I really enjoyed using my old SX30 and captured some amazing photos with it. When the SX40 came out, the reviews and comments indicated that Canon had made notable improvements in the SX line. But, I couldn't justify getting a new camera so soon. But when the SX50 was released with the longer zoom, I knew that would be my next camera. I did some comparisons with other similar cameras, but jumped for the Canon when Walmart dropped the price. In the end, the two reasons I picked Canon over Nikon and Sony were: 1. My familiarity with Canon SX cameras and 2. That incredible 50X zoom.
I have only used the camera for a few weeks mostly to capture backyard birds and the full moon. When possible, I took the same shots with my old SX30 to make comparisons. The photos have always been better with the SX50... sharper, brighter and better color. I am very pleased so far.
The range of this lens is similar to my SX30 and it provides very good macro shots as well as zoomed shots. I haven't taken enough test shots yet to give a detailed analysis, but the range of this lens is simply amazing. In the dSLR world, you would need to buy several (many) heavy and expensive lenses to get the same range. Without a doubt, the dSLR will deliver much better quality in the photos. But unless you are a pro or a very serious hobbiest, it would be hard to justify the extra expense. And if you do have great dSLR equipment, you can probably justify having an SX50 (or other megazoom) as an everyday carry around camera when you don't want to drag the heavier stuff around.
I seldom take video and haven't tried this feature yet. Sorry. But other reviews I've read think the SX50 is very good at this. I guess there are some great video uses for the 50X lens, but does it make sense to buy this camera for movies when there would be no way to capture sound at a 50X distance? But like I said, I don't do video very often.
The SX50 controls have been shuffled since the SX30. In my opinion, the new design works about the same as the old. It just took me a few days to get used to the new locations. The power button is the one thing that still troubles me. The location is probably better and lowers the chance of accidental on/offs. But, I find that I have to be very deliberate when pushing the button. Several times, I've grabbed the camera, pushed that button and moved the camera to my eye only to see that the camera hadn't turned on. This might be a deliberate design to further prevent the casual button press???
The articulating LCD screen is one of the coolest features of the SX cameras. This makes it possible for you to keep good control of your camera in some very awkward situations... around corners (being sneaky :^), on the ground, over your head, etc. Other than those type of situations, I seldom use the LCD to compose a photo. But I can't imagine having a camera without that feature.
I have only used the flash once, just to make sure it works.
The image stabilization works great... but hand holding this camera at 50X is still an issue. I use tricks (leaning into something, holding the camera on something, etc) for most long shots, but I think I will use a tripod a lot more than I did with the SX30.
If you have always used a point-and-shoot camera, the SX50 is a great way to start using some manual techniques. I've only tinkered a bit with these on the SX50, but have used aperture and shutter priorities quite a bit on the old camera. A big complaint of mine with both cameras is when using manual focus. Ughh. Focusing is a fine tuning function which is almost impossible to do by spinning the control wheel. Luckily, the autofocus works pretty good as long as you can get it to focus on what you want.
Should you buy this camera? The zoom is awesome for wildlife, birds, sporting events, etc... anything that you want to bring up close If those type of photos are low on your priorities, there are many other cameras on the market that will give you excellent photos at half the price. For me, I am VERY happy with the SX50.