Canon M50 vs Nikon Z5
The Canon EOS M50 and the Nikon Z5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2018 and July 2020. Both the M50 and the Z5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on an APS-C (M50) and a full frame (Z5) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24.2 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 M50 and the Nikon Z5? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon M50 and the Nikon Z5. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M50 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the Z5 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 Nikon Z5 is notably larger (33 percent) than the Canon M50. Moreover, the Z5 is substantially heavier (73 percent) than the M50. It is noteworthy in this context that the Z5 is splash and dust-proof, while the M50 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.
Concerning battery life, the M50 gets 235 shots out of its LP-E12 battery, while the Z5 can take 470 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15c power pack. The power pack in the Z5 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 M50||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||390 g||235||n||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon Z5||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||470||Y||Jul 2020||1,399||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||116 mm||88 mm||59 mm||387 g||305||n||Oct 2020||599||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SL3||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||449 g||1070||n||Apr 2019||599||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon M6 Mark II||120 mm||70 mm||49 mm||408 g||305||n||Aug 2019||849||amazon.com|
|6.||Canon T7||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||475 g||500||n||Feb 2018||449||amazon.com|
|7.||Canon M6||112 mm||68 mm||45 mm||390 g||295||n||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SL2||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||453 g||650||n||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon T7i||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon Z7 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||420||Y||Oct 2020||2,999||amazon.com|
|14.||Nikon Z6 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||410||Y||Oct 2020||1,999||amazon.com|
|15.||Nikon Z6||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||310||Y||Aug 2018||1,999||ebay.com|
|16.||Nikon Z7||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||330||Y||Aug 2018||3,399||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A9 II||129 mm||96 mm||76 mm||678 g||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499||amazon.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The M50 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 44 percent) than the Z5, 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M50 features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon Z5 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the Z5 is 158 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24.2MP, the Z5 offers a higher resolution than the M50 (24MP), but the Z5 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.95μm versus 3.72μm for the M50) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the Z5 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 4 months) than the M50, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The Canon EOS M50 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Z5 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|2.||Nikon Z5||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||2929||95|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/24p||24.0||13.6||1939||83|
|5.||Canon M6 Mark II||APS-C||32.3||6960||4640||4K/30p||24.0||13.5||1848||83|
|13.||Nikon Z7 II||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/60p||26.3||14.7||2841||100|
|14.||Nikon Z6 II||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/60p||25.0||14.4||3303||94|
|15.||Nikon Z6||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||3299||95|
|16.||Nikon Z7||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.3||14.6||2668||99|
|17.||Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the Z5 provides a faster frame rate than the M50. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 4K/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the Z5 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the M50 (3690k vs 2360k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon M50 and Nikon Z5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon M50||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Nikon Z5||3690||n||3.2 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/8000s||4.5/s||n||Y|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Canon SL3||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Canon M6 Mark II||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||14.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Canon T7||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Canon M6||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Canon M100||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.1/s||Y||n|
|9.||Canon SL2||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Canon T7i||optical||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Canon M5||2360||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Canon M3||optional||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon Z7 II||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|14.||Nikon Z6 II||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||Y|
|15.||Nikon Z6||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||Y|
|16.||Nikon Z7||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0/s||n||Y|
|17.||Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0/s||n||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The M50 has one, while the Z5 does not. While the built-in flash of the M50 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The M50 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the Z5 does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the Z5 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Canon M50 and the Nikon Z5 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the M50 and the Z5 write their files to SDXC cards. The Z5 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M50 only has one slot. The Z5 supports UHS-II cards (on both slots), while the M50 can use UHS-I 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 M50 and Nikon Z5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon M50||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Nikon Z5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon SL3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Canon M6 Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Canon T7||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon M6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Canon M100||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon SL2||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon T7i||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon M5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|12.||Canon M3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Nikon Z7 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|14.||Nikon Z6 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|15.||Nikon Z6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|16.||Nikon Z7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|17.||Sony A9 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the Z5 has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The M50 lacks such a headphone port.
The Z5 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the M50 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the M50 was succeeded by the Canon M50 Mark II. Further information on the features and operation of the M50 and Z5 can be found, respectively, in the Canon M50 Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon Z5 Manual.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M50 or the Nikon Z5 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon EOS M50:
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (116x88mm vs 134x101mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 285g or 42 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (44 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2018).
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Z5:
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4K/30p versus 4K/24p).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3690k vs 2360k dots).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (470 versus 235) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.2 vs 2.0).
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 4 months of technical progress since the M50 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Z5 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 8 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 M50 and the Nikon Z5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the M50 and the Z5 in practical situations. 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 expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 M50||..||+||4/5||79/100||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||779||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon Z5||4/5||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jul 2020||1,399||amazon.com|
|3.||Canon M50 Mark II||4/5||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||3.5/5||Oct 2020||599||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SL3||..||o||4.5/5||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2019||599||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon M6 Mark II||..||+||4.5/5||85/100||4/5||4/5||Aug 2019||849||amazon.com|
|6.||Canon T7||..||o||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2018||449||amazon.com|
|7.||Canon M6||..||..||..||80/100||4/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon SL2||4/5||+ +||4/5||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2017||549||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon T7i||4.5/5||..||3.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon M5||4/5||+||4/5||82/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon M3||4/5||o||..||75/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon Z7 II||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||2,999||amazon.com|
|14.||Nikon Z6 II||4.5/5||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||1,999||amazon.com|
|15.||Nikon Z6||5/5||..||5/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||1,999||ebay.com|
|16.||Nikon Z7||5/5||+||4.8/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||3,399||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony A9 II||..||..||5/5||90/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499||amazon.com|
|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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, 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
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Specifications: Canon M50 vs Nikon Z5
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 M50||Nikon Z5|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Nikon Z mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2018||July 2020|
|Launch Price||USD 779||USD 1,399|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M50||Nikon Z5|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||35.9 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||858.01 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||43.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6016 x 4016 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.72 μm||5.95 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.22 MP/cm2||2.82 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/24p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 51,200 ISO||50 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 8||EXPEED 6|
|Screen Specs||Canon M50||Nikon Z5|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots||3690k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M50||Nikon Z5|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||4.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||200 000 actuations|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/8000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||Dual UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M50||Nikon Z5|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.2|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon M50||Nikon Z5|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||235 shots per charge||470 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
116 x 88 x 59 mm
(4.6 x 3.5 x 2.3 in)
134 x 101 x 67 mm
(5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in)
|Camera Weight||390 g (13.8 oz)||675 g (23.8 oz)|
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