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Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review



Our Score


User Score


  • Huge 50x optical zoom
  • Hotshoe for accessories
  • Articulated screen


  • Occasional issues with focusing
  • Poor quality EVF
  • Bulky and unrefined design

Review Price £360.00

Key Features: 1/2.3-inch 12.1MP back-illuminated sensor; 50x optical zoom, 24-1200mm; ISO 80 - 6400; 1920 x 1080 HD video capture @ 24; 2.8-inch; 461k-dot vari-angle LCDp

Manufacturer: Canon

What is the Canon Powershot SX50 HS?

The combination of a large focal range and relatively compact body make bridge cameras increasingly popular for those looking for a more advanced shooting option without the burden of carrying around large lenses and a bulky body. The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS is one such bridge camera, and its huge 50x optical zoom mean that, on paper, it’s the leading candidate in this market. We take a closer look to see how it weighs up

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 5

Canon Powershot SX50 HS – Features

At the heart of any bridge camera worth its salt sits a large optical zoom, and this is true of the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS. The model has a huge 50x optical zoom, covering an equivalent focal range of 24 – 1,200mm. It’s supported by Canon’s Intelligent IS stabilisation system that combines lens-shift and digital stabilisation to offer up to 4.5 stops of benefit when it comes to exposure.

It also benefits from Canon’s ‘ZoomPlus’ technology to offer up to a 100x zoom, although this is basically a glorified digital zoom and as such won’t offer the same amount of detail as a traditional optical zoom.

Finally, the lens includes Canon’s Ultra Sonic Motor technology that enables near-silent focusing throughout the extensive focal range – a useful feature as it means you can use the zoom when recording video without fear of annoying noises.

Accompanying the large optical zoom is a 12.1MP CMOS sensor. The sensor – as the camera’s name suggests – features Canon’s ‘HS’ technology that involves the combination of a backlit CMOS sensor and Canon’s DIGIC 5 processor for improved performance in low light conditions.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 2

The rear of the camera sees a 2.8-inch articulated LCD screen that boasts a resolution of 461k-dots, and which can be pulled away from the body and rotated around a horizontal axis for viewing at a range of angles.

The camera also features an electronic viewfinder (EVF) for those that want an alternative way to compose their images. Unfortunately, the EVF measures in at just 0.2-inches and a resolution of just 202k-dots – on paper a potential weakness.

A welcome aspect of the SX50 HS’s specification is the presence of full PASM (Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter priority and Manual) image capture control. Those looking to let the camera so the work can fall back on the model’s Smart Auto shooting mode that chooses from 58 scene modes to get the right one for you.

The SX50 HS also benefits from having the ability to capture Raw files for greater versatility in post production, while the camera also offers Full HD video capture at 1080p resolution and 24fps.

Other standout elements include the presence of a hotshoe on the camera’s top plate that allows for the attachment of Canon Speedlite EX flashguns, while the camera can also features a 67mm filter thread and removable a lens hood.

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July 4, 2013, 8:14 am

I bought this camera last October and found it was useless for low light photography. There's a "feature" that automatically limits the ISO to 80 if you manually set the shutter speed beyond a second or two.

Also... the sensor is tiny. Images aren't that great. Sure, the zoom is nice to have, but the resulting images leave a lot to be desired. If Canon can put a large sensor in cameras like the G1X, I look forward to the day they release a compromise camera with a long zoom and a worthwhile sensor.

Walter Hampson

September 3, 2013, 3:05 pm

I bought this camera when it came out last year. I am a confirmed DSLR user, however there have been times I wanted a simpler light camera. I originally purchased the Canon SX30IS when it came out but soon got rid of it. I'm pleased with the HS50, the IQ is very good for the sensor size, I shoot in RAW (hence why I was attracted to this model). Whilst it is not my main camera I have used it for wildlife shooting, landscape and portrait. As I'm not into sport photography I have no idea if this camera is suitable. I like the size, I can hold with one hand, no problem with weight. The IS is very good and the 50x zoom is very good. It can be noisy but I disagree with the comment useless fro low light photography and can recommend it for normal every day use.


September 24, 2013, 10:07 am

I bought this camera early this year and have found it to be 'fantastic'. It is light, zoom is great and it has produced good shots even in low-light conditions. I am normally a user of DSLR but at times I am tempted to neglect the DSLR for this little dude. Macro is also great. I disagree with the assertion that it is 'useless' in low light. For cutting down on weight of the larger gear without compromise on quality, for me this camera is suitable.

Harry Jackson Jr.

September 30, 2013, 11:50 pm

I'm a journalist/photographer pro. I bought this sx50 as a car-seat/coat-pocket camera. I didn't expect it to perform as well as my big stuff. I've found that the image quality is very good for shooting newsprint-bound photos and for some slick-page publications. Comes in handy when I have to pull a camera out of my carry back. I have a G12 which has excellent picture quality. However, the zoom is useless after 25 feet. So I bought the SX50 HS for the 50x zoom, and it has performed up to it's press. The shutter lag is insignificant, it's light as a feather and doesn't pull my pants down like the G12, for casual party and family shots it's excellent. When I need better quality, I shoot RAW and DPP solves any problems with noise -- which I haven't really found to be a problem. The sensor is small, yes, but the flip side is the battery lasts forever, hundreds of shots even in RAW. And half my stuff ends up in black and white ... so.
It does what it's supposed to do and everything I can expect from an under $500 camera.


November 18, 2013, 2:49 pm


I'm looking for a cheapish, probably bridge, camera to set up for photographing documents. I need to be able to connect and control via a laptop. I know Canon DSLR's have this feature but does the SX50 allow Remote Shooting? If not any recommendations?




January 16, 2014, 2:30 pm

The only downside to this camera is that you can't change the lens. Ever. big bummer.


May 7, 2014, 9:00 pm

How easy is it to set up with fill flash for those conditions of back lighting?

Joe soap

July 30, 2014, 11:07 am

Then you don't know how to use it.


December 5, 2014, 8:25 am

Not a problem but a huge advantage. No need to buy and carry several lenses. No danger of dust entry. No chance of wishing you had a different length lens already fitted. True, if you specialise in the use of a certain length then there is more suitable kit.


December 5, 2014, 8:30 am

Did you get sorted? CHDK allows all sorts of trickery.


December 5, 2014, 8:32 am

Correct and good to see someone else recommending RAW and DPP!

barney klingenberg

December 18, 2014, 8:42 am

just compare it with walters shot in terms of noise and detail
This was shot on a m43 camera. the Gx7 which has the same sensor as the LX100 compact.

The Sony 1 inch sensors are really close and can be found in superzooms. The quality is a LOT better and useable in low-light

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