It looks like Canon is going to give the M series another shot at the US market, as they have announced the M5, a compact mirrorless camera with a 24.2 megapixel Dual Pixel APS-C sensor, five-axis digital image stabilization in camera when shooting video, WiFi, high speed 7 FPS shooting, ISO 100–25600 and bafflingly no 4K video. 

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Wait, seriously? No 4K? What the heck? For some bizarre reason, Canon capped the M5’s video capability at 1080p60. With the addition of digital 5-axis image stabilization, you can bet that you won’t be getting the full APS-C field of view; that is to say, expect even more crop when shooting video in addition to the crop on the sensor.

The Canon EOS M5 also features Combination IS with in-camera 5-axis image stabilization, while capturing video, a first in the Canon EOS series. With a compatible lens attached, Combination IS leverages optical IS and in-camera digital IS to help create tremendously smooth videos. The DIGIC 7 Image Processor makes the 5-axis IS possible even with lenses that do not contain IS, because the in-camera image stabilization functions independently to help reduce camera shake when shooting videos.

Canon put a lot of emphasis into the video features on their highlights list, including the Dual Pixel autofocus that’s useful for both stills and video (but has gotten markedly better for video over the years). Canon also instituted the “Touch and Drag AF” which allows you to easily switch the subject of focus by dragging the AF frame directly on the LCD panel without looking through the EVF. This creates a smoother focusing visual and looks more natural. They also added focus peaking to the M5, which is something DSLR users have been clawing their hair out asking for, but have yet to receive.

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All these video features, and no 4K. Sigh.

Speaking of features, here is the full list:

  • 24.2 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor, ISO 100–25600.
  • Fast and smooth Dual Pixel CMOS AF helps you capture stills and shoot video with quick and precise autofocus.
  • High-speed continuous shooting at up to 7.0 fps (up to 9.0 fps with AF Lock) and new DIGIC 7 Image Processor with improved AF tracking performance.
  • Full HD 60p helps capture fast-moving subjects and brilliant results in MP4 format.
  • Digital IS with 5-axis image stabilizationwhen shooting movies plus increased image stabilization with both lens optical IS and in-camera digital IS when shooting with an IS lens.
  • Built-in high-resolution EVF (approx. 2,360,000 dots) with new Touch and Drag AF lets you manually move the AF frame displayed for more precise focusing in different shooting situations.
  • Intuitive touch screen 3.2 tilt-type (85° up/180° down) LCD monitor (approx. 1,620,000 dots) enables flexible positioning and clear viewing.
  • Easily customize functions while shooting using the Main Dial, Quick Control Dial, Dial Function Button and Exposure Compensation Dial.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC allows for easy sharing and transferring of images and videos.
  • Equipped with Bluetooth Smart for smooth pairing with a compatible smartphone by powering on both devices for easy photo sharing and remote control possibilities.
  • Shorter camera startup time and interval time between each image capture for a more efficient shooting experience.
  • Compatible with EF-M lenses as well as the full line of EF and EF-S lenses and Speedlites for expanded creativity.

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Along with the M5, Canon also announced a new STM lens for the M system, the Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens. 

Key Features of the Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens Include:

  • Canon’s first EF-M high-zoom power lens covering a broad range of shooting scenes with a high-zoom ratio of up to 8.3x (29–240mm equivalent).
  • Compact and lightweight design allows for easy portability.
  • Optical design helps provide excellent image quality across a broad zoom range comparable to the EF-S 18–135mm f/3.5–5.6 IS USM lens.
  • Maximum magnification of 0.31x at focal length 150mm.
  • Image Stabilizer effect at up to 4stops of shake correction helps capture sharp images.

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The new Canon EOS M5 camera is scheduled to be available in November 2016, for an estimated retail price of $979.99 for the body only. It will also be sold as part of body-and-lens kits with EF-M 15-45mm/F3.5-6.3 IS STM zoom kit lens (estimated retail price of $1,099.00, scheduled to be available early November 2016), and with the new EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM lens for an (estimated retail price of $1,479.00, scheduled to be available early December 2016).

Here’s the thing: that pricing is the main reason I’m miffed about the camera. If it was a few hundred dollars less, sure I could see it as many right moves in the correct direction for Canon, and a camera for a pretty specific amateur/hobbyist market. But at the $1000 price point? More with a lens? Now you’re competing with the Sony A6300 and the RX100 Mark IV… both of which are stellar cameras, both look a lot nicer on paper than the Canon M5.

When you look at the M5 by itself, it does look promising. It has a lot of desirable features, but some perplexing ones as well. Provided the autofocus is superior to their first foray into mirrorless stateside (which I’m sure it is), the compact size is going to be a hit for those who want more than a point and shoot or iPhone, but less than a bulky larger camera while still going with a Canon. The images will probably look great, and the new lens will probably excel outdoors.
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But the emphasis on video features without giving 4K, heck not even 2.5K, is incredibly disheartening. In 2016 no less! Even more so at this price point and with the limited EF-M lens selection. Although, I can go with the victim blaming side and say this is really my fault. Canon keeps making these decisions with their cameras time and again, and I continue to hope for more, only to be let down.

The real test for this camera is if it will be able to compete image and usability-wise with something like the two Sony cameras mentioned above. Specs wise, it’s already crushed by what the RX100 can do in video, so here is to hoping it shoots great images that compete with the A6300.