Canon's new mirrorless M5 signals that the company is finally taking the segment seriously, long after Sony and Panasonic.
The mirrorless camera has a lot of benefits for a filmmaker. Unlike a DSLR, which has a mirror in front of the sensor directing light to an optical viewfinder, a mirrorless camera gets rid of the mirror entirely, making for a smaller, lighter, simpler-to-manufacture camera without optical viewfinding. However, if you are shooting video on a DSLR, you aren't using the optical viewfinder anyway, so it's a natural evolution for filmmakers to embrace mirrorless cameras. Why carry around that extra weight and complication for a feature you never use?
This might well replace the T2i as my recommendation for an entry-level camera for the beginning or student DP.
This is a reason behind the popularity of the Sony A7 series with filmmakers: smaller bodies with the same images you would get from a DSLR. In addition, if you take advantage of a mirrorless lens mount like MicroFour Thirds, lens design can also be closer to the sensor.
Canon has never really had a big footprint in this space; the M3 doesn't offer nearly the level of manual control you get with the M5, which boasts two control knobs on top of the body and two lower down. It uses the EF-M mount, which doesn't have a wide selection of glass, though there are 15-45 and 29-240 kit lenses available, and an adapter for your traditional EF mount is only $99.
Canon is promoting handheld video as a key feature.
The video is only 1080p, but it does do 60fps for slow motion, and Canon is promoting handheld video as a key feature through the combination of optical image stabilization in the lens and 5-axis digital stabilization.
For the price point, the lack of 4K may be frustrating, but it's not a deal breaker: it's around half the price of the A7SII, and the compromises have to come somewhere. Maybe Magic Lantern will be able to work some magic with the MicroHDMI connector and an external recorder to get us 4K, but even without it, this might well replace the T2i as my recommendation for an entry-level camera for the beginning or student DP. Manual controls and image stabilization go a long way.Canon is also releasing a lens, the EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM 8.3x zoom (29–240mm equivalent), which will sell for around $500, but won't be out until a month after the M5 body comes out in November for $970.
There isn't a great selection of lenses in the EF-M system yet; the lens should be a popular choice to pair with the M5. Canon says the sensor is identical to the 80D. What do you think: should Canon make a 5D mirrorless version with the same sensor, but no mirror? Would you buy it? Let us know in the comments.
- 24.2 Megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor
- DIGIC 7 image processor
- Dual-pixel auto-focussing system
- ISO 100–25600
- 2.36 million dot Electronic View Finder
- Optical and Digital Image Stabilization available in video mode
- 1080p60 Mpeg4 video
- 85° up, 180° down, 1.6million dot touch screen
- EF-M mount
- WiFi, Bluetooth
- Video Touch Focus