SLR cameras are on their way to a small niche in the camera market. Therefore, the world’s largest camera manufacturer is fully committed to system cameras and, in this respect, to the EOS-R system. For a long time, there were only more expensive full-frame models, but in the meantime, more affordable cameras with smaller sensors in APS-C format are being added. The smallest and most affordable model in the EOS-R series is the Canon EOS R50 – what this mini can do is explained in this review.
- High image quality
- Accurate autofocus recognition
- High speed
- No built-in image stabiliser
- Smaller viewfinder
The Canon EOS R50 uses the same sensor and image processor as its sister model, the Canon EOS R10, and therefore comes with a 24-megapixel sensor (resolution 6000×4000 pixels) in APS-C format (sensor size 14.9×22.3 millimetres). In addition, there is a high-speed processor (DIGIC X), which inherits a lot of technology and speed from the top model Canon EOS R3 and thus makes significantly more complex image processing possible. Compared to older Canon models, this is not so noticeable when shooting in good light, but it is when shooting in dim light. With a correspondingly higher ISO setting: of ISO 6400, the images of the EOS R50 (as with the EOS R10) look better than those of the Canon EOS M50 Mark II or Canon EOS 850D.
Another advantage of the powerful image processor: it gives the Canon EOS R50 a very powerful autofocus. Here again, the EOS R50 adopts a lot of technology from the larger R models, for example, in automatic subject recognition: the EOS R50 recognises faces and eyes (even those of animals) and focuses on them automatically. The automated metering field selection can almost always remain switched on. If you want, you can also choose from eight measuring methods for autofocus. Or switch on the scene recognition: Here, for example, you can choose whether it prefers people, animals or vehicles. In the test, the recognition worked well. In addition, the autofocus focuses very quickly and tracks the sharpness more precisely than a cheap SLR. Only professional system cameras like the company’s top model, the EOS R3, are faster and more accurate, especially in dim light. Here, the EOS R50 takes a moment longer but is still quicker and more accurate than its SLR counterparts like the EOS 850D. The EOS R50 does not have an autofocus joystick – if you want to set the autofocus point yourself, you must use the cross-shaped button on the back.
The body of the Canon EOS R50 is very light and highly compact: The weight with battery and memory card is 371 grams, with the tested zoom RF-S 18-45mm f4.5-6.3 IS STM, the camera comes to 496 grams. The grip (see picture above) is smaller than the sister model EOS R50 but still provides a good hold. The camera can be held with lighter lenses like the RF-S 18-45mm or the RF-S 55-200mm f4.5-7.1 IS STM (available in a double-zoom kit with the EOS R50) with one hand while shooting or filming. The battery is an old acquaintance (LP-E17) that Canon uses in many cheaper cameras, such as the new full-frame entry-level Canon EOS R8. The LP-E17 has a low capacity (7.5 watt-hours): In the test, this was enough for 49 minutes of filming in 4K at 30 frames per second. Practical: The battery can be charged via USB-C – and if desired, you can also operate the camera via a USB-C power adapter.
Typical for new system cameras: thanks to the fast image processor, the Canon EOS R50 has many video functions. The EOS R50 naturally films in 4K (resolution 3840×2160 pixels) and offers the same autofocus functions as photography. The videos in 4K30p (with 30 frames per second) look excellent. Only the sound (as with most cameras) sounds reverberant via the built-in microphone. If you want top sound quality, connecting an external microphone is better.
Unlike older entry-level cameras, the EOS R50 uses the entire sensor when filming in 4K and then downsamples the image data. This keeps the angle of view the same when shooting and filming. The EOS R50 does not record in 4K60p (with 60 frames per second), which Canon only offers from the EOS R10 onwards. For subjects with substantial differences in brightness, the EOS R50 has the HDR PQ mode. In this mode, the small Canon even films in 10-bit (ensures a finer capture of the brightness differences than the 8-bit). However, the camera then switches to the HEVC codec. This reduces the amount of data and ensures that much computing power is required for processing on a PC or laptop. In addition, many older televisions do not play back this format. The EOS R50 records a maximum of one hour of video at a time – a precautionary measure so that the very compact camera does not heat up too much.
A decisive difference to the cameras from the EOS M series: the Canon EOS R50 adopts the EOS R bayonet. This means that all system camera lenses from the RF series can be used on the EOS R50 without an adapter, similar to the E bayonet from Sony and the Z bayonet from Nikon. For an APS-C camera, the bayonet is huge, with a diameter of 54 millimetres, taking up a large part of the front of the EOS R50. Canon moved two ports, especially for vloggers: USB and HDMI, on the right-hand side. Connected cables are no longer in front of the display when it is folded out to the front.
A cost-cutting measure: the EOS R50 does without conventional flash contacts in the accessory shoe above the viewfinder and only has a contact strip for the Canon accessory standard. This allows flash units and microphones such as the DM-E1D to be connected wirelessly. The audio signal is then transmitted digitally via the accessory shoe. Older flash units can be used with the EOS R50 via the AD-E1 adapter. The viewfinder of the EOS R50 is relatively small (magnification 0.59x) but otherwise shows a detailed image with accurate colours. Only in the sunshine could it be brighter (as with most system cameras).
Canon does not build the EOS R50 for action photographers, and this is evident in continuous shooting: Here, it only managed 8.0 frames per second in the test. Its sister model, the EOS R10, is much faster: it achieved 15.2 frames per second. The camera is slowed down by the shutter mechanism – which allows a maximum of ten images per second – and the small buffer memory, which is already complete after three to four seconds. Then the data must be written to the camera’s memory card. For this, the EOS R50 reduces the speed considerably. However, the speed is quickly sufficient for short series, for example, spontaneous snapshots.
No built-in image stabiliser
A tribute to the small body of the Canon EOS R50: the image stabiliser built into the camera body of larger sister models such as the Canon EOS R5 or the Canon EOS R6 Mark II is missing. This job has to be done by the stabiliser in the lens. No problem with the kit lens RF-S 18-45mm f4.5-6.3 IS STM. It compensated for up to 3.7 f-stops in the test. That corresponds to 13 times the exposure time. This means that even with longer exposure times – such as a quarter or eighth of a second – sharp pictures can be taken (as long as the subject does not move). This is good for the image quality, because you can shoot with a low ISO setting.
The Canon EOS R50 shows that a mini camera can deliver maxi performance. It is extremely light and compact and can easily fit in a jacket pocket with a small lens. It shows that the system cameras have outstripped the SLR competition, even in entry-level models. The EOS R50 delivers great photos and videos and is very fast in continuous shooting and with autofocus. The latter also detects the subject very accurately – and works at a very high speed.
Canon EOS R50 + RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM|24.2MP APS-C Mirrorless Camera|Upto 15fps Cont.|Dual Pixel CMOS AF II|4K 30p|Vari-Angle screen|Bluetooth & WiFi|Black
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Canon EOS R50 Mirrorless Vlogging Camera (Black) w/RF-S18-45mm F4.5-6.3 is STM & RF-S55-210mm F5-7.1 is STM Lenses, 24.2 MP, 4K Video, Subject Detection & Tracking, Compact, Smartphone Connection
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