The Canon SX50: A Few Personal Likes and Dislikes
There are some great in-depth reviews out there on this camera already. So I just want to add my personal likes and dislikes about this camera since buying it about a month ago. I have previously owned the Canon S2 and the SX20, and have used and abused them well in my travels. Furthermore, I've made some great photos and videos with these cameras, and have created several good quality DVDs and Blu-rays of my travels). With the promised better low light shooting and the greater zoom that the SX50 has to offer, I jumped at the upgrade. I'm glad so far that I did.
Likes: "It's the zoom, stupid!" No seriously, I love to zoom in on wildlife and people from a distance. I travel a lot and this allows me to take photos of people without the need to ask first (and thereby not get a posed shot). The 50 times zoom works really well and quite frankly is astonishing.
I like the larger LCD screen. It frames the 4:3 aspect photos a lot better. I have always loved and used the articulation feature of the screen.
I mostly shoot in Manual mode, but I love playing with the HDR (High Dynamic Range imaging. This effect shoots three exposures and combines them to produce a tone-mapped effect with color effect options including Sepia, Black and White an Super vivid colors). I've taken some really nice shots with this, although at lower light situations it's best to have a tripod (which I plan on buying soon).
Shooting in low light situations. I have gotten some pretty good shots with hardly any noise at both 800 and 1600 ISO. Far better than earlier versions of this Canon zoom. (Yes, I know: the Panasonic is better at this. But the Panny is about a couple hundred bucks more.)
The High Speed Burst HQ (accessed via the "SCN" preset menu) is pretty cool, shooting up to ten frames at, I believe, 13fps.
I'm ok without the 4 x AA batteries. The SX50 is significantly lighter than the SX20 because of the use of a propriety Li-ion battery instead of the AAs. Sure the battery life is not so hot, but I bought 2 extra Li-ions from non-Canon manufactures at about 9 bucks each.
I am pleased with the speed of the auto focus. It did not take long to focus on and shoot some wildlife, all of which can easily and quickly slip away. Shoots well through windows.
I love the electronic level. My horizons are no longer tilted.
Dislikes: I don't like the viewfinder. Hard to frame anything using it. This definitely keeps me from giving the SX50 a 5 star rating.
The super slow motion feature is at a high frame rate (240 frames per second), but at a very low quality. You can't really use it in making your DVDs or Blurays (at least I haven't found a way yet). I guess you can just use it for a playback on the camera's LCD. The quicker slow motion has better quality, though still not HD.
Panning while shooting the high quality HD video is horrible. It created a very choppy looking video I took of the ocean. I will have to test to see if the lower quality setting (which the SX20 has--which panned nicely) is any better.
Although the SX50 has the ability to shoot in RAW format, I have not seen the need for it. As I progress in my understanding of how to use it with post processing software, it might be useful. For now, I am happy with the JPEGs I get.
The quality of the camera's build feels cheaper. They used a plastic which, although lighter, feels and looks cheaper. I am however, getting used to it.
Final thoughts: I am reading more photography books to learn how to more effectively utilize the impressive features of the SX50. I am looking forward to taking it up with me backpacking in Yosemite this summer, and South East Asia next winter. I also hope it will be more useful in capturing low light photos of my 6th grade students working inside the classroom. Though not perfect, it feels so far like a good upgrade from the SX20. I am happy with my purchase.
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