Canon’s PowerShot SX50 HS bridge camera offers a whopping 1,200mm stabilised zoom lens, but is it a bridge too far? Read the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review...

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Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review


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Canon PowerShot SX50 HS at a glance:

  • 50x optical zoom, 4.3-215mm (24-1,200mm equivalent) f/3.4-6.5 Canon lens
  • 4.5-stop optical Image Stabilizer
  • 12.1-million-pixel CMOS sensor
  • Manual exposure control and raw shooting
  • 2.8in articulated LCD screen
  • Street price around £380

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review – Introduction

In AP 9 June 2012, we tested eight cameras in a six-page bridge camera group test. Included was the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, which fared well against the competition but without being a class leader. The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS on test here is the SX40 HS’s replacement.

At a first glance, the new model appears to have had something of a transformation in several areas, with raw capture introduced and an increased focal range. In fact, the camera’s world-first 50x optical zoom lens offers the sort of focal lengths available to photographers only through digiscoping, or with some bulky and expensive kit combined with a teleconverter. Whether the 1,200mm range is vital is another matter, but the long reach is certainly useful for wildlife photographers. However, this lens is not all about its long reach, because the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS has a wide 24mm setting that makes it ideal for landscapes, too. Impressive as all this sounds, I am keen to see just how much of an effect the broad zoom range has on image quality.

  1. 1. Canon PowerShot SX50 HS at a glance:
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Build and handling
  4. 4. Autofocus
  5. 5. LCD, viewfinder and video
  6. 6. Noise, resolution and sensitivity
  7. 7. White balance and colour
  8. 8. Dynamic range
  9. 9. Metering
  10. 10. Our verdict
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  • Simon

    Best way to use this is to shoot in raw and convert to jpg using Canon’s DPP.

  • Stephen Tunstill

    The 1200mm focal length is more useable than your review would have you believe. The maximum focal length of the zoom is not 1200mm but 215mm since the sensor is approximately 1/6 the area of a 35mm frame. Since the shutter speed rule dates from 35mm film cameras the shutter setting required is not 1250 but a much more realistic 250. I have to say that this camera is an excellent package for the money. Pity that I bought a Fujifilm X-S1 at a vastly reduced price from Amazon as this has to use digital zoom to acheive 1200mm.

  • F turner

    To Malcolm hall it’s obvious you do not know how to use a camera.

  • Mr F Turner

    To comment on Malcolm Halls letter Feb 23. This camera is superb, what are you doing wrong why don’t you read a few camera mags. When you digitally zoom in on a computer screen the picture always degrades whatever camera you are using. Did you set the camera correctly, it’s a good thing to read the manual first. The sx50 is a very good camera if you know how to use it

  • Shirley A. Davies

    Digiscope and DSLR now redundant as this does everything required and to a far advanced standard. No more lugging around heavy equipment as the light weight of the SX50 is barely noticeable. Excellent video with even better screen captures when paused. Wildlife photography for me has just got better! Just wish the sport mode enabled more than ten shots.

  • Ros

    It’s a shame there Is No instruction booklet after all this camera is not cheap

  • Colin Walker

    I think that everyone who has an interest in photography at whatever level has said at some time or another ‘oh I wish I had my camera with me’
    I have quite an extensive Canon EOS system and carrying all the lenses etc can be quite an excorcise, having just sold 5 lenses that have been superseded with higher quality released some cash to buy the Powershot SX50HS. It would be an understatement to say I was pleased with it, I am still finding my way round it as the operation whilst being similar to the SLR has some subtle differences. To use the northern expression ‘it weighs nowt’ as accurate. Macro good telephoto etc are all there. well done Canon

  • Andrew

    I’m very pleased with my SX50. In just a few weeks I’ve managed to get some great wildlife and landscape pictures without going near a tripod. The versatility of the zoom creates fantastic creative freedom, as does the fact that you’re far more likely to take it with you. Image quality is great, I would recommend it to anyone who is not a serious professional with a huge budget.

  • Imagebloke

    I own the Canon SX40 HS and I am very happy with it. When I first read about the Canon SX50 HS I have to confess I was a little bit worried with the zoom range. No surprisingly, I read the noise using the maximum zoom is quite there, which is perfectly understandable. I am happy with the SX40 but I often miss the “right” picture due its sometimes sluggish and inaccurate autofocus system. I heard it’s been improved in the SX50. I still think the Canon SX50 is a good camera but I will wait until Canon fixes the problems shown in its new toy. I bet the next one will be a lot better.

  • Malcolm Hall

    I purchased the SX50HS after reading all the really good reviews about it. Sadly for me it was a very poor camera for the money. The out of camera photos were dull and flat and not particularly sharp. At the long end of the zoom hand held photos were all but unusable but were a little better with a tripod. Photos taken with my Sony A580, 70-300 Lens and a 1.4 converter were sharper and clearer when digitally zooming in on the computer screen and much more usable. I bought my SX50HS from Wex and when I discussed the issues
    they kindly agreed a return and refund.

  • John P.Zook