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Thread: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

  1. #1

    Default Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    I have just purchased Canon's SX50HS and will be doing a simple review from a non - professional point of view. I may take some time to cover the major points (busy with work), why I chose SX50HS over (perhaps) its strongest competitor Panasonic FZ200 and the reason why I chose this model.

    You may want to show some support in my previous review on Canon G1X (if you have not visited it yet )

    To start off you want want to look at the full spec list from the link:
    PowerShot SX50 HS - Canon Singapore - Personal

  2. #2

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    Start off with some pictures of SX50HS

    Front: Notice the big af assist lamp on top right corner. The shape is more like a dslr and nicer looking compared to say SX40.

    Bottom: Not sure if you can "sense" but it is made of light plastic (cheap) but that's why it is light. Obviously lighter than G1X.

    The battery and sd card slot are at the same location, same design as G1X. Which brings to the first flaw: they should place the sd card slot on the side instead of underneath. When I want to change sd card or battery while the camera is mounted onto tripod I have to remove the tripod head plate first which can be a hassle especially when you are in the midst of shotting. My canon 500D doesn't have such problem when I use a battery grip.

    The battery uses the same one as SX40 and G1X.
    Last edited by gundamseed84; 20th October 2012 at 10:53 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    Side view: SX50 has 50x optical zoom and up to 4x digital zoom. This means it has equivalent of 24-1200mm FL, with digital zoom up to 4800mm. It has a controller port, HDMI port and A/V cable port, same as G1X.

    At the other side there are two buttons: which I believe they call it "zoom assist" or some sort. If you are zoomed in just press the top button to auto zoom out a little so that you can double check where are you aiming your camera at. The lower button is the focus lock button. Comment: I find to buttons located too deep inside along the lens. I find it a little difficult to reach the two buttons using my index finger while shooting (index finger too long?) Neverthess I thought the zoom assist button can be useful especially at 1200mm it is hard to find a moving subject.

    It has a hotshoe! Which means you can mount flash guns or other hotshoe gadgets like on your dslr. There is an in built flash but I won't call it pop up flash because it will not pop up. You have to lift up the flash on your own. You have a power zoom button together with the shutter button. There is the big on/off button. The dials gives you access to various modes, like G1X it has C1 and C2 so you can customise your settings.
    The flash button on the left (with a flash logo) doesn't make your flash pop up. It is a shortcut button to access the flash settings,which I thought is pretty neat as you do not need to fiddle with stuff inside the menu.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    Back: It's great that it still has articulating screen (unlike G15) which is very useful in my opinion. Like the G1X, there is a huge video record button (red) on top right corner. Other dials are kinda self explanatory. The centre dial is rotatable which makes access to settings easy. Note there is a deep thumb grip to allow for better grip. Quite comfortable for my not so small thumb. There is a 'S' button on the left, which is for you to customise a function dedicate to that button. Like my G1X, I will allocate the on / off of Al Servo function there. Not forgetting an EVF which I will share its performance, especially when it has only 202k dots while people are talking about 1 - 2 million dots.

    Length of the zoom lens at widest end (24mm)

    Length of zoom lens at telephoto end (1200mm). It seems long but as I will share with you later why I find it ultra short.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    Compare its size to G1X. G1X has very rough rubber grip which makes holding it firm. SX50hs has deep grip but it has no rubber, just plastic cover which ok but I thought would be better if we have some high friction material.

    Compare its size to entry level Canon 500D. A little smaller than 500D so I guess SX50HS's size is almost the same to 1100D?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    I prefer 500D's location of the place to screw the tripod plate as it is of some distance away from battery compartment. However for SX50HS a tripod plate will obstruct you from opening the battery compartment cover.

    Canon 500D and G1X has rotatable dial in front for quick change in settings but that is missing from SX50HS (which I thought it should have as it is considered to be among the top spec compact under Canon's line up)

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    If it does not have built-in filter thread (and requires clumsy and expensive "filter adapter ring" to put on a filter) then FAIL.

    Tell Canon to learn something from Leica V Lux 3.

  8. #8


    it requires additional filter adapter like G1X but i am pretty sure I can just get one from ebay for below 15 bucks? I got the filter thread for G1X for $11 and just get a generic larger lens cap. Now the filter adapter ring is permanently put in my G1X. If Leica has a filter thread but you actually paid for it for the premium price.Leica V lux 4 is actually panasonic fz200 with some tweaks. Not sure about fz200 but if fz200 has filter thread then it is an advantage over sx50HS.

    Personally filters are not crucial to me, not for my purpose of buying this bridge superzoom.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    More comparison of sizes.
    1. SX50HS (max aperture @ 672mm is f5.6, weight is approx 600g) vs 500D + 300 F4 + 1.4x teleconvertor (equivalent 672mm max aperture F5.6 total weight approx 3.5kg)

    2. SX50HS (max aperture @ 1120mm is F6.5 weight is approx 600g) vs 500D + 500 F4.5 + 1.4x teleconvertor (equivalent 1120mm max aperture F6.3, total weight approx 4.5kg)

    That's why I mentioned this bridge camera is "tiny" apart from the sensor being tiny.
    Last edited by gundamseed84; 24th October 2012 at 12:18 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    Simple videos to show case the zoom and af speed (sorry for poor video taken by mobile phone)
    zoom assist function and zoom speed

    Zoom assist is quite fast in zooming out for you to locate the subject before going back to the focal length you originally set at.
    Last edited by gundamseed84; 24th October 2012 at 12:09 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    af speed (sorry I forgot to mute the video). This is taken at night in my room where lighting I won't say that good. The autofocus actually starts at the 1st second not the beginning of the video.

    Of course the af speed cannot match dslr but I thought it's pretty decent. Fast enough to capture a bird standing still for 10 - 20 seconds?
    Last edited by gundamseed84; 24th October 2012 at 12:11 AM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    What I find lacking in the AF system is the Al Servo mode. I find it pretty unreliable as it adjusts the focusing a little too slow. When trying to track birds, I find myself using one shot af mode and keep on re-focusing on myself. The af system is alright but sometimes it will focus inaccurately. In DSLR, the focus points are small dots which is very precise. However in SX50HS, the focusing area is not a point but rather a rectangle (you can adjust how large you want it to be). As such I find myself having to fill up the subject in the rectangle to focus accurately. Sometimes I have 20% of the rectangle outside the subject and at times the camera chooses to focus on the background instead.

    Not sure if this is a bug but especially after i switch on al servo and off, sometimes the 1 shot af becomes more inaccurate such that I had to switch off and on the camera again to make it work normally.
    Last edited by gundamseed84; 28th October 2012 at 02:11 PM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    reserved 5

  14. #14

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    Main purpose of buying this superzoom: For compact easy birding without the need to bring all the heavy barang barang.

    My background: I have been using a old manual lens for birding (pentax 500mm 4.5 + 1.4x teleconvertor) mounted onto canon 500D. Everything is manual even exposure setting. Reason for using it is because I am not a hardcore birder, so I don't see the need to spend 5 digit investment in say 500 f4, 600f4 etc to get the beyond equivalent of 1000+ mm FL. However I am not knowledgeable about birds, where to hunt them especially at new places. So I am looking for something that gives me long FL range yet easy to carry around in order to walk around scouting for birds before I know where to park myself next time using the big gears. I was thrilled when canon announces SX50HS and Panasonic announces FZ200, both capable superzooms which probably is what I am looking for. Coming from someone who's having difficult time with full manual gear, having af auto exposure is already like god in my review if I praise something it might not be up to your standard, especially if you are already finding entry level dslr af system slow and is expecting like 5D III or 1DX af.

    Field Test 1: Simple birding at Chinese Garden / Japanese Garden.

    1. My gear I brought along: A Benro monopod (quite sturdy and has fat leg), a Sirui K30 ball head (might even be overkill for a compact bridge camera) and of course SX50HS. Brought a small bag (small toploader type to put extra battery etc)

    2. Most of the time I don't frame through LCD screen, I uses it evf which is not really fantastic but still usable. Main thing about using EVF is to hold the camera in a more stable manner, and main purpose is to locate the object so having only 200k resolution is OKAY but more is better right? Having higher resolution of EVF might allow you to be more clear if the focusing is sharp. Etc, I want to focus sharp on the object's eye but having low resolution makes it not obviously clear if I have achieved what I want (The image in EVF is small also).
    Under good light EVF is clear but the refresh rate is kinda slow....if you want to track fast objects then forget it. (Will do a video to demo evf if I have the time). Below is a sample of what you see through evf (taken using mobile phone)

    I still prefer dslr's OVF, which is clearer as human eyes are still the best. But EVF has the advantage of checking your image output immediately and make adjustments (say exposure is way off, etc) without referring to LCD screen.

    3. Battery life: I shot around 100 images, leaving the battery on throughout for 2.5 hours. The battery still have 2/3 left but I seldom uses LCD except to check on images. If you frame with the LCD on then battery life is not too great.
    Last edited by gundamseed84; 24th October 2012 at 07:18 AM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    The primary "wow" factor that lured me to get canon SX50HS is the 1200mm telephoto end. Some birds are quite sensitive to human presence so you would want to have enough focal length to capture it from a distance away. Of course one can resort to cropping but that would reduce the resolution of the final image.

    Here's a feel of what's 50x zoom like: Straight convert from raw to jpeg. Only processing done is to make it level, no cropping.

    1. Can you see the Heron (24mm wide end)

    50x zoom (1200mm tele end)

    2. Can you see the smaller Heron? (24mm wide end)

    50x zoom (1200 tele end)

    If you look at the images somehow I feel the sharpness is not bad but the colours lack the punch (prob due to overcast) but that can be enhanced through post process.
    Last edited by gundamseed84; 21st October 2012 at 05:53 PM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    Same sample images (done some light processing eg increase the vibrance, adjust exposure). I shot in raw, convert to TIFF then to JPEG (as adobe raw has yet to be updated)

    f6.5, 1/100 ISO800,


    f6.5, 1/1250, ISO400
    With such a long equivalent focal length I can do some animal head portraits (no cropping)
    Last edited by gundamseed84; 21st October 2012 at 10:35 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    f6.5, 1/200, ISO200

    f6.5, 1/640 ISO400

    f6.5, 1/160, ISO 400

    f6.5, 1/250, ISO400
    This common kingfisher was so tiny, I had to crop the picture by approximately 50%

    Verdict of image quality? I thought the IQ is good (or at least the potential is there in the raw to draw out the IQ after simple PP) given that it has a tiny tiny sensor, I am comfortable using ISO 400 and I am confident about ISO 800 or maybe ISO1600 is still usable for web uploads. For birding purpose the result is better than what I expect, given that this is just a $700 bridge camera compared to the $15k and above setup. Of course one cannot compare a bridge camera with the pro setup but at least from what I see it SX50HS not 15 - 20 times worse than a pro setup. Also it is possible to achieve some kind of blur background given the focal length despite high f stop and small sensor.
    Last edited by gundamseed84; 21st October 2012 at 10:38 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    thanks for the review....looks like a very good low-cost birding camera.
    you can buy better gear but you can't buy a better eye

  19. #19

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    Is the AF faster than your G1x? Wonder if it is a worthy upgrade from my sx40hs which is about 1 year old only. 840mm to 1200mm alot of difference?
    HX300/ EPL6/ EOS60D/ 17-55mmF2.8IS/ 100mmF2.8Macro/ 135mmF2L/ 70-200mmF4LIS/ 300mmF4LIS

  20. #20

    Default Re: Review of Canon SX50HS by a hobbyist

    SX50HS vs SX40HS
    1. Raw vs No Raw
    2. Hotshoe vs no hotshoe
    3. zoom framing assist button vs none.

    These are the three main factors why I would choose SX50 over SX40. If these are not crucial to you then maybe the upgrade is not that necessary.

    Difference between 840mm and 1200mm? Not sure my camera's reading is 600 then to 1200mm, don't know how to adjust to 840. But my guess is the difference is not big. Here's a comparison between 600 and 1200mm. Hopefully that helps.
    Canon USA Consumer Products - EF Lenses 101 - Focal Length Comparison

    A simple comparison between the SX40 and its successor.

    AF SX50 should be faster than G1X (its af is kinda really slow) but I can only confirm when I do a comparison when I am free.
    Last edited by gundamseed84; 22nd October 2012 at 11:24 PM.

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