Canon PowerShot SX50 HS superzoom camera
|OUR VERDICT: Image quality ranged from very good to at least acceptable, and in use the zoom range was extraordinary.|
If this latest camera from Canon is anything to go by, the boom in superzoom photography shows no signs of abating. Barely six months have passed since I reviewed the Powershot SX40 HS, but it has already become the junior sibling to this new kid on the block. That model, despite its moniker, sported a 35x zoom, but its image-gathering power has now been well and truly outdone by the 50x mega-pull of this lens.
First, the basics. Aside from a hotshoe mount on top of the body, there is little to tell the two models apart other than some minor styling tweaks. At about 600 g they are also essentially the same weight, so Canon has pulled off an extraordinary feat by shoehorning a significantly more powerful optical zoom system into the same basic blueprint.
Inevitably that must mean compromise somewhere, and a lens of this specification should not be expected to produce the same sharp, contrasty images generated by a DSLR and telephoto lens combination. But then that’s not what this camera is about: its purpose is to condense huge telephoto reach into a compact, lightweight and manageable package. In this camera, the photographer has access to the equivalent of a 24 mm wide-angle lens, a 1,200 mm super-telephoto set-up and everything in between (remember that zoom is not the same as magnification, which here is about 24x).
I tested the camera in both overcast and sunny conditions on a range of settings. Overall, image quality ranged from very good to at least acceptable, and in use the zoom range was extraordinary – I was able to document everything I saw with this jack-of-all-cameras, from a distant soaring Red Kite to a brief singing Treecreeper in a woodland and gulls on a landfill site. I found the viewfinder overly dark, however, making picking up a distant flying bird quite difficult, but the 2.8 inch screen on the back of the camera can provide a bigger image.
With an extra 50x ‘ZoomPlus’ range available, the built-in image stabiliser may well be needed. The many other features include a 12.1 MP sensor, ISO range of 80-6,400 and numerous still and movie shooting modes, including full 1,080p HD. The SX50 HS has enormous potential for birders, and is a bargain already heavily discounted online.
Please click here for a gallery of images taken with this camera.
• 12.1 MP
• 50x optical zoom (equivalent to 24-1,200 mm)
• 2.8" LCD
• Full HD
• Image stabiliser
• RRP £459.99; available from £350 online from UK websites
In the box: battery, charger and power lead, strap, Getting Started guide and two CDs (manuals and Canon Solutions v122.0)
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• Canon PowerShot SX40 HS superzoom camera
The SX50's less powerful, but still impressive sibling.
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A powerful superzoom from this high-end camera manufacturer.