ReviewGist Report for Canon EOS 50D
Following the success of the EOS 40D, Canon released an addition to their long line of digital SLRs in August 2008 -- the EOS 50D. In this report, we will discuss the striking characteristics that make it the best pick for advanced amateur photographers. We then draw together important remarks from a wide array of review sites such as Imaging resource, CNet, Digital Camera Resource Page, PC Magazine, Steve's Digicams and more. Finally, we offer you some buying advice and look at a couple of other competitive models.
What the Manufacturer Says
Canon has given both the professional and amateur photographers something to rave about when they introduced the EOS 40D. The EOS 50D takes photography a notch higher by inheriting not only its predecessor's attributes but a whole new line of features as well. Foremost of these is its much-enhanced 15.1-megapixel CMOS sensors for better noise reduction and increased ISO sensitivity as high as 1SO 12800.
The EOS 50D boasts of superior performance, thanks to its DIGIC 4 image processor. It can continuously shoot as fast as 6.3 frames-per-second (fps), enabling photographers not to miss the best shots during the right moment. Moreover, the said processor assures balanced image brightness with its automatic peripheral illumination correction.
Other offerings of the EOS 50D include:
1) 3.0-inch LCD screen at high resolution (920,000 dot)
2) Live View function which allows photographers to shoot using the LCD screen rather than the viewfinder
3) Self-Cleaning Sensor Unit to prevent dust build-up
4) Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software, for in-camera processing of RAW images
5) Noise Reduction options: Standard, Weak, Strong, None
6) High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) which allows instant image presentation on a High Definition TV
What the Reviews Say
Images captured by the EOS 50D were highly praised for its precise color rendition, sharpness, balanced exposure and minimal noise. CNet and TigerDirect pointed out that even in poor shooting conditions, photos still turn out great. While DigitalCameraResourcePage particularly commended its custom white balance feature which was said to complement studio lighting, they shared CNet's low rating for the EOS 50D's ineffective image stabilization.
Camera Labs and CNet were particularly dissatisfied about the EOS 50D's missing video function.
Reviews all recognized the enhancement of the EOS 50D's focusing accuracy. Digital Camera Review, PC World, Cnet, Digital Trends, and Photo.net particularly commended its 9-point Auto-Focus. PC Magazine even compared the shooting experience to viewing a stop-motion movie.
While Imaging Resource and Steve's Digicams approved of the EOS 50D's image stabilizer, Cnet gave a rather negative response. They commented that images shot in low-light settings at ISO 1600 revealed blurry areas.
Experts noticed significant improvements made on the menu's graphics while retaining Canon's signature controls, with PC World specifically citing easy navigation through the four-way joystick. Moreover, the size of its monitor was said to be large enough to display detailed images and accurate coverage in Live View mode. Photo.net lauded the LCD's multi-layered coating against scratch, glare and reflection. In addition, handling was claimed to be more convenient with its fitted hand-grip, as attested by CNet, Digital Trends, Imaging Resource, Digital Camera Resource Page and Digital Camera Review.
Digital Camera Resource Page observed that the EOS 50D has a rather poor battery life.
Reviewers unanimously gave positive feedback regarding the EOS 50D's ISO range. According to Imaging Resource, there is nothing to be concerned about printing images captured at ISO settings of 800 and 1600 since 13x19-inch photo prints were still outstanding. Even at ISO 3200, images printed in 8x10 size were claimed to be excellent as well. Digital Camera Review further commends the EOS 50D by pointing out how the said model has led the competition in the ISO performance.
The speed and advantages of a built in DIGIC 4 image processor were claimed to be apparent for experts, including Steve's Digicams, Digital Camera Review, Cameralabs and Photo.net. As compared to the previous DIGIC 3, the EOS 50D's processing unit yielded better images according to CNet.
Being the most striking upgrade from its predecessors, the DIGIC 4 image processor demonstrated impressive speed in producing brilliant images. The built-in CMOS technology was mainly held responsible for keeping photos sharp and noise-free. Furthermore, the ISO performance deserved the undivided thumbs-up it received from reviews as superior photo quality was maintained in all levels.
The hitches, though mostly minor includes an ineffective image stabilize, short battery life and absence of video-recording function.
The Canon 50D is an excellent digital SLR and a great step up over the older 40D - though at a price. Even then its very well positioned to meet the creative and technical needs of professional photographers.
If you already owns the lenses then the 50D is a very nice option - otherwise and specially considering the steep price tag of the 50D consider the sub-$1000 Nikon D90 or the just above $1000 Nikon D7000.
While the D90 packs in an additional 720p video capability at 24fps and impressive image capabilities at a much lower price, the D7000 pushes the video to 1080p HD and also boasts an outstanding battery life with complete auto-focus and manual exposure controls.