Comparing the EOS 50D and EOS 500D Cameras

EOS 500D

Image courtesy and copyright Canon

Its only been two days since Canon announced the new ESO 500D / Rebel T1i and already some EOS 50D owners are crying foul. Especially since this new consumer grade DSLR borrows so much technology from its older sibling the EOS 50D such as its:

  • 15.1 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor.
  • ISO 100-3200 (expandable to 12800).
  • 3.0” ClearView LCD with Live View mode.
  • 9-point wide area AF with cross type center point.
  • High speed DIGIC 4 performance and superb image quality.
  • EOS Integrated Cleaning System.

As well as the fact that it goes one step further and provides full HD movie recording capabilities with HDMI connection for viewing and playback on an HDTV, just like the new 5D mark II.

Do these similarities really matter to EOS 50D owners or are the differences in build quality, size, weight, viewfinder, auto focus, burst rate and accessories enough to differentiate the two cameras?

Will Canon release a firmware update for the EOS 50D that enables HD movie recording or will this feature continue to grace only its consumer and professional grade cameras?

Or will the Fake Chuck Westfall spend the next few months lampooning Canon’s seemingly unusual marketing scheme?

Only time will tell!

15 thoughts on “Comparing the EOS 50D and EOS 500D Cameras

  1. Hello,

    Currently I’m useing a 350D and want to upgrade. I was intresseted in buy the 500D/550D, but considering the 50D now.

    For trainspotting the higher fps is a pro. But how about noice? I think my 350D has a lot of noice when shooting above 200ISO.



  2. hi.

    i am a bigginner at photography and i’m looking to buy a camera.

    i’m keen on the pentax kx with the standard lens plus the pentax da55-300mm f/4-5.8 ed lens.

    im also looking at the canon 500d with standard lens and ef-s 55-250 f/4-5.6 is lens.

    i would probably use the camera alot in the game parks.

    can any one give me some advice on which camera to choose.


    • Shane,

      Thanks for reading. I’ve never used Pentax cameras so I can’t really help you decide. I’d recommend renting each camera (if possible) to see which fits you better.


  3. Hi Jeff,

    Can you kindly explain a little further when you stated that ‘500D like all other Canon DSLRs doesn’t shoot in RAW mode if configures properly’ May I ask what is the configuration.I am interested in photographing and is currently considering extremely cautious on the camera I am going to invest in.Thank you in advance for your tips and advice.


    • Blance,

      Most consumer grade DSLR cameras from Canon are configured to shoot JPEG images by default. You can changes this in the menu system to shoot RAW or RAW & JPEG at the same time. You can download the 500D manual from Canon’s web site and see exactly how this is done.


  4. Well I just decided coming back home that I want to leave my Nikon D200 and D2x in the dusts of America and go back to the awesomeness of Canon’s true colour quality cameras.

    I been trying to work out which of these two camera’s is the winner. For obviously known reasons, in the past rebel have always been the cheap knock off versions of the EOS camera’s.
    However the 500D is a high end Rebel camera. What’s really doing my head in, is this HD video, I mean get real. DSLR cameras are made to take photographs after all what on earth are you purchasing one to make video clips for. Go get yourself a camcorder then.

    But other than that whole ordeal it seems the only con to buying a 500D is the high speed action photography. If you need to capture extremely quick sequences of photos in rapid succession, then you’ll need the 50D, as it is able to shoot at either 6.3 fps or 3 fps, while the 500D is only capable of 3.4 fps.

    The 50D is the faster camera due to the difference in the number of channels that is dedicated to sensor data readout.

    The shutterspeed are different on the 2 aswell. 500D is 1/4000 whereas the 50D is 1/8000 but get real how many photographers actually shoot that sharp.

    There’s some difference with white balance feature, where you cannot use the kelvin values on the 500D. This stating the camera can’t be used for proper studio work.

    So therefore you cannot shoot as fast, you have less weight to carry, a cheaper camera all in all and i’ve read something about the autofocus not being as precise as the 50D. Quality is the same between the camera’s and they have the same CCD.

    But my conclusion to why any proffessional photographer wouldn’t want to use the 500D is that it doesn’t have a RAW function to shoot on. Ie. the loss of fun in post production

    Take it or leave it just some shared info for all of yas 😉

    • Richard,

      Thanks for reading and for your comments on the 500D. My only comment is that the 500D like all other Canon DSLRs does shoot in RAW mode if configured properly.


  5. Hello.I am from Portugal. I would like to buy a camera. Can you tell me if Canon E OS 500 and objective 18-200 mm is a good option? I am not a professional. photography is my hobby.Have you experienced this models? Thank you in advance for your reply. Maria

    • Maria,

      Thanks for reading and for your questions. For a beginning amateur photography, the new EOS 500D and the EF-S 18-200mm zoom are a great choice. Good image quality at an affordable price.


  6. I came across a photo of the Rebel with a battery grip on it….and it does look like it has more size, of course. But…you have to go spend the $$$ on a battery grip! Kind of pointless.

    Also agree about the attraction of video for the photographer. I’ve been doing an informal poll with some pro Canon shooters I know. Seems kind of split. I hope to cover this over at JSP blog at some point.

    Happy Sunday!

  7. Hi Jeff,

    I see 2 problems with Canon releasing a firmware upgrade to add video capability to 50D.

    1. Canon has never been know to add extra features to DSLR cameras via firmware update in the past.

    2. The more serious problem is that, the 50D does NOT have a builtin microphone or any audio input. It would be pretty useless to add video capability without any audio.

    The most likely scenario would be Canon adding Full HD 1080p30 capability to the 60D to replace the 50D some time in the future.

  8. I’m interested to see as well. I want to get one in my hand to see how it feels. Kinda looks small in a man’s hand (and I don’t have big hands) from what I’ve seen.

    I may still shoot for the 50D. Video is nice but…do I really need it? I’d rather have the camera feel good in my hand. As I said over at JerseyStyle Photography, Digital Rebels have felts light and not very strong to me.

    • I tend to agree Mark. The Rebel line of cameras are very small even with a battery grip. The 40D/50D and 5D/5DMKII seem just about the right size and weight. As for video, I just don’t see the attraction. Canon already makes some excellent video gear but I just don’t see many folks crossing over from still images to video.


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