Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Review

IMG_1261Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

from Macro to Zoom, the Canon SX50 HS is impressive all the way

First, a confession, I like Canon cameras. I’ve had various EOS SLRs and more recently DSLRs for nigh on 20 years. Don’t think that makes me soft on them in this review of the SX50, quite the reverse, I expect the highest standards and quality from Canon.


IMG_1262The SX50 is a “bridge” camera. In appearance it looks quite like a DSLR. However it is much smaller, neater and so much lighter. It fits into the hand very comfortably and all the buttons and dials are well positioned. It also has a fixed lens but what an amazing multi-purpose, all in one lens that is! In addition to still photos this camera also has excellent “movie” capabilities.

Getting started

IMG_1269There are lots of excellent features on this camera so I strongly advise that you resist the temptation to just start playing with the camera and at least read the Getting Started printed manual that comes in the box. The full manual is contained on a CD as a PDF and runs to an astonishing 283 pages! So, it cannot be argued that it is not comprehensive. The best thing to do is to familiarise yourself with the content and perhaps hone in on areas that are of particular interest.  No doubt issues will arise as you use the camera and you will definitely find the answer here.

Alternatively go to YouTube and view one of a number of excellent video guides that really will get you up to speed very quickly.  Canon also have an overview video which is more about whetting the appetite for the camera’s capabilities rather than actual instruction but it is worth a viewing – Link

Using The SX50

IMG_1263This camera is relatively easy to use. Using the Auto setting will give good reliable results under most conditions. However the camera comes with a selection of auto modes which increases your options. A very pleasing feature is that the camera comes with full manual capabilities. In addition to JPEG , you can also generate RAW with all the possibilities that gives for post-production enhancements.

The LCD screen is very sharp and is multi tilt which is a most useful feature.  It can also be stored screen in for protection when not in use or if the viewfinder is being used.  I would recommend placing the LCD in that position if using the viewfinder as the viewfinder is automatically engaged in that position, otherwise you need to double press the Disp button to toggle between the two.

IMG_1266The real beauty of this camera, in my opinion is the astonishing lens. It has an incredible focal length from ultra wide angle of 24mm to a zoom of 1200mm. This really is a one lens for pretty much every situation you will encounter. The lens is also very quiet and smooth in operation. Mainly because the camera is so light, I found it difficult to keep a steady hand when the zoom is fully extended. The stabilisation facility, however is so good that the pictures were always in focus and sharp.

In honesty my main interest in this camera was in taking stills. However I found the videoing to be very straight forward and fun to use and the results were sharply focused with good sound quality.

Some Techie bits

We all tend to have an obsession with Mega Pixels and at 12.1 the SX50 has as much as you are ever likely to need.

The ISO range is impressive starting at 80 for those ultra sunny holiday photos to 6400 for working in poor lighting conditions. There is also a built in flash for occasions where you might need a little extra light.

It is worth mentioning the lens again – 24mm to 1200mm

Apart from all the good electronics these are the 3 key elements to making great photos.

A suggestion for Canon

The lens needs protection as an unfortunate scratch could destroy your investment. I think it would be great if Canon included an Ultra violet filter as standard with this kit as indeed it is rather nerve racking using the camera without this protection.


IMG_1265This camera, in my opinion lives up to the high standards I expect from Canon, in terms of design, features and most importantly results.  “Bridge cameras” do not come cheap. Expect to pay somewhere in the region of €500. However, always shop around and never be afraid to bargain as most retailers will often throw in something extra to secure the sale, maybe that ultra violet filter to protect the lens!  Search here to a list of all the Dublin sellers of Canon.

One seller here is offering the SX50 for €499 (this is inclusive of a Canon €50 cash back award which you will need to submit to Canon), so you will pay €549 on the day. You also get an 8GB card and free case. The lowest price that our quick perusal of the internet discovered is €454.99 from Argos. This is for the camera without any additional items thrown in. Definitely deals to be had so remember to shop around.

When considering the cost one really needs to look at the specification that the camera is delivering and there is no doubt that to match this in the DSLR world would cost so much more.  So if you want something that is, more powerful than a compact or indeed your smart phone, less bulky than a DSLR and can give you a super range of options it is definitely worth considering.


PowerShot SX50 HS
Sensor resolution (type)
Focal range (zoom power) 24 – 1200 mm (50X)
Maximum aperture range F3.4 – F6.5
LCD size / resolution 2.8″ / 461,000 px
Burst rate (full res) 13.0 frames/sec *
ISO range 80 – 6400
Flash working range (Auto ISO) 0.5 – 5.5 m (W)
1.4 – 3.0 m (T)
RAW support Yes
Scenes in Smart Auto mode 58
HDR mode Yes
Face recognition Yes
Zoom Framing Assist Lock Yes
Wired remote control available Yes
Battery life 315 shots
(using LCD, CIPA standard)
Dimensions 4.8 x 3.4 x 4.2 in.
Weight (empty) 551 g
* In High Speed Burst HQ mode, which has limitations. Will be slower in regular burst mode.

Our thanks to Canon for the SX50 and to Bernard who was our guest reviewer and camera aficionado.  See some of the images that we took using the SX50 below.

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