Best $500 Youtuber Camera in 2019? My Canon M50 vs. Panasonic Lumix G7 Comparison
Last Updated: 11 June 2019
The holidays are over, and I’m going to write about the best $500 Youtuber camera in 2019. Everyone’s already forgotten about their resolutions. And all that. So, let’s put that behind us. Today I will compare Canon M50 with Panasonic Lumix G7. Got a couple of things going on. I know people usually have a lot of questions about the Panasonic G7 and the Canon M50 because they both slide into the $500-ish range. And they’re mirrorless cameras. Plus, they’re very, very capable: 4K, autofocus, flip-out screen. Neither of these is necessarily brand new cameras. But as of right now, beginning in 2019, these seem like the best cameras available out there for the $500 range. They’re both excellent cameras.
These Two Are Very Similar Cameras
I’ve seen great things done with both. So, I don’t think you can go wrong with either/or. But we’re gonna find out which one has a slight edge over the other. Also, we’ve got speed boosters to test out on both of these cameras. That’s pretty cool. Speed boosters have been around for a while. But just now have they started releasing ones for the EOS M lenses, which the Canon M50 uses.
Anyway, I have the cameras with me right now, and both are currently set to ISO 200; at an F-stop of 4.5 shutter speed at 1/60 white balance on daylight. And they’re both just straight out of the box. Just straight, standard color profile, nothing tweaked. I was surprised how similar these cameras are looking. Especially in the studio. We’re gonna try out a few more environments. We’re still in 4K. Right now, I’ve got some direct sun blasting my face. And I’m squinting. I’m trying not to squint too much. My eyes are tiny.
Comparing Shadows vs. Direct Light
I think the most significant difference is really in the highlight roll-off. You can actually see how one camera looks a little bit different. Like, if you could look at just the way the light rolls on the highlights on my cheeks and stuff like that, it’s pretty different between the two cameras. If I move entirely in the shade, this might actually be a pretty decent test for dynamic range as well because I’m in the shadow and now I’m in the direct, blasted by sunlight. I started typing, and I immediately started thinking about how I would be commenting on Panasonic’s color sides. But, it’s actually looking pretty dang close.
Moving on, I’m now looking at some of the shots with the dogs. One looks slightly more magenta, and one looks slightly more green. But they’re way more similar than I would have ever expected. The 4K is awe-inspiring on both cameras. Let’s see how the HD looks. I left both cameras recording in HD for a bit. Let’s see if there is a difference in quality here.
Comparing the 4K Auto Focus
I’ve got both of these cameras on prime lenses, at about a 50 mm equivalent at F 2.8 on both. So there is a pretty shallow depth of field. I’m gonna get a lot of background blur, which is gonna make it pretty tricky on the autofocus. So, I’m going to test that.
It’s not really recommended to use internal audio on both cameras, by the way. But, sometimes you just need to use it, and it sounds decent. Both of my monitors are regularly seeing me drift in and out of focus. This is tough. Because remember, both of these cameras are in 4K, and neither of them has excellent autofocus in 4K. The Canon M50 does have dual pixel autofocus, which is one of the best autofocus systems that I’ve ever used. But, it only works in HD, once you switch it into 4K, then poof! It’s gone.
Camera one also has autofocus. But once you’re in 4K, it’s significantly slower, and it’s actually pretty bad. So I’m gonna just float around a little bit and see which one loses me more frequently. And again, neither of these are be that great because we’re filming in 4K. I’ll have to try this test again in HD after this.
Camera one is super out of focus. Camera number two, the Panasonic, has no problems when I get like intimately close, it has no issues. It just focuses on my face, very clear. Not camera number one though. Camera number one has intimacy issues, for sure. Because as soon as I get close, it’s like OK.
Alright, camera number one just died on me. Neither of these cameras has a great battery life. So one final test before I will write the winner. I’m in a dark environment now and have all my lights set to the dimmest level they go to. The cameras are set at IOS 3200 right now. So, maybe check and see how much grain that both of them have in case you’re in a low light environment. Here’s another sample clip at 6400 ISO. Camera one seems to be the better low light performer camera. Camera two is starting to see some noise, and it’s just not as sharp. Now, editing that last segment in 4K is just so frustrating because there’s so much out of focus footage. The 4K autofocus on both cameras sucks. I wouldn’t use either of them if I was a YouTuber.
HD Works Great for Auto Focus
If you’re trying to film yourself, autofocus is a really high priority. So with both these cameras, I would just go straight to HD. That’s because the Canon M50 has a great dual pixel autofocus in HD. Panasonic has much faster autofocus. By the way, both cameras have been using native lenses. So Cannon has been using Canon lenses. Panasonic has been using Panasonic lenses. Now so far, I feel like it’s been pretty difficult to differentiate between the two cameras. Now, after playing with these cameras for a while, I think the biggest difference lays in the autofocus capabilities in HD.
Verdict? Which One Is Camera One, And Which One is Camera Two?
The dual pixel autofocus from Cannon is one of the best autofocuses I’ve ever seen. Look how fast the Canon caught me. And finally, the G7 caught me.
So yeah, camera two is the Canon M50.
The camera one is the Panasonic G7. Canon’s autofocus is so great, and it’s so fast, and it’s so reliable. And it’s one of the main reasons why I buy so many Canon cameras. Just look how fast the Canon caught my face, opposed to the Lumix. I’m gonna pop into the frame. Both cameras are focused on the background. And the way the Canon M50 catches me is insane. If you step away from the camera, it knows you stepped away and goes right up to you. That’s opposed to a lot of other cameras that are like, uh, I have no idea where you went. That’s amazing. Alright so now let’s take a quick look at the cameras themselves. Now, I really like the design of the G7. I think it looks pretty cool. I love the colors on it.
It does feel a little bit plasticy. The Canon M50 feels a little bit more solid in hand. It’s little but more compact. Now it terms of picture quality, I’m kind of torn. On a couple of these side by side comparison shots, I actually preferred how the G7 came out looking. Which I was pretty surprised about. I was also stunned that the G7 looked better in low light, especially since it’s a Micro Fourth Thirds sensor. I was really impressed with how it looked, and actually, the M50 looked pretty bad next to it. So, I went back, and I re-shot it. I triple checked the focus on it and everything. And, definitely, the G7 looked a little bit cleaner in the low light. So, that was pretty unexpected. But at the same time, I did take the G7 out, and I tried to shoot a little vlog with it and tried to get some footage with it. And I just wasn’t super happy with the image that I came out of that particular shoot
Both Are Phenomenal
And since I’ve been using the M50 for so long, I know I would have been happy with the results out of this camera. So I really think it depends on the environment on which the camera looks better. The G7, I kept getting this feeling that it was a little bit video-y and less film-ic. But, maybe it’s just because I’m so used to the look from the Cannon M50 that I’m only not used to seeing the G7 footage. But I don’t know. My point is, the image quality out of both of these cameras are phenomenal. So, you really can’t go wrong with either/or. I think the G7 shows a little bit more green and the M50 goes a little bit more magenta. But you can kind of tweak those very quickly in post-production. And also the standard picture profile on the Canon seemed a little bit more contrasty. These are all simple adjustments you can make on the camera.
But yeah, in terms of image quality, they both did really, really well. It’s a $500 camera. This is amazing. Now both of these cameras are very much capable of photography as well. I don’t know much about photography, so I’ll skip through that part. They’re both loaded with excellent features like time-lapse assistance, stuff to keep you busy. Micro Four Thirds, or the EOSM lenses. They’re great because they’re so compact, I mean, this is basically ready to go, and it’s tiny. But if you don’t care so much about the size and wanna get more of cinematic images, I definitely recommend you guys look into speed boosters. What it basically does is take a full-frame lens, and it reshapes the light out of the back, so it compresses that light a little bit more, which gives you more light so better for low light environments. It provides you a shallower depth of field, and it basically makes it look more like you’re shooting out of a cinema camera opposed to a small sensor camera.
Alright, so having a 16 mm with a speed boost is great. You can get everyone in the frame with it. It’s harder to squeeze everyone in the frame, but keep in mind that if you’re using this for Youtube or vlogging, it is gonna increase the size causes a lot of these adapters use Canon EF lenses, which tend to be bigger, and then you slap an adapter behind it and then put it onto the camera, it’s gonna be more prominent. Alright, so overall, what are we dealing with here? I have the M50.
What I Would Pick
Now, I’ve been trying to give as much information as possible without giving you my full-on opinion on it so that you, the reader, can make up your mind on your own, but here’s where I’m going to get biased and tell you which one I would pick.
The G7, You can definitely find it a tad bit cheaper, so you can easily find a lens with the camera body for $500. The M50 – you might have to scavenge around a little bit. You can still get a body new for $500, but a lot of times, if you’re gonna get with the body and the lens, it can get like $550, closer to $600 You just have to look around at who has the best deal: Amazon, eBay, whatever. Low light, that’s pretty impressive. I was no expecting the Micro Four Thirds to have better low light performance than the Canon M50. Another thing I like about the G7 is the switches it has.
It has more switches for different things. Now with the M50, you only really have this one dial that adjusts most of your settings, and you press the firm buttons to toggle what this does. The G7, though, offers the hand has a dial-up there, and a dial-up there for aperture, shutter. Then, you can toggle between ISO white balance on these switches as well. So the extra dial and extra switches are kinda beautiful, especially if you’re running the camera’s manual mode, and you want to just kind of fly through those settings. Also another factor, it is no crop in 4K.
That is nice because if you switch between HD and 4K on the M50, you get that crop in 4K mode, but on the G7, no matter what resolution you’re shooting on, it’s gonna look the same, so that’s a plus: the native lenses. And I’m talking about Micro Four Thirds versus EOS M lenses, I think there’s more exciting stuff going on with Micro Four Thirds, so if you’re not looking to adapt it to different types of lenses, you’re probably going to have a better time finding Micro Four Thirds lenses out there. Opposed to USM, there are a few good ones out there. There’s the 22 mm F2, which is pretty nice and it’s nice and compact. But, besides that, there just hasn’t been too much that really caught my eye in the EOS M line. And it also comes with log color profiles built-in, meaning flat picture profiles that you can grade after the fact.
Although I’m not a huge fan of using log settings with an 8-bit color, just because when it comes to grading it, sometimes you see a whole lot of banding, and I’m just not a fan. There are several profiles you can get for the M50, but they don’t come built-in. You kind of have to install it yourself. It’s not hard, but it’s not the easiest process I’ve ever seen. Either so, G7 has that, and if any of these features seem really awesome to you, then the G7 is a great option. But, me, myself, I would go for the Canon M50. Because there’s one thing that the Canon M50 does so good which is the autofocus. I have to clarify: in HD. Not in 4K. That sucks. The Canon dual pixel autofocus is like the only autofocus that I really, really trust, especially to be filming YouTube videos, because I’ve filmed hours and hours in front of this camera.
I’ve been filming at an F2.8, and I’ve never lost a take because of autofocus. When it locks onto my face, it doesn’t, like, randomly just shift out for a split second. And I’ve tried every autofocus setting on the G7. I’ve tried the face detection, the tracking. I even went online, and everyone seems to have a different recommendation on what they say is the best vlog autofocus setting. I’ve tried them all, and none of them are nearly as good as the dual pixel autofocus on the M50. Because of that, I would say that alone is a reason for me to go to the M50. Another factor is the sensor, which is a 1.6 times crop factor.
The Canon M50 has an APS-C sensor, and the difference between the APS-C and the Micro Four Thirds sensor wasn’t as significant as I thought it would be. I was definitely able to still get a beautiful blurred background out of the micro four-thirds sensor. But generally speaking, if you’re concerned about the sensor’s size, then the M50 does have that bigger APS-C sensor. Another thing is the stabilization in the body. Alright, this is kind of iffy cause its digital image stabilization, and it has three different modes. And it does a pretty decent job just kind of pulling out those, like, micro-vibrations. It’s not unlike Sony’s Ibis or anything like that where the sensor’s actually balancing itself out. But, it still does help a little bit. Like right now, the M50 has stabilization in the lens and also digital image stabilization in the body.
The G7, right now, only has it in the lens. And if you don’t have a lens with image stabilization, you can get a whole lot of that jiggle. Another factor is that of 120 FPS, super slow motion. It’s 720p, so it’s not incredible, but it’s not bad, and the G7 maxes out at 60p. And also, this is kinda subjective, but I did prefer the sound quality our of this M50 as well. So, that’s why I personally would go for that M50. There we go, I think that pretty much wraps it up. I hope this was helpful!