Canon EOS 50E

Canon EOS 50E
Canon EOS 50E

This is a serious amateur camera aimed at the top of the amateur (or “consumer” to be modern) market.  It contains a number of features not found on most EOS cameras.  The most significant of these is eye-controlled focussing.  More of this later. As well as this EOS film camera, I have an EOS 650 and an EOS 5(A2).

One of the problems of modern cameras is that they are all much of a muchness and Canon’s EOS range is no exception.  It seems that the desire by designers to produce something that stands out has gone.  The 50E is instantly recognisable as an EOS camera.  The basic shape and design concepts are much as in others of the range.  So, we have the facilities we expect: a choice of three focussing modes, a choice of three metering modes, five pre-sets – portrait, landscape, macro, sport and automatic – and Tv, Av, M, Dep and program.
Focussing lock is accessed by partially depressing the shutter button and exposure lock has its own button on the top right rear of the camera.  It is possible to alter this arrangement using the Custom Functions – see below.  There is a built in flash and a hot shoe for connecting Canon’s Speedlite flashguns.  So far, no surprises.
Canon EOS 50E
EOS 50E rear view


There are six settings that can be set in the software – ISO, usually read from the cassette via the DX system – auto exposure bracketing – red eye reduction – beeper/no beeper – multiple exposures – flash exposure compensation.
In addition to the normal shutter release, there are two forms of remote shutter release.  1) a cable plugged into the jack socket at the right hand side near the bottom & 2) a zapper that can only be used from in front of the camera but will work at a significant distance.  The zapper will allow a two second delay if required.
Lenses – this is an EOS camera and will take all of Canon’s EF lenses.  As this is a 35mm camera and so a full frame camera it will not take the EF-S range of lenses intended for the APS-C format digital cameras.  It is not possible to make any mistake here as the EF-S lenses will not fit into the EF bayonet fitting.
Canon EOS 50E
EOS 50E with flash raised

The only other feature worth mentioning is the ability to rewind a film part way through.  This might be easy on a manual camera but the EOS 50E automatically rewinds the film when the film is finished and there is no rewind crank as there is on the other 35mm cameras I describe in this blog.  I think that it is Canon’s assumption that you will develop the partially used film, but if you want to finish the roll of film you have partially used, you will need to note the frame number of the last shot and take that many shots in manual mode with the lens cap on.

Eye controlled focussing.  Using this, you look at the focussing point you want to use (there are three focussing points) and press the shutter release half way.  The camera then focusses on that focussing point.  Canon take this further and by looking at the top left of the viewfinder image and then half-depressing the shutter release, you can activate the depth of field preview, albeit in a dark (very dark at f22!) image.  Personally, I prefer to have depth of field figures printed on the lens barrel alongside the focussing scale – but neither of those is at all common on modern lenses.    This eye control works better than I expected it to, particularly as I wear spectacles.  As there are only three focussing points with this camera, what eye controlled focussing really means is that you can decide to focus on the left, the right or the centre of the intended image.

Custom Functions:

  1. Automatic film rewind mode (fast and noisy or slow and quite)
  2. Film leader position after rewind leave leader out of the cassette or not)
  3. ISO film setting method (uses DX system or not)
  4. AF and AE operation (AF via shutter release, AE via button; AE via shutter release, AF via button, AF and AE via shutter release button)
  5. Self timer and mirror lock up.
  6. Second curtain synchronisation for flash
  7. AF assist beam on or off
  8. Partial metering and FE lock on centre focussing point or not
  9. Flash sync in Av mode
  10. Focussing point flashing or not
  11. Eye-controlled depth of field preview on or off.



Some sample pictures taken on Agfa Vista plus 200 ISO print film:

Canon EOS 50E
The Witch and Wardrobe pub, Lincoln


Canon EOS 50E
Church reflected in office block, Hull


Canon EOS 50E
Busker, Castle Hill, Lincoln

And on Adox Silvermax film:

Canon EOS 50E
Lincoln cathedral


Canon EOS 50E
Arboretum, Lincoln
Canon EOS 50E
Arboretum, Lincoln



Author: John Margetts

I am a keen photographer who also collects cameras. I am retired with about 50 years photography experience.

2 thoughts on “Canon EOS 50E”

  1. I have a Canon 50e exclusively for my Canon 85mm F1.8 lens. I do believe this is the sharpest lens I have ever come across. I mainly use it for slow speed film such as Adox 20asa or Kodak Technical Pan film. The autofocus is almost precognitive and extremely accurate. I would have liked a depth of preview button but I guess I can always use my Nikon F2 or F100 if I need that function.


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