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Canon Powershot SX50 HS - Design and Performance

By Paul Nuttall



Our Score:


Canon Powershot SX50 HS – Design

Although the SX50 HS is pleasingly compact, it has a few irritating niggles, the main one being it feels somewhat unrefined due to the largely plastic body and lack of any tactile textured finish. This, in combination with the shallowness of the camera’s grip, means that the SX50 HS can feel somewhat uncomfortable in the hand while shooting

The main buttons are a disappointment, too. Both the menu pad and the mode dial are a touch too deeply recessed in to the camera’s body to allow for easy operation, and can prove cumbersome to operate as a result.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 1

On a more positive note, the articulated screen features a large and welcome hump on the right hand side, which allows it to be pulled away from the camera’s body with relative ease.

The general layout of the camera’s buttons is also pleasing, while the model’s menu system will be instantly familiar to any previous Canon user, and as a result is simple to operate.

Canon Powershot SX50 HS – Performance

The performance of the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS is characterised by somewhat erratic results, although it’s not always to the camera’s detriment it’s certainly worth noting.

The camera is prompt enough to start-up – it’s ready to shoot in a little over a second from switched off. The general speed of the camera’s AF performance is also worthy of note, too. The SX50 HS generally acquires focus with little discernable delay. What is noticeable, however, is how it does so lacking any real fluidity and, despite the presence of the ultra sonic motor, is relatively noisy.

A lack of fluidity is also noticeable when considering the SX50’s zoom. Speed certainly isn’t an issue here, with it travelling from the wide to the tele end of the zoom in just over a second. But it does make smaller adjustments awkward, as it often speeds past the ideal point. You get the feeling that you could easily sacrifice a bit of the zoom’s travel speed to allow for more fine tuning.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

While the articulating element of the LCD screen is well designed, the screen itself is only so-so. With a resolution of just 461k-dots and at a size of 2.8-inches, it’s some way behind its rivals in this regard. The screen also displays slightly warmer results than the final images, and as a result you might resort to the histogram for more accurate information.

As suspected earlier, the EVF (electronic viewfinder) disappoints, too. Images displayed on the viewfinder exhibit a level of softness and chromatic aberration that’s not in keeping with the final image, which makes the viewfinder a lot less useful than it ought to be.

It’s far from all bad news, however, as there are some real areas of promise. The image stabilisation system claims to offer 4.5 stops worth of benefit on an unstabilised lens and, on the whole, it meets this claim, which means you can enjoy blur-free shots even at the maximum zoom – no mean feat.

The menu system is also pleasing, as the SX50 HS maintains the ‘L’ shape system that’s seen their compacts through over recent times.


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?




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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