Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Digital Camera Review$479.99
Ease of Use
We spent most of our time in Program Auto, and we have a feeling most users will do the same. For complete beginners, or for handing your camera off to a stranger, a fully automatic "green" mode is available, which automates all shooting functions and reduces the complexity of the menu system. Using this mode, all you'll need to remember is to deploy the flash.
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.
We think Canon's menu systems are the best in the business, and the SX50's interface is a classic example of why. Like so many of the company's models, this camera uses both a crisscross quick menu (the "Function" menu), as well as a traditional tab-based main menu. The quick menu houses all the options you'll need to change on the fly, and the software is responsible, legible, and intuitive. In the main menu, you'll find settings that are less commonly changed, but more specific. There's even a customizable tab, which can be easily programmed to display the options most relevant to your photography needs.
The camera ships with a "Getting Started" guide that's useful for rank novices only. The rest of us will need the full length manual, an electronic version of which can be found on an included CD-ROM or on Canon's website. This document offers sufficient detail, and provided us with any missing information we needed for review.