Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Digital Camera Review$479.99
Although the designers obviously gave some thought to this camera's shape, we wonder why they stopped short of coating the body in anything except smooth plastic. While the front hand grip protrudes far enough to help keep the camera stable, the complete lack of rubberization anywhere on the camera was an oversight last year and still hasn't been rectified.
On the rear panel, there's a concave depression intended to cup your thumb, but ours naturally came to rest well above this area. Together, all these issues make the camera feel cheaper than it is, and left us scratching our heads, just like we did for the SX40 HS.
Buttons & Dials
The rear control scheme is effective but unimaginative, Canon has stuck with a tried-and-true layout that leaves us little to complain about. We reserve special praise for the focus zone button, located directly below the video hotkey, which is helpful for changing your "FlexiZone" focus area on the go, or performing other functions. Some users may also find the shortcut button helpful, but it's situated far off on the left side of the EVF, and we rarely bothered to reach for it.
Actually our biggest complaint about the buttons and dials is their construction. Each has a shallow stroke that feels cheap and amateurish. The rear rotating dial is also set too far into the body panel, so it's both imprecise and uncomfortable to use.
On the top plate, the shutter release and zoom lever are adequate for this kind of camera, but again, the mode dial is slippery and feels cheap, as does the toy-ish power button.
A sturdy rear LCD panel is probably your best bet for accurate framing. This is a fully swiveling panel that's very useful for video applications or challenging shooting angles. Viewing angle of the actual screen isn't perfect, but since the whole thing rotates, this really isn't a problem.
The SX50's electronic viewfinder is small and not the most comfortable to squint through. The display also has a severe lag associated with it, which will make action photography a little more challenging than it should be. Color rendition is accurate though, much more so than the average EVF. Sadly the camera is not equipped with an eye-lever sensor, so you'll need to toggle the display button in order to swap between the EVF and LCD.
One of the SX50's coolest new features is called Framing Assist, and this arrives in the form of two new buttons on the left side of the lens barrel, one for "seek" and one for "lock." Seek simply zooms back out for a moment to give the shooter a chance to reorient themselves, but lock is a stabilization feature. The idea is to use image stabilization to keep the frame locked onto a certain subject, regardless of any shake or drift on the user's part.
It does work. There is a slight "tug," which you may notice after experimenting with the feature for a short time, but mostly it just feels like swapping back and forth between "standard" and "active" stabilization which, given the convenience of the new button, isn't really a bad thing either.