review

Canon EOS M5 Mirrorless Camera issues

I love this camera

Let's get that out of the way. At first I had my doubts about Canon's move into the mirrorless market. The first few M-series cameras just weren't doing anything for me. But when I saw the M5 with its viewfinder and read the specs I decided to go for it and purchased the camera from my favorite camera store, Glazer's Camera here in Seattle. I have not been disappointed. Check out my earlier post comparing the image from the EOS 5M with an EOS 6D.

I initially purchased it to be my everyday carry-around camera, but have ended up using it more and more, sometimes in place of my usual 5D mkiii and 6D bodies. I opted to get the body-only version of the M5 along with the Canon Mount Adapter EF EOS M so I could use my current collection of EF and EFs lenses. I just wasn't happy with the slow apertures on the EOS M mount lenses available at the time. I wasn't (and still am not) bothered by having the adapter on the camera. In fact, I use the adapter as my tripod mount and as the mount for my ever-present handstrap. More on that later*.

All that said, I have run into a few small issues with the operation of the camera. These don't affect image quality or anything like that. And I haven't heard from anyone else about these. So I'm posting here to see if anyone chimes in with a "me, too" or a "no, never had that happen" comment.

Recycling file names?

The "biggie" for me is in the file naming/numbering system. I have found that when I fill a memory card and put in a new one the camera doesn't go to the next filename/number. Instead, it  goes back and reuses a few numbers. Then I end up with different images on different memory cards with the same file name coming out of the camera. Here is a video that I hope better explains what I am experiencing...

In the video I formatted the new card before using it, but I have seen the same thing happen if I just put in a card without formatting it.

I originally noticed this when I brought some images into Lightroom and when done importing the two cards I saw a few images with a "-2" added to the filenames. I knew I didn't have duplicate images, and it took me a while to figure it out (which happened the next time I filled a card in the middle of a photo session). In the menu system I have it set to Create Folder: Monthly and File Numbering: Continuous.

Let me know the memory card is full

The second issue is somewhat related to above. When the memory card is full the camera doesn't pop up a big warning in the viewfinder or on the back screen saying "card full" (like on its dSLR big brothers). Instead it just says 0/0 in the viewfinder and I sit there pressing the shutter button over and over wondering why the camera stopped working. The "No memory card" and "Cannot record" messages are similarly small and not as noticeable as on the dSLR bodies. I am hoping that a firmware upgrade at some point could add a more visible notice that the memory card is full.

EOS 5M "card full" warning (not very noticeable while trying to photograph)

EOS 5M "card full" warning (not very noticeable while trying to photograph)

EOS 6D Card full warning (much easier to notice)

EOS 6D Card full warning (much easier to notice)

Tell me there is no memory card installed

Third is that there doesn't seem to be a menu option to prevent taking a photo with no memory card installed. You get the small "No Memory Card" and "Cannot record" messages in the viewfinder or on the back of the camera, but it still allows you to operate the shutter. There is a "Release shutter without lens" option. Again, maybe a firmware upgrade can add this menu option as on the dSLR bodies. 

Over stablizing?

The fourth issue has to do with using lenses with Image Stabilization. When using the Canon EF 70-200 L F/4 IS lens and the Canon EFs 55-250 F/4-5.6 I notice that once I tap the shutter button the IS engages and stays on until I turn it off via the switch on the lens or by turning the camera off. On my dSLR bodies the IS disengages about 3 seconds after I lift pressure off the shutter button. Continuous AutoFocus is turned OFF on the camera. I worry about two things here, wearing out the IS components by being always on and battery life, which is already kind of poor because of the smaller battery in the smaller body and the electronic viewfinder. As an aside, I often fantasize that some day Canon will surprise mirrorless owners by sending a free spare battery to everyone who registers their camera). 

*Using the lens adapter tripod mount

Up above I mentioned the EF to EOS M adapter and tripod mount. I don't have any EOS M lenses, so the adapter is permanently mounted on my camera. And I keep my Peak Design Pro Plate attached to the adapter instead of to the camera. Most photographers who know me know that I live by the hand strap. Unfortunately, my favorite hand strap, the Peak Design Clutch, is too big for use with the small mirrorless body. So I went with the SpiderLight Hand Strap (which had an orange trim available) for the EOS M5. I attach the hand strap to the lens adapter, too. I feel that this gives a good balance. takes some stress off of the camera's tripod socket with longer and heavier lenses attached, and it makes sure that the battery/memory card door on the bottom of the camera is free to open and close without having to move the tripod plate or the hand strap out of the way. I don't think it would work at all if I used the tripod mount on the camera body instead of on the lens adapter.

Canon EF to EOS M lens adapter has a tripod mount where I attach my tripod plate and my ever-present hand strap.

Canon EF to EOS M lens adapter has a tripod mount where I attach my tripod plate and my ever-present hand strap.

This way of mounting the plate and strap leaves the battery/memory door clear to open and close unobstructed.

This way of mounting the plate and strap leaves the battery/memory door clear to open and close unobstructed.

I also have my Peak Design anchor link attached to the plate for those times I do use a neck strap.

I also have my Peak Design anchor link attached to the plate for those times I do use a neck strap.

I can change the battery and/or the memory card even when the camera is mounted on my tripod.

I can change the battery and/or the memory card even when the camera is mounted on my tripod.

Are you using a Canon EOS M5? Do you like it? have you noticed any of the above issues? Please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

What do the images look like?

Here is a gallery of images in chronological order made with the Canon EOS M5 in a variety of situations, including theatre, studio, events, nature, etc.


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John Cornicello

Testing the FOTGA 58mm variable neutral density filter

Does this thing work?

I’m not totally sure when/where I got this filter. I see that I bought a “neewer 58mm ND Fader filter” from Amazon back in November 2012 for $11. Maybe this is what they sent me back then and I just wasn’t paying very close attention to the brand. Anyway, I never used it all that much and when I did, I had some concerns about focus and sharpness. But I never really did any testing.

This week I started putting together a presentation on using speedlights and other flash units outdoors and needed to use an ND filter for some of the examples. So, I brought out this Fotga 58mm variable ND filter and decided to do some tests with it. I wanted to see a couple of things—focus and color shift. At $11, I wasn’t expecting the color to remain neutral. Many so-called neutral density filters, even at much higher cost, aren’t all that neutral. I’ve seen many reports of green, blue, and magenta color casts in ND filters. I had no idea what to expect in terms of sharpness. A variable ND filter is basically two polarizer filters combined in a rotating mount, so there are 4 more glass (or plastic) to air surfaces between your camera and subject. So I expect to see some effect on the sharpness of the image.

So, I set up a chart made up of radial lines and a Passport Color Checker with a Canon EOS M5 mirrorless camera and 85mm f/1.8 lens. The camera was mounted on a sturdy tripod and I used a cable release. The camera was set to ISO 100, aperture priority mode, tungsten white balance (I used the 250 watt quartz modeling lamp in an Einstein flash with a Photoflex Medium Silverdome NXT softbox). and f/5.6 (for something in the middle of the aperture range). I actually tested at a variety of f/stops, but am presenting the 5.6 images here, the others were similar). The filter was set to the 4th tick mark on the ring and the exposure time without the filter was 1/13 second and with the filter was 1/4 second (1-1/3 stops different).

Let me start by saying that the build quality on the filter seems pretty good. The filter elements spin smoothly, but are not so loose as to accidentally change the settings. The filter appears to be plastic. It easily screwed into the 58mm threads on the 85mm lens.

Yes, there is a color shift when using this filter. It was consistent at all ND settings of the filter, from Min to Max. There was a -200K to -300K shift in temperature and a +9 shift in tint. That is, the filter warmed up the image by 200-300 degrees Kelvin and added some green. Both easily corrected in the raw files in Lightroom.

Sharpness suffered slightly. I don’t know how to measure it, but you can see crops of the same section of the chart below. Without the filter you can clearly see the texture of the paper the chart is printed on. With the ND filter it is harder to see the texture. Still, for $11…

One interesting thing is the markings on the filter. I consistently noticed that between the MIN setting and the 4th hash line on the filter there was no change in exposure. That is at Min and f/1.8 and 4th line at f/1.8 the camera metered the same 1/40 shutter speed. At Min and 4th line at f/4 it remained at 1/8, and at f/8 it remained at 0.5 seconds shutter speed. Moving to the 8th hash line and to the MAX setting gave expected changes in the exposure.

Someone asked to see the comparison at f/1.8, so here it is:


Conclusion? This works for me in the limited uses I have for an ND filter. It should work great for cotton candy waterfalls, even providing a little warmth (like adding an 81a filter for those of you who still remember filters in the film age). In the studio, I have a strobe that can go way down in power when I want to photograph wide open, so I don’t need it there. I don’t do much outdoor fill flash with a studio strobe right now. And if I do, I will get a strobe that offers high speed sync, such as the Interfit S1, to handle wide open apertures instead of dealing with the hassles of ND filters in the field (dark viewfinder, auto-focus not working, trial-and-error metering and exposure settings, etc.). If I was doing critical work or client work that required a neutral density filter I would be looking at the Singh Ray filters, but their cost is a little bit more than $11 (more like $340 - $390 for a 58mm filter, depending on choice of standard or thin ring size). 

Other reviews of the FOTGA filters mention eBay and long delivery times. It looks like they are also available on Amazon, and I just ordered a 72mm for $13.99 to test on some telephoto lenses. Amazon says it should arrive in 2 days. I will add more to this post when I get to test the 72mm version.

Anyone else using these inexpensive variable ND filters?


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Or, better yet! Please take a look at and buy my new book on studio portraits. Thanks!

Thank you for following along! If there is a photo topic you would like to see covered here please let me know in the comments section.

Cheers!
John Cornicello