Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Review

Review posted 04/16/2013

Quick Take

  • 50x optical zoom is a great feature
  • Zoom motor works fast, going from wide angle to full telephoto
  • Popup flash provides good low light results
  • Hot shoe also allows you to add an external flash if needed
  • SX50 works well in fully automatic mode
  • Camera is also a strong performer in manual and advanced modes
  • Most of the camera's control buttons are well placed and a good size
  • Large right hand grip is comfortable to use
  • Articulated LCD makes it easy to use the SX50 on a tripod
  • Optical image stabilization is a must-have feature on an ultra-zoom camera
  • Electronic viewfinder is nice feature to have
  • Good image quality
  • Separate battery charger included
  • Menu structure can be customized, which is a great feature
  • Shortcut button and customized settings on mode dial are great
  • Full HD video mode
  • Can customize the shooting information shown on the LCD or in the EVF
  • SX50 has smaller image sensor than what's expected in this price range
  • SX50's response times are a bit choppy, depending on scene
  • You'll see "busy" on the screen more than you should between shots
  • LCD screen is a little small
  • Sharpness and image quality in EVF could be better
  • SX50 doesn't automatically switch between EVF and LCD when you lift camera to your eye
  • Battery life should be better with such a thick battery
  • Zoom motor moves through zoom range almost too fast; difficult to stop on desired telephoto setting
  • Not enough of a "stop" between optical zoom and digital zoom settings
  • Menus change depending on which shooting mode you're using, which can be confusing
  • Some commands are placed in odd menu categories
  • No USB cable included
  • Four-way control button is poorly designed and is too tight to the camera body
  • High ISOs have excessive noise
Bottom Line
With a 50x optical zoom lens, the PowerShot SX50 has one feature that's impossible to ignore. This camera also does a pretty good job with image quality and performance in most situations, while offering a large number of advanced features. However, there are also some very odd areas where Canon seems to have cut corners with this camera, making it tough to justify its $450 suggested price tag. If you can find it a lower price, it'll be easier to live with some of the issues for this model. And the 50x zoom lens is a great feature at almost any price. Read more in our Full Conclusion.

Following up on 2011's popular PowerShot SX40 HS, Canon announced the PowerShot SX50 HS with improvements to the optical zoom, LCD quality and other shooting capabilities. Similar to the PowerShot SX40 HS, the Canon SX50 HS includes the 1/2.3-inch 12.1-megapixel High-Sensitivity CMOS image sensor and DIGIC 5 image processor. In addition, both cameras shoot video in 1080p at 24 frames per second and 720p at 30fps. The electronic viewfinder hasn't changed, the hot shoe is still included and the battery is identical.

However, the optical zoom has significantly increased from 35x (24-840 mm f/2.7-5.8) to 50x (24-1200 mm f/3.4-6.5). The vari-angle LCD screen has increased in size slightly from 2.7 inches to 2.8 inches and the pixel density has doubled from 230k to 461k. The ISO range has expanded from 100-3200 in the SX40 to 80-6400 in the SX50.

Another interesting inclusion for budding professional photographers is the addition of the RAW format when shooting. The PowerShot SX50 HS can be set to capture 12-bit RAW + JPEG image files for instant file back-ups as well as post-processing latitude and image modification.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Feature Set:

  • 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • Canon's HS (High Sensitivity) System
  • DIGIC 5 image processor
  • 50x optical zoom (35mm equivalent of 24-1200 mm)
  • True Lens-Shift Optical Image Stabilization
  • Fast maximum aperture range of f/3.4-6.5
  • 2.8-inch vari-angle LCD (461k pixels)
  • High-resolution EVF (Electronic ViewFinder)
  • Powerful manual pop-up flash unit
  • Hot shoe for external speedlites
  • Improved Smart AUTO (58 predefined shooting situations)
  • Full 1080p HD video capture
  • Intelligent IS
  • Zoom framing assist button
  • HDMI out
  • SD card slot accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards
  • Li-ion power source (up to 400 shots)
The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS is only available in black with a suggested retail price of $479.99. See our lowest price button at the top right of this page to see the most current online pricing.

What's In the Box?:
  • PowerShot SX50 HS Digital Camera
  • Lens Cap (with Strap)
  • Battery Pack NB-10L
  • Battery Charger CB-2LC
  • Neck Strap NS-DC11
  • Digital Camera Solution CD

Additional Product Views

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