[Review] Canon EOS 50D – Still Kicking

The EOS 50D (click here), released back in 2008, and still a great camera. Carl at photographic central reviewed the 50D. He got the point so well that I just have to quote him.

Comparing the 50D to today’s DSLR’s on specifications and you might find it has a lot more in common with them than you think a DSLR announced in August of 2008 should. This is one loaded DSLR with lots of resolution and features that, on paper at least, stands up quite well with today’s newest DSLRS on the market- even against Canon’s own EOS 7D […].

Agree. You should also know that the 50D was the last true iteration of the x0D series. The next model, the EOS 60D, didn’t really push the line-up forwards: Canon decided to split the x0D series, crippling down the 60D and introducing the EOS 7D (btw, the 7D is still on sale on B&H – click here). This was a little bit disappointing for some people (myself included). The 60D didn’t get a magnesium alloy, nor does it have some of the “semi-pro” features of the 50D (and 40D). Carl summarizes very well what it is about with the 50D:

A quick rundown of the Canon 50D for those who have never read about it before: This is a semi professional DSLR with a 15.1mp APS-C sensor that includes weather sealing, live view w/two kinds of autofocus, a very robust magnesium outer frame and internal stainless steel chassis, an ISO range of 100-12,800, a 920K anti-reflective LCD screen w/top plate LCD screen as well, auto focus fine tuning for up to 20 lenses, a custom control menu system, 9 point high speed AF system w/all 9 points double cross f/5.6 high sensitivity except the center which is double cross and sensitive to f/2.8, high frequency dust reduction system, a large pentaprism viewfinder with .95X magnification and 96% accuracy, and a lens vignetting correction option available in the menu.

Made using an EOS 50D – Great shot Carl! (image courtesy of Photographic Central)

The review is detailed and comprehensive, I really suggest you have a look. Let me cite from the conclusion (which has much more to say than I am quoting here):

Speaking plainly I just enjoy using the 50D on a daily basis for a wide variety of subjects in many different conditions. It’s a camera that doesn’t really have any real weaknesses in any particular category and is just a fun camera to shoot with and rely on. At the end of the day, isn’t that what we want from a DSLR?

[…]

The Canon 50D is one such steal on the market right now that sacrifices very little of newer modern features found in DSLRS, but at almost 1/3rd the cost used than a similar camera would cost you new. Therefore the Canon EOS 50D is indeed one of the best bang for the buck deals you can get on a DSLR (as of today’s date) and I highly recommend it to any shooter, especially those who are on a tighter budget as long as you don’t need video. And I assume that if you are reading a Canon 50D review, you probably aren’t in that camp anyways.

Canon EOS 50D price check: Amazon | B&H Photo | Digitalrev | eBay | Adorama | Canon USA.

Click here to see the Canon EOS 50D price on eBay.

Technical specifications:

  • 15.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor with improved noise reduction, wide range ISO 100-3200 (H1: 6400, H2: 12800), 14-bit conversion for smooth color tones and gradations
  • The EOS 50D features a newly-designed 15.1-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor which is capable of recording up to 4752 x 3168 pixels with full 14-bit A/D conversion for extremely fine tonal gradation
  • The EOS 50D operates with such effortless speed that operation is nothing short of intuitive. With instant start-up times, speedy autofocus and minimal shutter lag, the EOS 50D is one of the fastest cameras available today
  • DIGIC 4 Image Processor: The DIGIC 4 Image Processor offers finer details and even more natural color reproduction, compared with the previous DIGIC III Image Processor. It uses advanced signal processing technologies, which provides even faster operations, including write times to UDMA cards
  • 3.0-inch Clear View LCD (920,000 dots/VGA) with multiple coatings for improved viewing and smudge-resistant protection
  • The EOS 50D features a bright, high resolution, 3.0-inch Clear View LCD monitor with 920,000 (dots/VGA) pixels and a broad viewing angle of 160° horizontally and vertically
  • The EOS 50D features Canon’s most advanced Live View shooting thanks to the number of focusing modes available including Quick mode, Live mode and Face Detection Live mode
  • 9 cross-type high-precision sensors for accurate target subject acquisition and diagonal center cross-type AF point with f/2.8 and faster lenses
  • The EOS 50D has a high-precision 9-point wide area AF that uses cross-type points at f-stops of f/5.6 or faster, enabling the camera to focus faster, more accurately and in difficult lighting situations
  • New Lens Peripheral Illumination Correction setting to automatically even the brightness across the image
  • Canon’s exclusive Lens Peripheral Illumination setting takes into account any light falloff in the corners of the frame and corrects it, making for a perfectly exposed image
  • The EOS 50D’s Self Cleaning Sensor Unit eliminates stray dust that enters the camera when changing a lens or when out in the field
  • Dust that may still remain on the front of the sensor can also be erased with software included in Digital Photo Professional (DPP) Version 3.3 or later software. A simple test shot of a plain, white object can be taken, using a menu setting
  • Creative Auto goes a step beyond full auto with on screen setting display: The EOS 50D has a new Creative Auto mode and a quick control screen that helps novice users narrow the gap between fully automatic and manual control
  • HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) output for displaying full high-resolution images on a High Definition TV
  • The EOS 50D includes a new HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) output device that enables high definition display of your photographs on any HDTV with HDMI ports
  • The EOS 50D is compatible with all Canon lenses in the EF and EF-S lineup, ranging from ultra-wide angle to super telephoto lenses. Canon lenses employ advanced optical expertise and micron-precision engineering to deliver unprecedented performance in all facets of the photographic process
  • The EOS 50D features the acclaimed E-TTL II flash metering system. With any of the flashes in the EX Speedlite line, E-TTL II provides reliable flash output whether shooting fill-in flash pictures in sunlight, or using flash in total darkness
  • The Canon Speedlite 430EX II is the ideal step-up accessory for powerful flash shooting with the EOS 50D. It has excellent flash power (maximum guide number of 141 ft./43m at ISO 100) and is the perfect way to get great flash pictures when you can’t get right up to the subject
  • Canon EOS Digital Solution Disk (Version 17.0): The EOS 50D comes bundled with an updated Canon EOS Digital Solution Disk, which features powerful software programs designed to extend the EOS experience to the computer
  • EOS Utility (Version 2.5) for Macintosh or Windows handles the connection between the camera and computer, whenever they’re connected via USB
  • Digital Photo Professional (Version 3.5) is an image processing program that enables high-speed RAW image processing, high-speed previewing for real-time image adjustment and support for sRGB, Adobe RGB and Wide Gamut RGB color spaces
  • ZoomBrowser EX (Version 6.2) for Windows and ImageBrowser (Version 6.2) for Mac OS X are the easy, user-friendly options for viewing and editing of JPEG and even RAW image files
  • Picture Style Editor (Version 1.4): Canon’s Picture Style Editor enables photographers to create custom Picture Style profiles that can be used to customize the appearance of JPEG and RAW images captured with EOS Digital SLR cameras
  • feerferfeerer

    i guess he has too much time?

    who need another 50D reviewe after so many years.. all that needed to be said was said 4 years ago.

    i owned a 50D and beside it´s build quality there is nothing a 550D does not better. image quality wise i would always grab a 550D, 600D or 650D instead of a 50D.

    the 50D had it´s time.

    • feerferfeerer

      ps:

      i know some will come with the “but the 50D has AFMA the xxxD series not” argument or something like that.

      above i wanted to say that from the image quality point of view the 50D is imo not such a good deal anymore.

      and for me image quality is more important then build quality or a big featurelist (thought AFMA would be nice to have in a rebel).
      im pretty happy with the sturdiness of the rebel bodys. i don´t need a magnesium body… im not the hulk.

  • I own a Canon 50D and it’s my first DSLR. I bought it used 10 months ago and have put on about 20,000 clicks on it since then. I’ve been doing paid shoots for portraits, lifestyle and some fashion work since then.

    This is a great camera. When making my decision, I debated about getting this camera over the t2i and 60D. I chose it mainly for it’s construction and professional design. Though I’ve seen excellent work from people using the two other cameras. My decision was based largely on how the camera felt in my hands. It’s not the hammer, but the carpenter.

    I’ve seen a couple of recent reviews of this camera. I find it funny that a 4 year old camera is getting some renewed interest. It’s a great deal. I mean, 15MP, 6FPS, Magnesium Alloy construction and decent ISO/AF? This is ALL you need in a camera body to take great pics.

    My next camera will be full-frame and I will probably keep my 50D. I just love it so much.

    • iP337

      One can make the argument that the 50D sensor has a lower Megapixel count which means it has larger pixel sensors that increase dynamic range and the diffraction limit but then you can also argue back that the 7D sensor has better micro-lenses on it’s pixel sensors which help boost it’s lowlight/high ISO noise. Anything over 8 Megapixel is really only helpful for extreme post cropping or extreme large printing so they both produce great image resolution, I’d say 50D is better in landscape and high contrast situations while 7D-60D are better in lowlight with about 1.5 stops cleaner ISO.

  • iP337

    I totally agree, the 50D is still a great camera to buy in today’s market (though I’ve never owned one myself) but if you’ve never used a feature set above the Rebel and 60D, you don’t know what you’re missing.

    (It should also be pointed out that Magic Lantern can even record some video at 1080p30 on the 50D, I’m not sure how reliably long it can record but I know it’s without audio and only 30.0 fps like the 5DmkII did when it first released which isn’t very “cinematic” out of the box but can be converted to 29.971 or 23.976 in post.)

    This was essentially the mini 5D mkII, I’m no gear snob but I believe the 50D is better than the 500D-60D in many ways:

    6fps (that is my personal minimum requirement for shooting sports and action, especially racing events)

    9 cross-type AF points (again my personal opinion is that only “cross-type” AF points are worth it, I spent my time and money to pick the quickest focusing EF lenses so I do not want the body slowing down my Auto Focusing …ever)

    Tough weather sealed build (I may inhale a lot of dust, sand or tire smoke throughout a shoot but it’s priceless to know my camera didn’t and will live though rough travel in my knapsack without needing a heavy pelican protective case)

    last but certainly not least, the rear aperture wheel and custom user settings (I like to manually expose which means I need to quickly change aperture and shutter at the same time and I love being able to jump from my personal set video setting to my portrait setting to my sport setting with one click on the top dial

    None of the Rebels support any of those features and while the 60D supports some, it does not support all; this is a camera that you can remark “they don’t make them like they used to…”.

    At the same price as a T2i I highly recommend this to any budget conscious photographer BUT I do mostly video now so I’d go with the T2i myself for it’s 720p60 video and audio internal recording.