Early in December of last year, a friend asked me to help him choose a new digital camera to replace his trusty old Kodak Easyshare P&S digicam. Roger's major complaint with the Kodak was its 5x zoom, so I recommended the new Canon Powershot SX50 HS. Roger bought the SX50 HS and took it with him on his annual Christmas trip to Florida. After using the camera for about a month Roger loves the SX50 HS. Knowing this camera would be of great interest to our readers, I asked him if I could review the camera for DCR and he agreed.
The fifth generation Canon Powershot SX50 HS replaces last year's very popular SX40 HS. The SX50 HS is about the same size as an entry-level DSLR and features 12 megapixel resolution and a brand new 50x zoom - currently the longest zoom lens in the world. Other features include a 2.8 inch (6.9 cm) tilt/swivel (461K) LCD with Canon's Quick-bright mode (which makes it easier to frame and compose your images in bright outdoor light), an Electronic Viewfinder, HD (1080p) video with stereo audio, a hot shoe for mounting external Canon DSLR speedlights, an HDMI output, Servo AF/AE (which constantly adjusts focus and exposure with moving subjects), Canon's most comprehensive Image Stabilization system, a new Zoom Framing Assist button to aid in tracking and capturing telephoto subjects, and full manual exposure control - in addition to the ubiquitous auto, program, scene, and face recognition modes.
During the coldest period we've had so far this winter, Roger and I took a series of day trips around north central Kentucky with the SX50 HS. I was able to shoot with the camera for five fun days in a variety of historic locales and, while the weather didn't provide the most ideal outdoor shooting conditions, the SX50 HS performed like a champ, dependably producing usable images with very good color.
As was the case for each of its predecessors, I like the SX50 HS a lot. Even though it has a few shortcomings - like soft images at the telephoto end of the zoom range, the SX50 HS comes as close to meeting the "bridge" camera concept as any digicam I have ever used. The SX50 HS's user interface is uncomplicated and its robustly constructed metal-alloy/polycarbonate body has very good dust/weather/moisture seals. The SX50 HS's control layout is efficiently designed and all controls are logically placed and come easily to hand for right-handed shooters. The SX50 HS's features Canon's classic digicam menu system which is reliably logical, user-friendly, and easily navigated. The higher resolution LCD and large font size make reading menus simple. This remarkably easy to use, though somewhat chunky digicam, can capture images or HD videos of just about anything - from expansive landscapes to telephoto shots of distant subjects, from macro images to classic portraits, from extreme sports to candid street shots. The SX50 HS has the potential to be the "best choice" ultrazoom camera for family shutterbugs, photo enthusiasts on a budget, nature lovers, extreme sports/environmental adventure photographers, amateur wildlife shooters, and sports fans. Watch for our full review of the Canon Powershot SX50 HS - coming soon.