! This is the best alternative, if your subject is still. for example: Children can be difficult to photograph in studio, when shooting fam-portraits, and you might ask “why not use the face-AF?” and it sometimes works, but I’m not too find of trusting it 100% of the time – especially when time is money and you don’t want to look like that you don’t know what you’re doing in front of your client by “umming” and “aaahing” and “wait a sec’, I’m not to sure about my gear …” It just looks bad.
That is why it is nice to have this camera with me at most times of the day/week! I can play around with it, test out stuff, like in studio – connect a trigger and use the pro gear and make amazing photos … it is do-able! I’m not a massive pix-peeper, but I have checked the photos from JPG and RAW and they look clean enough to please the 95%. Of course, there are better systems out there, but for the price, mate, I cannot think of a better system to get your hands on than the M50.
I have also re-kindled my love for street photography and smaller event photography. The camera hasn’t got the “scare-factor” like the big pro cams have and people really don’t take notice of you when you use the M50. Which is really good, when you want to keep a low-profile and stealth-in, capture the moments, then ninja out in one move. Same by local events. Pro cameras are just too much, sometimes. Take a little light stand, a flash, umbrella/softbox, radio-triggers and the M50 and you’ve got a great little party set-up, which is fun and people don’t take it too serious but still consider it pro-enough. It is the thought and creativity that counts!
Furthermore, I wanted to have a little travel companion! Now, traveling with pro-gear can sometimes be a pain in the neck, especially on some borders. You get the good question, and rightfully so: “Why have you got such pro gear with you and what are you going to do with that/the footage/images?” And sometimes when you have smaller gear, i.e., just the M50 and a Mavic Pro – you wont even get noticed. That is something that I felt made my life a little easier when I am going on leisure trips, but still wanna’ get those pro looking photos/videos!
I took just that combination with my to Norway in September this year and felt super mobile. I was able to get the shots I wanted and also share them super fast and easy with the Wi-Fi/BT options and using SD cards, that media is super available and cheap if you need to swap it out. I have a 64gb SD card in there, which I also use that with my C100, and find that I can take approx. 5000 photos with it. Not that I’ve maxed it out yet ;), but good to know.
Batteries! Oh, yes, not to forget about this. I would def’ recommend buying yourself at lease two extra batteries. The battery life is good till 250 odd photos or a good flogging of the various video options. However, I haven’t had too much trouble carrying around the extras (fully charged) with me – or just one, when walking around the streets. The EVF and the back screen can suck the juice, but it is to be expected. In the cold, keep the batteries in a dry and warm place to save life if you’re on the move.
Slow-motion! Yeah, it does 720p in 120fps (no AF) shooting. This is a cool little feature if you’re keen to play around with this in the skate park or with water, or whatever, but it’s not “Pro!” – but nice to know it is there. In editing you can up-scale the clip, but you loose quality, that is all.
The video quality is really quite nice. I have use the camera as a C-cam in another job and in this video above here, as the main or A-camera. I connected my Rode video mic pro to get the audio right and then shot this fun little music video for Ranita in Southern Norway this September. It is really the camera that you have with you that really counts and I can safely say that this camera is a great little tool for any type of photographer!
I’m not a blogger, but I’ve used the camera for some selfie stuff before and the AF is super and trustworthy. Just another point to add for those who’re inclined to go that way.So, to wrap up my little review/impression of the Canon EOS M50, I would def’ recommend it to anyone, really. As a pro, I wanted a camera to have with me at all times, that is light and easy to use, but to also be able to use it in a professional scenario when needed, by adding my extras – like a mic, monitor, mini-rig, throwing it onto a gimbal, etc – and the EF adapter (which is what made me go for it!) as the M series of lenses aren’t large or really to my taste, nor will I be willing to spend 500 euros on an EOS M lens… just cannot do it. I might as well just use my EF’s. Furthermore, the Mirrorless craze has finally gotten to me and I have now my first! I would love to have my own Canon EOS R, but I will just wait an see what Canon brings out next. I think I will be going to a better Cinema Camera soon anyway, and getting one of these isn’t so necessary. That is why I’m pretty happy to own the M50 and it fills the gaps that were missing previously in my pleasure and work!
I hope that this little review/impression of the EOS M50 was helpful to you? If it was, please drop me an email/text/instagram/facebook and give me your feedback! This wasn’t meant to be a technical review, rather just my opinion and to why I chose the M50. I’m also a little bit of a Canon fan, too.
Get out there now and start that creativity flow!
– Patrick “Løre” Webb, Würzburg, Deutschland! 28 Oct 2018.