Canon EOS 50D Review
Conclusion - Pros
- Detailed and clean image output (but not as detailed as we would have expected from a 15 megapixels sensor)
- Chroma and luminance noise well controlled at higher sensitivities
- Wide range of image parameter adjustment (-4 to +4 for most)
- Effective Highlight tone priority option delivers smooth highlight roll-off
- Four levels of high ISO noise reduction (including Off)
- Effective vignetting control feature
- No noticeable hot pixels with long exposures and NR off
- Nine point auto focus system accurate, even in low light
- Large, clear and bright high-res screen
- Well-built magnesium body, weather-sealed
- Good viewfinder, optional focusing screens
- Excellent ergonomics and refined user-interface
- Quick control menu allows direct access to many important settings
- Attractive refreshed menu design
- Fully customizable MyMenu
- Programmable FUNC button
- Two user memories via 'C1/C2' on mode dial
- 10x magnification in live view allows reliable manual focusing
- Instant power on, camera feels snappy and responsive at all times
- Fast continuous shooting (6.3 fps)
- Excellent data throughput and processing speeds (with fast CF cards)
- Very fast PTP transfer speed
- Comprehensive Software package
- Very quiet mirror mechanism (plus 2 silent shooting options in live view)
- Any combination between RAW and JPEG image sizes possible
- Dust reduction from Canon's 'Integrated Cleaning'
- Good battery life
- Optional WFT-E3 wireless transmitter (802.11 b/g) / vertical grip
- HDMI output
Conclusion - Cons
- High ISO performance worse than 40D
- Reduced dynamic range in the shadow areas compared to EOS 40D
- Per-pixel detail not as good as on good 10 or 12 megapixel cameras
- High-end lenses required to get the most out of the camera
- Poor white balance performance under artificial light
- Flash must be up for AF assist lamp (although AF is good even in low light)
- Live view not as accurate as on 40D (framing very slightly off-center, in contrast detect AF mode not possible to magnify right out to the extreme corners)
It's exactly eight years ago this month that Phil posted his review of the Canon D30. The camera was Canon's first 'developed in house' DSLR and therefore a milestone in digital photography. But it was also the first model in the popular line of cameras of which the EOS 50D is the latest descendant. Technology has moved on at the speed of light since the year 2000 but each generation of x0D cameras left its mark in the marketplace and the photographic community alike and there is no reason to believe to 50D would be any different. Or is there?
Like its predecessors the 50D sports a well built magnesium body that now features improved environmental sealing. Canon has also had more than eight years to optimize the camera's handling and it's done a good job. The ergonomics feel well sorted, all the controls are in the right place and even the formerly rather pointless Direct Print button now serves a purpose: Press it and you'll enter live view mode. Another useful addition is the Quick Control screen. Press the SET button to enter this newly designed menu which gives you access to the most frequently used settings. Even users who are new to the EOS system will find their way around the 50D in no time. The Quick Control screen and the revamped menus also look great on the new bright and clean 3.0 inch VGA screen.
The camera's performance doesn't leave anything to complain about either. Power on is as good as instant, the camera is always ready when you need it and it is quite impressive at what speed the huge 15 megapixel files are being written, processed and transferred through the imaging pipeline. Canon's new DIGIC IV processor certainly pulls its weight.
Let's have a look at the really important stuff then: Image quality. Below ISO 1600 image output is clean with well balanced contrast and colors and as you would expect from a DSLR with a 15 megapixel sensor the 50D delivers a fair amount of detail. Having said that, in terms of per-pixel sharpness the 50D cannot quite keep up with the better 10 or 12 megapixel APS-C DSLRs in the market. At higher sensitivities the smaller photosites are clearly producing more noise (as shown from our RAW comparisons) and so Canon is having to apply more noise reduction to keep to acceptable noise levels, this of course means a loss of detail from ISO 1600 upwards.
It appears that Canon has reached the limit of what is sensible, in terms of megapixels on an APS-C sensor. At a pixel density of 4.5 MP/cm² (40D: 3.1 MP/cm², 1Ds MkIII: 2.4 MP/cm²) the lens becomes the limiting factor. Even the sharpest primes at optimal apertures cannot (at least away from the center of the frame) satisfy the 15.1 megapixel sensors hunger for resolution. Considering the disadvantages that come with higher pixel densities such as diffraction issues, increased sensitivity towards camera shake, reduced dynamic range, reduced high ISO performance and the need to store, move and process larger amounts of data, one could be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that at this point the megapixel race should probably stop. One consequence of this is that the 50% increase in pixel count over the 40D results in only a marginal amount of extra detail.
We're by no means saying the 50Ds image quality is bad but it's simply not significantly better than the ten megapixel 40D. In some areas such as dynamic range and high ISO performance it's actually worse and that simply makes you wonder if the EOS 50D could have been an (even) better camera if its sensor had a slightly more moderate resolution.
The EOS 50D has to stand its ground in a highly competitive bracket of the DSLR market. It is currently almost $500 more expensive than the 40D, almost $500 more expensive than the Nikon D90 and for an extra $100 you can bag yourself a Nikon D300. Looking at the specification differences between the EOS 40D and our test candidate it appears you pay quite a premium for the 50D's extra megapixels and as we've found out during this review you don't get an awful lot of extra image quality for your money. The Canon EOS 50D still earns itself our highest reward but considering its price point and our slight concerns about its pixel-packed sensor, it only does so by a whisker.
Rating (out of 10)
|Ergonomics & handling||8.5|
Highly Recommended (just)
- 17 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 18 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 19 Photographic tests (DR)
- 20 Photographic tests
- 21 Compared to (JPEG)
- 22 Compared to (JPEG)
- 23 Compared to (JPEG)
- 24 Compared to (JPEG)
- 25 Compared to (RAW)
- 26 Compared to (RAW)
- 27 Compared to (RAW)
- 28 Compared to (RAW)
- 29 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 30 Compared to (Resolution)
- 31 Conclusion
- 32 Samples
Oct 30, 2008
Aug 26, 2008
Oct 28, 2011
Oct 27, 2011
|Iconic Tree by Jerry-astro|
from Fall colors
|USA1053a by embie|
from We salute you!
|Pot of Gold by Take5|
from Flower center
|Zombie DP by MarioSS|
Canon Japan's new lineup of novelty camera-themed gifts was just revealed online, including a lens mug and lens thermos, two retro camera-themed USB drives, and a picnic mat.
The Profoto A1 most certainly isn’t for everyone [...] But for those who are used to using the Profoto systems, and want something that pairs seamlessly with the strobes you already have, there is no better companion.
Fujifilm has asked a US district court to clear it of any wrongdoing, after allegedly being threatened with trademark litigation by Polaroid.
While a couple of our reviewers are out testing the Sony a7R III in Arizona, back in Seattle we slapped the camera in front of our studio scene to get a close look at its image quality. See how it stacks up against the competition.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #8 ranking belongs to the Nikon D7500.
B+W has announced a new aluminum filter holder that offers three slots so users can use multiple filters at the same time. The holder goes with the 2mm thick 100mm square filters it launched earlier this year.
8K video is coming a lot faster than you think, and Blackmagic is ready for it. Meet the DeckLink 8K Pro, a new high performance PCI-E capture and playback card built to handle 'real time high resolution 8K workflows.'
"Glass is everywhere in photography. From Eugène Atget’s reflective vitrines to Lee Friedlander’s sly self-portraiture, photographers have long been in thrall to the visual complications glass can inject into a composition."
Former Apple Aperture lead developer Nik Bhatt has designed an iOS app called RAW Power that lets you edit raw photos from your professional camera using your phone and tablet.... color us intrigued.
Advertising photographer Blair Bunting got his hands on the new Microsoft Surface Book 2, and it blew him away. Bye bye MacBook Pro...
The OnePlus 5T retains many of the 5's features and specs, but comes with an edge-to-edge display and a dual-camera that is optimized for low light.
Sony's recently announced IMX461 backside illuminated medium format sensor will bring 100MP resolution and almost 2x the speed to the next-gen Fuji GFX and Hasselblad X1D.
With the ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ camera equipment renting program, the camera makers is aiming to give enthusiast and professional photographers easier access to its medium-format photography products.
They say seeing is believing, and that's exactly what happened when one DPR staffer took the Google Pixel 2 out for an afternoon shooting under challenging conditions.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #9 spot we have the Fujifilm GFX 50S, a medium-format camera that took CP+ 2017 by storm.
Instagram is testing a new feature that lets you follow hashtags in addition to people, making it possible to keep track of your favorite #landscapes or #portraits without leaving your home feed.
Despite the gigantic volume of second hand film bodies in existence, it seems there is still a demand for new 35mm SLRs with a retro feel. The latest is a remake of the Ihagee Elbaflex from the 1960s, but with a Nikon F mount.
The Polaroid Insta-Share Moto Mod straps an instant printer directly to your Moto Z smartphone, so you can print your photos as soon as you've captured them.
The Mitakon Speedmaster 135mm F1.4 lens is being relaunched in 7 different mounts, including: Sony A, Sony E, Canon EF, Nikon F, Fujifilm G, Pentax K, and Leica L. Got an extra three grand lying around?
In January, Kodak announced it would bring back the beloved slide film Ektachrome. The timeline has been pushed back a bit, but Kodak says you can expect to purchase Ektachrome again in 2018.
Instagram popularity is threatening some of the most beautiful landscapes in the US, as hordes of 'nature lovers' trample over the same spots over and over again in search of the same exact shot.
You’d have to be pretty brave to immerse your $50K RED cinema camera underwater. But if you've got the guts, Gates just released a new housing you can be pretty sure won't wreck your unbelievably expensive toy.
Adobe has released a 'Lightroom Downloader' app for Windows 10 and macOS High Sierra that allows you to download all of your images from the Adobe Cloud, all at once.
After releasing a popular 4K action cam and an affordable mirrorless M43 camera, Chinese camera maker YI is diving into yet another market: 360° VR. Meet the YI 360 VR: a powerful little two-lens camera that can shoot and stream in 4K.
The DJI Spark has received a lot of attention thanks to its diminutive size, but how does it stack up? In our review, we take a look at what it's like to fly this pint-sized drone, as well as what's in it for photographers.
Between now and the end of the year we'll be counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Coming in at #10 is a fast wide prime and part of the highly-acclaimed Sigma Art series.
DxOMark has awarded the Pentax 645Z 101 points, making it the second-highest scoring medium format camera it's tested (or the highest scoring from 2015 to now, based on the originally published results).
A small explosion that sounded like a gunshot caused a panic and 24 flight cancellations at Orlando International Airport last Friday. As it turns out, it was a camera battery that exploded inside a traveler's bag.
At last, a premium superzoom bridge camera with phase detect autofocus. Is this the best all-in-one camera ever made? Read on.
Unlike most smartphone cameras, the new Google Pixel 2 devices combine optical and electronic image stabilization for a smooth video experience. Here's how it works.