Canon Adds EOS M50 Model

Canon today announced the EOS M50, and interesting mix of advancements and simplifications that speaks towards the direction of where Canon is headed.

bythom canon eosm50

At first glance, the new camera looks like an EOS M5 with a different swivel to the rear LCD. Closer examination shows that quite a bit of direction control has been removed, though (exposure compensation dial, the special function button/dial on top, the front Fn button, the Flash button).

Yet in terms of features, there are additions: 4K video (only 24P, though), time-lapse, a new smaller raw file format, improved autofocus, a true silent shooting ability. 

Price? Well, that's the giveaway as to where this body fits in the lineup: US$899 with kit lens, US$779 for body only. Which means that the M50 is a lower end body than the M5, and which therefore means that the eventual M5 Mark II is likely to get all of those new features, plus probably more.

Canon is being aggressive here for a change. It's clear they've heard some of the biggest complaints about the M series and have been trying to work them into new models and updates. In particular, the new IS and 4K abilities are going to put the M50 into a better light, for sure. Coupled with the fact it is small, has a more useful swivel LCD, and has that stereo mic input, I can see this camera becoming the new vlogging go-to camera. 

Which is a good thing, because what I'm hearing about Nikon's upcoming new mirrorless system is that it will be positioned right for that vlogging space, too. Canon, meanwhile has a US$999 Video Creators Kit with the M50 (adds a Rode VideoMic GO). We're about to have ourselves a horserace, folks.  

But here's the thing: where are the lenses? We need more EOS M lenses. It seems that every camera manufacturer shoots themselves in the foot the minute they think the market is part crop sensor, part full frame, and that these are completely different customers who want very different lenses. In the crop sensor realm, the camera makers typically make only a handful of what they think will be low-end consumer-friendly lenses, often superzooms, thus "protecting" their full frame lens investments.

Wrong answer. I'm not saying that camera makers with multiple sensor sizes (mostly Canon, Nikon, Sony) have to have complete duplication in their lens choices. But in the mirrorless arena they're competing against (mostly) one sensor size companies (basically m4/3 and Fujifilm) that have built out complete crop sensor lens kits, and continue to do so. 

Thus, Canon would be well served by having perhaps four small, useful primes instead of one (two if you count the macro), and at least one fast zoom. I'd also argue that the 55-200mm isn't up to snuff for what these cameras can do, too, and needs some rethink. 

I'm going to use a word here: versatile. These small, nearly pocketable mirrorless cameras need to be versatile. That doesn't just mean that you add in video features. It means that you appeal to a wide, diverse set of use cases. Everything from the entry-level purchaser the crop-sensor giants have been targeting to the high-end purchaser looking for something more portable for convenient travel. With the vloggers, instagrammers, and everyone else in between.

And that requires lenses. Remember, folks, these are interchangeable lens cameras. We don't need the lens mount unless we're going to get a useful set of lenses, simple as that. So, Canon (and Nikon and Sony), if you're reading this: more EOS M lenses. A wider prime, a fast normal prime, a fast telephoto prime; a well-specified and quality mid-range zoom; some better telephoto options; maybe a great vlogging lens. And yes, you can continue making those cheaper convenience lenses for the entry crowd. But if you want more sales, you're going to need to attract the DSLR crowd to EOS M as their second camera, and that's going to take lenses.

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