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Hands-on review: Photokina 2012: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
4:36 pm | September 25, 2012

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Hands-on review: Photokina 2012: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

Two key features distinguish the 12.1MP Canon SX50 HS from the 12.1MP Canon SX40 HS that it replaces at the top of Canon’s bridge camera or superzoom lineup.

The Canon PowerShot SX50 – announced at Photokina 2012 alongside the Canon PowerShot G15 and Canon EOS 6D – has a 50x optical zoom that covers the equivalent of 24-1200mm, whereas the zoom range on the Canon SX40 is 35x, or 24-840mm.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review

This is a phenomenal range that most DSLR users can only dream of, and perhaps look to achieve at huge expense.

The 24mm point is ideal for capturing landscapes and indoor scenes, while the longest telephoto point is perfect for photographing distant wildlife or picking out details.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review

We are looking forward to testing the camera to find whether extending the zoom range at the telephoto end produces any compromises in the image quality at shorter focal lengths. Will there be marked distortion or corner shading, for example?

Those who feel that a 50x zoom isn’t enough can boost the range to 100x with the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS’s digital zoom, which Canon calls 100x Zoom Plus. We are really looking forward to testing this when we get a full production sample into the office for review.

Raw shooting

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review

Another improvement that the Canon SX50 HS makes over the Canon SX40 HS is that it can record raw images as well as JPEG files. This makes it much more attractive to enthusiast photographers who want to process files themselves to extract every scrap of detail and apply bespoke noise reduction.

In the past Canon has issued a firmware upgrade to enable a JPEG-only bridge camera to record raw files, but in recent years it hasn’t, so this is a significant step forward.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review

What makes shooting raw files on the Canon SX50 even more attractive is the fact that they can be taken using a range of different aspect ratios.

Early verdict

We were impressed with the results produced by the Canon SX40 HS, and because the Canon SX50 HS has the same 12.1MP sensor and Digic 5 processor, the success of the new camera’s images will be governed by the new lens.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review

If Canon has managed to keep distortion under control and avoid dramatic vignetting then the SX50 could prove to be a very popular camera, and we are looking forward to giving it a thorough test as soon as we get a full production sample in.

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