The bridge camera section of the market is continuing to perform well in a time when the general compact camera market is on a downturn.

What bridge cameras such as the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS offer is fantastic flexibility in a smaller, lighter and cheaper package than a DSLR. The trade-off is a smaller sensor and the impossibility of changing lenses.

They're fantastic for travelling photographers, or those looking to get a bit more from their photography without the added complications that an interchangeable lens system brings.

One of the biggest disadvantages of the Canon SX40 was that it didn't have the capability of shooting in raw format. Happily, Canon has addressed that issue, making the Canon SX50 a much more attractive proposition.

We liked

With many great features onboard the Canon SX50, picking one feature is difficult. But, what probably stands out the most is that incredible 50x optical zoom lens, giving this camera huge appeal to travel, wildlife and family photographers.

We disliked

It's a shame that at the widest end of the optic, the camera couldn't boast a wider aperture, because that would have really been the icing on the cake for this great bridge camera.

Final verdict

What we've got here is good image quality, lots of features, an attractive body and plenty to appeal to a wide variety of photographers.

While it's true that the Panasonic FZ200 offers a better maximum aperture value, of f/2.8 throughout its entire range, this camera boasts a whopping 50x optical zoom - something you won't get anywhere else.

For anybody looking to purchase a bridge camera this year, the Canon SX50 is easily one of the best options currently available on the market. An articulating screen, raw format shooting and of course that giant zoom all add to a fantastic package in a neat little body. It's just a shame about the EVF, though.