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Tuesday, 20 September 2016


Hey Mike,

The EOS M5 looks to be a nice little camera, but what kind of shopper puts the formidable mirrorless ecosystems of Fuji, Sony, and the Micro 4/3 consortium on one side of a balance and this M5 on the other, and says, "I think I'll go with the Canon"? Only diehard Canon fans (whose hearts probably aren't in mirrorless either), or (strange thought) nonconformists.

As a committed nonconformist, I went with the Sigma sd Quattro mirrorless instead. I'm working on a review for you, BTW...


re: 'eliminating the need for the mirror to flip out of the way—as well as eliminating the "reflex" part of the term "digital single lens reflex."'

by this definition, the classic Rolleiflex TLR is not a reflex camera since its mirror position was fixed at the factory, never moving out of the way.

[If you're waiting for photographic terminology to make sense.... :-) --Mike]

The funny thing about the Eos M5 is that if they'd stuck with the M3 form factor I'd probably be buying one along with the 22mm STM. I like the hand feel of the M3 with the 22, it just had a "rightness" about it that I haven't felt in a small mirrorless since the Panasonic GX-1.

I never thought I'd feel sorry for Canon, but ...

I've been watching some of Olympus' promo videos for their new 18fps AE/AF https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4rz6f3d6-4 If I shot sideline football, basketball or soccer I'd be trading in my Canon and BIG White lenses for an Olympus E-M-1 MkII.

'The image-forming light goes through the mirror, eliminating the need for the mirror to flip out of the way—as well as eliminating the "reflex" part of the term "digital single lens reflex."'

I believe you have this wrong. The SLTs are still "reflex" cameras. Reflex refers to the use of a mirror to "reflect" the viewfinder image onto a ground glass/matte plastic screen.

A Twin Lens Reflex uses a mirror to reflect an image from a lens next to the taking lens onto a screen that the user views directly. Early Single Lens Reflexes and many MF SLRs use a mirror that flips up and down* to reflect an image from the taking lens up onto a screen.

This was really poor on 35mm; I could hardly see a thing on my dad's Praktica. Addition of a pentaprism and lenses made it work very well.

Repeating all this stuff you know is only to point out that "reflex" refers not to a flipping mirror, but to the use of any mirror at all to deflect the light from a lens to produce an image on a screen outside the image path to film/sensor. Thus, I believe that the SLTs, using a single lens, with a mirror to direct all or part of the image making light to form a viewing image on a screen, are SLRs.

* Or, rarely, sideways.

In the UK, you can currently buy two of those Pentax K-1's for the price of a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV... and still have £400 left over for lenses. Alternatively, buy one Pentax K-1 and have £500 to £600+ left over, in place of a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, or Nikon D810.

It's about the same price as the Nikon D750... for now.

"I've seen more lens lineups that make more sense in cardboard trays on tables at swap meets."

Thank you!!! I was laughing so hard when I read this I almost choked on my after lunch coffee. You made my day!!!!!

You did forget the most important announcement:


And of course:


"I'll wait till it's on closeout 18 months from now and then I might pick one up."

That seems a tad harsh and premature, Mike. Specs-wise, the EOS M5 compares favorably to the Canon's solidly mid-range EOS 80D DSLR but in a smaller package and at a lower price. Canon now offers seven EF-M mount lenses, which is more than Sony offered when they introduced their E-mount. If that's not enough, Canon also offers a low-cost (~$125.00) EF-M mount adapter for their existing EF-lenses. Unlike some adapters, this one retains key functions such as auto-aperture, AF, and IS. None of this is to say that the EOS M5 is a guaranteed hit, but neither is it a guaranteed loser. Let's just wait and see.

There is a GFX elephant in the room, that you somehow missed ;)

[Scroll down! --Mike]

About the Sony A99II --- I think this is a A7II with A mount, and using the space in nice ways (more speed, focus points, etc.). I am waiting the same transformation for the A6300 --- so that I can have a small and capable thing to substitute for my aging A55. My dream is an A63000, with IBIS, in a A55 body. Let's see...

By the way, is noone thinking about what you could do with SLT/pellicle/beam splitter now? If instead of an AF sensor you put a simple, 2Mpixel video sensor on the "upper end" of the semi-mirror, the focal plane shutter after that, and then use the PDAF pixels on both sensors, you can have a lot of *new* thing. Continuous shooting with *zero* blackout, continuous video around your full resolution shots, focus tracking without blackouts... should I patent the idea?

The "wait for a sale/used M Canon" is alive and well. Excellent little M with lens for $95, shipped and insured a couple months ago.
At that price it was too good to pass up.

The EOS M5 comes with the EF/EF-S adaptor when sold in the UK; it's as if Canon was half hearted about making it with a shorter sensor to mount distance.

Now, if Pentax made another mirrorless camera with the KA mount, I think they would clean up. All those old Pentax and third party lenses that are out there (even the old screw thread ones) would work very well, and manual focus would be simple and easy with focus peaking and viewfinder magnification.

It would have to have a proper viewfinder and not just rely on a rear screen like their K-01. It would also have to be reasonably (but not cheaply) priced.

Talking of Pentax, I really like the K-1. I like the spec and I have handled one and was most impressed, but I cannot for a moment think of a reason to have one. I'm not damning it with faint praise either. It's good.

I always wondered about the 'reflex' in SLR – isn't it some funky way of referring to the mirror itself (some early market-speak variant of 'reflection', perhaps?) and not the movement of the mirror? (It's the 'reflex' in 'twin lens reflex' that made me think that – TLRs' mirrors don't move.)

Mike, couldn't the same be said of Nikon. I have been waiting for years for a real Nikon Mirrorless camera. Thankfully my Fuji works as a real substitute and the new XT2 looks like the "real deal" I don't own it yet, but may sell the "Big Iron" and replace it with the Fuji XT2.

You know, call me weird, but if I were to get an APS-C mirrorless camera, that Canon EOS M5 would definitely be a candidate. It's no great judgement on that camera or the competition, since it mainly boils down to Canon, of all makers, offering a 4:3 crop mode. There's a 22mm lens that seems good enough and ends, when the camera is in 4:3 crop mode, up being close enough to 40mm-e, just like my Panasonic 20mm on my Olympus E-M5.

Also, DPReview said something about it having pleasant handling, but like most (all?) APS-C MILCs (ooh, the acronyms!) it's seriously lacking in the in-body image stabilization (IBIS!) department.

Of course, Canon doesn't have anything to replace my 45mm lens with, but I can live with that more than I can live with seeing the world in 3:2. Yeah, I am weird, I guess.

Anyway, regarding the reflex bit in SLR and the Sony SLTs, what about the reflex bit in TLR? The mirror in my Minolta Autocord has been immobile, except for that one time I dropped the camera and I had to put the mirror back in place :)

You still have to use those big-*ssed and heavy Canon lenses with the M5, and then with all this size and weight, there is notable mismatch with respect handling. "Here...let's put a tiny little body on a 300 f/2.8 L IS...."

The new Sony is still a reflex. The mirror doesn't have to move, as exemplified by rwin-lens reflexes.

One humble correction offered-- You beloved a900 (and my late a850) have an ancestor, but it doesn't say "Sony" on the front. The Pentax K-1 has all the ergonomic excellence, the myriad of physical controls, the broad array of legacy lenses (newly stabilized), the full-frame sensor and, yes, a proper, old-school optical VF (with a few tricks up its sleeve). The K-1 even has a hidden control stacked beneath a control dial, the rotary switch for movie mode, where the a900 (and Minolta's alpha 7) had its flash exposure comp, IIRC.

Sony's a99 series are designed around what Sony does best: sensors and display screens. The current Pentax line takes an excellent Sony sensor and wraps that in a package that's a working photographer's list of wants. Does it work well? DXO mark scored it at fourth best they've tested, even without testing pixel shift.

It would be easy for Pentax's masterpiece to get lost among the latest round of announcements. Fujifilm's new MF wonder has the momentum, everyone knows they do a fine job. But is it worth the price of four or five K-1s? Certainly not, and not just because I can't meet that price. My K-1 is giving me 27" iMac-retina-sized images that look like contact prints, shot on the fly in twilight, with decades-old lenses I bought for two and three figure sums.

It's the biggest step up in cameras capability I've taken in a very long time. It's worth a look, even if you have to rent one. You don't happen to find a Pentax- it finds you. ("Not available in stores- but call today!")

I once owned and really liked both my Canon Pellix QL 35mm SLR and my Canon EOS RT. Sony seems to have lessened or even eliminated the shortcomings of a semi-transparent mirror.

Alas, I sold my beloved a850 and remaining lenses this spring and moved to Canon. If you have very deep pockets and strong arms you can get your fill of those great a-Mount Zeiss lenses. If you don't, well, you're rather out of luck as I found.

Now to defend the glorious M! Mike, should I finally get to the Finger Lakes sometime (they aren't that far and we keep discussing it) I will bring my M, stop by ToP WHQ and try to convert you.

I know it's just crazy. But I love my M and M2 and will probably have to buy the M5. The M5 is all kinds of better than it looks at first glance. Despite its faults, Canon's expertise shows through in some key areas with these cameras and I'm looking forward to more lenses and long relationship with the system.

I bought an EOS M2 at a discounted price earlier this year, with a 22mm lens. I've been having a lot of fun with it. So much that I later bought the 18-55mm IS kit lens, which is surprisingly good. Each to their own, of course, but I would definitely not describe the M2 as 'tepid'. At this rate, I'll be upgrading to the M5 in 2018!

Nice to call out the Pentax. Just pick up a Pentax DSLR. It will feel like it was created by photographers, not computer technicians.

Here’s an alternate take on the Canon M5. It has a nice sensor, fast auto-focus, and it’s small and light. While it has a limited lens collection, it has the moderate wide angle I want. If Canon made a reasonably fast 55mm EF-M, I’d be done. For now, I’ll use an adapter with the 50mm f/1.8 EF. For my other occasional lens needs, I can adapt one of my existing Canon lenses, but moderate wide and moderate tele will cover most of what I want.

While I’m not a diehard fan, I am used to the Canon ergonomics, for better or worse. Plus I’ve got a complement of Canon accessories that will work with the M5. If it really has the pleasant shooting experience that early reviews report, the M5 is a natural choice for me.

The GH5 pre-emptive shot across the bows of competitors probably also had an element of minding their back against their own G80/85 which looks like an excellent movie choice for anyone up to pros shooting B roll. The G80/85 is certainly some camera. I use a G6 for stills (I don't do video; I used to work in radio editing audio tape, that was bad enough, now you want me to edit audio AND vision? You must be mad! LOL) and it is an outstanding camera. Someone said somting about big canon lenses on the front of the little M5. There's an outstanding BIF, speed boat, and motor spots photographer in New Zealand who works with a tiny Olympus E-M10 with Canon 500mm or 800mm lenses stuck on the front which he focuses manually. They breed 'em tough in New Zealand (they probably start with making love standing up in a hammock).

. . . I think we need the vivid story of the Canon RT marketing! I was mightily tempted by that camera back in the day, but could never quite get how the beam-splitter wasn't robbing the film of needed photons. Seemed like a neutral density filter on a flange that would rob each lens of speed. Then again, I didn't jump and never had to satisfy my curiosity.

"... there is notable mismatch with respect handling..."

Mismatch? I'll show you a mismatch - my E-M10 with a (1980s) T-mount Soligor 400mm lens attached!

 photo EM10nSoli-s.jpg

Not checked out the combination yet, doubt the lens will be up to much.

Regarding "reflex"... my understanding is that it means an optical viewfinder where the image is reflected. It doesn't require that the mirror move (TLR, for example), but it also doesn't apply to Sony's SLT cameras. The SLTs only use the mirror for autofocus -- the viewfinder is electronic, generated from the sensor the same way as "mirrorless" cameras.

This may sound crazy...
have anyone noticed the rapid proliferation of new photographic hardware, from all sources with
the advent of digital photography?

In the reliable (to me) film era new cameras would appear every two to five years.
Photokina, and announcements from other sources have provided for us the possible purchaser more variety in photo gear than ever seen previously. And from more and different sources.

They all record images albeit on a digital chip versus film however the variety of choice blows my mind.

Then too, must be getting old. My first Nikon F with a 50mm lense was purchased used at one of the then numerous camera shops on Toronto's Yonge Street way back in 1975 for $100.00, a fortune then. And it survived for many years. These days the actual cost of
the camera is high; if you're on a fixed pension, often too high to be affordable. Oh, and the options on said camera; it is no longer a camera, rather a computer that also records images.

Well, I actually jumped ship from m4/3 to the original EOS M. By that time, the M was dirt cheap on closeout, I missed APS, especially with legacy lenses, kinda missed the Canon "look", and I needed good video. But I still feel like I need a "primary" stills camera. Sensible or not, I think Canon still thinks of the M's as second cameras for Canon DSLR owners.

Don't feel sorry for Canon, though. After shaking up the video world with the 5DMkII they shook up the TV/indie/docu camera market with their innovative C line. I think they're having a blast, just not in our little market.

Long time Canon user here, and actually very tempted by the Pentax K1, largely because I love the 43mm focal length they offer in the 43/1.9 limited, very close to what was a "normal" for most medium format film cameras. However the rest of their lens lineup is a weird hodgepodge, at least as strange as the Sony lineup you rightly make fun of. I was really, really hoping, Canon would see the light and make the Full frame mirrorless plus EF adapter that was rumored, but it looks like they just can't let go of their SLR structure. And it's a pity the M5 looks like a great little camera, I really like the 22 pancake, and generally I think Canon is better at ergonomics than the other mirrorless players (though I am also dearly tempted by the XPro2). Oh and apparently Canon prices their equipment without looking at what their competitors sell things for.

The K-1 is the camera people wanted ten years ago, but with all the technology of 2016. Combine it with the excellent Pentax lenses and you have a definite winner.

Except... after moving on to mirrorless I cannot go back to the cumbersome reflex cameras of yore. I've even got my lens fixation in check. I use only two primes 99% of the time.

Now the only problem is that I would really like a Black Magic camera for video...

...no, it never really ends!

"I kinda like what Panasonic is doing, splitting its line into cameras tilted towards videography (GH4 and the pre-announced GH5, this G7 replacement), and those that are tilted toward still photography (GX85, and the GX8 which I recently tried and really liked)."

So just because the former have articulated LCDs and are bulkier than the latter (but still smaller than a typical SLR) they somehow become "videography oriented"? Especially with the G80/G85 (damn stupid region naming conventions), which compared to the GX80/GX85 has a better EVF, and a new shutter mechanism that is designed to be give less shock and goes to 1/8000. Both improvements benefit stills shooters more than videographers.

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