The movie mode on the PowerShot SX50 HS is the same as on its predecessor. While other super zooms are shooting true 1080/60p video, the SX50 is stuck at 1080/24p. While 24 frames/second is generally preferred by serious filmmakers (except Peter Jackson), some folks may find it to be a little choppy when capturing fast movement or panning the camera. Regardless, you can record video (with stereo sound) at this setting until the file size reaches 4GB, which takes about 15 minutes.
Two lower resolutions are also available on the SX50. You can choose from 720p or VGA settings, both of which are recorded at 30 frames/second. Recording will stop after 21 minutes at the 720p setting, and 44 minutes at VGA. The camera also supports Apple's iFrame codec (which you've probably never heard of), which records 720p video that is supposed to be easier to edit.
Naturally, the SX50 lets you use the optical zoom while you're recording a movie, and the zoom moves slowly and quietly. The camera focuses continuously, so everything stays in focus. The image stabilizer is also available, which keeps things shake-free (less so at full telephoto). Do note that if dynamic IS is turned on, the field-of-view will be enlarged slightly, to allow for rotational stabilization. You can turn this off in the IS menu to return to the normal field-of-view.
Movie recording is a point-and-shoot experience on the SX50, with no manual controls to be found. The only thing you can adjust is the brightness, by pressing "up" on the four-way controller (only when the mode dial is set to the movie position). You can also adjust the mic level, or turn on the wind filter.
Most of the camera's special effects are available while recording movies, including miniature effect. There's also a "super slow motion" mode which records at 120 or 240 fps (though the resolution is lowered to 640 x 480 and 320 x 240, respectively) and plays them back at 30 fps, creating a slow motion effect. While you can take full resolution stills in movie mode, you will capture the camera refocusing, and then recording the image to the memory card, which freezes things for a second or two.
Here I have two sample movies for you, all taken at the 1080p setting.
Sample Video 1
|Click to download movie (1920 x 1080, 24 fps, 91.2 MB, QuickTime/H.264 format)|
Sample Video 2
|Click to download movie (1920 x 1080, 24 fps, 33.6 MB, QuickTime/H.264 format)|
I'd say the quality is decent, but not great. There's quite a bit of highlight clipping, and the camera could really use a 30p option (at the very least).