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Canon sx50hs bridge camera with ultra zoom

Updated on October 27, 2014

What I was looking for in a camera

There were a number of criteria that I considered when I went looking for my last bridge camera.

1. I wanted the camera to be light. I like wildlife photography, and a camera can get heavy when you've had it hanging over your neck for a long trek through the forest, especially if you have a bad back like me.

2. It needed to have a powerful zoom. If you want to get a good picture of a small bird from a distance, you need a strong zoom lens.

3. I wanted a viewfinder. Using the eyepiece helps stabilize the camera, holding the camera out before you with extended arms while looking at a LCD screen, not so much.

4. The camera should have a remote, or a socket for a remote. Even when you have a camera mounted on a tripod, just pressing the button for the shutter control can cause the camera to shake. A remote switch solves this problem.

5. The ability for manual adjustments, like an SLR camera.

6. An articulated screen of decent size.

7. Good resolution.

9. The camera needed to be affordable, as photography is a hobby for me and not a profession.

Wet osprey. I took this photo using the Canon sx50hs with the zoom adjusted to the max of 50X.

The search begins

I already owned a number of bridge cameras, so I had a good idea of what to be looking for. The last two cameras that I had purchased were the Panasonic Lumix FZ20, and then the FZ30. They are both great cameras, and still take good photos, but technology has got better since their heyday. Since I liked the FZ30 so much, I considered buying their last upgrade of the model, but the FZ200 only has a 24X zoom, and was priced one hundred dollars higher. The extra hundred dollars would not have been a decision maker, but only having one half the zoom of the sx50 was. Next I considered the Fuji Fine Pix hs35. I own an older model Fine Pix, and it takes good pictures. Like my Lumix FZ30, the Fuji hs35 has a manual adjustable focus, something the sx50 doesn't have. I like that feature, but the zoom is only 30X, and it is slightly heavier than the sx50, weighing 1.5 pounds, compared to sx50's 1.3 pounds. Again the small amount of weight difference was probably not enough to make me decide. Again it was the more powerful zoom of the sx50. So,I bought the Canon sx50. Since my purchase of the sx50, Fuji has came out with their hs50 model, which has a 42X zoom.

Reb Bellied Woodpecker taken with zoom at 50X

This is the first shot that I took using the Canon sx50, within ten minutes of taking it out of the box.
This is the first shot that I took using the Canon sx50, within ten minutes of taking it out of the box.

Using the zoom lens

Within ten minutes of receiving the sx50, I was ready to take my first photo. With the zoom at a full 50X, I snapped a photo of a red bellied woodpecker. Normally if I was taking a shot like that, I would have the camera mounted on a tripod and use a remote switch to keep the camera from shaking, so I wasn't expecting fantastic results. I was just kind of trying it out in a worst-case scenario, but when I uploaded the photo into my computer I was in for a surprise. The detail was amazing.

I still wanted a remote switch for the camera however, and I was miffed by the fact that the specs for the camera doesn't list a socket for one. When I looked up accessories for sx50 on the canon site, it implied that a remote was not available for it. Though it isn't labeled, the camera does have a socket for one however, and I was able to purchase a wired remote, and a wireless remote. I purchased one from eBay and the other from Amazon.

The red arrow points to the remote socket

The sx 50 shown with a wireless remote receiver mounted in the hot shoe, and its transmitter to the lower right. The wired remote is shown on the lower left.

I shot this photo of an osprey over a narrow opening in the tree canopy. l had to react quickly for that shot.

I had just shot a macro photo of a small flower, when I saw the ospry flying overhead. The good thing about this bridge camera is its ability to go from macro to full 50X.
I had just shot a macro photo of a small flower, when I saw the ospry flying overhead. The good thing about this bridge camera is its ability to go from macro to full 50X.

Flowers shot in macro mode

These little flowers are only about a half inch wide.
These little flowers are only about a half inch wide.

The sx50's fully articulated screen

This camera takes excellent videos as well. The audio was silenced in this video due to heavy background noise.

The sx50, the good and the bad

All things considered, this is a good camera for the amateur that wants a powerful zoom, and good photos. A 50X zoom alone for an SLR camera would be cost prohibitive for most of us, and this camera has a number features that I really like. It has a nice articulated screen, that you can pull out and twist around so that the screen is facing the same direction as the camera lens. This comes in handy for selfies, or for green screen work. This is also where having the remote socket is a big plus. Having the ability for manual control over the camera for still shots is also a nice touch for the more advanced photographers. Since I'm into wildlife photography, I usually keep it set to automatic because you often do not have time to make any adjustments with wildlife shots. The camera also takes good pics in macro mode as well.

While I like this camera very much, it does have a few minor drawbacks. The main stickler for me is the fact that if you want to use a filter lens, you have to buy an adapter ring. On my FZ30 the lens screwed on like it would with any SLR camera. I wish that this part of the camera had been designed better. As I mentioned before the sx50 doesn't have a manual focus, but again, for me that's not a deal breaker. The motorized zoom works fine, and a manual focus would have most likely added more weight to the camera. It doesn't come with a lens hood. Not everyone uses this feature, but I do. Then there's just the aggravation that I had to go through to find out if it could be used with a remote.

For a full list of all of the specs, click onto the link below. I would like to point out here that the protective lens they offer can not be used without an adapter ring, something that they fail to mention. The adapter ring isn't listed either. Also, note that the specs do not include the remote socket, but again, it does have one.

More photos

There's no better way to judge a camera than by the photos it takes. Below I have a variety pics that I took using the Canon sx50.

Roseate Spoonbill taken with zoom at 50X

A cardinal shot with zoom at 50X

A sunset taken with the Canon sx50

I shot the photo of these lilies from the oposite bank of a river. They were probably another fifty feet away from the water line.

This dragonfly would not sit still, so I had to take the shot fast.

Snail eggs in the middle of a river. Photo shot from bank.


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    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      3 years ago from The Beautiful South


    • profile image

      Randall Guinn 

      3 years ago

      If theres any way that I can help let me know Jackie. Some of the newer cameras now have really great zooms. I just recorded the video of the woodpecker Saturday. I have some pics of him also. I want to add another video with sound. Wildlife photography is a great hobby.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Those are fantastic photos. I have a new camera with a zoom lens but have no idea how to use it; haven't even read the book. I love the camera I am using but it does not zoom. After seeing yours I want to try! ^+

    • Randall Guinn profile imageAUTHOR

      Randall Guinn 

      4 years ago from Pinellas Park, Florida

      For the price range, and all of the features, you can't go wrong with this camera. It has been on the market for a while, so you may want to see if a newer model is available any time soon. It does produce good videos as well.

    • momsdoworkathome profile image

      Katina Davenport 

      4 years ago from Michigan

      I have been looking for an affordable camera myself. I am looking for a camera that can shoot quality video as well as take beautiful, still photos.


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