Canon T50 SLR 35mm Film Camera [Canon FD]

The Canon T50 was one Canon’s T series models that was built to target people that wanted simple film cameras. It is not the best Canon SLR to try to learn film photography with, due to a lack of basic camera features.

Canon introduced the T50 in March of 1983. The camera was discontinued in December 1989 and replaced with the Canon T60. The T50 operates more like a high-end point and shoot camera that uses interchangeable lenses, such as the Canon Sure Shot (AF35M).

Type 35mm SLR
Lens Mount Canon FD
ASA / ISO 25 - 1600
Dimensions 150 x 87 x 48 mm, 490 g (1.08 lb)
Flash No Built-in Flash, Hot Shoe Above Viewfinder
Batteries 2x AA

The T50 is among the least valuable Canon cameras that can be purchased. Any value will depend on if the camera is in excellent condition or if it comes with a valuable lens.

A majority of the cost for T50 camera models being sold online is due to the shipping cost. Just because the free shipping is bundled into the price, doesn’t mean you’re not paying for the cost of shipping.

Like many SLR cameras of this era, make sure to check that battery corrosion has not damaged the contacts. If you find a build up of corrosion on the T50 or any film camera, you can use some distilled white vinegar on a cotton swab or rag to neutralize the corrosion.

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The T50 is one of many 35mm single-lens reflex cameras (SLR). Through the use of a mirror and prism system, a photographer is able to see through the lens at what will be captured.

You can be said to be seeing through the lens (TTL). TTL is important because it allows the camera to meter the light after it has passed through a filter and all the glass elements in the lens.

The T50 has a built in motor drive that controls the film advance and film rewind for the camera.

The T50 uses 35mm film, which is also less commonly referred to as 135 film. 35mm film is the most common format used by cameras. It can be found in small quantities in some store, at photography stores, or online.

My advice on choosing a roll of film would be to use one with a film speed of ISO 400. Having an ISO speed of 400 will help avoid difficult lighting situations. Any of the following will be an excellent choice:

For recommendations for professional film check the Best Film for the Canon T50 page.

Canon T50 Open Back of Camera
Canon T50 Open Back of Camera

To open the T50 you need to pull up on the film rewind knob. This will cause the back of the camera to pop open.

If there is film in the camera, make sure to rewind it before opening the back. There is a page with instructions on how to load film into a Canon T50 as well as how to rewind and unload film from the Canon T50.

Canon T50 Automatic Aperture Setting
Canon T50 Automatic Aperture Setting

The T50 uses the Canon FD mount. Almost all FD-mount lenses require manual focusing.

See the page on the 5 Best Canon T50 Lenses for a more detailed list of the best options for the camera, which includes sections on zoom lenses as well as telephoto lenses.

Every Canon FD lens has an aperture ring that should be locked in the green “A” position. This will enable the Program AE mode so the T50 will set the aperture and shutter speed automatically.

It is possible to select the aperture via the aperture ring. This does not operate like aperture priority mode on other cameras. Instead the shutter speed will be fixed at 1/60 of a second, which is also the flash sync speed.

Canon T50 with 50mm f/1.8 Prime Kit Lens
Canon T50 with 50mm f/1.8 Prime Kit Lens

When the T50 was released, camera stores would have offered kit bundles. Kit lens bundles would have been offered for any new SLR being sold. This still goes on today with digital cameras.

The kit lenses for the T50 included a series of 50mm prime lenses that could be purchased at a discount.

When looking at T50 reviews, take note of which lens or lenses are bundled with the camera. Old SLR zooms tend not to age well.

Modern zoom lenses designed for digital cameras are far better than everything that was produced in the 1980s. If you have to have a zoom, getting a Canon EOS camera that uses the EF mount.

The Canon EOS system replaced the FD-mount because there was no good way to integrate autofocus into new lens models while retaining backwards compatibility. Additionally, the Canon EOS lens options can be used on digital as well as film camera models.

Canon T50 Controls Control Dial
Canon T50 Controls Control Dial

The T50 has a very limited number of controls for an SLR camera. The T50 stands out among entry level series of cameras offered by Canon in how little you can actually do with it.

The only model available on the T50 is Program AE (Auto Exposure). As previously stated, you can have some control over the depth of field, but the shutter speed gets locked to 1/60th of a second.

There is also a self-timer, lock to save battery life, and battery check. You can expect to be able to shoot approximately 50 36-exposure rolls, or 75 24-exposure rolls on one set of AA batteries.

One interesting change from the previous A series of cameras was the change from a horizontally travelling cloth shutter to a vertical travelling metal blade shutter. This is why you see faster shutter speeds on T series cameras.

You can find a PDF version of the T50 camera manual here.

Canon eliminated almost every feature on the T50 to make it as simple as possible. This would also help keep production costs down.

Unfortunately, that means there is no way to manually control the camera settings on the T50. Without manual controls many types of photography and effects are not possible.

That said, the image quality of the T50 will be better than a point and shoot film camera because the FD lenses will be of higher quality.

Here are a few alternative cameras made by Canon which have better reviews. These cameras have been elected because they would receive 4 or 5 stars in terms of value for cost at the time of writing this page.

The T60 was the entry level series replacement for the T50 after it was discontinued. The T60 is only a small amount more expensive than the T50.

The big advantage is that it has a dial for controlling the shutter speed.

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The Canon T90 was the last professional grade series camera to use the FD mount. It was replaced by the Canon EOS-1, which is also a highly praised camera.

If you want the absolute best technology Canon had to offer for the FD mount, this is the one to purchase.

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The Canon EOS Rebel T2 is the last of the midrange EOS cameras made by Canon. It was the 8th in the series of Canon’s midrange offering, so the technology included is quite impressive.

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