The 15-megapixel Canon 50D digital SLR builds upon the strengths of the 40D with a higher pixel count, a revamped image processor and a higher resolution LCD screen. But what makes it a vast improvement over the 40D? The What Digital Camera Canon EOS 50D review investigates...

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Canon EOS 50D

Overall score:88%
Image Quality:85%


  • LCD upgrade, extra resolution, prompt AF


  • No real groundbreaking change, unintuitive menus, metering issues in difficult light


Canon EOS 50D Review


Price as reviewed:



What to make of the Canon EOS 50D. On the one hand, there are several ‘upgrades’ to the 40D that will appeal to a range of photographers. If you’re someone who needs to either enlarge your prints or values the ability to crop your images without losing too much detail, then the extra 5MP in resolution will no doubt meet your satisfaction. The ‘upgrade’ to the LCD screen will have more widespread appeal, with it benefiting both the viewing angle of the screen and, ultimately, the ability to accurately view and review images taken on the camera.

However, these improvements come at a cost – both financially and with regards to performance. The battery life of the 50D has taken a hit to the tune of about 20% by means of trying to facilitate all the new technologies, for example. And despite all the innovations, no improvements have been made to the continuous shooting speed.

You also have to bear in mind the financial cost of the ‘upgrade’. If you reverse the sales pitch and consider that in purchasing the 40D, for example, you?ll be getting an awful lot of the 50D, but at a fraction of the cost, the decision seems quite a bit more complicated than previously.

And all this is without considering its peer group. When Nikon’s D300 was released it widely impressed with its stunning noise control, build quality and general feel, where the 50D just doesn’t have the same ‘wow’ factor in either image quality or handling.

The 50D seems a bit like a ‘quick fix’ for Canon, looking to plug an area of the market without actually breaking any real new ground. Yes, it produces excellent images in good lighting conditions, but is that really enough to merit the price tag when competitors have released excellent models in the same field?


PC Socket:Yes
Cable Release:Optional
AF Points:9 cross-type AF points
Max Flash Sync:1/250sec
Built-in Flash:Yes, GN 13 @ ISO 100
Colour Temp Control:Yes
DoF Prview:Yes
White Balance Bracket:Yes
Colour Space:Adobe RGB, sRGB
Shutter Type:Electronically-controlled focal-plane shutter
Exposure Comp:+/- 2 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 increments
Built-in Image Stabilisation:No
Dust Reduction:Yes
Focusing Modes:AI Focus, One shot, AI servo
Weight:730g (without battery or card)
Dimensions:145.5 x 107.8 x 73.5mm
Power:BP511/511A lithium-ion
Live Mode:Yes
Connectivity:Hi-Speed USB 2, HDMI mini output
Memory Card:CF I/II, UMDA
Field of View:Approx 95%
Viewfinder Type:Pentaprism
Drive Mode:Single, Continuous L, Continuous H, Self-timer (2s, 10s)
White Balance:Auto, 7 presets, Custom
Shutter Speeds:1/8000 - 30 sec, bulb
Compression:6-stage JPEG, 3-stage Raw
Exposure Modes:Auto, PASM, C1, C2, CA, A-DEP, 6 scene
ISO:100-3200 (ext to. 12800)
Metering System:Evaluative, Partial, Spot, Centre-weighted
File Format:Raw, JPEG, Raw + JPEG, sRAW1, sRAW2
LCD:3in TFT, approx. 920k dots
Lens Mount:Canon EF/EF-S
Focal Length Mag:approx. 1.6x
Output Size:4752 x 3168 pixels
Sensor:22.3 x 14.9mm CMOS
  1. 1. Canon EOS 50D Review
  2. 2. Design & Performance
  3. 3. Image Quality & Value For Money
  4. 4. Verdict
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