Canon 50D vs Canon M
The Canon EOS 50D and the Canon EOS M are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2008 and July 2012. The 50D is a DSLR, while the Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The 50D has a resolution of 15.1 megapixels, whereas the Canon M provides 17.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 50D and the Canon EOS M? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon 50D and the Canon M are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The Canon M can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the 50D is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M is considerably smaller (54 percent) than the Canon 50D. Moreover, the Canon M is substantially lighter (64 percent) than the 50D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 50D is splash and dust resistant, while the Canon M does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|2.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|3.||Canon 90D||141 mm||105 mm||77 mm||701 g||1300||Y||Aug 2019||1,199|
|4.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|5.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|6.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|7.||Canon 7D II||149 mm||112 mm||78 mm||910 g||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799|
|8.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|9.||Canon SL1||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|10.||Canon T5i||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|11.||Canon T3i||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||n||Feb 2011||599|
|12.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|13.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|14.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|15.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|16.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|17.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The Canon M was launched at a markedly lower price (by 54 percent) than the 50D, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, the Canon M uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC V) than the 50D (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the Canon M offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 15.1 MP of the 50D. This megapixels advantage translates into a 9 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the Canon M has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 4.69μm for the 50D). However, it should be noted that the Canon M is much more recent (by 3 years and 10 months) than the 50D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The resolution advantage of the Canon M implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Canon M for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 50D are 23.8 x 15.8 inches or 60.4 x 40.2 cm for good quality, 19 x 12.7 inches or 48.3 x 32.2 cm for very good quality, and 15.8 x 10.6 inches or 40.2 x 26.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon M has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS 50D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS M are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|7.||Canon 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The Canon M indeed provides for movie recording, while the 50D does not. The highest resolution format that the Canon M can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the 50D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Canon M relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 50D and Canon M in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|7.||Canon 7D II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||Y||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 50D has one, while the Canon M does not. While the built-in flash of the 50D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The 50D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the Canon M uses SDXC cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 50D and Canon EOS M and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|7.||Canon 7D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 50D (unlike the Canon M) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 50D and the Canon M have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 50D was replaced by the Canon 60D, while the Canon M was followed by the Canon EOS M3. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 50D and the Canon M? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 50D:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.3 vs 4.3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (800 versus 230) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2008).
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS M:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (17.9 vs 15.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 9%.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC V vs DIGIC 4).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More compact: Is smaller (109x66mm vs 146x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 524g or 64 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (54 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 10 months of technical progress since the 50D launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Canon M emerges as the winner of the match-up (11 : 9 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 50D and the Canon M place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 50D or the Canon M perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|2.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|3.||Canon 90D||4/5||+||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2019||1,199|
|4.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|5.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|6.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|7.||Canon 7D II||4.5/5||+||84/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799|
|8.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|9.||Canon SL1||4/5||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|10.||Canon T5i||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|11.||Canon T3i||3/5||o||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||599|
|12.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|13.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|14.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|15.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|16.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|17.||Canon 20D||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon 50D vs Canon M
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 50D||Canon M|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF-M mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2008||July 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 50D||Canon M|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.1 Megapixels||17.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4752 x 3168 pixels||5184 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.69 μm||4.31 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.53 MP/cm2||5.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC V|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||63||65|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.8||22.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.4||11.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||696||827|
|Screen Specs||Canon 50D||Canon M|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 50D||Canon M|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Continuous Shooting||6.3 shutter flaps/s||4.3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 50D||Canon M|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 50D||Canon M|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||800 shots per charge||230 shots per charge|
146 x 108 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
109 x 66 x 32 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||822 g (29.0 oz)||298 g (10.5 oz)|
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