Canon EOS 50D Review

When Canon released the EOS 50D, it was just 12 months after it had released the EOS 40D, breaking the company’s long-standing pattern of updating its range of products every 18 months. Because of this change, Canon has been able to catch up to the performance of the Nikon D300, which caused quite a stir in the industry. The Canon EOS 50D has the same sturdy and understated design as the 40D, and the only thing that sets it from its predecessor is the silver bezel around the mode dial. The body of the Canon 50D has not been significantly altered, albeit there have been some little modifications made to the way in which the buttons and controls are used.

The Canon 50D has undergone most of its significant revisions on the inside. The first major improvement is the APS-C CMOS sensor, which has been increased from 10 megapixels on the 40D to 15.1 megapixels on the new model. Despite the fact that the resolution has been increased, sensor noise has been minimized thanks to significant alterations made to the architecture of the microlens array as well as the sensor itself.

As a result of the adjustment, Canon is now able to provide a greater variety of ISO settings than the business has ever provided before. These settings now range from ISO 100 to 3,200, in addition to two higher settings: H1 is comparable to ISO 6,400, while H2 brings the camera to ISO 12,800.

The new DIGIC 4 processor from Canon is a part of the equation; it moves the additional data at a faster pace than its predecessor, and it helps the camera to maintain a high 6.3 frames per second while maintaining that 14-bit data for RAW images (although this is a slight speed drop from the 40D’s 6.5 fps).

The menu of the Canon 50D has a new design, and it now includes a Rapid Control system that operates off of the Multi-controller, which was previously disregarded. This system makes it easy to make quick adjustments to features that are used frequently. A new vignetting correction, an Automatic Lighting Optimizer with three settings, customizable noise reduction, a Creative Auto mode, a lens micro-adjustment feature, and face detection autofocus in Live View mode are some of the other software improvements.

Finally, the Canon EOS 50D boasts a considerably upgraded LCD screen that delivers a resolution of 920,000 dots, allowing for a 640×480 screen. This brings the screen quality of the 50D up to a level with that of some of its key competitors.

The body-only version of the Canon EOS 50D digital SLR may be purchased for a price of $1,399. A kit version that includes a 28-135mm zoom lens is also available, and it can be purchased for a price of $1,599. Additionally, a kit that includes the brand-new 18-200mm zoom lens can be purchased for a price of $2,099.99. The Canon 50D is compatible with the vast majority of the EOS 40D’s attachments, including as the battery grip, remote control, and many optional focusing screens and batteries.

The Fine JPEG option, which produces photographs with a resolution of 15 megapixels and an average size of between 4-6 megabytes, was used to capture each of the sample images included in this Review.

During the course of this evaluation, the Canon EOS 50D generated photographs of exceptionally high quality. The photographs produced by this camera are free of noise from an ISO level of 100 all the way up to 1600, with the highest setting of 12800 being the only one that is truly useless.

When hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range, image stabilization provided by the kit lens performs very well, which is a feature that helps the EOS 50D keep up with its competitors and is a feature that helps the EOS 50D keep up with its competitors. Chromatic aberrations were handled extremely effectively by the Canon EOS 50D, with little purple and cyan fringing effects occurring primarily at the corners of the frame in high contrast circumstances. This was due to the camera’s excellent resolution.

The images captured at 15 megapixels came out of the camera with a degree of softness when the default sharpening setting was used. For the best results, you should perform additional sharpening in an application such as Adobe Photoshop; alternatively, you can adjust the setting directly within the camera. The built-in flash did a fantastic job indoors, producing images free of red-eye and with enough exposure overall.

The nighttime shot turned out really well thanks to the camera’s Bulb mode and a maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds, both of which enabled you to catch sufficient light in any given environment.

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The actual size of the sensor has not been altered, hence the pressing issue at hand is determining whether or not a high pixel count leads in an increase in noise.

According to Canon, this is not the case. The company asserts that the unique sensor design “allows more pixels to be put on the CMOS sensor without sacrificing image quality” and provides “enhanced high ISO performance and reduced noise.”

In point of fact, the Japanese imaging giant is so certain of its product that it has not only increased the maximum ISO speed to 3200, but it has also enabled expansion to ISO settings of 6400 and 12800 via the Custom Menu.


Up to this point, everything has been going smoothly; but, how is the 50D’s CPU able to keep up with these monstrous file sizes? Very good indeed. You are still able to take an astounding 60 consecutive JPEG images or 16 RAW files at 6.3 frames per second with a single burst of shooting thanks to the brand-new DIGIC 4 Image Processor. In addition to that, the camera may be readied to take pictures once again in a matter of seconds.

The second significant improvement is a new anti-reflective coating that is included on the 3-inch LCD that has been updated such that it now contains 920,000 pixels rather than 230,000. You may now confidently evaluate an image’s sharpness by zooming in to 100 percent, since image previews are now incredibly clear, crisp, and detailed, and you can do so by increasing the percentage. The anti-reflective coating is also quite effective, which makes using the monitor a delight, whether you’re doing so indoors or outside.

Even the brand-new Quick Control Screen, which allows you to configure your exposures using the LCD, is available to use. If you are accustomed to using the controls that are located on the body of the camera, this may seem counterintuitive; however, it could come in handy at night when you are unable to find your way around the camera, or if you are using a tripod and the controls are difficult to reach in a comfortable manner.

The LCD, although having “smudge-resistant protection,” is extremely vulnerable to fingerprints, which significantly limit visibility. Because the monitor uses so much power, you should always bring at least one spare battery to any shoot that lasts more than a day.


If you want to use the Live View LCD function, you will also need a backup battery. This is absolutely necessary. Live View mode, which is now in its second generation and includes two new AF choices, namely Live Mode and Live Face Detection mode, is available. They need a few seconds to lock on, but they add to an already impressive range of Live View capabilities, such as previews of the depth of field and histograms, as well as gridline overlays.

HDTV connection and automatic vignetting correction are two other new features available with the Canon EOS 50D. The excellent Highlight Tone Priority, which effectively widens the range of highlight detail recorded in bright areas; the self-cleaning sensor; and the high-speed 9-point autofocus are just some of the greatest features from the 40D that have been carried over to the 50D.

When you first begin using the Canon EOS 50D, the sheer magnitude of features and accessories that are available may feel rather intimidating. This may be a possible distraction from the task at hand, which is capturing amazing images, but with practice with the instruction manual at your side at all times, you will quickly learn what information is valuable and what information can be disregarded.

The Canon EOS 50D is an incredibly powerful camera that, all things considered, is not likely to convince existing Nikon consumers. However, it would be an excellent upgrade option for owners of the Canon EOS 20D and EOS 30D, as well as an economical backup for Canon professionals.

ISO Quality & Image Quality

On the Canon EOS 50D, there are a total of eight different ISO levels from which you can choose at any given time (you need to enable the ISO 6400 and 12800 modes via the “ISO expansion” custom function option). Between ISO 100 and 800, there is no audible noise, and ISO 1600 also appears to provide acceptable results. Even if there is some noise at 3200, it is still extremely well controlled, and ISO 6400 and above may be used without any issues.

When we tested for ISO noise across the whole range, we were extremely pleasantly pleased to find almost no noise at ISO 100 and 200; and just the tiniest increase at ISO 400 – a level at which a number of SLRs are already having trouble. At ISO 800, there is a discernible increase, particularly in the darker areas of the image; however, the good news is that the majority of the noise is luminance noise rather than chroma noise, which gives the image a more film-like grain appearance.

The results are still stunning and extremely useful, which is wonderful news if you occasionally need to handhold the camera in low light. The noise in the shadow areas becomes noticeable at typical viewing distances at ISO 1600, but overall the results are still impressive and very useable.

Even while the noise is pervasive throughout and the chroma noise is more noticeable at ISO 3200, it does not yet take control of the image. When you take into account the fact that the noise on the EOS 20D is twice as awful at each ISO level and that a significant portion of it is the more damaging chroma noise, it becomes abundantly evident how far Canon has come in this particular arena. Having said that, there is always space for improvement; the two additional ISO settings are exceedingly loud and should only be used in dire circumstances.

The overall picture quality is strong, with a decent dynamic range, vibrant colors, and of course noise levels up to ISO 1600 is very well contained. Despite the fact that we would have wanted to see a bit more definition in the fine details of unsharpened RAW files, the overall image quality is good. In addition, because you have 15 million pixels with which to work, you may print on paper sizes up to A3 and even larger, and you also have a significant advantage when it comes to cropping photos creatively.

Canon EOS 50D Specs

Year Introduced2008
Total Pixels15.5
Sensor Size22.3 x 14.9mm
Pixel Dimensions4752 x 3168
Pixel Size4.69µm
Diffraction-Limited Aperturef/7.6
Sensor StabilizationN
Lens MountEF, EF-S, TS-E, MP-E
Image ProcessorDIGIC 4
TypeTTL-CT-SIR with a CMOS sensor
Points9 cross-type AF points (f/2.8 at center)
Working RangeEV -0.5 – 18 (at 23°C & ISO100)
ModesOne Shot
AI Focus
AI Servo
Point SelectionAutomatic selection, Manual selection
MicroadjustmentC.Fn III-7 
+/- 20 steps
Adjust all lenses by the same amount
Adjust up to 20 lenses individually
Exposure Control  
Metering ModesTTL full aperture metering with 35 zone SPC
(1) Evaluative metering (linked to any AF point)
(2) Partial metering (approx. 9% of viewfinder at center)
(3) Spot metering (approx. 3.8% viewfinder at center)
(4) Centre weighted ave
Metering RangeEV 0 – 20 (at 23°C with 50mm f/1.4 lens ISO100)
Exposure Comp+/-2 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments (can be combined with AEB).
AEB+/- 2 EV, 1/2 or 1/3-stop increments
ISO SensitivityAuto (100-1600), 100-3200 (in 1/3-stop or whole stop increments) 
ISO can be expanded to H1: 6400 and H2:12800
Shutter Speed30 – 1/8000 sec (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments), Bulb (Total shutter speed range. Available range varies by shooting mode)
WB SettingsAWB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White Fluorescent light, Flash, Custom, Color Temperature Setting.
White balance compensation: 
1. Blue/Amber +/-9
2. Magenta/ Green +/-9.
Custom WBYes, 1 setting can be registered
CoverageApprox. 95%
MagnificationApprox. 0.95x
EyepointApprox. 22mm
InformationAF information: AF points, focus confirmation light.
Exposure information: Shutter speed, aperture value, ISO speed (always displayed), AE lock, exposure level/compensation, spot metering circle, exposure warning, AEB.
Flash information: Flash ready, high-speed sync, FE lock, flash exposure compensation, red-eye reduction light.
Image information: White balance correction, CF card information, monochrome shooting, maximum burst (2 digit display), Highlight tone priority (D+).
DOF PreviewYes, with the Depth of Field preview button.
Eyepiece ShutterOn strap
Type3.0″ TFT, approx. 920K dots
CoatingDual Anti-reflection
Brightness AdjAdjustable to one of seven levels
Display Options(1) Quick Control Screen
(2) Camera settings
Built-in GN13 (ISO 100, meters)
Built-in CoverageUp to 17mm focal length (35mm equivalent: 27mm)
Built-in Recycle TimeApprox. 3 seconds
ModesAuto, Manual Flash On/Off, Red-Eye Reduction
Exposure Compensation+/- 2EV in 1/2 or 1/3 increments
Hot Shoe/PC TerminalYes / Yes
External Flash CompE-TTL II with EX series Speedlites, wireless multi-flash support
External Flash ControlVia camera menu
Shooting ModesAuto, Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, No Flash, Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual, A-DEP, Custom (x2)
Picture StylesStandard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Defined (x3)
Image ProcessingHighlight Tone Priority
Auto Lighting Optimizer (4 settings)
Long exposure noise reduction
High ISO speed noise reduction (4 settings)
Auto Correction of Lens Peripheral illumination
Drive ModesSingle, Continuous L, Continuous H, Self-timer (2s, 10s)
Continuous ShootingMax. Approx. 6.3fps. (speed maintained for up to 90 images (JPEG) (with UDMA card), 16 images (RAW)) 
Shutter Lag59ms
Viewfinder Blackout100ms
Live View  
FrameRate30 fps
FocusingManual Focus (Magnify the image 5x or 10x at any point on screen)
Autofocus: Quick mode, Live mode, Live Face detection mode
MeteringReal-time evaluative metering with image sensor
Active metering time can be changed
Display OptionsGrid overlay (x2), Histogram
File information  
Still ImageTypeJPEG: Fine, Normal (Exif 2.21 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system (2.0), 
RAW: RAW, sRAW1, sRAW2 (14bit, Canon original RAW 2nd edition), 
Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
Image SizeJPEG: (L) 4752×3168, (M) 3456×2304, (S) 2353×1568,
RAW: (RAW) 4752×3168, (sRAW1) 3267×2178, (sRAW2) 2376×1584
Movie TypeN/A
Movie SizeN/A
Movie LengthN/A
Other Information  
Wireless Features
Custom Functions25 Custom Functions with 74 settings
LCD Panel / IlluminationYes / Yes
Water & Dust ResistanceYes
Sound MemoNo
Computer InterfaceUSB 2.0 Hi-Speed (Mini-B)
Other InterfaceHDMI mini output, Video output (PAL/ NTSC), Extension system terminal (for WFT-E3)
Memory TypeCompactFlash Type I/ II (Microdrive compatible, UDMA compatible), external storage with WFT-E3
Batteries & Power  
BatteryRechargeable Li-ion Battery BP-511/BP-511A or BP-512/BP-514 (BP-511A battery supplied), 1x CR2016 for date & settings
Battery LifeApprox. 640 (at 23°C, AE 50%, FE 50%) ¹
540 (at 0°C, AE 50%, FE 50%)
Power Supply Battery ChargersAC Adapter Kit ACK-E2, Compact power adapter CA-PS400, Battery charger CB-5L, Battery charger CG-570, Car Battery Cable Kit CB-570, Compact Power Adapter CA-570
Physical Specs  
Body MaterialsMagnesium Alloy body covers
Shutter Durability Rating100,000
Operating Environment0 – 40 °C, 85% or less humidity
Dimensions Inches5.7 x 4.2 x 2.9″ (145.5 x 107.8 x 73.5mm)
CIPA Weight29.1 oz (826g)
ViewfinderEyecup Eb, E-series Dioptric Adjustment Lens with Rubber Frame Eb, Eyepiece Extender EP-EX15, Focusing Screens Ef (with Grid Ef-D, Super Precision Matte Ef-S), Angle Finder C
Wireless File TransmitterWireless File Transmitter WFT-E3
Compatible LensesAll EF, EF-S, TS-E, and MP-E lenses
Battery GripBG-E2N, BG-E2  
RemoteRemote control with N3 type contact, Wireless Controller LC-5
OtherOriginal Data Security Kit OSK-E3

Canon EOS 50D Price


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