Andy Westlake examines the Canon EOS R50: a new RF-mount entry-level APS-C mirrorless model derived from the EOS M50

Canon EOS R50 at a glance:

  • £789.99 body-only
  • £899.99 with 18-45mm zoom
  • 24.2MP APS-C sensor
  • Up to 15fps shooting
  • 4K 30fps video recording
  • 2.36m-dot, 0.59x EVF
  • 3in vari-angle screen

Canon’s EOS R50, announced alongside the lightweight full-frame EOS R8, is the new entry-point to the firm’s RF-mount line-up. Physically, it’s another very familiar-looking design. As implied by its name, this is essentially a re-worked version of the EOS M50 Mark II, but now with an RF mount, rather than EF-M. If you needed any confirmation that Canon’s older EOS M-series APS-C mirrorless system has now effectively reached the end of its development, this is probably it.

Canon EOS R50 24MP APS-C sensor

Canon’s EOS R50 employs a 24MP APS-C sensor. Image credit: Andy Westlake

Internally, the EOS R50 shares its sensor and processor with last year’s Canon EOS R10 and offers a broadly similar specification. However, it’s even smaller and lighter, with a particularly beginner-friendly design. Canon says it’s aimed to those buying their first standalone camera, having previously used a smartphone for shooting photos and video.

Rear controls

The camera has a relatively simple design, with a limited number of buttons and dials. Image credit: Andy Westlake

Despite its entry-level positioning, the EOS R50 boasts subject detection AF, which has previously only been seen on rather more expensive cameras. It’s speedy for its class, too, being capable of shooting at 12fps, rising to 15fps with its electronic shutter. The sensor offers a sensitivity range of ISO 100-32,000, which is expandable to ISO 51,200.

Canon EOS R50 ports

Micro HDMI and USB-C ports are found under a cover on the handgrip. There’s a microphone socket on the other side. Image credit: Andy Westlake

Video can be recorded at 4K and 30fps with digital stabilisation, and unlike on the EOS M50 Mark II, this uses the full sensor width without a crop. Vertical video is supported for social media, and the camera can be used as a plug-and-play webcam. Smartphone connectivity is supplied by built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Canon EOS R50: body and design

When it comes to the body, Canon has essentially stuck with a tried-and-tested design previously used for the EOS M50 and EOS M50 Mark II. In this case, this isn’t a bad thing – it’s small, lightweight, and relatively easy to use. There’s just about enough buttons and dials to provide a decent degree of external control, backed up by an excellent touchscreen interface for everything else. As entry-level cameras go, it’s quite usable and engaging.

Top plate controls, white model

Top-plate controls are straightforward, with just a mode dial, power switch, video record button and ISO button joining the shutter release. Image credit: Andy Westlake

There are a few changes to the control layout, though. Most obviously, the control dial that surrounded the shutter button on the M50 has been replaced by a more typically-Canon vertically embedded dial. The movie record button has moved beside this dial, with an ISO button taking its place beside the shutter release. There’s nothing ground-breaking here in terms of usability, but it maintains consistency with other EOS R-series bodies.

Canon EOS R50 battery and card

The LP-E17 battery and SD card slot into the same compartment in the base. Image credit: Andy Westlake

As befits the ‘mini-SLR’ design, you get a central electronic viewfinder. It’s pretty much as you’d expect in this class of camera, with 2.36m-dot resolution and 0.6x magnification. That’s not a huge view, by any means, but it’s usable. The vari-angle screen can be set to practically any angle: up or down for shooting at unusual angles, or facing forwards for self-recording.

White model, front three-quarters

The Canon EOS R50 will come in a choice of black or white finishes. Image credit: Andy Westlake

Like the Canon EOS R8 and the two lenses announced alongside, the EOS R50 is due to go on sale in March 2023. Available in a choice of black or white finishes, it’s set to cost £789.99 body-only, or £899.99 with the RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS zoom. This represents a not inconsiderable hike of around £200 compared to the current street price of the EOS M50 Mark II. A dual-lens kit adding the new RF-S 55-210mm F5-7.1 IS STM telezoom will also be available.

New Canon RF-S 55-210mm F5-7.1 IS STM telezoom

Perhaps the biggest criticism of Canon’s APS-C RF-mount line-up so far has been the lack of matched RF-S lenses, with just 18-45mm and 18-150mm kit zooms available until now. Canon has now added another, in the shape of the RF-S 55-210mm F5-7.1 IS STM telephoto zoom. Its rather dim maximum aperture is disappointing, though, being 0.3 stops slower than its older EF-M counterpart. Featuring optical stabilisation with a 4.5-stop rating, it’ll cost £429.99.

Canon RF-S 55-210mm F5-7.1 IS STM telezoom

The Canon RF-S 55-210mm F5-7.1 IS STM telezoom on the EOS R50. image credit: Andy Westlake

Canon EOS R50: First impressions

Canon has a good track record of making small cameras that handle well and are easy to use. With the EOS R50 it’s decided you can’t have too much of a bad thing, and revisited the EOS M50 design with a few minor tweaks. It should be a nice little camera for beginners, or those who’d just like a small camera and aren’t too bothered about changing lots of settings between shots.

Canon EOS R50 in-hand

The EOS R50 looks to be nice little entry-level camera, if nothing ground-breaking. Image credit: Andy Westlake

The main drawback, still, is the lack of RF-S lenses specifically matched to the APS-C format. You can’t get a proper autofocus wideangle zoom, for example. And while initially we assumed it would only be a matter of time before Canon ported its EF-M optics across to the RF mount, the firm now appears intent on making new lenses instead, that if anything are less appealing. This makes it very difficult to recommend the EOS R50 to more advanced photographers who’d like to build up a small, light APS-C system.

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