Test: The Canon EOS 50D on the microscope – a DSLR classic with advanced sensor technology
The Canon EOS 50D was launched in 2008. With an APS-C Live View sensor, a strong feature set and great hardware it is geared for the semi-professional market. When it was introduced, the EOS 50D was ahead of its time and offered pretty much everything that is important for microscopy applications: an advanced sensor with high ISO sensitivity, a fast, low-noise focal plane shutter and shutter speeds from 30 to 1/8000 sec. With Canon’s proven EOS Utility 2 software, the EOS 50D can be controlled remotely from a computer, using Live View and magnification to get sharp focus. Canon continues to provide updates for the software, which means that the 50D can be used with any computer running current Windows versions.
If you’re on a budget or want an affordable second camera for microscopy applications, the EOS 50D is one of the best DSLRs you can buy. It can be found on the used camera market for about € 150.
Main features of the Canon EOS 50D:
- APS-C CMOS Live View sensor with 15 megapixels
- Light sensitivity – ISO range between 100 and 12,800
- Solid, well-built camera from Canon’s semi-professional line-up
- Quiet, noise-reduced shutter
- Shutter speeds between 1/8000 and 30 seconds
- EOS Utility 2 software compatible with Windows 10 und IOS (Mac)
The EOS 50D has a high-quality 15 MP APS-C CMOS sensor that is capable of shooting at a maximum of 6.5 frames per second. The body is made of magnesium alloy for rugged performance and weighs 850 grams. Compared to its predecessor, the EOS 40D, the resolution of the 50D’s TFT screen was stepped up from 230,000 to 920,000 dots.
The memory card format is CompactFlash, and if the camera is controlled remotely, it outputs directly to the hard drive or SSD. When working with a microscope, it is generally advisable to control the camera remotely with a compatible camera control software. Canon’s EOS Utility 2 is a free program that comes included with the EOS 50D and can also be downloaded directly from the Canon server.
The sensor has good light sensitivity, with a range running from ISO 100 to 12,800. Shutter speeds vary between 1/8000 and 30 seconds, and there is a Bulb mode for even longer exposures. The EOS 50D features a USB 2.0 port and a micro HDMI output (type D) for connecting to various peripherals and devices.
The camera has a Canon EF bayonet mount, to which our LM digital adapters can be attached in a few easy steps. If your microscope has a phototube, we recommend adding the adapter to it. If that’s not possible, we also offer adapter solutions for the eyepiece tube.
Conclusion: Although it has been around for more than ten years, the Canon EOS 50D is still a great camera that is capable of giving outstanding results. If you want a budget-friendly camera in mint condition with few shots, the EOS 50D will not disappoint you. For about € 150, it is one of the best buys in the used camera market and offers good value for money. However, it is certainly also worth looking into the 50D’s successor models – the EOS 60D / 70D / 80D. More information about cameras can be found in our current camera recommendations and our camera ranking.21.06.2019
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