Review: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS – never miss a shot again

Review: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS – never miss a shot again

Apr 1, 2013

When a camera claims a whopping 50x optical zoom, I have to have my doubts. Can any camera really deliver that level of zoom without horrible blurring?
It turns out that Canon’s SX50 HS can.

It’s not zoom just for the sake of it – the SX50 HS lets users zoom clean across the game reserve to catch the glint in the eye of distant wildlife.

It’s pretty phenomenal.

For those longing to try bird photography, catch their kids in action across the rugby field or spy on their neighbours, this one takes users up close and personal with things they can barely make out with the naked eye.

The SX50 HS delivers all the goods users have come to expect from Canon – including advanced manual control, RAW format support, full HD video and optical image stabiliser with Intelligent IS.

Canon’s HS System is a combination of a high-sensitivity 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and powerful DIGIC 5 image processing. It offers high ISO shooting, at speeds up to ISO 12 800, and flawless focusing.

The zoom is Canon’s most powerful optical zoom in a compact camera to date.

Canon elaborates: “A class-leading optical construction features 13 elements, with three UD lenses included in a 10 group optical arrangement – providing exceptional performance throughout the enormous 50x optical zoom range.

“A newly designed Ultrasonic Motor (USM) and Voice Coil Motor (VCM) ensure fast and near-silent zooming when moving from the 24mm wide angle through to 1 200mm maximum reach, while ZoomPlus digitally extends the zoom to 100x while maintaining high image quality.”

Personally, I didn’t love the digital zoom extension. But the optical zoom was enough to knock my socks off.

The fun doesn’t stop there, however. It delivers great macros, stunning portraits and all-round beautiful shots, both indoors and out.

One of my favourite presets is the handheld night shot setting. It delivers beautifully.

We were so excited about the great results we were getting that we pushed this to the max – actually driving around at night and shooting from a moving car.
Most cameras would fail dismally in a test like this. The SX50 HS delivered perfectly usable shots with no fuss.

But what about handheld night shots at full zoom? We did that too. No one would want to frame these results, but we captured perfectly legible pictures of signage that couldn’t be read at that distance with the naked eye.

The SX50 HS produced lovely results, no matter what test we threw at it. It’s a good size without being too bulky, responds well, is easy to use and simply gets the shot photographers are hoping for without fuss.

Extreme contrast? No problem. Backlit people? Awesome results. Fast-moving birds in the tree across the park? Snap.

As a flexible, everyday, carry-with-you-all-the-time option for serious photographers, or as an all-rounder for discerning people who want to record every detail, this one delivers. I loved it.

Everyone who saw it felt compelled to try it, and loved it too. Because I just can’t bring myself to give any product 10 out of 10, I forced myself to look for negatives.

The flash needs to be manually raised, a function I did not manage to carry out. However, despite the camera’s complaints that I was shaky and needed to use the flash, it still took great pictures without.

Another complaint I had was a bit of noise on some of the low-light images.

Considering the pressure we put the camera under, we forgave it.

The camera is priced at around R4 500.00.

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