Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Review

4.5
October 10, 2012 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 12 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4Mb.

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS produced images of good quality during the review period. Noise is well-controlled until ISO 1600, which exhibits some artifacts, blurring of detail and slight colour desaturation. The noise and loss of detail get progressively worse as you go from ISO 1600 to the fastest 6400 setting, which isn't really very usable at all. The Dynamic Range Correction and especially HDR options squeeze more detail out of the shadows and highlights, although they're not available if you shoot in the new RAW mode.

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS handled chromatic aberrations fairly well with well-controlled but widespread purple and green fringing effects appearing in high contrast situations. The 12 megapixel images were sharp enough straight out of the camera at the default setting. Macro performance is a stand-out highlight, allowing you to focus as close as 0cms away from the subject, although there is a lot of lens distortion and shadowing at such a close distance.

The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 15 seconds allowing you to capture enough light for most situations. The 4.5-stop anti-shake system works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the huge zoom range, although it's still best to use a tripod or other stable support if possible given the huge focal length on offer.

Noise

There are 8 ISO settings available on the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with the JPEG version on the left and the RAW on the right.

JPEG RAW

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are sharp enough at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Focal Range

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS's 50x zoom lens has a massive focal range of 24-1200mm, as illustrated by these examples.

24mm

1200mm

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS suffered from chromatic aberrations, with purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, particularly at the edges of the frame, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

File Quality

At full 12 megapixel resolution, there are two JPEG quality settings available - SuperFine and Fine- plus a RAW setting.

SuperFine (4.68Mb) (100% Crop)

Fine (3.15Mb) (100% Crop)

   

RAW (13.3Mb) (100% Crop)

 
 

Macro

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS allows you to focus on a subject that is just 0cms away from the camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Canon Powershot SX50 HS are Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, and Slow Sync Speed, with Red-eye Reduction options available in the main menu. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (1200mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (1200mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Red-eye-Reduction settings caused any red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Canon Powershot SX50 HS's maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 80.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Canon Powershot SX50 HS has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length Anti-Shake Off (100% Crop) Anti-Shake On (100% Crop)
1/5th sec / 24mm
     
1/2nd sec / 1200mm

Dynamic Range Correction

Dynamic Range Correction captures more detail in the highlight areas of the image, with Auto, 200% and 400% settings available.

Off

Auto

   

200%

400%

HDR

The HDR mode takes three photos at different exposures and effectively combines them to produce a single image with greater detail in the shadow and highlight areas.

Off

On

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, compact, review, 1080p, 12 megapixel, hdmi, jpeg, super-zoom, RAW, tilting, 10fps, super zoom, Canon, 2.8 inch LCD, PowerShot, 50x zoom, 50x, 24-1200mm, SX50 HS, 2.8 inch, Canon PowerShot SX50 HS, Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Review, sx50, sx50HS