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Canon SL3 vs M50: 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 great beginner cameras from, the new Canon SL3 and the Canon M50. The SL3, also known as the 250d is a small DSLR with some great features and was just released as an update to very extremely popular SL2. On the other side we have the Canon EOS M50 which is a super compact and powerful mirrorless camera from Canon, and was the first mirrorless camera from Canon to offer 4k video.

We’re going to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of both cameras 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 it helpful please let me know by giving it a like and hitting the subscribe and notification buttons 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 Camera (updated):

CREATOR KIT: http://geni.us/tgtcanonm50creatorkit 
Body only: http://geni.us/tgtm50body
Kit used (for review) in video: http://geni.us/tgtcanonm50

kitused

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 Camera (updated): Body only (black): https://geni.us/NGYRlw
Body with 18-55mm Lens (black): https://geni.us/uZjitz 
Body with 18-55mm Lens (white): https://geni.us/uZjitz 
Body with 18-55mm & 55-250mm Lenses: https://geni.us/LvrLZ 

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 SL3 Highlights

  • The SL3 also has a 24.1MP APS-C CMOS Sensor, and it also uses Canon’s super nice Dual Pixel autofocus system which is awesome.
  • It has the newer DIGIC 8 processor which improves speed, performance and image quality.
  • It has a 3” fully articulating touchscreen LCD and can shoot video at up to 4k at 24fps.
  • Like the SL2 it also uses an optical viewfinder
  • it has improved Wi-Fi with NFC and bluetooth so that you can more 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.

Ergonomics & Battery

First I want to talk about camera type. The SL3 is a DSLR and the M50 is a mirrorless camera. If you’ve never been quite sure about the difference let me take a minute to explain. The way a DSLR like the SL3 works is that the light passes through the lens and then hits a mirror that is sitting at an angle in front of the sensor. The light is 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 is constantly hitting 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 which is how you’re able to see the image on the electronic viewfinder and when you go to take a picture, it’s covered by the shutter, then uncovered and covered again. This is the main reason why mirrorless cameras are smaller than DSLRs, because you don’t have mirror sitting in front of the sensor. 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. 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 SL3, for a DSLR is super light, and even with the 18-55mm 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, so with the 15-45mm kit lens it weighs in at a little over a pound. 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. The tradeoff there is going to be in terms of handling. Where some people might like the larger size and the deeper grip of the SL3.

Next I want to talk about the viewfinders. The SL3, 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 on the M50 gives you a larger view of the scene and helps with immediate feedback of the changes you’re making to your 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 like better.

As far as battery life, the SL3 is rated for 1070 shots which is awesome, I can definitely shoot for a whole day without worrying about bringing an additional battery. As a disclaimer, I do always bring a backup battery regardless of which camera I use because it’s better to have it and not need it than to get to a location and not be able to shoot because something happened to the battery. The M50 is rated for 235 shots which is obviously a lot less than the SL3. I did a dedicated video showing 3 ways to solve this battery life issue and I’ll like to that video up in the corner and in the description. The edge here easily goes to the SL3 with being rated for 1070 shots vs 235 for the M50.

Sensor and Processor

Both SL3 and the M50 have a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor which Canon uses on more expensive APC-S models. All things being equal, 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 sensor on the SL3 and M50 is a great value, it gives you really nice performance at a very affordable price. As far as processors, both the SL3 and the M50 use the newer DIGIC 8 so as far as that goes, this is again a tie. Together with the nice sensor, both cameras will give you sharp images and video and good low light performance. The DIGIC 8 is also more efficient and is responsible for the improved battery life on the SL3 and the ability for both cameras to process 4k video.

General menu operation is fast for both cameras, both have very quick startup and things like Image preview and video playback are nice and fast. Because of how I shoot, one of the features I look at for every camera I get 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 sports, pets, kids running around, or any fast moving subjects. Of course, the more frames you have per second, the more exposures you’ll have to pick from later on. The M50 can shoot at up to 10fps and the SL5 at 5fps, so the edge of course goes to the M50 because you’ll have twice as many exposure to pick form and it’s more likely that you’ll get the exact moment you wanted to capture.

Resolution and Framerate

Next I want to talk about resolution and framerates. For photography, both cameras offer a 6000 x 4000 pixel image, so as far as head-to-head resolution, this is a tie. As far as image quality I have been getting pretty similar results with maybe a slight advantage to the SL3. I did a comparison between the SL2 and the M50 and the slight advantage of the SL2 could be in part due to the SL2 kit lens being better than the M50 kit lens. I’ll do a more detailed image quality comparison in another video, this time using an adapter so I can use the same lens. If this is something you’re interested in, let me know in the comment section and make sure you’re subscribed and have notifications turned on. Now let’s get to the video recording options, and both cameras can shoot 4k video at 24 and 25fps. And we’ll come back to discuss 4k in just a bit but I want to get to 1080p where we find a significant difference. Before I get to the options, I just want to mention that 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%. The M50 can shoot FULL HD or 1080P at 24, 30 and 60fps in you’re shooting in NTSC. The SL3 only offers 1080p at 30 and 60fps, Canon removed the ability to shoot at 24fps. This is something I just that you’ve probably heard me talk about before, and I just can’t understand what Canon is doing here. And I have other videos that talk about this topic, and if you watched my SL2 cinematic footage tutorial, you know that if you want cinematic-looking footage, you want to shoot at 24fps. So now, this option is only available on the SL3 if you’re shooting in 4k. Initially that sounds just fine and you might be saying I’ll shoot in 4k there are several advantages to shooting in 4k. When you shoot in 4k, you have to apply an additional crop factor on both the M50 and the SL3. The total crop factor is 2.64x, and this is something you need to pay attention to.

I’m going to take a popular lens from my Best Lenses for the SL2 video, the 50 f/1.8 and I’m going to put it on the SL3. If I shoot at 1080p, it converts to an 80mm equivalent field of view because the SL3 has an APS-C sensor – that’s fine, I knew that when I chose this camera. But now when I use it in 4K, I have to apply the additional crop factor which gives me around a 132mm field of view. So first of all, this is a very tight shot and would require me to either use an extremely wide lens or move the camera much farther away. And in addition to that, the famous (and my favorite) Dual Pixel Auto Focus isn’t being used when shooting it 4k in either of these cameras. So where does this leave us? I am giving the advantage to the M50 because it does give you the option to to get cinematic footage at 1080p 24fps.

Lens Options

Alright, let’s move to lens options. The SL3 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, I’m giving the SL3 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 SL3 let’s me use all of my L-Series glass from Canon so I have a lot of flexibility. I’m going to add that 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 EF/EF-S adapter does open the door to you using all of the same lenses that fit on the SL3, at the cost of having to buy and carry another piece of gear. I’m still giving the advantage to the SL3 because it natively accepts a much larger selection of lenses, both from Canon and other manufacturers.

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 50/mm f/1.8 and put it on the SL3, it actually provides an 80mm field of view if I compare it to what it would look like on a full frame sensor camera like the Canon EOS R. 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 for me is one of the most important factors when I choose a camera. And the good news is that both the SL3 and the M50 use Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus which is so good. This is definitely one of the best autofocus systems out on the market at any price point and I never get any type of focus hunting or any other issues when I use it.

For photography, when using the viewfinder the SL3 has a 9 point autofocus system with the center point being cross-type. When using the electronic viewfinder on the M50, you are still using the dual pixel autofocus system and you can pick from between 99-143 autofocus points depending on which lens you’re using. In addition to that, you can also have face tracking active while shooting with the viewfinder and let the M50 automatically identify, track and keep the face of your subject in focus. If you plan on using the LCD to shoot, now both the SL3 and the M50 give use the dual pixel autofocus. Remember that the M50 gives us 99/143 AF points depending on the lens we’re using, the SL3 is reported to give us 3975 points.

Continuing with using the LCD for photography, now both cameras have face tracking so both the SL2 and the SL3 will identify a face and track it as it moves through the frame and keep it in focus. One advantage of the SL3 is that you’re able to use the cross arrow buttons to move from one face to another in your frame which is really cool when there is more than one person in your shot. Another advantage for the SL3 is the addition of eye detection autofocus which can be used to prioritize focus on the subject’s eye. This is awesome for portraits where you no longer have to worry about where the focus point is and we’re getting a more precise focus-point on the eye, rather than just the face. For multiple faces in the same shot, you can use the right and left arrows to select a different subject and if eye detection is on, you can use the arrows to switch between the subject’s eyes.

Moving on to video, this is where 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 have a pretty drastic impact on focus. Like I’ve said in the past about Canon cameras that use this system, the dual-pixel continuous autofocus system is so good. For both cameras, it will automatically detect your face and then you can just watch it follow you and adjust the focus.

With the SL3, we can use eye-detection when shooting video in both 4k and full HD, so as long as your subject is facing the camera both face and eye-detection work well. 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 great feature I have with both cameras is the ability to click on different items in the screen and have the camera automatically rack focus for me. 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, and I can bring it into focus.

Finally, we also have subject tracking available, so we can click on a subject, and then the SL3 and the M50 will track it as it’s moving through the frame. I want to point out again that for the SL3 and the M50, the the dual pixel AF does not work when you’re shooting in 4K.

As far as autofocus goes, it’s an interesting choice. If you’re going to use the viewfinder for photography, then the M50 gives you more functionality with the dual pixel autofocus, many more autofocus selection points, and face or subject tracking. If you’re going to use the LCD for photography, then I’m going to give the edge to the SL3 because eye-detection gives us an extra level of precision when it comes to auto focus and you have more AF position points to select from. If you’re using the LCD for video, I’m still giving the advantage to the SL3 because we can use eye-detection even for video.

AUDIO

Something else that I love about both the SL3 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 microphone instead of the built-in one. So I can easily connect a shotgun mic to both the SL2 and the SL3 and I will immediately get better audio. This a really nice compact setup, it’s light, portable and I get great video and great audio. It’s just perfect for vlogging, shooting talking head video and really anytime where I want more directional sound pick up, instead of the 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. Now as far as using a lavalier microphone, I can use a wired lav with both the SL3 and M50 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 the camera down and step back and the mic is still on me.

A huge advantage the SL3 has over the M50 is that you can now see the audio levels on the LCD, and this is true while you’re setting up, but more important, while recording. So you can easily see if your audio levels are correct so that you can make any necessary adjustments. As far as audio goes, I’m going to give the edge to the SL3 because being able to see the audio levels is a very important feature for video.

Selfie Screen/Touch Screen

Both the SL3 have a super versatile, 3” 1.04M dot, fully articulating touchscreen. If can be flipped and then locked into position on the back on the camera if you’re behind the camera, or flipped again for protection and storage when it’s not in use. I love the fact that I can point it up when I shoot from waist level or on a tripod that is low to the ground. I also like the flexibility of having it point down, if the camera is above my head. Finally, have it flip to the side and either pointed back or to the side is a fantastic option when I use a gimbal, and I never feel like I need an external monitor. As far as the screen goes, I’m going to call this a tie because the LCD is essentially the same.

Connectivity Options

Next let’s talk about connectivity and remote control options. Both the SL3 and the M50 come with WIFI and Bluetooth options that work with the Canon Camera Connect app. The app lets you connect to a mobile device wirelessly and then transfer images of videos so that you can quickly share them. Also, both the SL3 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 cameras give you complete control over shooting features using the camera connect app. You can frame your scene, change settings, see and set focus and then remotely start and stop recording!! This is an incredible feature if you’re shooting by yourself, if you’re streaming, anything like that. 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. As far as the interface, the SL3 uses a more user-friendly integration for the wireless settings in the menu. There is actually a dedication top-level menu option which I like, because you don’t have to go searching for this feature. Although it’s only a slight advantage, I’m going to give the edge to the SL3.

Other Features

Ok, I want to talk about a few other features that might help you make a buying decision and we’ll get to the final verdict. Both cameras do in-body 1080p and 4k timelapse. It’s super simple to use and so much easier for most people than having to use an external intervalometer and then taking those pictures and converting them to a timelapse using software. Both the M50 and SL3 have 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. All you do is 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.

And I really love that both cameras offer a 4K timelapse which is a game-changer. First, if you’re working on a 4k timeline, you’re going to need it to fill your frame. Second, if you’re working on a 1080p timeline, having a 4k timelapse gives you some awesome options when it comes to framing. If you have any questions about this, let me know in the comments section.

Next I want to talk about one of the most exciting features of the SL3 and that is a clean HDMI out. This means that the SL3 can output video that does not include the menu and focus overlay. With the M50, unless you used special software, you could only stream by using manual focus and then hiding the on-screen elements to mimic a clean HDMI out. But with the SL3, you can have autofocus with face and eye detection on and still get beautiful, crips and in-focus video to your stream. You can also record 4:2:2 10bit video externally and get amazing footage with more information to use when color correcting and grading your footage. So for anyone who wants to do a live stream – the SL3 is an incredible option and definitely has a significant advantage over the M50.

Another new feature only offered in the SL3 is Smooth Skin mode which offers five levels of skin smoothing to help reduce blemishes and make subjects’ skin appear soft.

Next I want to discuss the hotshoe functionality. This is not something that I would normally discuss because usually there isn’t much to say, but this distinction will be very important to people who use a flash. With the SL3, Canon removed the center pin so now the SL3 is not compatible with most third-party flashes or accessories. The M50 does have the center pin so you can use much less expensive options if you plan on adding an external flash.

Finally, let’s talk about price and value. 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 found that this video was helpful, let me know in the comment section, it really helps. Also, if you’ve left me a comment before you know that I try to respond to every comment I get and help out whenever possible. At the time I’m writing this article, the SL3 body sells for $549 and the M50 body sells for $579 so it’s an extra $30. Now, depending on when you’re watching, the prices may be different but it’s going to be close enough. I don’t normally look just at price, I look at value. I think about what you’re paying and what you get and figure out the best combination.

Final Thoughts

Ok, so which camera is better value and which one should you get? When I look at total cost of ownership of a camera, lens and accessories, this isn’t too much of a significant difference. The M50 is a good choice if you want smaller and more portable camera and lenses, something you can take with you anywhere without too much of an inconvenience. Other advantages are more autofocus options and control when using the viewfinder for photography, and the ability to get 24fps cinematic footage at Full HD or 1080P. If you’re looking for much better battery life, eye-detection for both photography and video (as long and you’re using the LCD, audio level display for video and a slightly larger and a bit more comfortable body, then the SL3 is a good choice. If you plan on doing live streaming, again, the SL3 is a clear winner because it comes with a clean HDMI out which lets you get clean, crips and in-focus video to your streaming software. I always say, 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 SL3 and the M50, and I would love to hear in the comments section which option is best for you.

If it was helpful, please let me know by sharing it, and if you haven’t yet, hit that subscribe and notification buttons on my YouTube.

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

Good luck and see you soon.

 

Canon M50 Camera (updated):

CREATOR KIT: http://geni.us/tgtcanonm50creatorkit 
Body only: http://geni.us/tgtm50body
Kit used (for review) in video: http://geni.us/tgtcanonm50

kitused

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 EOS Rebel SL3 Camera (updated):

Body only (black): https://geni.us/NGYRlw
Body with 18-55mm Lens (black): https://geni.us/uZjitz 
Body with 18-55mm Lens (white): https://geni.us/uZjitz 
Body with 18-55mm & 55-250mm Lenses: https://geni.us/LvrLZ 

Great Additional Len Options:

Canon EF-S 18-55mm STM IS Lens: https://geni.us/canon-18-55-stm-is
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens: https://geni.us/0Ag0
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens: https://geni.us/as49

Detailed reviews:

Canon M50: https://youtu.be/luYV0dTxoWE
Canon SL3: https://youtu.be/dT1oWR9LrYI

Microphones for Canon SL3 and M50:

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

Rode VideoMicro: https://geni.us/rode-videomicro
Rode VideoMic GO: https://geni.us/rode-videomic-go
Rode VideoMic Pro: https://geni.us/rode-videomic-pro
Rode VideoMic Pro Plus: https://geni.us/9HSlB

My favorite 3-axis Gimbals for smaller Camera:
Moza Lite 2 https://bhpho.to/2kyBpTI
Ikan MS-PRO Beholder 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer: https://bhpho.to/2BpaPlP
Zhiyun-Tech Crane v2 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer: https://bhpho.to/2E6kSz8
Beholder DS1 Handheld Stabilizer 3-Axis Brushless Gimbal: http://amzn.to/2DA4Cpd

Comments

  1. Thank you for this information. It was very helpful, but I’m still undecided. I am looking for a camera for my 12 year old granddaughter who is new to photography. I suspect she will be doing a lot of videos and pictures for sharing on her social media. What would you recommend?

    • Hi Terri, glad this was helpful. We bought the M50 for our 13 year old and she loved it. It’s smaller and more compact which made it easier to use and more likely she would take it with her. I hope that’s helpful.

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