After Nikon's 42x zoom P510 arrived earlier this year and the announcement of Olympus' 40x zoom Stylus 820UZ iHS in August, I thought maybe we'd reached a limit. Canon's PowerShot SX50 HS blows right by, though, with a 50x 24-1200mm lens.
Really, it's the only 1200mm lens that's affordable for nonprofessionals. Just to put this point-and-shoot lens into perspective, Canon's longest dSLR EF lens is 800mm and costs $14,000. There is also the near-mythical 1200mm f5.6L EF USM AF lens, which camera retailer B&H once listed for $120,000. And this is a zoom lens, too, so you're getting focal lengths from 24mm out to 1200mm. Of course, the photo quality simply won't be as good as an SLR's with a high-quality lens on it, but you pick your battles.
No real surprises with the SX50's shooting modes, but you do get semimanual and manual options as well as two custom spots. Canon finally added 12-bit raw capture to this series, giving you some more flexibility with post-processing.
To help keep subjects framed when zoomed in, there's a Zoom Framing Assist that pulls the lens back so you can find your subject and then zooms back in. Along with that, Canon added a button to lock optical image stabilization onto the center of the frame.