The SX50 HS is the successor to the SX40 HS, and this time canon has gone all out with the upgrades. The most significant change is the 50x zoom lens, up from the 35x lens on the SX40. The lens of both the SX40 HS and SX50 HS start from 24mm, but the latter goes way up to 1200mm (35mm equivalent). Thus, you have a good focal range to play with. You may think it had be difficult to capture blur-free shots at 1200mm. But canon has provided two buttons to help you out . The topmost seek buttons zooms out when held down so that it ‘s easy to locate subjects. When released , the lens resumes the set focal length. The Lock button does exactly what it says-when held down, the IS mechanism helps maintain a steady frame.
The 12MP CMOS sensor on the SX50 HS is borrowed from its predecessor. The largest image size is 4000×3000 pixels-an aspect ratio of 4:3. The ratio can be set to 1:1, 5:4, 3:2 and 16:9, but the resultant cropping will lead to lower resolution photos.
The mode dial has 12 shooting modes, including two custom modes, PASM, Auto scene, Effect filter and video. The Scene and effect filter modes don’t have a raft of presets but includes only the most useful ones. There are 10 preset scene modes including portrait, smooth skin, Handheld Night Scene, Snow and Sports. The effect filter selection is excellent, which makes the SX50 HS fun to use. You can choose from filters, including HDR, Fish eye, Miniature, and Color Accent. The can record videos at full HD resolution, and also lets you use the entire focal range while shooting.
The SX50 HS looks good, but its build quality is disappointing. The all-black shell sports a matte finish, but feels plasticky. Also, there’s no rubber grip for the fingers and thump. Although the camera feels quite sturdy, a rubber grip would have been better. The control panel to the right of the LCD display comprises a button for video recording, a playback button, a 5-way D-pad with jog dial, a display information button and a menu button. The D-pad offers one-touch access to EV, self timer, ISO and Macro. The UI is very intuitive and typical of Canon PowerShot cameras.
The stellar performance of the SX50 HS makes up for its flaws. We liked shooting at full zoom best. Keep the lock button pressed and you can actually feel the IS mechanism kicking in to stabilize the frame. Even at ISO 800,the noise is minimal and is of the luminance type. Grain increases a lot after ISO 1600, but such high values are useful only in very low light conditions. Video quality is also very good, but not in the best in the class. The picture quality was excellent, but you have to pan gently in order avoid stutter. If you are looking for a very high zoom ratio and stellar performance, the SX50 HS is certainly worth considering.