Canon EOS M5 real world review / Featured species: Fleischmann's Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni)

This time we traveled to Plantation Road (Camino de Plantación) at Soberanía National Park for a nocturnal macro-aventure. The surprise of the night was a Fleischmann's Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni) but of course we found much more. We took our new mirrorless camera, the Canon EOS M5, paired with a EF 100mm Macro lens thanks to the corresponding adapter to fit EF lenses on EF-M mounts. 


Fleischmann's Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni) is a relatively small frog ranging from 19.2 to 32 mm (0.75” to 1.25”), with females being larger. It has a relatively flattened body, broad head, round snout, and forward-directed eyes. It has pale green skin with yellow or yellowish green spots and a white, partly transparent belly showing tiny white bones. The heart and anterior half of the liver are not visible since are obscured by a white sheet of guanine. This layer of guanine also wraps around its digestive system. Fingertips are yellow. The eye has a gold-colored iris surrounding a horizontally elliptical pupil. The specific name fleischmanni honors Carl Fleischmann, a collector in Costa Rica in the 1980s.



Fly (Diptera)

Katydid (Tettigoniidae)

Stink Bug (Pentatomidae)

Katydid (Tettigoniidae)

Fleischmann's Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni)
This frog is very similar in size and color to the Yellow-flecked Glassfrog (Cochranella albomaculata) and the Powdered Glassfrog (Hyalinobatrachium pulveratum). However, the latter two species have exposed digestive organs which are not wrapped in a white guanine sheath, we were able to confirm this when the frog perched on a branch showing it’s belly.

Fleischmann's Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni)
This frog ranges from Guerrero and Veracruz, Mexico, through Central America to Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, and Surinam.

Fleischmann's Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni)
This species is nocturnal and arboreal, and inhabits vegetation near moderate to fast flowing stream at lower elevation, sometimes in pastures and cleared sites.

Jumping Spider (Colonus sylvanus) - 

Harvestman or Daddy Longlegs (Cosmetidae)
Cosmetidae, with around 700 species, are distributed from Argentina to southern USA, most diverse in northern South America, Central America and Mexico. This family comprises Opiliones with elaborate white/yellow/green/orange/red stripes and spots on the back and peculiar pedipalps strongly compressed. The family name is derived from the Greek kosmetós = ornate.

Butterfly (Lepidoptera)

Harvestman and spider eating an ant


Tree Cricket (Oecanthinae) nymph
This is an insect of order Orthoptera, in the subfamily Oecanthinae of the family Gryllidae. They live in trees and shrubs, for which they are well camouflaged. These crickets are nocturnal and can be found on every continent except Antarctica. 

Katydids (Tettigoniidae) molt shedding their exoskeleton, and then they usually eat the old exoskeleton. Allegedly a nice source of protein.

Cricket (Gryllidae)

Scarab (Scarabaeidae). This family, as currently defined, consists of over 30,000 species of beetles worldwide, often called scarabs or scarab beetles. The classification of this family is fairly unstable. Scarabs are stout-bodied beetles, many with bright metallic colours, measuring between 1.5 and 160 mm (0.06” to 6.3”). They have distinctive, clubbed antennae composed of plates.

Anole lizard (Anolis)

Now, the boring stuff: the camera review. All we can say is "WE LOVE IT”. We are going to split our review into key factors.

Dimensions: Size and weight are extremely convenient for macro photography, as well as travel, street or casual photography, maybe even wildlife photography with telephoto and super-telephoto lenses. 


Canon EOS M5

Sensor: The sensor is a Dual Pixel APS-C 24 MP, the same in the 80D. It has nothing to ask to other higher end cameras on the EOS line, and given our preference for cropped (APS-C) sensors this is top of the line for us. It makes DSLR-quality images because it has a Canon DSLR sensor but we do not recommend using EF-M lenses.

Mirrorless system: Not having a mirror is very convenient to avoid unwanted vibrations when doing the shot, especially on this kind of photography in which the slight movement affects immensely the results.

Stabilization: It has in camera stabilization that works in conjunction with the lens' image stabilization system. Honestly, we are not dependent on this but we could feel it working.

Touchscreen: This is a very nice feature, you can focus touching the screen, we are not used to do this since we do manual focus on macro but it's a nice feature and may avoid getting the head and/or body close to the subject.

Electronic viewfinder: We used the electronic viewfinder (EVF) to focus. While you are not looking through it, the preview image will be shown on the LCD back screen (Live View) but once the camera senses your face (or your finger) close to the EVF, the Live View screen switches off and the EVF on. The EVF is very good, and tries to show the actual exposition, but we noticed a lag while switching, and accidental switching with the finger. The EVF is very good but a little small compared to the DSLRs we are used to handle. We also noticed that the actual image taken differed some times from the preview, it could be due to the settings we were using for exposing with speed lights. 

Top view of M5, showing the top dials

Controls: These are very complete, including a dedicated exposure compensation dial. It will take some time to get used to buttons’ locations if you are used to DSLR’s. Inexplicably, menus differ from the DSLR line, another thing to get used to.

Image quality: Simply awesome as you can see above. We can't tell any difference from other cameras we have used, and even observed better color rendition than the 7D Mark II (our favorite APS-C), this may be due to the new sensor. The key here is that we were using an excellent lens (100mm Macro L), and other reviews have been very explicit about the results on this camera with the standard EF-M lens series designed for Canon mirrorless (M) system vs the results with good glass like a L series. If you are a professional, you may already have good quality lenses and we suggest you use this camera with an adapter to exploit such glass. Some people will argue that using this camera with the large EF lenses (compared to EF-M lenses) will be contradictory but in our opinion, even so it stays on the lighter side, and we prefer to sacrifice a little convenience instead of quality. 

For a professional or wildlife photographer, we recommend to add this body in your roaster as a travel camera or a back-up, and use it with good glass, but we won't be surprised if you decide to use it as your main body, as we have decided to do for our macro work.

This adapter allows to use EF and EF-S lenses on M cameras


EOS M5 camera with adapter and L series lens


Flash: It has a built in flash but you can also fit an external flash on the hot shoe. We connected our macro twin flash to the M5, and it worked perfectly.

Price: We got this camera in the USA for US$959 including a US$20 rebate, this is extremely good bang for the buck considering it’s hundreds of dollars cheaper than the 80D or the 7D MarkII. The adapter is worth US$200, kind of expensive for a piece of tube filled with air and some wires. The good think is that it works fine even with an EF 600mm f/4 IS II.

Other features that are interesting at least on paper and that we should test in the field with other type of photography are the 7 frame per seconds (FPS) with continuous AF and 9 FPS with focus and exposure locked (considerably fast), and ISO performance that goes from 100 to 25,600.

Bottomline, the camera is excellent for our macro stuff and we have made the first step on the impending switch to mirrorless cameras. It’s good to know that Canon  has thought about us and let us use the old-fashioned but extremely good lenses with this new system. For super-telephoto lenses we are still dubious but we might do a proper real world test, sooner or later.