Canon EOS 50D Review
The EOS 50D is a very good mid-range camera by Canon aimed at the prosumer market. It's Canon's follow up to the 40D, and features higher resolution, one more level of usable ISO sensitivity, and some improvements in performance.
There's 3 configurations available for the EOS 50D - the f/3.5-5.6 28-135mm IS USM lens, the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens, and the body only version. We recommend going with the 28-135mm lens, even though it's not as convenient.
Holding the EOS 50D, it feels a tad heavy, but very solidly built and durable. It has a comfortable grip, and features a dust/weather proof body. Other cameras like the D90 just feels cheap. We think build quality should never be underestimated as a criteria for choosing a camera. Remember, you can always lose a $600 camera just from 1 careless mistake.
The button layout is pretty intuitive and easy to use. There's 3 buttons above the LCD for controlling white balance, AF/Drive mode, and ISO/flash. You can change settings from the back information display. All in all, you should have no problem getting used to the controls, no matter if you're a Nikon user, or a complete newbie. We consider the menu system one of the most intuitive you'll encounter in any camera.
There are some new additions in the EOS 50D. Canon added a creative auto mode. In this mode, all functions are automated, except a few. At the same time, you can still tweak settings such as sharpness.
There's also a live view mode in the 50D that allows you to see everything. When you use this mode, it displays a real-time image on your LCD screen. Very convenient for shooting from bad angles. You can do remote shooting by connecting it to a computer. You can zoom in as much as 10X with the live view, which is great. The more you can zoom, the more precisely you can dial the focus. The 50D also has micro focus adjustment as well. If you have a crucial shot to take, you absolutely can depend on the Live View. It's one of the best features in the 50D, to be honest.
There's 3 basic modes from auto-focusing: Quick AF, Live AF, and a new Face Detection Live AF. With the face detection Live AF, it focuses based on any faces it sees. Great for shooting portraits.
The EOS 50D performs much faster than the 40D. Canon upgraded their Digic 4 processor, and you can tell. From start to first shot it takes just .2 seconds. With good lighting conditions, focus to shoot takes just a brisk .4 seconds. In low lighting conditions, it takes .9 seconds, which is about average.
Shot to shot take is .3 seconds for both RAW and JPEG. If you use flash, it's .6 seconds. Burse mode is 6 frames per second, which is about average for a camera of this price range.
While many reviewers in other review sites have criticized the ability of the EOS 50D to shoot fast action shots, we actually think it performs quite well in this regard. We used the EOS 50D to shoot several fast sport scenes in low light conditions, and were amazed at how well the 50D focused in these bad conditions.
Let's move on to the image quality. We love the image quality here. It delivers excellent results up in low ISO, and better than expected results in ISOs 1600 and 3200. In fact, we produced several images using ISO 3200 that looked outstanding and almost flawless to the naked eye.
Once you reach ISO 6400, you see noise and degradation. They have ISO 12,800 but realistically you never should use it. The only time you should use these high ISO levels is when you absolutely must get a shot, and it doesn't matter how bad the photos are.
All our images shot with the EOS 50D featured excellent dynamic range with excellent exposures. If you use a good lens like the L-series, your photos should be nice and sharp. if you're using a cheaper one though, we recommend increasing the sharpness setting a bit.
Some of our visitors have commented on how the 50D does a worse job of noise control than the 40D and other older models. We just don't believe that's true. We shot several photos using both cameras, and compared them side by side. In every case, the 50D either matched or exceeded the image quality of the 40D. There was only 1 exception: indoors with low light + dull colors. Under this situation, the 50D had a bit more noise.
No matter how you slice it, you'll be pleased with the images you shoot with the 50D, that's the bottom line. We just recommend investing in a very good lens to take advantage of the EOS 50D's increased pixel count.
The battery life for the EOS 50D is 800 shots, which is just OK. The 40D, by comparison is 1100 shots, so the battery life definitely didn't improve at all from previous models.
- 15 megapixels
- 6.3 frames per second continuous shooting
- Good photos up to ISO 3200, can use as high to 12800.
- 3 inch LCD with Live View and Face Detection, Live AF
- Dust and weather proof
- HDMI support
- Fantastic performance and image quality
- Performed better than expected in low light
- Great design
- Could use more features
The EOS 50D is an excellent mid-range DSLR that produces excellent photos up to an ISO of 3200.
If you're looking for a camera that will give you large resolution images, highly detailed images, with terrific performance and an easy to user interface, the 50D is a great choice.
If you're looking to improve your photography skills, you absolutely will need all the features the 50D has such as a great build, great ergonomic/UI, fast performance, excellent live view/focus, and the ability to tweak many settings.
The Canon EOS 50D is a very popular back up option for professional photographers, and a great camera for weddings too. Highly recommended, and a great addition to the prosumer market.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
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Prices last updated on: Wed, 16 Aug 2017 22:43:14 PDT