DPR

Canon EOS M50 Mark II Review

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Introduction

The EOS M50 Mark II is a compact and easy to use mirrorless camera with a 24MP APS-C sensor. It features only modest upgrades compared to its predecessor, but it comes in at an attractive price point with pleasing ergonomics and solid image quality. Upgrades include autofocus refinements, vertical video shooting and the ability to livestream to YouTube directly from the camera, given a strong-enough Wi-Fi signal.

Key Specifications

  • 24 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • Digic 8 image processor
  • Dual pixel autofocus with eye tracking
  • Fully articulated touchscreen LCD
  • 2.36M-dot electronic viewfinder
  • 7.4 fps bursts with continuous autofocus
  • 305 shots per charge battery rating
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Web cam capability with Canon’s EOS Webcam Utility
  • Wireless YouTube live-streaming capability (if you have over 1,000 subscribers at the time of this writing)


As a subtle refresh, the EOS M50 Mark II may not be the most exciting release Canon’s come up with, but it also doesn’t mess too much with the formula that made the original M50 so popular. As such, the M50 Mark II is an attractive option for more novice users, and in particular, its live-streaming capabilities do help it stand out from the crowd. We’ll look at live-streaming in particular later in the review.

The EOS M50 Mark II is available now, and carries a suggested retail price of $599 body-only, $699 with a 15-45mm F3.5-6.3 kit lens, or $929 with the 15-45mm and 55-200mm F4.5-6.3 lenses.


What’s New

The first of the EOS M50 Mark II’s updates concerns it’s Dual Pixel autofocus system, which now includes eye tracking AF for both stills and videos (face-detection was the only option on its predecessor).

The camera can also now shoot vertical video and you can use it to livestream to YouTube as long as you’ve also set up an image.canon account and have more than 1,000 subscribers (more on this in the dedicated live streaming section of the review). Although the camera can technically capture 4K/24p video, it’s heavily cropped and you can’t use the Dual Pixel autofocus (it maxes out at Full HD for live streaming anyway).

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How it Compares

We’ve lined the EOS M50 Mark II up against some other compact and capable stills cameras that are also somewhat targeted towards vlogging. It’s important to note that on all these cameras, mechanical image stabilization is only offered by the lens (if the lens you’re using on the M50 Mark II and Panasonic G100 are stabilized). Using electronic stabilization imposes a crop (increasing the already steep crop on the M50 Mark II), and so we’ve reflected that in the table below.

Canon EOS M50 Mark IISony ZV-1Panasonic
DC-G100/G110
Canon G7 X Mark III
MSRP
with lens
$700$749$749$749
Pixel count24MP20MP20MP20MP
Sensor sizeAPS-C
(332mm2)
1″-type
(116mm2)
Four Thirds
(225mm2)
1″-type
(116mm2)
Autofocus methodDual Pixel phase detectionPhase detectionDFD (Contrast-detection)Contrast detection
Built in mics2332
Viewfinder2.36M dotsNone3.69M-dot equivalentNone
Rear screen1.04M dots
full-articulating
0.92M dots
fully-articulating
1.84M dots
fully-articulating
1.04M dots
flip-up screen
4K video24p30p / 24p30 / 24p30 / 24p
Video rec time
(Default mode)

29:59

4K: 5 min*

4K: 10 min
1080/60: 20 min
1080/30: 29:59
29:59
4K crop
(vs full width)
IS Off: 1.55x
IS Std: 1.73x
IS High: 2.22x
IS Off: 1.08
IS Std: 1.08
IS High: 1.19

EIS Off: 1.26x
EIS Std: 1.37x
EIS High: 1.79x

IS Off: 1.00
IS Std: 1.11x
IS High: 1.43x
1080 crop
(vs full width)
IS Off: 1.00x
IS Std: 1.11x
IS High: 1.43x
IS Off: 1.00x
IS Std: 1.00x
IS High: 1.09x

EIS Off: 1.00x
EIS Std: 1.09x
EIS High: 1.43x

IS Off: 1.00x
IS Std: 1.11x
IS High: 1.43x
Mic input3.5mm3.5mm
(XLR via adapter)
3.5mm3.5mm
Headphone socketNoNoNoNo
Battery life (CIPA) LCD/EVF305 / 250260 / –270 / 250235 / –
Weight (with kit zoom)387g294g412g304g
Dimensions

116 x 88 x 59 mm

106 x 60 x 44 mm116 x 83 x 54 mm105 x 61 x 41 mm

* In standard mode. Overheat limits can be disengaged, allowing essentially unlimited recording but with the risk of the camera becoming very hot.

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Body and Handling

From this view, you can see all the physical control points on the EOS M50 Mark II, from the touchscreen to the tiny wireless transfer button on the bottom right.

The EOS M50 Mark II is styled like a mini-DSLR and although it’s small, the grip is substantial and comfortable. The camera’s controls are almost identical to its predecessor. The control dial, shutter button, record button and M-Fn can all be found on the top right hand side of the camera’s body.

The rest of the camera’s controls run alongside the right back side. They’re somewhat small and crammed together, and in many cases it’s simply easier to use the touchscreen to change your settings; this is particularly true of the small video record button that is flush with the camera’s body. Recording video is a lot easier to do via the camera’s touchscreen. The menu is easy to navigate and follows the standard organization found in other Canon EOS cameras.

The EOS M50 Mark II’s generous grip makes it a comfortable camera to hold.

The touchscreen on the M50 Mark II is bright and very responsive. We found it was easy to navigate through the menus on the touchscreen even while we were shooting in bright conditions. It’s also fully-articulating, making it a versatile tool for shooting video footage. The 2.36M-dot EVF is bright and clear and performed as expected. It’s particularly handy that you can use the touchscreen to place your AF point while your eye is to the viewfinder.

The built-in flash on the EOS M50 Mark II can be handy for some fill light or can be used to fire other off-camera flashes in a pinch.

The M50 Mark II has a built in eTTL pop-up flash, which is decent for using as a fill, while the hot shoe allows you to connect a more powerful external flash. The camera has a 3.5mm microphone jack, micro-HDMI and USB Micro-B slots running down the side. Unfortunately there is no headphone jack to monitor audio levels while recording video, but that’s pretty standard for cameras in this class.

Although the M50 Mark II is incredibly light-weight and compact, it’s still very comfortable to shoot with thanks to that substantial grip. It’s CIPA-rated to capture 305 images per charge, and if you are only shooting stills we found its battery life was solid for a day or more of photo-centric activities. If you plan to shoot a lot of video, though, you will want to bring a spare battery along because the battery drains fast. Keep in mind as well, that USB-charging isn’t supported (don’t lose that charger!).

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Autofocus

One of the biggest upgrades to the EOS M50 Mark II is its autofocus capability. Although the camera has the same basic AF system as the previous model, the Mark II features face and eye tracking when shooting both stills and video. During our time with the M50 Mark II we found eye tracking to work very well, even when shooting fast moving subjects in conditions with low lighting.

Accurate autofocus on the EOS M50 Mark II is a strong suit – even in challenging lighting. Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 6400 | 1/250 sec | F3.5 | Canon EF-M 15-45mm F3.5-6.3 @ 15mm
Photo by Jeanette D Moses

The new eye detection system only works with human subjects and isn’t quite as accurate as some competing systems, but you can override it as needed using the touchscreen. The touch-and-drag autofocus option makes it easy to make adjustments while your eye is to the viewfinder, and we found it to be quite accurate. We also appreciated that you can set certain areas of the LCD to be active, to avoid accidentally switching focus with the tip of your nose.

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Image Quality

The EOS M50 Mark II routinely churns out good exposures with good color and detail. Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 160 | 1/13 sec | F6.3 | Canon EF-M 15-45mm F3.5-6.3 @ 45mm
Photo by Jeanette D Moses

Since the camera uses the same sensor as its predecessor, it’s no surprise that it offers essentially identical image quality. You’ll get vibrantly-colored JPEGs with a nice amount of contrast, and generally speaking, the out of camera JPEGs required minimal additional editing to get them ready to share on social media. Canon’s CR3 Raw format provides a lot more flexibility when editing if needed. In looking at Raw images from the M50 Mark II at low ISOs in brightly lit conditions, we didn’t notice any issues with brightening up shadow details in our images to a reasonable degree.

See how the EOS M50 Mark II stacks up in our studio test scene

When reaching the higher end of the ISO range and were shooting in lowly-lit spaces, noise does start to creep in on the shadows as you lift them up; not a surprise given the conditions, though.

Even at really high ISO values, the EOS M50 Mark II retains a good amount of detail. Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 10000 | 1/500 sec | F1.8 | Canon EF-M 32mm F1.4
Photo by Jeanette D Moses

The camera’s auto white balance did a good job adjusting to lighting situations, even under the changing strobes at a music venue. Shooting in Manual mode for video and stills obviously offers the most control and was our preferred way to shoot with this camera, but the auto mode’s scene detection feature works well enough that this is the kind of camera that can be handed off to a less experienced shooter and still turn out crisp, in-focus images.

With a prime lens, such as the EF-M 22mm F2 or 32mm F1.4, the M50 Mark II is a decent, discreet choice for street shooting or capturing night life. When shooting with the 15-45mm lens that the M50 Mark II often comes bundled with, the camera shines at its ability to capture candids, travel and family photos. In large part that’s because of the improvements to the autofocus. The eye detection feature makes it good for shooting portraits as well.

There’s also an electronic shutter option for stills shooting, but it’s only accessible in a ‘Silent Shooting’ scene mode that doesn’t afford you any control over your exposure whatsoever.

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Video

The EOS M50 Mark II is capable of 4K capture, but we find it’s really best if you are planning to stick to 1080p. The 4K/24p video is heavily cropped and you can’t use the camera’s dual-pixel autofocus (it’s contrast-detection only). Basically, this means that the focus is disappointingly unreliable in 4K mode unless you’re right next to your subject, and the cropping makes it difficult to shoot wider-angle scenes or film yourself holding the camera at arm’s length.

This sample 4K clip demonstrates the contrast-detect only autofocus focus hunting.

If you’re content with Full HD / 1080p capture though, you can use dual pixel autofocus, which allows you to use eye tracking on your subjects: a feature we found to be extremely useful during our time with the camera. The M50 Mark II did a great job holding focus when we used it to film performers in bright lighting conditions. It did a decent job in low lighting, although we did notice that it sometimes struggled to identify subjects when more creative lighting was in use.

The 1080p video on Canon’s EOS M50 Mark II allows you to get a wider-angle of view, though you can see it’s a little soft and there are moire artifacts on some of the patterns in the footage.

Live streaming

Live streaming direct to YouTube from the EOS M50 Mark II sounds like a really promising feature, offering users more flexibility than a desktop streaming setup and higher quality than streaming from a phone camera. Unfortunately, the major limitation is that you must have 1,000 YouTube subscribers to your channel to stream direct to YouTube with the M50 Mark II. Why?

YouTube’s streaming FAQ says that users with mobile devices, like phones, need 1,000 subscribers, but that users with webcams, for example, don’t. The press release for the M50 Mark II says that YouTube classifies the M50 Mark II as a mobile device like a phone, and not a webcam, so there you go: the arbitrary 1,000-subscriber limit.

But there are a couple of workarounds if you don’t have 1,000 subscribers and want to use the EOS M50 II for live streaming.

It’s doubly frustrating in that, if you don’t meet the subscriber limit, are unaware of the limitation and try to stream anyway, the camera simply shows a cryptic “ERR 127 – an error occurred” message, with no further details. After encountering this with one of our low-subscriber personal accounts, we switched to the official DPR TV account with 300k+ subscribers and were able to stream just fine without any errors.

But there are a couple of workarounds if you don’t have 1,000 subscribers and want to use the EOS M50 II for live streaming. You can connect it via USB to your computer and use it with Canon’s EOS Webcam Utility software – your computer will then see the M50 II as a webcam, and you can live stream to YouTube that way (though you will need to use a separate microphone, as the camera mics won’t transmit audio over USB). You can also use an HDMI cable, a capture card and a streaming program like OBS to stream live to YouTube as well as other outlets like Twitch.

In the end, though, the 1,000 subscriber limitation just seems silly. Facebook Live, as an example, has no such limitation. And in reality, you could go out into the world with your laptop, connect it to your smartphone via Wi-Fi hot spot, and then connect the M50 II to your laptop and live stream from anywhere, just less conveniently than if you were able to do it directly with the camera. We hope YouTube changes this policy in the future.

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Conclusion

What we likeWhat we don’t
  • Solid face tracking and Eye Detection in both stills and video

  • Pleasing out-of-camera JPEGs and good quality Raw files
  • Compact, yet comfortable to hold
  • Electronic viewfinder good for daytime shooting
  • Supports external microphones
  • Excellent touchscreen interface
  • Good full auto mode
  • Disappointing 1.5x crop on 4K footage
  • Poor autofocus while shooting 4K
  • Soft 1080p footage
  • Silent, electronic shutter only available in fully automatic scene mode
  • No headphone socket
  • Arbitrary limitations on streaming features, imposed by YouTube / Google
  • Rear controls a little cramped

Although the changes to the EOS M50 Mark II might seem subtle at first, the refinements to autofocus when shooting Full HD video or stills are substantial. The autofocus is where this camera really shines, since it’s impressively fast and accurate. Ultimately the M50 Mark II is easy to operate and gives out-of-camera JPEGs that are vibrant and have nice contrast to them. Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth will make it easy to share those vibrant frames directly from the camera to your phone.

Although it’s a compact camera, it’s still extremely comfortable to shoot with and would be a good fit for amateurs looking for their first camera, or pros who want something lightweight to shoot with when spending time with family and friends. Although we found some of the controls to be small and cramped together, the touchscreen is responsive and easy to operate. We also appreciated that the touchscreen capabilities can remain active even when your eye is up to that bright electronic viewfinder.

The EOS M50 Mark II takes great images in a variety of conditions. Out-of-camera JPEG.
ISO 800 | 1/200 sec | F3.2 | Canon EF-M 32mm F1.4
Photo by Jeanette D Moses

The 1.5x crop when shooting 4K/24p makes this less useful for videographers or for serious vloggers. Although the microphone jack is a nice touch, we’d love have seen Canon make room for a headphone jack too. Battery life is decent when shooting stills, but drains fast as soon as you start recording video. Ultimately, this camera shines as a compact option for stills and easy video capture, especially if 4K video capabilities aren’t crucial for you.

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Sample gallery

Please do not reproduce any of these images without prior permission (see our copyright page).

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Scoring

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category. Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.

Canon EOS M50 Mark II (EOS Kiss M2)
Category: Entry Level Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
PoorExcellent
Conclusion
The Canon EOS M50 Mark II is a solid option for easily taking stills and video on the go. 4K video quality isn’t great, and live streaming limitations are disappointing, but the stills images it churns out are pleasing. The camera is also quite comfortable in the hand, despite its very compact size.

Good for
Casual and social photographers as well as videographers who don’t require 4K.

Not so good for
Videographers and vloggers who want the best 4K video footage.
80%
Overall score


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