When Canon announces its Powershot SX50 HS last year, one feature immediately grabbed prospective buyers’ attention: a 1200mm equivalent zoom lens, the longest on the market. That, plus a wide variety of other high-end features got many people interested in the camera, provided that it lived up to expectations.
Well, wonder no more.
Digital Photography Review, one of the web’s most trusted resources for all things digital camera, has just completed an in-depth review of the long-reaching Canon. Concise opinion: a decidedly mixed bag.
For the good, there is a lot to like. First of all, on the optics front, the SX50 is an all-around winner. First of all, there’s the zoom range, which not only goes to the almost unbelievable length of a 1200mm equivalent, but also goes as wide as 24mm, which gets into the ultra-wide range, which is good for both indoors and landscape photography. Having such a long reach, Canon was good enough to add image stabilization to the lens, which DPR reports as working very well. Lastly, the optical quality is good, a real optical engineering feat for such an extreme focal range.
As for feature set, there is a lot to like here, too. As befitting a high-end point and shoot, there are nodes to suit photographers of all skill levels, from the press the button and forget it full automation or to completely customizable manual mode. Things able to be adjusted on the SX50: shutter speed, aperture, white balance, and focus. In addition, one can bracket for exposure and focus, but not for white balance. Another plus here: unlike its ancestors, the SX50 supports the RAW format, which will make people who like to post-process their images very, very happy.
Unfortunately, the camera does have an Achilles Heel: speed.
To put it bluntly, the SX50 is a turtle. With a continuous drive of only a single frame per second, forget about shooting any action with this camera, which is too bad as the extreme reach of the lens could make it ideal for shooting sports in bright light. Another problem here: narrow apertures, with the long end being only f6.5. Obviously, Canon had to keep the focal ratios small in order to help keep the lens compact. This is another killer when it comes to shooting action and/or far-away objects in less that ideal (bright) light, especially when coupled with grainy images at anything above ISO 800.
The final opinion? The SX50 is quite a camera as it offers a focal range that was previously unheard of. Unfortunately, while it has its optics and high-end feature set going for it, the camera is undeniably slow, which will put off many would-be buyers right from the start.
My advice: think about what you’re going to shoot before you make a decision one way or the other.
Want to buy the Powershot SX50 in the Cleveland area? Well, there’s Cleveland-based Dodd Camera, with its downtown superstore. In addition, there are many smaller Cleveland metro area chain stores in the Cuyahoga County area, too. Dodd is an authorized Canon dealer. The camera is in stores now, too.
For more info:
The full test
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