Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review: Not your average compact

By Ben Boswell - Tuesday January 15 2013

Sensor Review
Introduction | Canon PowerShot SX50 HS sensor performance | Canon PowerShot SX50 HS versus competition | Conclusion

Looking at the specifications for Canon’s new PowerShot SX50 HS may leave you thinking that you have opened the pages of some futuristic fantasy: a compact camera with a zoom lens that covers a range equivalent to 24mm up to 1200mm with a digital zoom doubling this figure! Well specifications don’t take pictures; photographers do, if they have the right camera. Is this the right camera?

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS is a compact camera with a 12.1 Megapixel BSI CMOS 1/2.3" sensor  (6.17x4.55 mm), data is handled by Canon’s DIGIC 5 processor. The most striking feature is the lens: 4.3mm to 215mm zoom, that’s 50x. With a focal length multiplier of 5.64x that gives a 35mm equivalent of just a little over 24mm to 1200mm with a maximum aperture of f3.4 to f6.5. To make this immensely long lens viable Canon has included its Intelligent IS image stabilization rated by them at 4.5 stops, meaning that theoretically you could shoot at 1/30 and get the result of shooting at 1/750. With full HD video and a range of other enhancements: Zoom framing Assist, Smart Auto, Multi-area White Balance and High-speed Burst HQ, plus manual over-rides for pretty much everything and RAW capture too. The decider though is the price tag, which is well below others, like the Panasonic DMC-FZ150, so you can see that this is a camera that should at least make people look a little closer.