January 2013

PowerShot SX50 HS

The newest SX series model features a 50x zoom lens

Photo 1: PowerShot SX50 HS

Photo 1: PowerShot SX50 HS

This month's technical report brings you the latest information on the PowerShot SX50 HS and its features. The PowerShot SX50 HS is fitted with a CMOS sensor with approximately 12.10 effective megapixels (max. image size) and a 50x zoom lens with a lens-shift image stabilizer (35mm-film-equivalent focal length range: 24 - 1200 mm).

Development objectives

The PowerShot SX series of versatile digital cameras are equipped with high-power zoom lenses that deliver excellent picture quality and superb functionality to cover all shooting scenarios, from wide angle to telephoto.

The new PowerShot SX50 HS (Photo 1) was developed to be the successor to the PowerShot SX40 HS. The development aim of this new model is as follows.

Craft a digital camera that takes advantage of the PowerShot SX series' stunning image quality, rich functionality, and powerful magnification to deliver complete satisfaction whether taking still images or capturing movies

Feature 1 - Advanced image quality

High-sensitivity CMOS sensor with 12.10 effective megapixels (max. image size)

At the heart of the PowerShot SX50 HS is a CMOS sensor with approximately 12.10 effective megapixels (max. image size). The sensor's high sensitivity is achieved with a back-illuminated design. Although this sensor has the same frame size and number of pixels as the CMOS on the SX40 HS, its improved performance enables it to render high quality images as large as 4000 x 3000 pixels.

Figure 1: Lens construction

Figure 1: Lens construction

High-resolution 50x zoom lens

We developed a new f/3.4 - f/6.5 50x zoom lens with a 35mm-film-equivalent focal length range of 24 - 1200 mm especially for the PowerShot SX50 HS. The lens is constructed with 13 elements in 10 groups, including three UD lens elements and one double-sided aspherical lens element, arranged in five moving groups (Figure 1).

By optimizing the travel distance and the allocation of refractive powers among the lens elements, we made the lens nearly as compact as the PowerShot SX40 HS's 35x zoom lens despite the increase in magnification power.

DIGIC 5 imaging processor

Improved interconnectivity between the SX50 HS's high-performance DIGIC 5 imaging processor and the high-sensitivity CMOS sensor has resulted in the following improvements in image quality over the DIGIC 4.

Advanced HS System
Better white balance performance
Improved shadow correction performance
Higher maximum ISO speed (from ISO 3200 to ISO 6400)
Lens-shift image stabilizer

The PowerShot SX50 HS is equipped with a lens-shift image stabilizer to minimize the effects of camera shake on image quality while shooting. Just like on the SX40 HS, the image stabilizer offers the photographer as much as a 4.5-stop gain in shutter speed and effectively counters camera shake even when shooting at super-telephoto focal lengths.

Intelligent IS
Figure 2: Dynamic IS conceptual diagram (left: Mode 1, right: Mode 2)

Figure 2: Dynamic IS conceptual diagram
(left: Mode 1, right: Mode 2)

The PowerShot SX50 HS comes with Intelligent IS, which has the camera automatically select the best image stabilization mode from six modes according to the type of scene - whether moving subjects, at telephoto positions, or night shots - where camera blurring is often a problem.

Furthermore, Dynamic IS now has two selectable modes: Mode 1 and Mode 2. Mode 1 adds compensation for rotational blurring to compensation for horizontal and vertical angular blurring (Figure 2). This results in much steadier images, particularly when recording movies while walking. Note that in Mode 1, images are recorded and played back with a slightly smaller angle of view than in Mode 2. Mode 2 provides the same image stabilization performance as the Dynamic IS mode on previous cameras.

Save images in RAW format

Images can be saved in RAW format. Also the aspect ratio can be selected when recording images. This lets photographers tailor their shooting preferences to suit each photo's final application.

Multi-area white balance
Optical zoom functions while recording in full HD
i-Contrast
Continuous AF shooting
Servo AF / Servo AE
High-precision AE and AWB using iSAPS technology

Feature 2 - Outstanding functionality

Shooting modes

The PowerShot SX50 HS adds the Smooth Skin, High Dynamic Range, and Soft Focus modes to the SX40 HS's shooting modes.

At the same time, the Landscape, Low Light, Beach, and Foliage modes have been discontinued because advancements to other shooting modes have made them redundant.

Progressive fine zoom

Progressive fine zoom lets the SX50 HS take beautiful images with limited image degradation in the digital zoom range up to about 2x magnification.

When progressive fine zoom is combined with the 50x optical zoom, photographers can experience the rarefied world of 100x zoom (equivalent to a focal length of about 2400 mm*1 at the max. telephoto end) with minimized image degradation even in the Large size setting (Photo 2).

*1. 35mm-film equivalent focal length

Photo 2: Progressive fine zoom

Photo 2: Progressive fine zoom

Figure 3: Shorter release time lag because of faster autofocusing (measured in accordance with the new CIPA guidelines)

Figure 3: Shorter release time lag because of faster autofocusing
(measured in accordance with the new CIPA guidelines)

Shorter release time lag because of faster autofocusing

The AF time was cut to about 50 percent and the shutter release time to about 55 percent (at an equivalent focal length of 24 mm) of that on the PowerShot SX40 HS thanks to improvements to the AF algorithm, faster data read-out from the CMOS sensor, and a revised processing sequence (Figure 3).

Better Handheld Night Scene shooting mode

The drawback with the original Handheld Night Scene mode, which always disabled the flash, is that subjects in the foreground would occasionally turn out dark because of backlighting by light sources in the background.

The PowerShot SX50 HS, however, like the PowerShot G15, allows the flash to fire in the Handheld Night Scene mode, so that both the subject and the background are correctly exposed even when backlit conditions are present.

Figure 4: Zoom Framing Assist lock

Figure 4: Zoom Framing Assist lock

Better Zoom Framing Assist function
(1) Zoom Framing Assist lock

At high zoom magnifications, it is not uncommon to lose sight of the subject at the telephoto end due to even slight body shake.

Pressing the new Zoom Framing Assist lock button on the PowerShot SX50 HS displays an image stabilizer-assisted window with an icon indicating the Zoom Framing Assist lock is on (Figure 4). The photographer can adjust the focus and fully depress the shutter button while viewing the Assist window. This enables the photographer to take the desired composition without losing track of the subject.

The subject's size in the frame can be finely adjusted by holding the lock button down while operating the zoom lever to incrementally change the zoom magnification.

Figure 5: Zoom Framing Assist seek (left: normal, right: with button pressed)

Figure 5: Zoom Framing Assist seek
(left: normal, right: with button pressed)

(2) Zoom Framing Assist seek

Pressing the Zoom Framing Assist seek button zooms out by a preset distance while displaying a frame on the LCD monitor (called the Assist frame) that indicates the previous zoom area (Figure 5). The photographer can quickly reframe the shot by repositioning the subject inside the Assist frame and releasing the seek button.

In addition, operating the zoom lever while holding the seek button down changes the Assist frame's size and thereby changes the zoom magnification when the seek button is released.

Smart Auto mode with 58 auto-detection scenes, and Smart Movie mode with 21 auto-detection scenes
Enhanced Movie Digest shooting mode
Smart Flash
Full-featured movie recording
Custom shooting modes (C1 and C2)
Selectable first/second-curtain flash synchronization
AE bracketing / Focus bracketing
My Colors
Smart Shuffle
Image ratings for easier image searching and browsing

Feature 3 - More comfortable operation

Figure 6: Quick image review setting

Figure 6: Quick image review setting

New Quick image review setting

The previous image review options were Off, 2 - 10 sec., and Hold. To these three, the PowerShot SX50 HS adds the Quick setting (Figure 6). Choosing Quick displays the last image only until the camera is ready to shoot the next shot, which makes for smoother transitions while shooting multiple shots.

2.8 type LCD vari-angle monitor with 461,000 dots

Compared to the previous model, the SX50 HS's LCD monitor is larger, from 2.7 type to 2.8 type, and has a higher resolution, from about 230,000 dots to about 461,000 dots. Its vari-angle construction makes it possible to monitor and shoot images from all kinds of positions.

The LCD viewfinder has a resolution of about 202,000 dots.

Figure 7: Electronic level

Figure 7: Electronic level

Electronic level to check whether the camera is horizontal

The PowerShot SX50 HS comes with an electronic level, as on EOS and PowerShot G series models. The single-axis electronic level indicates on the LCD monitor the camera's horizontal position while shooting (Figure 7).

Scroll playback works with index playback
Auto pop-up flash
On-screen instructions for customizing and saving shooting parameters
Hints and Tips display for menu options
Customizable My Menu screen for frequently used shooting options
Shutter sounds are linked to the actual shutter speed
Range-specified bulk printing, protecting, and deleting
Custom info display

Feature 4 - Enhanced printing options and digital communications

Supports PictBridge
Select images for printing with DPOF
HDMI™ mini connector

Feature 5 - Array of system accessories

Filter adapter

The FA-DC67A filter adapter*2 is designed so that protective filters, which safeguard the lens, circle polarization filters, which cut light reflections, and other kinds of filters can be mounted to the camera.

The FA-DC67A makes it possible to attach genuine Canon 67-mm filters normally intended for EOS SLR cameras. Attached filters can be used while zooming.

*2. The FA-DC67A filter adapter can also be used with the PowerShot SX1 IS, SX10 IS, SX20 IS, SX30 IS, and SX40 HS.

Accepts EX Speedlite flashes and accessories

Because it comes with a hot shoe, the PowerShot SX50 HS can be used with EX Speedlite flashes, such as the 600EX-RT, 430EX II, 320EX, and 270EX II, and the ST-E2 Speedlite transmitter just like EOS SLR cameras.*3 (All are sold separately.)

*3. The SB-E2 Speedlite bracket and the OC-E3 off-camera shoe cord can also be attached. (Both are sold separately.)

Accepts rechargeable lithium-ion batteries
Accepts Eye-Fi cards
Supports Exif 2.3
LH-DC60 lens hood (sold separately)
RS-60E3 remote switch (sold separately)

This concludes our look at the PowerShot SX50 HS this month. Table 1 compares the main specifications of the PowerShot SX50 HS and PowerShot SX40 HS.

Photo 3 illustrates the kit components that come with the camera. There is no fixed suggested retail price for the PowerShot SX50 HS.

Photo 3: PowerShot SX50 HS and its kit components

Photo 3: PowerShot SX50 HS and its kit components

PowerShot SX50 HS PowerShot SX40 HS
Imaging sensor Approx. 12.10 effective megapixels (max. image size) (high-sensitivity CMOS), 1/2.3 type (approx. 12.80 total megapixels) Approx. 12.10 effective megapixels (max. image size) (high-sensitivity CMOS), 1/2.3 type (approx. 12.80 total megapixels)
Color filter type RGB RGB
Photographic lens
(35mm-film equivalent)
24 - 1200 mm, f/3.4 (max. wide angle) - f/6.5 (max. telephoto angle), 50x zoom 24 - 840 mm, f/2.7 (max. wide angle) - f/5.8 (max. telephoto angle), 35x zoom
Digital zoom Approx. 4.0x (approx. 200x max. zoom when combined with the optical zoom)
Progressive fine zoom: Approx. 100x when combined with the optical zoom (Large image size)
Approx. 4.0x (approx. 140x max. zoom when combined with the optical zoom)
Progressive fine zoom: Approx. 70x when combined with the optical zoom (Large image size)
LCD viewfinder Approx. 202,000 dots Approx. 202,000 dots
LCD monitor 2.8 type (TFT color LCD, approx. 461,000 dots, excellent color reproduction, and wide viewing angle), brightness adjustment, Quick-bright LCD, vari-angle 2.7 type (TFT color LCD, approx. 230,000 dots, excellent color reproduction, and wide viewing angle), brightness adjustment, Quick-bright LCD, vari-angle
Focusing modes Autofocus: Continuous, Servo AF (tracks Servo AE), Face AiAF / Tracking AF / Center / FlexiZone
Manual focus
Autofocus: Continuous, Servo AF (tracks Servo AE), Face AiAF / Tracking AF / Center / FlexiZone
Manual focus
Focusing range Auto mode: 0 cm to infinity (max. wide angle) / 1.3 m to infinity (max. telephoto angle)
Macro mode: 0 to 50 cm (max. wide angle)
Auto mode: 0 cm to infinity (max. wide angle) / 1.4 m to infinity (max. telephoto angle)
Macro mode: 0 to 50 cm (max. wide angle)
Shutter Mechanical shutter + electronic shutter Mechanical shutter + electronic shutter
Shutter speeds 1/2000 to 1 sec.
1/2000 to 15 sec. (total shutter speed range from all shooting modes)
1/3200 to 1 sec.
1/3200 to 15 sec. (total shutter speed range from all shooting modes)
Light metering methods Evaluative, Center-weighted average, Spot (fixed to center / linked to AF frame) Evaluative, Center-weighted average, Spot (fixed to center / linked to AF frame)
Exposure compensation ±3 stops in 1/3-stop increments
• ±3 stops for exposure shift (in movie modes), but not adjustable while recording movies
±2 stops in 1/3-stop increments
• ±2 stops for exposure shift (in movie modes), but not adjustable while recording movies
ISO speeds
(Standard Output Sensitivity, Recommended Exposure Index)
When in P shooting mode: Auto, ISO 80 / 100 / 125 / 160 / 200 / 250 / 320 / 400 / 500 / 640 / 800 / 1000 / 1250 / 1600 / 2000 / 2500 / 3200 / 4000 / 5000 / 6400 When in P shooting mode: Auto, ISO 100 / 200 / 400 / 500 / 800 / 1600 / 3200
Flash ranges 50 cm - 5.5 m (max. wide angle), 1.4 m - 3.0 m (max. telephoto angle) (when ISO speed is set to Auto) 50 cm - 7.0 m (max. wide angle), 1.4 m - 3.0 m (max. telephoto angle) (when ISO speed is set to Auto)
White balance Auto, Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Flash, Custom 1, Custom 2 Auto, Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Flash, Custom
Shooting modes C1, C2, M, Av, Tv, P, Auto, Movie Digest, Sports, SCN,*1 Creative Filters,*2 Movie*3
*1. Portrait, Smooth Skin, Smart Shutter,*4 High-speed Burst HQ, Handheld Night Scene, Snow, Fireworks, Stitch Assist
*2. High Dynamic Range, Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Soft Focus, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap
*3. Standard, iFrame Movie, Super Slow Motion
*4. Smile, Wink Self-Timer, Face Detection Self-Timer
C1, C2, M, Av, Tv, P, Auto, Sports, SCN,*1 Creative Filters,*2 Movie*3
*1. Movie Digest, Portrait, Landscape, Smart Shutter,*4 High-speed Burst HQ, Handheld Night Scene, Low Light, Beach, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Stitch Assist
*2. Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap
*3. Standard, iFrame Movie, Super Slow Motion
*4. Smile, Wink Self-Timer, Face Detection Self-Timer
Continuous shooting Normal: Approx. 2.2 fps (when in P shooting mode); Approx. 13 fps (when in High-Speed Burst HQ shooting mode)*
• When the scene is bright enough that the flash does not automatically fire. Speed depends on the zoom position.
*Max. number of frames per burst: 10
Normal: Approx. 2.4 fps (when in P shooting mode); Approx. 2.4 fps (when in Low Light shooting mode); Approx. 10.3 fps (when in High-Speed Burst HQ shooting mode)*
• When the scene is bright enough that the flash does not automatically fire. Speed depends on the zoom position.
*Max. number of frames per burst: 8
Recording pixels
(still images)
(when set to a 4:3 aspect ratio)
RAW: 4000 x 3000, Large: 4000 x 3000, Medium 1: 2816 x 2112, Medium 2: 1600 x 1200, Small: 640 x 480 Large: 4000 x 3000, Medium 1: 2816 x 2112, Medium 2: 1600 x 1200, Small: 640 x 480
Aspect ratios 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 1:1, 4:5 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 1:1
Compression
(still images)
Super fine, Fine Fine, Normal
Movies 1920 x 1080 (24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
iFrame movies / Movie Digest movies: 1280 x 720 (30 fps)
Super Slow Motion movies: 640 x 480 (120 fps), 320 x 240 (240 fps)
Miniature Effect movies: 1280 x 720 (recorded at 1.5, 3, or 6 fps), 640 x 480 (recorded at 1.5, 3, or 6 fps), played back at 30 fps
1920 x 1080 (24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
iFrame movies: 1280 x 720 (30 fps)
Movie Digest movies: 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Super Slow Motion movies: 640 x 480 (120 fps), 320 x 240 (240 fps)
Miniature Effect movies: 1280 x 720 (recorded at 1.5, 3, or 6 fps), 640 x 480 (recorded at 1.5, 3, or 6 fps), played back at 30 fps
Recording media SD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card SD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card
Color space Standard (sRGB) Standard (sRGB)
File format Compliant with Design rule for Camera File system and DPOF Compliant with Design rule for Camera File system and DPOF
Data types Still images: Exif 2.3 (JPEG) / RAW (12-bit, CR2)*
Movies: MOV (video: H.264, audio: Linear PCM (stereo))
*Digital Photo Professional is used for developing RAW images
Still images: Exif 2.3 (JPEG)
Movies: MOV (video: H.264, audio: Linear PCM (stereo))
Power supply Rechargeable lithium-ion battery: NB-10L
AC adapter kit: ACK-DC80 (sold separately)
Rechargeable lithium-ion battery: NB-10L
AC adapter kit: ACK-DC80 (sold separately)
Dimensions
(CIPA standard)
122.5 x 87.3 x 105.5 mm 122.9 x 92.4 x 107.7 mm
Weight (CIPA standard) Approx. 595 grams (including battery and memory card) / Approx. 551 grams (body only) Approx. 600 grams (including battery and memory card) / Approx. 557 grams (body only)

Table 1: Comparison of main specifications between the PowerShot SX50 HS and the PowerShot SX40 HS