Updated: Oct 18
The Canon M50 was released in 2018 and proved to be a really big hit with consumers and enthusiast photographers. It's a great camera for many reasons. Its small size, image quality, flip screen, touch functionality, video capabilities, and other features makes it a compelling buy for someone looking for a budget interchangeable lens mirrorless camera. However, one of the main criticisms is its lens selection.
Canon (as of the time of writing this article) didn't release many lenses for the M system and therefore has had a polarizing reputation for not supporting the system. There is even rumor that the M series is dead.
On one hand, the camera and the M system as a whole has a lot of potential. On the other hand, how can you maximize that potential without a good selection of lenses. As sad as the support has been there are some good options if you look deeper. No worries, I'm here to help.
My experience with the Canon EOS M series
I have been a faithful M50 user for years and it has traveled with me many places. My first M series cameras was the Canon M6 and I still have a pair of M5s that I use for modest professional work when I'm not using Fujifilm cameras. The M5 was a promising camera with good physical features but the tilting (not flip) screen and lack of 4K didn't prove well in the marketplace. What I liked about the M5 versus the other M series cameras was the inclusion of physical controls and the electronic viewfinder.
I've tried many many lenses over this time so I have a strong opinion in that regard. I've adapted lenses as well as used native mount lenses and third party lenses. After all the trial and error I've landed on a nice collection of lenses to capture family moments, travel, and even some light pro work.
I will list my current lenses choices as well as mention some accessories such as adapters to maximize the Canon EOS M mount system.
Canon M50 Lenses I recommend
This is my most used lens for many reasons. Its small, has a fast aperture, and the focal length is perfect for general purpose photography. 22mm is the equivalent of 35mm with Canon's 1.6x crop factor so its a wide angle without being too wide but can still get an emphasis on your subject.
Most cameras come with a kit lens with a standard zoom range of 24-70mm ish equivalent but the sacrifice is a slower aperture so once you're indoors it has limitations. I would prefer the 35mm focal length with a faster aperture and pair with a standard or medium telephoto prime of 50mm or 85mm.
Sigma has been the top 3rd party lens manufacture for many years. They have really stepped up their game and made some really high quality and compelling products for many camera brands. When the light looked bleak for Canon to make more lenses Sigma stepped in and made a trio of 1.4 lenses.
The 16mm is one of my favorites especially for video work. It's the equivalent of 25mm and gives you a fast and wide perspective. This is excellent for vlogging and tight situations. Whenever I'm making videos this is my choice. F1.4 lets in a lot of light so my ISO can be low to reduce any possible noise.
The 30mm is the 48mm equivalent which essentially makes it a "nifty 50" normal prime lens. I typically don't use this lens much as I find a 50mm not really my thing. I prefer a 35mm as my favorite focal length. However, a fast 50mm is widely popular and proves to be versatile and valuable to any photographer. It is a great pair with the Sigma 16mm 1.4 so you have some good coverage.
A portrait lens is a must for any event photographer and the 56mm gives the 90mm equivalent on the M series. The compression you get with this lens is outstanding. I usually pair this lens with the 16mm or 22mm so that I have a wide and telephoto perspective when shooting.
When you need an ultra wide angle lens for interior or landscape photography you have the EF-S 10-18 or the EF-M 11-22mm as options. I've used the 10-18mm lens back when I had a Canon 7D and SL2 DSLRs. It's a lightweight lens so it keeps with the tradition of the M series being small and compact. The EF-M 11-22 is smaller but I like the slighty wider 10mm as it can make a difference when space is tight.
I use this with the Canon EF to EF-M adapter and it's a great value if you have old Canon EF and EF-S lenses around.
When I want one lens to travel with and I don't want to be bothered with multiple lenses, the 18-150mm is my choice. Its gives you the equivalent of 29-240mm which lets you do any type of photography pretty well.
I typically use this lens outdoors only. It's not a fast lens and the optical quality is not outstanding but when versatility is your priority this is the lens to grab. It's also much lighter than most equivalent lenses on other camera systems.
This is a full frame lens and I use this with a Viltrox speedbooster to bring the f4 to a f2.8 with the .71x crop factor. You also get the full use of the focal range and it become a 27-120mm which is great for events and wedding work. It makes it a versatile fast standard zoom on the M series.
Its equally good for photography and video since the autofocus is quiet and smooth with the USM motor. It's a pretty weighty lens so keep that in mind when balancing on an M series body. Its a good idea to add grip to help with the handling. I'd recommend something from Smallrig.
This was my fast standard zoom on my SL2 and 7D. It's an EF-S mount lens so you'll need the Canon EFM adapter. Like the speedboosted 24-105 mentioned above it's a fast standard zoom with good image quality and versatility for event work. I would consider this a photography centric lens as the autofocus is a bit noisy but if you're using wireless mics away from the camera it will do well for that also.
My hope is that Sigma releases an 18-50mm f2.8 for Canon M as they did for Sony APS-C cameras.
For my needs this is a comprehensive lens kit that I can use for just about all situations. I use this for personal and professional work but I've recently added Fuji cameras and lenses to my line up. The support for the Canon M series is primarily coming from 3rd parties such as Sigma, 7 Artisans, and Rokinon.
I don't have much faith in Canon and feel that he RF full frame mirrorless system is where they will put all of their focus. However, if you're an owner of an M series camera don't give up on it just yet. There are good lenses out there for all your needs and perhaps more to come. I look forward to seeing what the future holds with the lenses but the future is bleak for new Canon M bodies.
My name is Jason Logan. I'm a freelance professional photographer, boxing trainer, and content creator from Jersey City, NJ. I've included Amazon affiliate links. It costs you nothing if you make a purchase using those links. I appreciate your support.