When we first saw the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS, we did scratch our brains as to whether a 50x optical zoom - which is a 24-1200mm equivalent - crammed into a relatively compact superzoom body could work.

Pocket-lint has gone hands-on with a final production sample of the SX50 HS and we've been swanning around the San Francisco Bay area taking some snaps to test out this superzoom.

The first question on everyone's lips has to be: "Just what does a 1200mm shot look like?" Well, this curious seagull, below, got the full 50x zoom treatment.


Auto exposure is good, the ISO 200 JPEG doesn't look too bad at all despite some noticeable processing that's created more "speckled" edge details, and that blurred background looks great.

But it's the lens that reveals the biggest failing in the form of chromatic aberration. Take a closer look at the 100 per cent crop below and that red fringe to the gull's side is what we're talking about. It's not isolated to this shot either, with blue/purple fringes also rearing their heads in other situations.


Some additional correction could probably help with this, but if you want pristine shots at that sort of zoom length then, although the SX50 HS delivers to a degree, it's certainly not faultless. Not surprising really - a lens of that magnitude has to pull some compromises to be possible at this scale and price point.

The ISO 80-6400 range performs well up to ISO 800 from what we've seen so far. This 50x zoom of the Bay Street sign is an example of the latter sensitivity.


However the top ISO 6400 is awash with colour noise and lacks any true detail, and while ISO 3200 isn't nearly as bad, it is still rather grainy.

Check out the downsized samples and 100 per cent crops in the image gallery at the bottom of the page.

So far we've mixed up various degrees of this PowerShot's zoom range, from wide-angle, to middle zoom and even up close with various subjects.


These are just the first steps in our review process. We'll be using the camera extensively in the coming days and will lift the lid on our full and final Canon PowerShot SX50 HS review at the end of this very week.