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Canon PowerShot SX50 HS takes long zoom title

/ Updated: 3 October 2012, 6:11 am AEST
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Stephen Shankland/CNET

And the zoom race continues.

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 24-1,200mm lens.

Its predecessor, the SX40 HS, had a mere 35x 24-840mm lens, so the jump out to 1,200mm is substantial, but not without penalty. The aperture range for the SX40 was f2.7-f5.8, but it gets considerably slower for the SX50: f3.4-6.5. This is helped some by the 12-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, but you'll likely need to use its high ISO settings, which now goes up to ISO 6400.

There's also the matter of keeping such a long lens steady and locked onto your target. 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. Improvements have been made to Canon's AF system, too, for faster focusing and less shutter lag than in previous SX-series models.

To accompany its electronic viewfinder, Canon used a 461K-dot-resolution 2.8-inch vari-angle LCD screen. Shooting modes seem consistent with the SX40, including semimanual and manual modes and Canon's Smart Auto that can now determine the best settings based on 58 predefined shooting situations.

Lastly, Canon finally added 12-bit raw capture giving you some more flexibility with post processing. However, past models haven't exactly been speed demons, so I'm wary of how much this will slow down performance. Also, longer lenses on compact cameras rarely, if ever, translate into better photos and video. No way of telling until I get my hands on one for review, though.

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS arrives in October for $479.99.

Discuss Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

Where to Buy

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

Part Number: CNETPSSX50HS

Visit manufacturer site for details.