Home / Cameras / Camera / Canon PowerShot SX50 HS / Image Quality and Verdict

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS - Image Quality and Verdict

By Paul Nuttall



Our Score:


Canon PowerShot SX50 HS - Image Quality

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS offers a reasonable level of image quality, although once again it’s not without points at which it falls down.

The camera’s metering system displays a worrying propensity to overexpose. When it does overexpose it clips highlight detail, which will force you to resort to exposure compensation often.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

Click for more test shots at full resolution

Although the model’s white balance system is generally reliable, it does struggle on occasions and produces warmer images than desired. This can be easily enough remedied with the host of preset white balance settings, but this is a lot more fiddling than many people are prepared or experienced enough to make.

The SX50 HS’s 12MP sensor captures good detail, although this detail does begin to suffer as you shoot at higher ISO settings. Although noise is generally well controlled, when you shoot at the higher settings the camera suffers from some issues with aggressive noise reduction and thus images begin to soften.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

Colour chart at 800 ISO - click for more and full-res versions.

This issue isn’t too uncommon for bridge cameras of this ilk however, and because the camera can shoot Raw files that means you can avoid noise reduction and impart your own should you desire.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 3

Should I buy the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS?

Canon’s SX range of PowerShot cameras has long been one of the more reliable bridge camera options on the market. Although the SX50 HS offers a full specification and looks attractive at first glance, there are several areas that let it down.

The SX50 HS has a somewhat lacklustre finish and flaws with its controls, while its image quality is erratic and creates a few issues that warrant correction in the camera.

If you really want the large focal range and are aligned with the Canon brand – by the ownership of Canon Speedlites and so on – the SX50 HS could be for you. But the Fujifilm HS50 EXR is a vastly superior, albeit larger, alternative at the same price, while the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 and its constant f2.8 aperture lens is another to look at, even if its zoom is half the size.


While the SX50 HS excels in certain areas, and has a fantastic focal range, it’s far from a complete performer and has issues that let it down on the whole. It's a solid camera, but it's nothing special.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 6
  • Features 7
  • Image Quality 6
  • Value 7


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

comments powered by Disqus