Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review

Canon's superzoom bridge packs a whopping 50x zoom

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review
The Canon SX50 superzoom has a huge 50x optical zoom

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

The Canon Powershot SX50 HS is styled very much akin to a miniature DSLR, with a pronounced hand grip, electronic viewfinder, hotshoe and mode dial.

It's also relatively heavy, giving the same kind of feeling as an entry level DSLR with the kit lens attached, such as the Canon 1100D.

But of course the lens that is attached is far more flexible than a standard 18-55mm kit lens, with its 50x optical zoom.

Unlike a DSLR, this is controlled via a switch around the shutter release button on top of the camera, rather than by manually twisting the zoom by hand.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review

Zooming in and out is quick and smooth, meaning you can quickly go from the fully wide angle right up to the full telephoto with the minimum of effort.

Thanks to the large hand grip, the camera feels very secure in the hand, making it easy to use when shooting one-handed - even when extending the full range of the zoom.

Anyone familiar with Canon's range of DSLRs will recognise the mode dial at the top of the camera. Here you'll find access to full manual, semi-automatic, automatic, scene, movie and creative effect modes.

When using aperture/shutter priority, to change shutter speed or aperture, rather than using a dial on the grip, as you might do a DSLR, the wheel on the back of the camera must be used. If shooting in fully manual, you can switch between shutter speed and aperture by pressing up on the control pad.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review

The Canon SX50 HS features a fully articulating, 2.8-inch PureColor II 461k dot LCD screen. It's a bright and clear display, avoiding glare and reflections in a variety of lighting conditions. We've been unable to test it in the brightest of sunlight to fully assess that, though.

Having an articulated screen is very useful, because it gives that extra flexibility when shooting at awkward angles.

A small pop-up flash can be found at the top of the camera, which needs to be raised manually. There's a button at the side of the flash which is used to access different flash modes once the flash is raised. It can take a lot of jabbing at the button to realise that it doesn't raise the flash automatically.

You can either elect to have the camera decide autofocus points for you, or choose a singular point.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review

This is achieved by pressing a dedicated button on the back of the camera, then using either the arrow keys or the scroll wheel on the back of the camera to move the autofocus point into the correct position.

An electronic viewfinder is included on the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS. Unfortunately there's no eye sensor to automatically detect when your eye is lifted to the EVF, so you will need to hit the display button twice to switch it on.

This slows down the image taking process somewhat, and is a shame on a camera with an otherwise great specification.

Next to the thumb grip on the back of the camera is a dedicated button to activate Full HD video recording. This is particularly handy and can be used even when the camera is not in video mode, which really speeds up capturing the moment as it unfolds in front of you.

Amy Davies

Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.