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Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

12.1-megapixel digital camera with 50X optical zoom

13 Reviews | 2 questions - 5 answers

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Item # 280SX50HS

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Our take on the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

That's right. 50X optical zoom. From a point-and-shoot digital camera. Canon has raised the bar, thrown down the gauntlet and changed the game with the PowerShot SX50 HS, the world's first compact digital camera to hit the big 5-0. See that interesting bird high up in that tree? No, you don't, unless you're zoomed in with the SX50. But what happens when the bird hops up another branch? You lost him, right? Wrong — Canon's zoom framing assist will help you track that bird down. Push and hold the SEEK button to quickly zoom out, so you can locate your feathered friend. When you've got him, release the button and the lens automatically returns to the original zoom position. Now you can push the LOCK button, so the SX50 keeps the bird centered in the frame so you can snap away without worrying about holding the camera absolutely still. And with a burst rate of up to 13 frames per second, you'll be able to snap a quick series before he wings away to another neighborhood.


That's right. 50X optical zoom. From a point-and-shoot digital camera. Canon has raised the bar, thrown down the gauntlet and changed the game with the PowerShot SX50 HS, the world's first compact digital camera to hit the big 5-0. See that interesting bird high up in that tree? No, you don't, unless you're zoomed in with the SX50. But what happens when the bird hops up another branch? You lost him, right? Wrong — Canon's zoom framing assist will help you track that bird down. Push and hold the SEEK button to quickly zoom out, so you can locate your feathered friend. When you've got him, release the button and the lens automatically returns to the original zoom position. Now you can push the LOCK button, so the SX50 keeps the bird centered in the frame so you can snap away without worrying about holding the camera absolutely still. And with a burst rate of up to 13 frames per second, you'll be able to snap a quick series before he wings away to another neighborhood.

50X in 1080p

The SX50 also does jaw-dropping 50X zoom when recording high-definition video. So when your daughter is in the school play, you won't have to join the other parents setting up video cameras in the front to get that close-up. When she delivers her only line, you'll be able to capture her expression from a seat in the back. Perhaps you could get a slightly better angle if you were standing, but someone is sitting behind you. Then pull out the SX50's articulating LCD display, angle it down, and hold up your camera while monitoring your shot's framing. The vari-angle display is also great for letting friends see your shots without having to let them hold your precious camera.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS digital camera with 50X optical zoom

The PowerShot SX50 HS features a pull-out, articulating LCD display.

Plenty of shooting options (Did we mention 50X?)

Shoot in auto or manual modes, record in JPEG or RAW formats, frame shots using the LCD display or the electronic viewfinder, shoot in bright sunlight or dimly lit rooms — with so many options and 50X zoom, the SX50 is the only camera you'll need at the game, the Grand Canyon or Grandma's house. And with Canon's powerful DIGIC 5 processor and high-sensitivity CMOS sensor, you'll capture detailed images in almost any shooting conditions for photos that deserve to be printed and not left languishing on a memory card.

I am a bit techno challenged but I found this camera to be fairly easy to operate and learn the many features with the aid of the expanded guide I downloaded from Canon. The 50x zoom is amazing.

JG, North Carolina

Featured Video:

What's in the Box:

  • Digital camera (black)
  • Lens cap (with attached cord)
  • NB-10L Lithium-Ion battery (7.4V/920mA) with plastic terminal cover
  • CB-2LC battery charger (8.4V/0.7A)
  • Adjustable neck strap
  • Digital Camera Solution Disk Ver.123.0
  • Canon Warranty card
  • Getting Started booklet (Eng/Span)
  • Canon Customer Support/Online Product Registration card
  • Important Safety Instructions (for CB-2LC)
  • Info sheet on Canon printers

Product Highlights:

  • 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor
  • 2.8" pull-out, articulating LCD display (461,000 dots)
  • 50X optical zoom (4X digital zoom)
  • records photos and video onto optional SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards
  • 35mm equivalent lens focal length: 24-1200mm
Special Features:
  • zoom framing assist and lock for locating and tracking subjects during telephoto shooting
  • high-definition movie mode (up to 1080p/24p resolution) with dedicated movie button
  • records photos in RAW and JPEG format
  • optical image stabilization and Canon's Intelligent IS for blur-free photos across the zoom range
  • DIGIC 5 image processor for faster camera response and better image quality
  • variable ISO settings, including a high sensitivity setting (ISO 6400) for better low-light shooting
  • high-speed burst mode (13 frames/second for up to 10 shots)
  • Face ID registers and stores up to 12 faces for automatic focus and exposure priority
  • high-speed autofocus
  • auto mode with 58 preset shooting situations
  • electronic viewfinder
  • hot shoe for adding additional Canon accessories like lights and flashes
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
Connections and Dimensions:
  • USB output
  • mini HDMI output for connecting the camera to a compatible HDTV (cable not included)
  • 4-13/16"W x 3-9/16"H x 4-3/16"D
  • weight: 21.0 oz. (with battery and media)
Supplied Accessories:
  • rechargeable lithium ion battery
  • AC battery charger
  • lens cap and string
  • neck strap
  • software CD-ROM

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(13 Reviews)
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Features and Specs

LCD Screen Size 2.8"
Adjustable-angle LCD Yes
Wi-Fi No
Touchscreen No
Waterproof No
GPS-enabled No
Lens 35mm Equivalent 24-1200mm
Optical Zoom 50x
Digital Zoom 4x
Filter Diameter N/A
Manual Focusing Yes
Manual Exposure Yes
Built-in Flash Yes
HDMI Output Mini
Internal Memory N/A
Memory Media SD/SDHC/SDXC
Sensor Size 1/2.3" CMOS
Megapixels 12.1
Image Stabilization Optical
Highest Resolution 4000 x 3000
4K Video No
Video Resolution 1920 x 1080
Width (inches) 4-13/16
Height (inches) 3-9/16
Depth (inches) 4-3/16
Weight With Battery (ounces) 21
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year

Product Research

Playback, Editing and Print Functions
Battery Information
Inputs and Outputs Notes
Supplied Software

Recording Features

Vari-angle LCD Monitor: The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS has a 2.8" Vari-angle TFT LCD monitor, featuring 461,000 dots with approximately 100% picture coverage. The LCD flips out and swivels/rotates for shooting at difficult angles. The LCD display's brightness can be adjusted to one of five levels. The LCD display also features a Night Display feature that, when shooting in dark conditions, the camera automatically brightens the LCD monitor to suit the brightness of the subject, making it easier to frame the subject.

Viewfinder: In addition to the LCD monitor, the camera has an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) with 202,000 dots. The diopter adjustment lets you adjust the viewfinder to your own personal eyesight. You can switch between the viewfinder and LCD monitor using the Display button.

Image Sensor: The camera is equipped with a 1/2.3" CMOS image sensor with 12.8-million total pixels, and 12.1-million effective pixels.

Optics and Stabilization: The SX50 HS has a 50x optical zoom lens with a 4.3-215mm focal length (35mm equivalent is 24-1200mm). The built-in Optical Image Stabilizer helps control camera shake to give you clear images when you're zoomed way in. Image Stabilization can be used for Still Images (Dynamic IS), Panning (Powered IS), and Macro Shots (Hybrid IS).

Zoom: In addition to the 50x optical zoom, the camera features a 4x digital zoom. When used in combination, the total zoom is approximately 200x. When optical and digital zoom are combined, the total focal length is 24-2880mm (35mm equivalent).

Digital Tele-Converter: The focal length of the lens can be increased by an equivalent of 1.5x or 2.0x through the use of the Digital Tele-Converter. The equivalent focal lengths of the lens (35mm equivalent) are 36-1800mm when using the 1.5x digital tele-converter, and 48-2400mm with the 2.0x tele-converter. The digital zoom and digital tele-converter cannot be used simultaneously.

Recording Media: The camera records still images or moving images with stereo audio on SD Memory Cards (2GB or less), SDHC Memory Cards (4GB to 32GB), and SDXC Memory Cards (32GB and higher). Still images are recorded in JPEG and RAW (CR2 Canon Original) formats, and the movies are recorded in MOV format (Image data: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, Audio data: Linear PCM (stereo)). The camera has no built-in memory, and no memory card is included with the camera.

Still Image Resolution/Compression: The SX50 HS can record still images in 4 different sizes (Large, Medium 1, Medium 2, and Small) and 5 aspect ratios (4:3, 16:9, 3:2, 1:1 and 4:5). For each resolution, you can set the compression to Super Fine or Fine. You can choose from the following resolutions:

  4:3 16:9 3:2 1:1 4:5
4000 x 3000 4000 x 2248 4000 x 2664 2992 x 2992 2400 x 3000
Medium 1 2816 x 2112 2816 x 1584 2816 x 1880 2112 x 2112 1696 x 2112
Medium 2 1600 x 1200 1920 x 1080 1600 x 1064 1200 x 1200 960 x 1200
Small 640 x 480 640 x 360 640 x 424 480 x 480 384 x 480

Movies: Movies can be shot in Full HD at 1920 x 1080 at 24 fps, and at 1280 x 720 at 30 fps with stereo audio. Standard definition movies can be recorded at 640 x 480 pixels, with a frame rate of 30 frames per second and stereo audio. Recording will automatically stop when either the clip file size reaches 4 GB or the recording time reaches approximately 30 minutes for HD, and 1 hour for SD. SD Speed Class 6 or higher memory cards are recommended when recording movies.

Movie Modes: There are 3 Movie Modes to choose from:

  • Standard: Shoots standard movies
  • iFrame: Shoots movies that can be edited with iFrame compatible software or devices
  • Miniature Effect: Shoot movies that look like scenes in miniature models. People and objects appear to move quickly during playback.

Super Slow Motion Movies: You can shoot fast-moving subjects for playback later in slow motion. You can choose from two frame rates:

Frame Rate Image Quality Playback Time
(for a 30-sec clip)
240 fps 320 x 240 Approx. 4 min
120 fps 640 x 480 Approx. 2 min

Continuous Shooting Mode: You can use the continuous shooting mode to shoot successive frames while the shutter button is fully pressed:

  • Normal: Approximately 2.2 shots/sec. (P Mode)
  • AF Frame (center): Approximately 0.8 shots/sec (P Mode)
  • LV (Manual Focus): Approximately 0.9 shots/sec (P Mode)
  • High Speed Burst HQ: Approximately 13 shots/sec (max. 10 frames)

Focusing Range: The camera features the following focus ranges (from the end of the lens):

  • Auto: 0" to infinity (W), 4.3' to infinity (T)
  • Sports: 3.3' to infinity (W), 43' to infinity (T)
  • Macro: 0" to 1.6' (W)
  • Normal: 2" to infinity (W), 4.3' to infinity (T)
  • Manual Focus: 0" to infinity (W), 4.3' to infinity

Shooting Modes: Using the mode dial on the top of the camera, you can switch between the following shooting modes:

  • Manual: You can manually set the shutter speed and aperture.
  • Aperture Priority: You can set the aperture to a value at which you want to shoot, and the camera sets the appropriate shutter speed for the aperture you set. Aperture values can be set between F3.4 to F8.0 (W) and F6.5 to F8.0 (T).
  • Shutter Priority: You can set the shutter speed to a value at which you want to shoot, and the camera sets the appropriate aperture value for the shutter speed you set. Shutter speeds can be set between 15 and 1/2000 seconds.
  • Program: The camera sets both the aperture value and shutter speed.
  • Auto: The camera will automatically select the best settings for the scene.
  • Movie Digest: Lets you make a short movie of a day just by shooting still images.
  • Scene: Select from the following, according to the scene or effects desired: Portrait, Handheld Night Scene, Snow, Smooth Skin, and Fireworks.
  • Creative Filters: You can add various effects to images when shooting, such as Super Vivid, Poster Effect, High Dynamic Range, Color Effects, Color Accent, Color Swap, Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, and Monochrome.
  • Movies: Record movies in High Definition or Standard Definition in Standard Mode, iFrame Movie, and Miniature Effect modes.
  • Custom (1 & 2): Two mode dial positions (C1 and C2) allow you to save commonly used shooting modes and your configured function settings to reuse.

Metering Modes: You can select from the following metering modes:

  • Evaluative Light Metering: used for standard conditions. The area within the frame is divided into several zones and light is measured based on subject position, brightness, direct light and backlighting.
  • Center-Weighted Averaging: averages the exposure from the entire image, but places more weight on the subject at the center
  • Spot: meters the area within the spot AE point at the center of the LCD monitor or viewfinder.

Exposure Compensation: If you are shooting against a bright background or strong backlight, you may need to correct the exposure so that the subject doesn't come out too dark. You can set the adjustments from -3 to +3 in 1/3-step increments.

Locking the Exposure Setting (AE Lock): You can set the exposure and focus separately. This is effective when the contrast is too strong between the subject and background, or when a subject is backlit. Flash Exposure Lock (FE Lock), just as with the AE lock, lets you lock the exposure for shooting with the flash.

White Balance: You can choose from the following white balance settings: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Flash, and Custom 1 & 2.

Flash Modes: The PowerShot SX50 HS has a built-in pop-up flash. You can select Auto (flash fires in low light), Slow-synchro, On (flash always fires), or Off (flash doesn't fire). The built-in flash has a range of 1.6' to 18' in Wide Angle and 4.6' to 9.8' in Telephoto. In the menu, you can turn on the Red-Eye Reduction lamp for the flash, and apply Red-Eye Correction to the images that have been taken.

Hot Shoe: The camera has a hot shoe for attaching an optional external flash, such as the following Canon Speedlites: 600EX, 430EX II, 320EX, and 270EX II.

ISO Speed: The ISO speed can be set Automatically (ISO Auto), or manually ISO 80 to ISO 6400 in 20 steps (1/3 EV). Lowering the ISO speed results in sharper images but there's a greater chance of subject or image blurring in certain shooting conditions. Raising the ISO speed results in a faster shutter speed, reducing blurred images. The images, however, will appear more coarse.

My Colors: You can choose the look and feel of the photos you take by using My Colors to add the following effects to the image you are currently recording or have already recorded: Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, B/W, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, and Custom Color.

Self-Timer: The SX50 HS utilizes a 10-second, 2-second, and a custom self-timer to allow the photographer to be included in the shot, or to avoid camera shake when using a tripod. The custom self-timer allows you to set the time delay to 1-15, 20, 25, or 30 seconds for up to 10 shots.

Stitch Assist Images: You can shoot a large subject by taking multiple shots at various positions, and then use the included software to combine them into a panorama. You can take up to 26 total images, each one partially overlapping the previous.

Playback, Editing and Print Functions

Index Display: This feature allows you to view 4, 9, 36, or 100 images at once on the LCD monitor so that you can search for an image quickly. Movies cannot be played in the index playback mode. You can view the index display by rotating the zoom lever toward wide angle while the camera is in playback mode.

Filtered Playback: When there are many images on the memory card, you can filter and display them by a specified filter. You can also protect or delete all images at once while filtered. Available filters include: Favorites, Shot Date, My Category, Name, and Still Image/Movie.

Review Info: You can choose different ways to display your photos/movies: No Information, Detailed Information, and Focus Check.

Red-Eye Correction: You can correct red eyes in already recorded images. However, red eyes may not be automatically detected in some images such as faces near the screen edge, faces that appear extremely small, larger dark or bright in relation to the overall image and faces turned to the side or at a diagonal and faces with a portion hidden which prevents the Red-Eye Correction from working. You can choose to overwrite the file with the corrected image, or store the image as a new file, retaining the original image.

PictBridge: Using the supplied USB cable, you can connect this camera directly to a PictBridge-compatible printer of any brand. In this way, you can make prints directly from the camera without having to connect to a computer.

Battery Information

Power Requirements: The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS powered by the NB-10L Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. The camera includes the CB-2LC battery charger, which can charge the NB-10L battery in approximately 1 hour 50 minutes. For long periods of continuous use, or when connected to a computer, it is recommended that the camera be connected to the optional ACK-DC80 AC adapter kit. The estimated battery life of the NB-10L in the SX50 HS is as follows:

Number of Shots Screen On 315 shots
Viewfinder On 335 shots
Movie Recording Time Screen On 1 hour 15 min
Viewfinder On 1 hour 20 min
Continuous Shooting Screen On 2 hours 25 min
Viewfinder On 2 hours 30 min
Playback Time 7 hours

Date/Time Battery: The camera uses a built-in backup battery for maintaining the date and time data for about three weeks after the battery pack has been removed. By inserting a charged battery or connecting an AC adapter kit, the date/time battery can be charged in approximately 4 hours, even if the camera is not turned on.

Power Saving Functions: The camera is equipped with the following power saving functions:

  • Auto Power Down for Shooting Mode: The screen will turn off approximately 1 minute after the camera is last operated. You can "wake" the camera at this point by pressing the shutter button halfway to turn on the screen and continue shooting. After about 2 more minutes, if no buttons are pressed, the lens will retract and the power will turn off.
  • Auto Power Down for Playback Mode and Connection to a Printer: The camera power down approximately 5 minutes after the last control is accessed on the camera.
Note: The Power Saving Function will not activate during a Slide-Show or while the camera is connected to a computer.

Inputs and Outputs Notes

HDMI Output: The PowerShot SX50 HS is equipped with a mini-HDMI (Type C) for connecting the camera to your HDTV. An optional mini-HDMI-to-HDMI cable, such as the Canon HTC-100, is required.

A/V Output/Digital Terminal: The camera has a Mini-B Version 2.0 USB terminal to allow you to connect the camera to a compatible computer or compatible Canon printer. No USB cable is included. An optional USB cable must be obtained in order to load images to your computer or printer. Through the same USB jack, you can connect the camera to a TV or video monitor with stereo RCA audio and composite video input jacks using the optional AVC-DC400ST Stereo AV Cable. You can set the video output to NTSC or PAL.

Remote Terminal: The 2.5mm sub-minijack located on the right side of the camera is provided for the RS-60E3 Remote Switch. The switch enables remote shutter button operation, including pressing the shutter button halfway or all the way down. The attached cable is 25" long.

Supplied Software

Included Software: The PowerShot SX50 HS comes supplied with the Canon Digital Camera Solution Disk Ver.123.0 CD-ROM. It contains the following programs:

  • Canon Utilities:
    • ImageBrowser EX 1.0: import images and change camera settings; manage images (view, search, organize); print and edit images
    • CameraWindow DC 8.9: transfer images to and from camera, organize images on the camera, and upload movies on the camera to web services
    • Digital Photo Professional 3.12: browse, process, and edit RAW images
    • PhotoStitch 3.1 (Windows) / 3.2 (Mac): use to merge still images to make panoramas
  • User Guides: Camera User Guide, Software Guide

Compatible Operating Systems:

  • Windows 7 (SP1)
  • Windows Vista (SP2)
  • Windows XP (SP3)
  • Mac OS X (v10.6-v10.7)

Our Product Research Team

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Staff Reviews

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

Fantastic zoom

Written by Ralph Graves, Staff Writer - Creative, on 11/30/2012 12:05:00 PM

The SX50 HS is an easy camera to use. If you're not sure what to do, just leave the settings on automatic and the SX50 becomes a high-performance point-and-shoot. But it can do much more.

The 50X zoom really brings you close in on your subject. And at that extreme range, I just pressed the control button and the image snapped into focus. And the SEEK function helps keep those far-away subjects locked in, too. So with the lens at maximum zoom, I can be far enough away from animals or birds to not scare them away. And with the lock function, I can track them as they move about and get some great shots.

The XS50 also has a sports mode to take multiple shots in a continuous burst. It's a great way to capture the action. And coupled with that 50X zoom, you can be in the nosebleed section of the bleachers and still get some great shots of the action down on the field.

What are the Labs?
Q & A

Customer Q&A

2 questions already asked

We have not received any answers from other customers on your question. I would recommend reaching out to an Advisor by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat. They should be able to help answer your question. [ Jeff  Mar 03, 2014 ]  Staff
The challenge is going to be the light in the gymnasium and the event. This is an excellent consumer level camera for average lighting and action situations that provides a great range of options. What you get with flexibility is sort of a compromise across the board, what will be good in certain conditions will be satisfcatory in others. I havent had much satisfaction with distance or action with the camera. My advice is if you already own it, experiment. [ ANTHONY C  Feb 16, 2014 ]
Thank you. I take a lot of pictures in dimly lit places and auditoriums so I was looking for something that would be an improvement over what I have. [ Sally  Feb 03, 2014 ]
I haven't used it in a gym or auditorium, but I have been well pleased with how it has performed in every setting I have tried it in, The one exception was in a large enclosed tent at night that had a combination of lighting (LED and incandescent) that seemed to mess with everyone's digital cameras. I love my camera! [ TERRI L  Feb 02, 2014 ]