Steve's Digicams


PowerShot A50 Review

Canon A50

The PowerShot A50 continues the tradition started by the PowerShot A5, Canon's first, palm-sized digital camera housed in a classy, duralumin shell. Canon first upgraded the A5 to the A5 Zoom by adding a high-quality 2.5x zoom lens. This time they've added a 1.3-Megapixel CCD imager and vastly improved the processing firmware.

Pictures can be captured in 1280 x 960 pixels in Fine or Normal JPG compressed format or in Canon's proprietary raw CCD uncompressed format. Other cameras store uncompressed images in TIF format which occupy about 4Mb of memory as opposed to Canon's raw format which only requires 1.5Mb of memory. You can also select 640 x 480 pixel images in Fine or Normal JPG if your images are only going to be used on the computer or TV screen or for small web pictures.

Jump to the Canon A50 specifications.

Canon A50

As you can see, the fit-n-finish of this camera is excellent. The casual observer will think it is the stylish Canon Elph film camera until they catch sight of the color LCD screen on the back. It looks and feels much like a typical 35mm rangefinder camera.

Canon A50

Canon A50 The key element to any good camera is its lens. Canon has designed an all glass 2.5x (28-70mm) lens with three aspherical elements to insure distortion-free pictures out to the periphery of each image. At its wideangle setting the lens allows you to get more into your frame in indoor situations than other camera's longer focal length lenses.

The 2.5x zoom lens is also quite "fast" with an aperture of f2.6 in wideangle position. This coupled along with the camera's ability to increase the ISO speed to 400 lets you get more natural looking available light shots where most digicams would require a flash.

Canon A50 When the A50 is powered down or goes into "sleep" mode, the lens is automatically covered to prevent it from getting scratched or dirty.

The A50 is also equipped with Canon's light-assisted autofocus and can focus accurately even in dimly-lit conditions.

Canon A50

The A50 can be powered by standard 2CR5 lithium "photo" batteries, the NB-5H rechargeable battery pack or by using the DC Coupler DR-100A which fits inside the battery compartment. The rechargeable battery, charger and DC Coupler are sold separately for abt $100 in most countries.

Don't forget to flip the safety latch on the battery door after you change a battery or else the camera won't work. The engineers designed it this way to make sure that the user securely locked the battery door. They mention this in the manual but who reads those things ???

Canon A50

The CompactFlash memory card slips in on the side of the camera so removing it while on a tripod is no problem.

I noticed that most of the time the card did not eject out far enough to be easily removed without really pushing the eject button hard and as fast as possible.

Continue on to
Page Two

PowerShot A50 Specifications

Image Sensor 1,310,000 pixel CCD sensor (total), equivalent to 1/2,7" size
Number of Recording
1,280 x 960 pixel Large / CCD RAW 
640 x 480 pixel Small 
Gradation Reproduction 8 bits x 3 colors (10-bit data processing)
Sensitivity Equivalent to ISO 100-400
(ISO 400 for Small mode in low light only)
Image Data Storage CompactFlash(CF) card
Image Compression JPEG standard
Compression Modes Fine/Normal/CCD RAW
Image Storage
 1,280 X 960 Fine  8MB CF 23 images
 1,280 X 960 Normal  8MB CF 43 images
Lens 4.3 W -10.8 T  mm F2.6 W -4.0 T 
(35mm film equivalent : 28-70mm)
Aperture and shutter F2.6 F11 W  F4.0 F11 T 
Shutter Mechanical + Electronic shutter
Shutter Speed 1/6-1/750 sec. (Slow Shutter [Off])
2-1/750 sec. (Slow Shutter [On] or [Night Scene] setting)
Focusing Method TTL phase differential detection method
Focusing Range Standard : 50 cm to infinity (19.7" to infinity)
Macro : 17 cm to 50 cm (6.7" to 19.7")
AE Method TTL Program AE
Metering range EV 2 - 16.5
Flash Built-in (Auto / On / Off / Red-eye reduction)
Flash Range Wide-angle : 0.17 to 3.5 m (6.7" to 137.8")
Telephoto : 0.17 to 2.5 m (6.7" to 98.4")
Optical viewfinder Real-image optical viewfinder
LCD Monitor 2" low-temperture polysilicon color TFT
Interface CF card slots / RS232C / Video out
Power Supply NiMH rechargeable battery, AC adapter
2CR5 lithium battery, CR 2016 lithium battery for date/clock backup
Dimensions (W x H x D) 103 x 68 x 37.3 mm (4.1" x 2.7" x 1.5")
Weight Approx. 260 g (0.6 lbs. / 9.2 oz) excluding batteries and CF card

*All data is based on Canon's standard testing methods.

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