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4.5 out of 5 stars
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 12MP Digital Camera with 2.8-Inch LCD (Black)
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1,258 of 1,285 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2012
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I picked up on the SX50 to do wildlife identification with birds and other critters. I have spent many hours behind the lens of Canons EOS cameras including the Mark III and 5d2 with L grade telephoto glass but I needed something lightweight and compact to use when the weight of the DSLR system was not desirable.

This camera is amazing for that task. I had looked at the SX30 and the SX40 in the past but for me testing them out at the stores the Autofocus just was not yet fast enough for me to be willing to work with. The SX50 changes that and has a very quick AF system that has already worked for me in a variety of situations for a sub 500 dollar point and shoot class camera I am extremely impressed with the AF system.

The resolution at 1200mm has exceeded my expectations and can create print worthy sharp results throughout the entire length. To get that kind of focal length with a DSLR would require a serious budget destroying investment that would weigh a large amount. I highly doubt my 100-400L cropped to the same reach or frame could beat this camera at 1200mm.

Ill go over a few of the cameras functions.

AF. Very fast for a point and shoot. Not DSLR 7D fast while running L lenses fast but still locks on with ease. The autofocus does have a tendency to lock onto foreground elements when shooting in foilage and I do wish it had a MF ring of some kind or a AF stop button that the DSLRS have. Using MF is frustratingly slow with the back dial.

ISO. Blown away at how good the ISO ratings are for this camera. It has been a while since I owned a small point and shoot and I am amazed that I can get usable results at ISO 800. Raw images clean up especially well and respond to noise reduction. Its a good thing the camera can handle higher ISO's well because the slower lens does eat up and demand a lot of light.

IS The image stabilizer works remarkably well and easily preforms to the claimed 4.5 stops or more, I have taken several successful shots at 1/100th of a second at 1200mm. Thats simply unprecedented. The IS also does a great job at stabilizing the image while framing. Turn the IS off for a bit and you will quickly realize how hard the IS has to work to make the 1200mm lens on this camera worth using.

Zoom. looong. 24-1200mm is insane look at my sample shots of the mine at 24mm and 1200mm to get an idea of the range of this camera.
Many of you will complain about the slow f stop at 1200mm but consider that a 35mm SLR lens at 800 5.6 will set you back 10k and a 1200 5.6 is 150k so a useable 1200mm equivalent at F6.5 for 479 is an absolute steal. The fact that this little camera can get a acceptable shot at 1200mm opens up a realm of possibilities that was previously simply economically impossible for many. It also zooms along the range very quickly, the framing assist button along the cameras side is a handy feature and backs the lens in and out fast allowing you to recompose.

What do I dislike so far?
The EVF viewfinder is garbage, there is not enough relief between the body and the EVF for it to be very useful for me and it does not have enough dots to make out what you are photographing,the EVF screen is washed out especially on bright sunlit days. I have opted for the swivel LCD exclusively and would not have missed it had they omitted the finder altogether thankfully the LCD is plenty bright so it can always be useful but a better evf would be handy to hold the camera in close.

Front dial. Canon why cant you give the top of the line powershot a front rotating dial? That dial would make adjusting things on the fly tremendously easier. The body is a bit small and the back dial is low that using it while keeping a secure grip is a bit difficult for me as well I would of prefered it to be higher on the camera personally.

Flash does not pop up automatically. The flash button on the side of the camera does nothing unless you have physically raised the flash yourself.
This is not a deal breaker for me because I will likely use the flash rarely if everl, I have better cameras that cover the range of the tiny flash, but for the average point and shooter whom will purchase this as an only camera this could ruin a lot of photos.

No front threaded filter mount. The only way to attach a filter is via the bayonet adapter. I would of preferred a screw on attachment for a permanent UV filter to protect the lens.

All in all I am quite pleased with the camera its an enjoyable system and I have already gotten many great shots with it. The super telephoto lens has a bit of a learning curve but as soon as you get the hang of it and understand the IS systems limitations you will be on your way to getting many great photos with this little guy.

The Minimum focus distance has a few awkward spots at around 700mm it jumps up to 6.5 ft but drops down to 4.2 ft at 1200mm this may make a few macro insect shots hard to do without externally attached filters.
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675 of 710 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2012
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First of all: Please apologize my language, I'm no native speaker, but received so much help from reviews over the years, that I now try to give back my modest bit and tell about my experience with the Canon SX50 HS.

Before I used to walk around with two cams standby:
1st the Samsumg WB500, because I'm living at the shoreline where we need horizontal space for our pictures, hence can make best use of the 24mm ultra-wide lens.

2nd the Olympus SP-800UZ, because in a harbor area there are lots of fences and off limits zones, where they won't let you in, but you just want, want and want to take your pics nonetheless, hence depend on zoom potential.
Additionally there are seabirds and seal, a shy sheep's eye, a distant cow's tongue, whatever - I just never left the house without the 30x zoom of my Olympus.

Some weeks ago however, I noticed that besides taking pictures I'd love to now and then take videos, too.
And this is, where the Canon SX50 HS cought my attention, because:
My Olympus can take decent movies, but either you want it to zoom, so you need to go without sound. Or you want sound, so it won't zoom.
No comment. :-(

My Samsung can take decent movies, even with zoom and sound, but once you touch the zoom, it will produce this pesky grinding noise, which spoils whatever atmosphere.

So I googled my bit and my nostrils got wide when I cought whiff of Canon SX50 HS's fragrance.
A bridge camera with 24mm ultra-wide lens, x50 instead of my beloved x30 zoom?
OK, here is, what I can tell about after 12 days of testing:

I tested it for 3 days with 3 cameras around my neck. Every video I shot, every picture I took, were shot thrice.
Meantime (day 11) I only leave the house with one camera with me, with Canon SX50 HS).

Beginning with the results of what my other cams did satisfyingly good anyway:
The 24mm ultra-wide lens is at least as good as is the Samsung WB500 one. No awkward distortion. You can approach the ship or whaterver else horizontal you wish to take your pic of, and will be satisfied with the result.

Canon SX50 vs Olympus SP-800UZ: Of course the zoom range 30:50 stands for itself.
The magnificent difference in addition however is the Canon's stabilisation potential.
No matter if picture or video, where an Olympus' shot depends on absolutely steady hand, your Canon will be tolerant and kind of swing it out gracefully.
I compiled some videos Canon vs Olympus on youtube, to show the difference, you can find me on "amSeehafen", if you like to watch.

I also put there lots of videos, which to even try wouldn't have made any sense with both the other cams.
1st: Neither Samsung WB500 nor Olympus SP-800UZ are any good after sun down.
Still, such a harbor area has it's temptations at nighttime as well.
So one of my first Canon tests was, to see, how it would handle darkness.
You can see some results at youtube amSeehafen, too. It paints black black and light light. Quite crisp and perfect. Wow.

My next reason to love the Canon is, that it is way more tolerant re movements, shaking of hand, etc.
Of course it shakes like hell, if your hand is directly being twisted by coastal winds.
Who wouldn't.

Yet if it's just halfway still, you can zoom the full ammount (including digital) zoom without tripod, and earn undreamt of crisp and calm results.

The sound, however, at first shocked me. Knattering, rattling, loud. (!?)
Until I found out, that the culprit was our constant coastal wind. So I reduced noise sensitivity down to close deafness, and voila: This lovely camera's sound is pretty perfect. It can even handle wind and make it sound like wind. Which - you'll agree, if you're anyway experienced - is quite a piece of artistry!

(Addition - written 1 month after: On the long hand the deafened microfones are not satisfying, because they muzzle too many desired environment sounds, too. But some investigation on youtube gave me the idea, which helped to solve the problem: Just attach a piece of fur via doublesided sticky tape round the microfone holes. Make sure not to block the openings. I admit, it gives your cam quite a funny look, but hey - you'll love the sound! Find my tutorial and sound examples on youtube AmSeehafen.

Well, what else to tell - I tested the macro mode with both flowers and spiders - you can find shares on youtube amSeehafen as well, it's doing good job.
I found the slow motion mode, which nobody needs, but is lots of fun. I never knew how long our cat's tongues can gear out, until I could watch them slurping their treats in slow motion...

The only shortfall I noticed up to now is, the lense is helluva sensitive to pollution. So you best *always* carry a handkerchief or something with you, to clean lense as soon as necessary.
None of my other cams ever was nearly as 'sissy, as is the SX50 HS in this regard.

But the display is fantastic. Even I with my elderly weak eyes can notice pretty quick, once the pictures or movies blurr.
Talking of the display: I also love that it can be moved. I'm not so tall, and fences can be oh so high... No prob to me anymore.

If I keep the Canon SX50 HS.
Which I intend to do.
And herewith recommend it to everybody who has about the same ideas of what to ask from their camera.
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942 of 1,003 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2012
Style Name: BaseVerified Purchase
I ordered the SX50 through Amazon, I tried it out, I liked it well enough and I intend to keep it. For what it does best, it works very well. For the rest, well... that depends.

This is a video I shot of a fishing boat in Monterey Bay. I used my new SX50 with a 50X optical zoom and a 4X digital zoom for a total of 200X (sort of.) I know it's pixillated, but still just look carefully and you can see the fisherman casting his fishing pole at the stern of the boat and then sitting down. Pretty amazing video technology they have developed for this camera. So that is where this review starts - with the monster-zoom telephoto lens.

What this camera does best is pretty obvious - it has a monster-zoom telephoto lens. I enjoy doing some telephoto work, and for that purpose it works amazingly well. At a 1200mm - 50X - zoom you simply cannot buy a Canon DSLR lens with that kind of magnification for any amount of money.*1 The largest [standard production] DSLR telephoto lens that Canon makes is an 800mm and that lens costs over $13,000. So there you have it. For around $500 you can run circles around that magnification, get some fantastic shots and have a lot of fun with it. It will most definitely amaze your friends when you show them with what you can do with the monster-zoom feature alone.

*1 Technically, "any amount of money" is not completely true here. Another poster has pointed out that on special order Canon will make a 1200MM lens for a DSLR. It weighs about 40 lbs. The MSRP is $100,000. Only a few dozen have ever been produced. My bad.

It also has a wide ISO range (film speed) combined with some very fast shutter speeds for fast-action shots. And the recovery and repeat shot time is very fast too. There is also built-in HDR (High Dynamic Range) feature that will be fun to use for creating vibrant-colored, surreal landscapes. (Don't try it with portraits though, since HDR is notoriously bad at distorting human skin tones.) For the more advanced shooters it also offer RAW files as well as RAW plus JPEG, so that you can fine-tune your photos with post-processing in a Photoshop-type program.

All around this should turn out to be a good recreational and family-fun camera that will work very well for daytime things like social events and sporting events, particularly at getting candid shots of people all the way across the other side of the auditorium or the sports arena. And it has an excellent HD video feature that - with a good secure tripod - can produce some very respectable quality videos. Unfortunately, the "hot shoe" for the camera only works with an external flash, not a high-quality external microphone. So no, it won't take one, so you don't even need to ask. Yes, of course with a high quality HD video feature you would only expect that Canon would allow you to attach a high-quality external microphone to the hot shoe, but no they don't. You can take that up with Canon - again - just the way people did last year, and see how far you get with it. Otherwise you will simply have to enjoy it the way it is, or else use a tape recorder and sync the sound with it in a movie-making program afterwards.

But if you want to take any long-exposure, nighttime shots with it, then this camera probably will not work for you at all. It COULD take them easily, but for marketing reasons Canon put an arbitrary ISO limit on it last year that will no longer let it take them. (Earlier models of this same camera could easily take them before Canon imposed the arbitrary ISO limit on it.)

If you have ever owned any of the previous cameras of this series, (the SX1, SX10, SX20 and SX30,) then you probably know that it has a rather small 1/2.3 sized sensor, but (now) it processes the images with a very good DIGIC 5 processor. If you have also owned an SX40, then you also may be aware of a rather recent limitation on this line of cameras that the previous models did not have. Beginning with the model SX40 Canon put an arbitrary ISO (film speed) limit on the camera which severely restricts one type of photography in particular - long-exposure, low-light, nighttime photographs. They are now almost impossible to take with this line of camera, because the user can no longer select any ISO greater than 100 at any of the slower shutter speeds, not even in full manual mode.

ISO 100 is a film speed (nowadays called "sensor sensitivity", but the numbers are identical) that has been traditionally used only in bright daytime photo shooting. Low light and nighttime exposures have always required faster film speeds like ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1000 or even more. Photos of that type which had always been easy to take with earlier models of this camera suddenly became almost impossible to take beginning with the SX40. Suddenly any attempt to set the shutter speed to slower than 1.3 seconds automatically reduced the camera setting to ISO 100. There was no way for the user to bypass this limit, (without resorting to a special Hacker program available on the internet called "CHDK." Watch a YouTube video on that before you decide to try it. )

There were a lot of complaints about the ISO limit on the SX40 from a lot of users (me included - see the YouTube video on "Canon SX40 ISO limits,") going on for a year now, and finally Canon has introduced the new model SX50. So here's the bad news... Canon did not take the ISO limit off this line of cameras. In fact, the ISO limit on the new SX50 is even worse. Now any attempt to drop the shutter speed under 1 second automatically drops the ISO setting to ISO 80. The user cannot change this limit, even in full manual mode.

Adding to that problem, the SX50 has also reduced the widest aperture opening from f/2.7 to f/3.4. The aperture is the size of the opening that allows light to enter the camera through the lens. It is variable, and the smaller the number the larger the opening. So on the new SX50 the largest size to which you can open up the aperture to let light in has been reduced from f/2.7 to f/3.4. The result is that now it is even harder to take low-light, long-exposure, nighttime photographs with it. The current Canon SX160 with the same-sized sensor (though a CCD and not a CMOS sensor) does NOT have this arbitrary limit on it, and does very well at taking long-exposure, nighttime photographs, so I bought it too - for less than half the price of the SX50 - and I gave that one a very strong 5-star rating. Since my primary use of my cameras, however, is expressly for taking long-exposure nighttime photographs, and since there is NO TECHNICAL REASON for putting this arbitrary ISO limit on the SX50 camera (it has already been established during the previous year that it was a marketing decision) - then I'm giving this camera a 4-star rating instead of a 5-star rating. Not for what it CAN'T do, but simply for what Canon will no longer LET it do.

If you want to use the camera for a similar purpose - nighttime long exposures, moonlit night scenes, deer in the garden at night, wide-angle star shots or anything similar to those themes, then this camera will not work well for you at all. I understand that the audience for that usage may well be only a small percentage of all users. Still, some users will be effected by it and they need to know. During the last year quite of few of them were pretty upset by that ISO 100 limit on the SX40, so those same users will probably like the the more restrictive ISO 80 limit on the new SX50 even less. In case there is any doubt about it, the online .pdf file for the User Manual at Canon's website clearly states on pages 150 and 152 - "With shutter speeds of 1.3 seconds or slower, ISO speed is [symbol "ISO80"] and cannot be changed."

If that effects you, then now you know about it. If it doesn't effect you, then you can simply ignore this part of the review and then you may well have a lot of fun with this camera. With it's many other features I'm sure it will be a lot of fun, and that is one of the reasons I am keeping it myself - for those other features. But for $500 for a digital camera you should at least know very clearly what you will be getting for your money, ... and what you will not.

Best wishes either way you decide, John
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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
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I'm an experienced nature photographer, having been at it for over 50 years. I have been using Canon's PowerShot cameras going back to the S3. My relationship with these cameras has been a love-hate one, but the SX40 was a "Like" and this is "Really-Like-but-Love-is-too strong-a-word."

See uploaded photos (click on "most recent") many of which have been published in birding magazines as well as with Audubon societies. But remember, I know this camera...

This should NOT be your first-time-digital point and shoot camera! The learning curve is way too sharp because this camera is quite complex, and has unnecessary bells and whistles that you should avoid (at least until you learn the basics).

What did I think about this camera? Well, after doing an awful lot of research, *I bought two* even after there had been a "recall" which I still don't understand! (One of these was for my wife.) I am a pro turned amateur nature photographer, and have been for many years. As for digital, I have had the Canons S3, S5, SX10, SX20, SX30 (returned immediately), SX40, and now the SX50.

After you've played with the SX50 for a couple of days, I'd be happy to send my standard settings if you just email me. Here are the improvements over the SX40 and all SX models that preceded this (you can see the progression on my web site (see my profile).

The good:

1. Shutter lag is minimal! You can shoot in burst mode of 7-9 frames per second depending with the mode you're in, but shutter lag has been cut by 70%. Canon says that you can shoot up to 13 frames per second. Not with this camera, but 7 should be sufficient.

2. Fast focus with center metering. The SX40 (and other like cameras) want to focus "on an average" of all the elements in a shot. Unfortunately, anything that uses the term average is like the guy with his head in the refrigerator and his feet in the oven, and on average, he's comfortable. It just doesn't work that way ... which is why you should also steer clear of "Auto." (More later) So, basically, if there's a bird on a branch in the center of a bunch of branches and twigs, the SX50 WILL focus on the bird and usually on the first try.

3. Super Fine Mode. The SX40 goes to Fine resolution, but still left noise (the "snow" you'll see when cropped a distant shot of a bird etc.). For lack of a better way of putting this, Super Fine Resolution gives you many more pixels making the shot "tighter" and easier to crop without losing definition.

4. Burst (continuous) Mode: This will hit a top speed of 9 frames per second. That's maximum, but if you can find a bird in flight, you stand a pretty good chance to get at least one frame in focus. It could be the bird's butt as it's leaving, but it will be in focus. There IS a locking device called High Speed AF (two buttons to the left of the lens). I am still trying to master this, and it will come to me ... I hope. So far, it feels like I'm trying to play an accordion with both hands doing something. I am pretty good at panning, but finding a bird in flight in the fully extended zoom is difficult. High Speed AF should correct that problem.

NOTE: In order to get the most from burst mode, reducing shutter lag, etc., be certain to get a SDHC card! You need a fast card to maximize some of the aspects of the camera. Also, because the files will be much larger than what some are used to, I use a 16GB CLASS 10 card,* but 32GB CLASS 10 when on vacation in Yellowstone, Rainier, Bryce, Yosemite, in other words, anywhere where I'll be taking as many as 1,000 shots a day. And yes, especially with burst mode, you can easily take 1,000 pix on a vacation day. A Class 10 card will transfer 10 MG per second. If you want to - and you will - take pictures in burst mode, you need that speed between card and camera processor.

5. Low light: Well, it isn't a disappointment because I expected this. You're buying a camera with a one chip sensor as opposed to 6-9 with a DSLR. The lens does allow more light than the SX40, but it still isn't a DSLR. Indoors, I recommend a flash.

6. I have 9 settings that I use very often, but not all the time. One of the most critical difference is the white balance so that I don't blow out the whites of birds, goats, even recently bathed dogs. You can store ALL of your favorite settings in two modes C1 and C2. I store my settings for bright, sunny days in C1, and for low light or cloudy days in C2.

7. IMAGE STABILIZATION: There's IS and then there's IS. The SX50, for a one-bit processor, has marvelous IS. I took shots of my TV's "What's playing" menu at 1/5 of a second (that's SLOWWWW!), hand held, and it was so sharp that my optometrist could actually see what I was complaining about, ghosting of letters and numbers on a white background. There are several photos I posted here that were taken hand-held at 1200mm (full zoom), and they're tack-sharp. Note that I haven't used a tripod or monopod since my 35mm SLR film days.

8. Weight: 21 ounces and a 1200mm zoom! Those who carry a 6 pound camera around on a hiking day, often wish for the SX50. (I have a friend who carried a 34 pound camera and tripod who recently underwent back surgery, no kidding! Of course, neither of us is a young, fit 45.)

The disappointments:

1. RAW. All I've heard from my brother - a photographer for 65 years (but he takes pix of people and buildings, not of birds, bugs, bees, badgers, or bison) - has been touting the value of RAW. Well, the SX50 gives you a choice of shooting in RAW or RAW AND jpeg. Because the size of these files is 4 times more than a jpeg alone, continuous/burst mode just doesn't work. The processor can't process that much without a delay. And it increases shutter lag like waiting for a dialup connection!

2. Auto. I don't like Auto. As I said Auto is "average," and that's the results you'll get. I suggest you learn TV, AV, and then Manual to get the most of this camera. (Again, I'll be glad to send my settings and save you trouble. 99% of the time, I shoot in shutter priority, Tv = "Time value" whatever that means.)

3. MINOR disappointment: battery life. Look, this camera is doing so much more and processing so much information that it uses more battery power. I change the battery at least once every time I go out. At least it uses the same battery as the SX40. I carry two extra batteries - reasonably priced on Amazon - whenever I hike.

4. Related to battery life, the SX50 doesn't give you a choice to leave the camera in an "always on" mode. The camera will turn off in 2 minutes which can be problematic when you see something you want to shoot at the last second. Turning the camera on can take 2 seconds. Birds, dogs, and kids under the age of 10 don't sit still for more than 1.5 seconds.

5. The Viewfinder: I will not buy or even use a camera without an Electronic Viewfinder. The one on the SX50 is still small, no bigger than on the SX40. It does the job, but not until you get your photos on a 23 inch monitor will you be absolutely sure that they're in focus. I use the LCD for a preview of what I just took, but remember that a 3" LCD will make your pix look sharp whereas a HD monitor will tell the truth. The LCD is perhaps a good way to take a macro (though I usually zoom and crop).

6. The ISO "Button:" For some stupid reason, Canon went and switched the ISO setting button from the right side to the bottom of the wheel in the back, and they went and put the Self-Timer on the right. That exactly where you're most likely to hit the button with your right thumb. It's a terrible idea because the getting out of the Self-timer is a two step button pushing process, and that takes a couple of seconds or more while you're trying to get a shot of something that won't wait for you.

Of interest, but not to me: I won't take videos with this camera (I did once with the SX40), but I really think that if you're looking for a camera for movies of your kid's soccer, little league, or gymnastics, start with some step up from a smart phone and, if you have the money, a camcorder with image stabilization. If you do want to shoot wildlife videos, you definitely will want a tripod.

Also, don't ask me about the Clear Face, Fireworks, parties, Color Accept, Swap Colors, or the other whistles (I'm a bell man) that I find gimmicky. I mean, you'd think that "Clear Face" would also get rid of acne! I understand the marketing value, but fooling around with these should wait until you can take a sharp photo of your dog or weasel or kid before you decide that they'd look nicer with a green complexion and yellow fur.

If you're willing to take some time (2 to 4 weeks) to nail the basics, then this may well be THE camera for you. It is NOT for rank amateurs, and it probably won't satisfy most pros who are already into DSLRs. But if you want photos that are tack-sharp with a camera that's easy to use AND carry, and you're willing to learn the basics beyond Auto, this is the camera for you.
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418 of 459 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2012
Style Name: BaseVerified Purchase
Alright this is a great camera. But it has some PITFALLS that are making me return it in favor of a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200

This things main point is ZOOM... PERIOD. A monster 1200mm (50X) lens is on this baby and the optics are impeccable. Add in the DIGIC 5 processor and digital zoom and you have 200X of usable zoom. an image taken at 200X is quite usable.

Manual mode on this camera is plain FUN. You even get control over the power of the flash, something I have never seen in another camera.

Is this thing a performer in low light, i have reservations. Testing it against my Sony DSC-HX100V the HX100V beats the hell out of this camera because it does not limit its ISO to 80 in shutter speeds longer than 1 second. This is an arbitrary limit, it has nothing to do with what the camera CAN technically do its what canon wants you doing with their equipment.

The camera has incredibly bad video encoding which results in you toting 4GB for 30 minutes of 720p HD video where in my Sony DSC-HX100V I can record easily double that, thanks to it using AVCHD codecs. This camera like the Sony has the dumb 30 minute video limit because of European Union tax on 'camcorders' so to avoid that tax they limit it's video recording.

Can these limitations be avoided, yes they can by using a firmware hack kit called CHDK (Google it and get to know it, it's not supported on the SX50 yet an alpha release is in testing)

So is this camera perfect, no. Is this camera probably the best you can get it's price range, more than likely a yes. (Mind you that 50x lens alone on a DSLR will cost you $100k) I got 400k dollars in lenses for 400 dollars.

Knocking a star off for the arbitrary limitations on here, Canon you know that there is no camcorder tax in the united states. Give us a USA firmware. and another star for the noisy zoom and clicky lens stabilization and poor auto focus.

So do I recommend buying this camera..

If you are after LOTS of zoom and don't really care about attaching filters to your camera and extending the optical abilities, don't need to record lots of video, don't care if your AF lamp can light a whole room and dont care that much about battery life. fine

But in retrospect the Panasonic FZ200 has a whopping 540 shots per battery.

3 batteries = 1540 shots.

this thing

3 batteries = 1000 shots or so.
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128 of 139 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2012
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I've been an enthusiastic amateur photographer for over 50 years, have worn out everything from Nikons to Canons to Mamiya-Sekors, have used 35 mm lenses from 24 mm WA to 300 mm catadiatropic. I've been in the digital revolution for about 15 years, and have been searching for "the perfect camera". Had to send an Olympus OME back, along with the "super zoom" -- just didn't make the quality photos I was searching for. We've had very good results with our little "pocket" Canon cameras, and decided to try the SX50. Took about 15 minutes to sort out the operations, and when we reviewed our first 200 test shots my wife exclaimed:"we've found the camera!". We'll be ordering a second one soon, so we each have one of these remarkable devices.
THE GOOD STUFF: easy to use. image stabilizer is incredible. Quality of wide angle shots superb. Zoom this thing out to the 1100 mm and get INCREDIBLE photos of flowers and critters. FAST operation -- turn it on and shoot; push the shutter release and it doesn't have to think about it like most digitals seem to -- it clicks immediately. Nice for shooting picts of birds who spend 3 seconds on a perch and then are gone, or a bee that touches a flower then moves on, or a squirrel who doesn't know he's supposed to pose for a photo. Has superb battery life -- we've gotten over 200 shots and the battery indicator shows still "full" (don't know how long it will last, I recharge the lithiums after every shooting session). Be sure and get a large capacity card -- you'll take LOTS of photos with this thing. Closeups with the 24 mm setting are good, but I find myself using that long tele to get closeups because it has a better depth of field. The quality of the photos taken by this camera that costs (lens and all) $500 is just unbelievable. Canon has outdone itself.
THE AGGRAVATIONS: auto focus, especially at long zoom, is -- like all auto focus cameras I've used -- aggravating. When the autofocus is on track, it is superb. But it sometimes just refuses to focus, no matter how many times I center the focus area on my subject. IF it had manual focus, like my Panasonic does, it would be a DREAM camera. (It supposedly DOES have manual focus, but I haven't been able to persuade it to work, probably because the manual focus is tedious to use(as compared to my Panasonic DMC-FV50.)It is not silent -- it clatters when focusing, but not a big deal. A little heavy, but this is in my mind actually a plus -- implies well made (not as heavy as our old Nikon with long lens, but heavier than the pocket cameras.
Keep in mind this is not a $10,000 camera and lens -- you can see the hairs on the flowers, the fine detail on a bird's head, but they are NOT as crisp as my old glass lenses. But considering how good the image actually is on most of my shots, I think you're still getting a LOT more in relative value than you are paying for with this camera!
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147 of 161 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 17, 2012
Style Name: BaseVerified Purchase
My wife and I are birders and are always on the look for a camera with great zooming ability that is still sufficiently light to carry. We have owned Canon's prior model, the SX40, for just 2 months and loved it. When the SX50 came out, we were tempted, but skeptical about the faster auto focus and the additional zooming ability. We decided to give it a try. The verdict: Canon managed to noticeably improve on an already excellent product, and we bit the bullet and bought the new model.

Here are our observations:

General impression: the camera is light, has a nice grip, and takes amazing bird pictures even with free hands. The image quality further improves with the aid of a light tripod. When it comes to landscape pictures, the image is less ideal (less sharp) comparing to those taken by Canon S95, a compact camera we own. So our solution is to carry both cameras (both are so light) if we want to have excellent pictures for birding/wild life and landscape.

Below is a direct comparison between SX50 and SX40:

Auto focus: It really is much faster and more reliable than the SX40's. This is a big deal, particularly for taking pictures of birds.

1200mm zoom: This sounds too good to be true for free-hand shooting with a compact camera and in a way it is. At some point cropping yields better results than zooming. So I was skeptical whether SX50's extra zooming ability would really add any value compared to the SX40. Some extensive testing revealed that the SX50 performs equally well as the SX40 at the same (840mm) zoom level. When zooming in further, there is some additional resolution (sharper image) compared to cropping. However, the added value is small and disappears in all but at the very best lighting conditions.

Aperture: The aperture numbers are less than stellar: 3.4W-6.5T. Keep in mind though that at 1200mm poor aperture numbers are simply a fact of life. Also worth mentioning: At around 840mm, the aperture is the same as the SX40's, so no loss there. That being said, I would not recommend using this camera except for its amazing zooming ability. In the standard or wide angle range most any compact camera will deliver better results than the SX50.

In summary, the SX50 is an amazing camera if used for the special purpose that it is good for. This includes birding, wild life photography, and anything else that really needs zooming in to the max. However, this is not an all-purpose camera. If your main need is to take amazing landscape pictures, other compact cameras would be a better option. (For higher quality images, we use Canon S95 or 5D depending on weight restrictions).

Worth mentioning: Before we purchased our SX40, we also tested Nikon P510. SX40 outperformed P510 in auto focus (speed & reliability) and picture quality (sharpness).

Useful accessories to greatly improve image quality:
- Sirui T-1204X: ultra lightweight and super sturdy tripod, essential to keep the ISO low.
SIRUI 4 Section Pro Carbon Fiber Tripod T1204x with Professional Travel Bag

- Sirui G-10 ball head: lightweight and smooth. Total weight with the T-1204X is about 2.5lb
SIRUI G-10 29mm Ballhead with Quick Release, 40 lbs Load Capacity

- Canon remote switch: to avoid shaking caused by pushing the shutter release button.
Canon Remote Switch RS60 E3
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92 of 104 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2012
Style Name: Base
There are those who questioned whether the 50X optical zoom in this camera is useable in view of the smaller aperture (f/3.4 - f/6.5) with some recommending a camera with a smaller zoom power and larger aperture over one with a longer zoom and smaller aperture. This may sound persuasive, but when it comes to the awesome 50X optical zoom found in the Canon Powershot SX50 HS, the pros of having a longer zoom certainly outweigh the cons of a smaller aperture. Anyway the aperture is really not that much smaller than the previous powershot model SX40 (f/2.7 - f/5.8). Now the full-range f/2.8 aperture of the new Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ200 24X zoom camera seems groundbreaking in comparison, but if you read its reviews, you will discover that there is a price to pay in higher picture noise levels, as the performance of Panasonic's LSI Venus processor still lags significantly behind Canon's excellent Digic 5 processor when light levels go down and ISO goes up. Furthermore, the FZ200's optical zoom range of 24X is also less than half that of the SX50 HS.

I've used the SX50 HS extensively over 9 days for my vacation in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia recently and can confirm that other than for low-light photography, the maximum 1,200mm telephoto setting is still very useable - handheld, without using a tripod or any kind of support, all thanks to Canon's anti-shake image stabilization system, since I don't have the steady hands of a surgeon. Anyway, if you are into low-light photography, it's much better to invest in a more expensive digital SLR or use a compact camera with a wider aperture such as the new Sony RX100 (f/1.8) for your low-light shots. This is not to say that the SX50 HS can't be used for night photography - just that you will need a tripod or some kind of support to steady your shots, if you won't be using the built-in flash for illumination at night.

It's not always that you can move closer to a subject for the shot, without frightening it away (eg. bird photography) or putting yourself in mortal danger (eg. wildlife photography). If you're not careful, you can even fall off a cliff while trying to get closer to frame the shot you want. For those times when you just can't physically move any closer to the subject, you will appreciate the awesome zooming power of this camera. There were times when I even wished that the camera has an optical zoom of 60X or more, and I am truly puzzled by those who suggested that 50X is just too much zoom to handle. Nevertheless, the fact remains that this camera at maximum zoom really makes it affordable to own a 1,200mm telephoto lens compared to a similar lens on a digital SLR - which will certainly cost an astronomical amount of money.

There's no need for me to comment on the excellent color and picture quality this camera is capable of delivering, especially if you turn 'vivid' mode on - just look at the photo samples in the many reviews appearing on photography websites. Each day more and more reviews appear and continue to affirm that Canon has indeed done its homework to produce a very useable and affordable 50X optical zoom camera for the masses. Having owned and used a variety of 35mm film-based compact and SLR cameras from brands like Nikon, Pentax, Olympus and then digital cameras from Canon, Olympus, Samsung, Panasonic Lumix and Sony over the last 30 years, I can say that overall, this is the best camera I've ever owned in terms of features, zoom range and value for money. This is the ideal camera for you if you are upgrading from a 10X-20X travel zoom compact camera, or if you want far greater zooming range than the typical digital SLR or have simply grown tired of lugging around a heavy camera bag laden with interchangeable lenses for your DSLR.

In the end, what really matters is whether you can take the shot or not when presented with a photo opportunity that requires extreme telephoto, and if you don't have the versatility of a 50X zoom like this camera, probability of taking the shot is definitely less. With the Vari-angle LCD on this camera you can practically shoot from the hip, zooming from 24mm wide-angle to 1,200mm extreme telephoto in an instant to capture the moment, when a DSLR user would still be busy changing lenses. Here's looking forward to the next SX60 HS version with an even more powerful zoom next year!
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2013
Style Name: Base
This camera was worth waiting for.

My review might be too long for some persons. In that case you may scroll through to the Pros and Cons at the end.

First for some background on me for context. I am an amateur but aspiring to be advanced photographer having been only a snap-happy point and shoot user over the years. 3 years ago I bought the Canon SX120 with the 10x optical zoom specifically for a function at which I was gonna be sitting some distance away from the action. I was very impressed with the zoom and the photo quality, especially considering this was an indoor function and the lighting was not great.
Ever since then I have been hooked on Canon and have been anticipating each generation of new high-end P&S cameras. I first fell for the SX30, then the SX40 and finally when the SX50 was announced I knew I HAD to have it. After researching all alternatives online for months I finally took the plunge and haven't regretted it since.
I got the camera just before Christmas 2012 and was tempted to write my first impressions at that time but thought better of it. So after nearly 4 months and over 3000 photos and videos here goes:

Build and layout
This is a $400 camera but feels like much more. It has an all-plastic body but there is nothing flimsy about it at all. Everything feels very solid in my hand. Those accustomed to using full-size DSLRs will notice it is somewhat lighter and smaller but the overall form factor is identical and allows users to "play photographer" just like the big boys (especially if you slapped on an EOS neck-strap like I did, haha).
The hand grip is deep enough to allow for a good solid one-handed grip on the camera (I'm 5'11" with big hands). With this hold though there is the likelihood of accidentally hitting the menu button or self-timer with the fleshy part of your palm at the right thumb. It happens infrequently and I have learnt how to hold the camera to prevent that happening, most times. Annoying, but not a deal-breaker for me.
Other cons on the layout: the card and battery compartment are located on the bottom of the camera and are inaccessible while using a tripod. My guess is that most users of this camera wont find that a big issue since tripod use is almost unnecessary considering the image-stabilization (IS) on this camera. Will get to that later.
Personally I would prefer to see the playback and video capture buttons reverse place (as in the SX40) because I find I have to adjust my grip to hit the video button while shooting stills and that can be awkward and sometimes causes me to lose a shot. Other than that the buttons are well laid out and within reach.
Menus and controls are fairly simple and intuitive, especially for previous Canon users. New users will appreciate the brief descriptive on-screen explanations and tips on each menu option. Sadly, a few things are inexplicably complex and inaccessible. (See my comment about hi-speed burst shooting in Performance below).

Believe the hype. The zoom on this camera is THAT good. It reaches so far that you can see details that are completely invisible to the naked eye: - the tail numbers on jets passing overhead; Who knew that your favorite player had a wrist injury? This camera picks up his wrist-strap all the way from the bleachers; You can read the watch on the preacher's hand and signal him to stop already! Pictures of the moon are detailed and sharp - the craters are clearly visible. This camera is binoculars, telescope and spy-scope all in one!
Admittedly picture quality suffers somewhat at distance but not as much as one might expect. Truthfully, the issues you see with the camera at full zoom are minimal and frankly 50x pics are simply not available with other lesser tools so a little loss of sharpness is acceptable considering. I am quite proud of my moon shots and the varied color and detailed plumage of the birds in my neighbor's tree are now clearly visible. I have great close-up shots of John Legend at his piano from mid-crowd about 100 feet away!
Digital zoom is helpful, but image quality degrades rapidly. It is the nature of digital zoom and not an issue unique to Canon.
Canon had the good sense to realize that zooming at those distances frequently means we lose sight of our subject and have included a "Zoom framing assist" feature which helps you to toggle quickly between focal lengths to re-acquire your subject. Brilliant!

Canon supplies this camera in a bare-bones package. You will need to get a memory card (SD, micro-SD with adapter, SDHC, - class 10 recommended. Also, there is no printed manual - it comes on a CD.
I also recommend a spare battery, especially for a full day of shooting and night-time events. I get approximately 250 shots per charge.
I have chosen to attach a UV filter to my camera as this reduces the haze in some scenes. More importantly though, the filter serves as a protection for my lens (which, being non-interchangeable would kill your camera if it got damaged).
With the filter attached the lens cap no longer fits - which is fine for me as the filter provides the protection while allowing me to pick up my camera and start shooting right away without having to fiddle with a lens cap.
To fit a filter or a lens hood you are going to need a 67mm adapter. Canon supplies the FA-DC67A which works perfectly.
Tripod and remote trigger (RS-60E3) are useful for those looking to do portrait or macro work.
The camera has a hot shoe and accepts external flashes which puts it ahead of a number of its competitors. My own shooting style doesn't require me to use an external flash and I only rarely do. The built-in flash is fine for me. Its nice to know this little camera can accept external flashes though. You may search the Canon site for compatible speedlites. Other suppliers' equipment works too.

Image quality (IQ)
In the end this is the reason we take photos. To be honest this camera is not all-round brilliant in this area. Which camera is? However, It is unbeatable in good light where it approaches DSLR quality (no joke).
Low-light pics are not as impressive - usable, but I've seen better using other high-end P&S cameras.
The "hand-held night shot" feature is a good alternative in many situations. It shoots a composite of 4 photos to give the best result. This eats up memory though and introduces lengthy buffering so it slows down night-time shooting - definitely not recommended for fast-moving events such as birthday parties. HDR helps too.
At full zoom in good light most pictures are very good. Not DSLR quality (this is NOT a DSLR replacement) but truthfully most DSLR lenses would not be able to reach out that far to get those pics anyway so the SX50 still wins.
I shoot mostly landscapes and birds on the weekends and I find that colors are very accurately captured. There is some fringing noticeable but only on the most contrasty shots, and only at full size/resolution. Pictures are not DSLR sharp but not far from it. Size 3.5" x 5" and 4"x6" prints will be fine. Pictures for posting on your social network page will be quite fine - brilliant even!
This camera shines in: macro, landscape, architecture/still-life, moon-shots/astronomy (a category that competitors cannot even enter). People shots are pleasing and more than satisfactory but not best-in-class. For professional-looking portraits get a DSLR.

Canon packed a lot of goodies into its video capabilities and there is much to be impressed with here. The Full-HD video is incomparable. `Nuff said. Moving up from the 720p of the SX120 the difference was clearly noticeable to me.
Luckily Canon supplies an HDMI cable with this camera so you can view your amazing videos on your flat-screen TV.
Super-slow motion is useful to have a closer look at your golf swing or capture your kids at sports day.
Stills can be snapped while your video is running but this creates a split second break in filming and captures the shutter sound in your video. No biggie. Of course, you can always use photo-grab to get a photo from your videos.
Stereo sound is captured via built-in dual microphones but there is no jack for an external mic. You cannot get it all in a $400 camera!
Zooming is available during video and zooming is quiet and precise. The auto-focus is reasonably good but tricky scenes and rapid movement can leave your subjects out of focus for a while as the camera struggles to keep up. There is a 30-minute limit on videos. Keep it short.
Don't expect to be Steven Spielberg with this camera but your vacation videos will be quite nice.

Image stabilsation (IS)
This is another area where the camera absolutely shines! Most users will never need a tripod to get great shots out of this camera. Hand-held shots are quite still even at full zoom. This is especially true for users whose grip is strong and stable and whose subjects don't move much (like the buildings, plants and trees I photograph, haha). Seriously though, Canon's lens-based IS system shines on all its P&S cameras. In the SX50 they really outdid themselves.
Videos are quite steady even while the user is moving/walking/riding/driving. Brilliant!

Electronic viewfinder (EVF)
This is my biggest disappointment with this camera. Canon should not even be allowed to call this a viewfinder. It is crappy!
It can only be used to get a general sense of where your subject is in the frame - little detail is available. Canon must at least quadruple the resolution on the next generation or forget about viewfinders. In fairness, all screen overlay information is available in the viewfinder - but that's just me searching for an up-side.

This will be your savior from the horrible viewfinder just described. Still, although Canon improved the resolution over 2 generations they are still behind the competition here. It is usable, but not brilliant. The best thing about it is the fact that it swivels. Also, at 2.8" it is slightly smaller than its competitors.
There are four viewfinder/screen display options: overlay on and off, screen and viewfinder. Hitting the "Disp." button cycles you through that 4-step sequence. Tedious. Other manufacturers use a toggle that implements a lot nicer and easier. Some more work here Canon!

The camera shoots at an impressive speed with a frame rate of up to 13 frames per second (fps) in hi-speed burst mode. This means you can shoot 10 images of Junior blasting out of the blocks at his school track meet before they've gone 3 steps. 13fps is class-leading speed and users who shoot fast action will appreciate this feature.
I found it a bit difficult to locate it in the menu though and even tougher to toggle between this and regular shooting modes for those in-between shots that don't require 10-frame bursts. (In fairness, with practice one can develop the shutter control to shoot single frames even in hi-speed burst mode).
With hi-speed burst shooting buffering will be an issue so users have to be careful of when to fire off their 10 frames because the camera will be unusable for another 3-5 seconds. Even so, these frame rates are not numbers that most competitors can match, indeed the frame rate on most DSLRs are less than half of what the SX50 can do.
Start up time is fast even if battery isn't fully charged. Battery life trails this class of cameras at 315 frames per charge. Still, 300+ pics per day is a lot of shooting for most casual users.

My shooting requirements don't involve me using a number of the features this camera has. I call them frills - they may be more useful to other users, though.
These include:
* HDR - high dynamic range. This feature exaggerates the dynamic range (differences in light and color intensity) in different parts of your image. This has the effect of making photos more dramatic, but in some subjects produces overly-stylized and even grotesque results. HDR works better on DSLRs that capture the subtle nuances in light more intelligently and gives more authentic results. IMO
* Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Soft Focus, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color accent and Color swap are all novelty effects that some shooters will use to bring variety to their images. For me they are only "nice to have" since I rarely need them and can achieve most of them in post-production, if ever required.
* Self-timer, blink detector and smile detector also fall into the nice-to-have category for me.
There are many more - this camera is packed with extras.
The "frills" that are not present but other users may miss include: GPS, wireless control and wi-fi.

The Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) is open-source software that is available for most Canon Powershot cameras. It is free and allows owners to make non-permanent, non-destructive software changes to their cameras. These changes can turn your camera into a super device by removing most of the factory limitations. Faster shutter speed, longer exposure times, motion detector, intervalometer (for time lapse shooting) and bracketing are some of the new capabilities that can be added to your camera.
I have not used CHDK myself and thus cannot vouch for it but its nice to know that the already awesome features of my Canon P&S camera can be extended even further.

This camera was worth the 3-year wait for me. It suits my needs perfectly. There is no denying its weaknesses (low-light IQ, viewfinder) but for me its strengths make it totally worth its price. Advanced beginners like myself will find this a useful intermediate step before diving into the DSLR world. It is sufficiently full-featured to challenge you and develop your photography skills while being simple enough for a child to pick up and get good shots of daddy frantically screaming "put that down!!"
For its 50x zoom and image stabilization it is a worthy choice. Most importantly, image quality is top-notch in most situations.

* 50x zoom
* Image stabilization
* Image quality
* Shoots RAW
* Solid build quality
* Advanced "pro" functions
* Lightning speed burst mode
* Articulating screen
* Full HD video
* Available accessories

* Unimpressive low-light performance
* Viewfinder resolution
* Sometimes confusing menu
* No external mic jack
* No GPS
* No wireless

I have deliberately tried to make this review detailed enough to cover most questions that a new user will have but still easy enough to be understood by most. And so I kept out a lot of the more technical terms that can be intimidating for beginners just looking for a decent point and shoot without having to pull out a photography glossary. Hope it helped. Happy snapping!!
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2012
Style Name: Base
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 50x Wide-Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom

I traded up from the SX40 to improve the zoom for taking bird pictures. The SX50 focuses faster and the shutter release is faster, both important for capturing birds that seem to flit from branch to branch. The center focus option is a big improvement and allows one to minimize focusing on branches and leaves. One typically has to wait till winter to shoot bird pictures to avoid the leaves, but this camera extends that season. I like the fine (F) setting that maximizes the number of pixels. One can use just a little digital zoom without sacraficing image quality. I could go to 75X zoom and still get nice images.

The camera seems lighter than the SX40. I walked miles with the camera strap around my neck with no discomfort. Try that with a DSLR with a big zoom AF VR lens and you will quickly switch to this bridge camera for wildlife pictures. The DSLRs can't be beat for landscapes and portraits, so don't toss it just yet.

I use a 58mm filter adapter so I can use a polarizing filter to take pictures of water birds (ducks, geese, shore birds). The generic filter adapters have a bayonet type of attachment, not threads. They work, but not perfectly matched for the Canon cameras (SX20, 30, 40, and 50). You need to buy a new lens cap to fit the 58mm filters.

The high dynamic range (HDR) works very well, especially for indoor lighting. A nice addition to the SX50.

This year, Canon did not include the USB camera-to-computer connector. I guess they assume everyone has the SDHC slot on their computer. The SX40 flash attachment cover is gone. Too bad, it was a nice attachment to keep the flash shoe from snagging on your camera bag.

Some people do object to not getting a hard copy of the full instruction manual, but the pdf can be downloaded to your e-reader (e.g., iPod, iPhone, etc.) and taken with you into the field. However, Canon should make hard copies available upon request to those who register their new camera. Good PR.

One magazine review complained about chromatic aberration in the SX50. I have tried to post pictures that show this does not always happen. The issue comes up when photographing white birds against a blue background. I didn't see CA in any of my shots.

Enough, I highly recommend the SX50 to any wildlife photographers who go into the field to shoot their pictures.
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