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Canon M50 vs SL2: the Ultimate Camera Comparison

What’s up guys, Sagi here and welcome to another Tech Gear Talk. Today we’re going to compare 2 of the best beginner cameras from Canon, the SL2 and the M50. The SL2, also known as the 200d is a fantastic and extremely popular small DSLR which packs a ton of features. On the other side we have the Canon EOS M50 which is a super compact and powerful mirrorless camera from Canon that offers 4k video. We’re going to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of each option when it comes to photography and video, so hopefully I can help you decide which option is best for you. My goal with every product comparison is to give you a detailed overview of the products and compare them in a way that relates to real life use. If you find this article helpful please let me know by giving it a like and hitting the subscribe and notification buttons on my YouTube for more camera and tech reviews. I’m also going to include links in the description to where you can buy these camera as well as some of my favorite accessories, and if you end up using those links to buy anything, you help support my channel for free and allow me to create more content for you. Ok, let’s get going! I’m going to get into details for each aspect of the two camera but I’ll start out with some overall key features.

Canon M50 Highlights

  • The M50 has a 24.1MP APS-C CMOS Sensor, it uses Canon’s super nice Dual Pixel autofocus system which is awesome.
  • It has the brand new DIGIC 8 processor which improves speed and performance as well as image quality.
  • It has a 3” fully articulating touchscreen LCD and can shoot video at up to 4k at 24fps.
  • Combination IS uses 5-axis digital image stabilization with lens-based IS
  • There is a really nice OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • It has Wi-Fi with NFC and bluetooth so that you can easily move images to your mobile device
    and you now have full control the camera for both photography and video using the Canon Camera Connect app.

Canon SL2 Highlights

  • The SL2 has a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS Sensor, it also uses Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus system.
  • Canon implemented the new DIGIC 7 processor which improves speed and performance as well as image quality.
  • It has a 3” fully articulating touchscreen LCD and can shoot video at up to 1080P at 60fps.
  • Being a DSLR, the SL2 uses an optical viewfinder
  • A big feature for a camera at this price point is the SL2 is the external mic input which lets you use an external microphone for better audio.
  • And it also has Wi-Fi with NFC and bluetooth so that you can easily move images to your mobile device and even control the camera using the Canon Camera Connect App.

Camera Body Type

First I want to talk about camera type. The SL2 is a DSLR where the M50 is a mirrorless camera. If you’re not familiar with the difference let me take a minute to explain. The way a DSLR like the SL2 works is that the light passes through the lens and then hits a mirror that is sitting in front of the sensor. It’s then redirected up the camera body where it hits another couple of mirrors which then lets us see the image using the viewfinder. So it’s essentially a prism. When you take a picture, the mirror in front of the sensor flips up and out of the way and then the shutter opens and the light hits the sensor. If you’re shooting video, the mirror just locks in the open position and the light continues to hit the sensor. Now in a mirrorless camera like the M50, obviously there is no mirror, so the sensor sits directly behind the shutter and the lens. The sensor is constantly being exposed to the light and when you go to take a picture, it’s covered then uncovered and covered again by the shutter. This is the main reason why mirrorless cameras are smaller than DSLRs, because you don’t have mirror in there, the lens can be mounted much closer to the sensor and therefore the body can be much thinner. You also don’t have the whole prism leading up to an optical viewfinder, so the body can also be made much smaller. There are some disadvantages too but I’ll cover this whole topic in more detail in another video. The SL2 is a DSLR and the M50 is a mirrorless camera. And as I mentioned, you can see that both the body and the lenses of the M50 are a lot smaller and lighter.

Sensor and Processor

Both SL2 and the M50 have a really impressive 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor which I think this is a great sensor for both dslrs and mirrorless cameras. In general the bigger the sensor the better it is. Bigger sensor means better image quality because it’s able to use more information to create an image with more detail and better dynamic range. This APS-C sensor is excellent if you’re shooting landscape, portraits, doing street photography, if you want to take it with you while you travel or even just do family and lifestyle photography. It’s also a great choice for shooting video, creating content for YouTube or if you’re just a hobbyist. It’s going to give you really nice and crisp video and of course Canon’s color science is fantastic. All-in-all, the 24MP APS-C sensors on the SL2 and M50 gives you really nice performance at a very affordable price. As far as processors, the SL2 uses the DIGIC 7 and the M50 uses the newer DIGIC 8. Both are great options, but the advantage here goes to the M50 because the newer processor. Together with the nice sensor, both cameras will give you sharp images and video and good low light performance. Again, I’m going to give the M50 a slight edge here because the newer processor should lead to improved overall image quality. There are several other aspects that will impact your image quality aside from your sensor and processor, and we’ll get to them in a bit.

General menu operation is fast for both cameras, both have very quick startup and things like Image preview and video playback quick and responsive. A feature that I look at for every camera I review is continuous or burst shooting. You can just point the camera at the subject, hold down the shutter and the camera will just keep firing. This is a nice feature if you’re photographing kids running around, pets, sports or any fast moving subjects. Of course, the more frames you have per second, the more options you’ll have to choose from later on. The M50 can shoot at up to 10fps and the SL2 at 5fps, so the edge of course goes to the M50.

Resolution and Framerate

Next I want to talk about resolution and framerates. For photography, both cameras offer a 6000 x 4000 image, so as far as strict resolution, this is a tie. For video, the SL2 can shoot FULL HD or 1080P at 24, 30 and 60fps. The M50 can shoot at the same resolution options as the SL2 but it can also do 4k video at 24fps. So here the advantage again goes to the M50 because of the additional option to shoot at the much higher 4K resolution. There are some limitations to this option, such as the additional crop factor for 4k video, which I discuss in my more detailed review of the M50. Your choice of frames-per-second comes down to what kind of look you prefer to have for your video. If you like a more cinematic look, you can go with 24fps and if you like a sharper more crisp look you can shoot at 60fps.I shoot most of my videos, including this one at 30 frames per second. If you edit your videos at 30 fps like I do, you can play your 60fps footage at 30fps and you can slow things down by 50%. If you want to do additional slow motion, both the SL2 and the M50 have an HD or 720p option for shooting at 120fps. This lets you slow things down even more, but you are giving up on some resolution. So, to sum up, I’m giving the M50 the edge when it comes to resolution because of the option of shooting 4K video. I want to mention that this is only an advantage if you actually plan on using this feature, so you should ask yourself if you want to store these larger files and have a computer powerful enough to edit 4k footage.

Lens Options

Alright, let’s move to lens options.The SL2 can accept both Canon EF and EF-S mount lenses while the M50 uses an EF-M mount. That means that right out of the box, the SL2 has a significant advantage over the M50 because you have a much more extensive selection of lenses to choose from. The EF-M mount lenses are definitely limited, especially when it comes to really fast lenses. When I say fast, I don’t mean how fast the shutterspeed can be, but rather how much you can open each lens to let more light in. The SL2 let’s me use all of my L-Series glass from Canon so I have so much flexibility. Now, if you still want to use EF and EF-S mount lenses on the Canon M50, you can buy an adapter from Canon or a number of 3rd party vendors. This does open the door for more options, at the cost of having to buy and carry another piece of equipment. I’m still giving the advantage to the SL2 because it natively accepts a much larger selection of lenses, both from Canon and other manufacturers. If you’re looking for some of my lens recommendations for each camera, I will be doing some follow up videos but for now, please check the description of this video. One thing to remember is that because both cameras use an APS-C sensor, and not a full frame sensor, there is a crop factor of 1.6x. Which means is that you have to take the focal lens on the lens and multiple it by 1.6 in order to get the 35mm equivalent. So for example, if I take my 70-200 and put it on the SL2, it actually turns to a 112 – 320mm lens, if I’m comparing it to what it would be on a full frame sensor like a 5DMKIII. If you have any questions about this, please let me know in the comments section and I’ll explain it in more detail.

Autofocus 

Alright, next, let’s talk about autofocus. This is something that you definitely want to consider when choosing a camera. And the good news is that both the SL2 and the M50 use Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus which is absolutely killer. This is definitely one of the best autofocus systems out on the market at any price point. For photography, it can track a person using eye-detection which is super nice especially if the person moves around or if you just want to re-frame your shot without having to change a focus point. For video, great continuous autofocus is critical. If you’re vlogging and walking around with the camera. You can always set your focus manually and lock it, but as you’re walking around, the camera moves, you don’t stay in exact same distance away from the camera, then your arm gets tired so you switch to your other arm which may change how you’re framed or how far away you are from the camera. A lot of people don’t realize is how much these little movements of the camera can affect focus. Like I’ve said in the past about Canon cameras that use this system, the dual-pixel continuous autofocus system crushes it! It will automatically detect your face and then you can just watch it follow you and adjust the focus. It’s awesome. For the purpose of creating YouTube content, shooting interviews, or just video in general, I think good continuous autofocus is definitely a feature that you’re going to want. Another thing that I can do with both cameras is click on different items in the screen I can easily change focus. So I can get a really cool transition where in my video I talk about one thing and then want to shift the viewers’ attention to something else, I can bring it into focus. I do want to point out for the M50, the the dual pixel AF does not work when you’re shooting in 4K. Instead the M50 uses contrast detection to maintain focus. It doesn’t do a bad job, but it’s not as good as the dual pixel. For me this is essentially a tie since both systems use the Duel Pixel AF system and the SL2 can’t shoot 4K.

Audio

Something else that I love about both the SL2 and the M50 for video is that they both have a 3.5mm mic input. That’s a great feature if you want higher production value because it allows you to use an external mic instead of the on camera one. So I can easily connect a shotgun mic to either camera and I’m ready to go. This a really nice compact setup, it’s light, you’ll get great video and great audio. It’s just perfect for vlogging, shooting talking head video and really anytime where you want more directional sound pick up, instead of an omnidirectional microphone that will pick up sound from everywhere. There are a lot of outstanding microphone choices and I’ll put links in the the description to some of my favorites. I also did a comparison of some of the most popular shotgun microphones to help you pick a great option within your budget. Now as far as using a lavalier microphone, I can use a wired lav if I don’t mind being tethered to the camera. Or I can even go wireless if I want. I can connect my Sennheiser AVX with an XLR to 3.5mm adapter to the camera and now I’m getting a lav mic that is wireless so I don’t have to worry about being attached to the camera, and I can always put it down and step back and the mic is still on me. As far as audio goes, it’s again a tie between the Canon SL2 and the M50.

Size, Weight, Build

Next let’s talk about the size, weight and build quality. These cameras have a similar build quality. Canon definitely focused on creating pretty solid camera bodies with good and secure grips on both the SL2 and th M50.. The SL2, for a DSLR is crazy light, even with the 15-55mm kit lens it still weighs less than 2 lbs. Now, of course, the M50, being a mirrorless camera is a lot smaller and even lighter at a little over a pound with the 15-45mm kit lens. So as far as portability goes, I’m going to give the advantage to the M50 because it’s smaller and lighter than the SL2.

Next I want to talk about the viewfinders. The SL2, being a DSLR has an optical viewfinder. On the other hand, the M50 has an electronic viewfinder. What I like about optical viewfinders is that the give you a sense of being “in the scene”. A good optical viewfinder can also be a great option when shooting in very low light and the responsiveness and resolution don’t suddenly drop. On the other hand, an electronic viewfinder gives you a larger view of the scene and helps with immediate feedback of the changes you’re making to an exposure. I’m not going to give either of these the advantage because, for me, it’s less a matter of which is better and more a question of how you use your camera and what you prefer.

Selfie Screen/ Touch Screen

Both the SL2 and the M50 have a super versatile, 3” fully articulating screen. If can be flipped and then locked into position on the back on the camera to be used for liveview, or flipped again for protection and storage when it’s not in use. Then it can be flipped out to the side to face front, up or down. This is really nice when you’re using the camera at waist level, for overhead shots or on a slider. As far as the screen goes, I’m going to call this a tie.

Connectivity Options

Next let’s talk about connectivity and remote control options. Both cameras come with WIFI and Bluetooth options that work with the Canon Camera Connect app. The app lets you connect a mobile device wirelessly to both of these cameras and then transfer images of videos so that you can quickly share them. Also, both the SL2 and the M50 can use the app to remotely control the camera for pictures. So you can have the camera set up, use your phone as a remote screen, change settings and focus and take a picture. When it comes to video, both the SL2 and the M50 give you complete control over the camera using the camera connect app. You can frame your scene, change settings and then remotely start and stop recording!! That is such a cool feature and is so convenient. It makes being in front of the camera a lot easier. No more walking back and forth to the camera to start and stop, I can sit down, move myself or the camera until I get the shot exactly how I want to be, then start and stop the video right from my phone or tablet. Again, outstanding functionality from both cameras, I’m calling it a tie.

Other Features

Let’s talk about a few other features. Both cameras do in-body timelapse. It’s super simple to use and so much easier for most people than using an external intervalometer and then taking those pictures and converting them to a timelapse using software. The M50 has three specific timelapse scenarios built in (fast, slow, slower subject movement) which will automatically pick the right settings for your timelapse shot. You can also adjust those settings if you want to save 3 different presets. If you want a little more control, there is also a Custom setting which gives you full control. You just select an interval in seconds, that’s how long between each shot, how many shots you want the camera to take, and whether you want auto exposure to be used on the first image and then remain the same, or if you want the camera to auto expose for each picture. The SL2 doesn’t come with presents or the ability to save them, so you have to select your settings each time. Again, for beginners, it’s nice to have those presets, and at the same time, I think once you do a few timelapse videos, you’ll easily get the hang of using the custom feature. I’m going to give the edge here to the M50 because of the additional presets.

Another feature to discuss, especially if you’re using this for vlogging and you’re moving around a lot, or shooting hand-held, is image stabilization. The M50 offers 5-axis digital IS and lens-based image stabilization systems to try to reduce some of the shakiness you see from hand-held video footage. The SL2 doesn’t have digital image stabilization and will only offer some of that if you use lenses with built-in IS. The edge here goes to the M50 because of the digital image stabilization. I just want to mention that if you really plan on moving the camera a lot, I would probably recommend thinking about a 3 axis gimbal for super smooth footage.

Next let’s look at battery life. The SL2 is rated for 650 shots with a single battery, whereas the M50 is only rated for 235. That’s a huge advantage for the SL2. If you watch my detailed M50 review you’ll see that I definitely recommend buying an additional battery, or 2, if you plan on shooting all day. The advantage here definitely goes to the SL2.

Finally, let’s talk about price. At the time I’m shooting this video, there are some holiday specials. The SL2 body costs $499 and the M50 body costs $579. Now, depending on when you’re watching, the prices may be different but the SL2 should be less expensive than the M50. I don’t usually look at price, I look at value, but if you’re simply looking at dollars, the advantage goes to the SL2.

Final Thoughts

Ok, so both the SL2 and the M50 have their strengths and weaknesses. And that’s what makes it hard to say which is the “best”. It comes down to which features are important to you and how you plan on using the camera. For some people getting a small more portable camera and lenses, with digital image stabilization, an electronic viewfinder and option to shoot 4k are going to be a priority. For other users, having a full-featured DSLR with tons of interchangeable lens options, an optical viewfinder and a lower price point are going to sound like the best fit. You can’t have everything in every camera so it comes down to what’s important to you.I do my best to answer every question, so if you have any questions for me, fire away.

I also have links in the description to the more detailed video about each camera if you want a more in-depth review.

I really hope this video gave you a good comparison between the Canon SL2 and the M50, and I would love to hear in the comments section which is the best option for you.

If it was helpful, please let me know by giving it a thumbs up, tweet it, share it, and if you haven’t yet, hit that subscribe and notification buttons.

You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @techgeartalk.

Good luck and see you soon.

Detailed reviews:

Canon M50: https://youtu.be/luYV0dTxoWE
Canon SL2: https://youtu.be/WEQtH8hh8dM

Canon M50

CREATOR KIT: http://geni.us/tgtcanonm50creatorkit
Body only: http://geni.us/tgtm50body
Kit used (for review) in video: http://geni.us/tgtcanonm50kitused

Great Additional Canon M50 Len Options:

Canon EF-M 11-22mm: https://geni.us/BazlZB
Canon EF-M 55-200mm: https://geni.us/iHgE7

Canon EF-M Wide Angle and Low Light Lenses:

Canon EF-M 22mm f/2: https://geni.us/mtx5Ywb
Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4: https://geni.us/R8Von

Canon EF-M Macro Lens:

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS: https://geni.us/IZWLrdy

Canon SL2 (200d) Camera (updated):

Body only: http://geni.us/tgtcanonsl2
Kit used (for review) in video: http://geni.us/tgtcanonsl218-55
Deluxe Kit: http://geni.us/tgtcanonsl2deluxe

Great Additional Lens Options:
Canon EF-S 10-18mm: https://geni.us/IdiaJQh
Canon EF-S 18-55mm: https://geni.us/Ez1X
Canon EF-S 55-200mm: https://geni.us/iHgE7

My favorite 3-axis Gimbals for smaller Camera:
Moza AirCross 2 3-Axis Gimbal: https://geni.us/4hgD9I
ikan MS-PRO Beholder 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer: http://geni.us/tgtIkanBeholder
Zhiyun-Tech Crane v2 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer: http://geni.us/tgtZhiyunCraneV2
Beholder DS1 Handheld Stabilizer 3-Axis Brushless Gimbal: http://geni.us/tgtBeholderDS1

Microphones for Canon SL2:
Rode VideoMicro Compact On-Camera Microphone: http://geni.us/tgtRodeVideoMicro
Rode VideoMic Pro http://geni.us/tgtRodeVideoMicPro
Rode VideoMic GO http://geni.us/tgtRodeVideoMicGO
Rode VideoMic Pro Plus http://geni.us/tgtRodeVideoMicProPlus

Complete Review: https://youtu.be/hE84RCziiv8

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