Canon 50D vs SX50
The Canon EOS 50D and the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2008 and September 2012. The 50D is a DSLR, while the SX50 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (50D) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX50) sensor. The 50D has a resolution of 15.1 megapixels, whereas the SX50 provides 12 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 50D and the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon 50D and the Canon SX50 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX50 is considerably smaller (32 percent) than the Canon 50D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 50D is splash and dust resistant, while the SX50 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX50 has a lens built in, whereas the 50D is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the 50D and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|2.||Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|3.||Canon 90D||141 mm||105 mm||77 mm||701 g||1300||Y||Aug 2019||1,199|
|4.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|5.||Canon 7D II||149 mm||112 mm||78 mm||910 g||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799|
|6.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|7.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|8.||Canon S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|9.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|10.||Canon SX40||123 mm||92 mm||108 mm||600 g||380||n||Sep 2011||429|
|11.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|12.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|13.||Canon T1i||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|14.||Canon 40D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299|
|15.||Canon 30D||144 mm||106 mm||74 mm||785 g||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399|
|16.||Canon 20D||144 mm||106 mm||72 mm||770 g||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499|
|17.||Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The SX50 was launched at a lower price than the 50D, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 50D features an APS-C sensor and the Canon SX50 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX50 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 5.6. The sensor in the 50D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the SX50 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, the SX50 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 5) than the 50D (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 15.1MP, the 50D offers a higher resolution than the SX50 (12MP), but the 50D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.69μm versus 1.53μm for the SX50) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX50 is a much more recent model (by 4 years) than the 50D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 50D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 50D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23.8 x 15.8 inches or 60.4 x 40.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19 x 12.7 inches or 48.3 x 32.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.8 x 10.6 inches or 40.2 x 26.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX50 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 50D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS are ISO 80 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under review, the 50D provides substantially higher image quality than the SX50, with an overall score that is 16 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|5.||Canon 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The SX50 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 50D does not. The highest resolution format that the SX50 can use is 1080/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the SX50 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), while the 50D has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 50D and Canon SX50 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n|
|2.||Canon SX50||202||n||3.0 / 461||swivel||n||1/2000s||2.2||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon 90D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||11.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon 7D II||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y|
|7.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|8.||Canon S120||none||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||Y||1/2000s||12.1||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon G15||optical||n||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.1||Y||Y|
|10.||Canon SX40||202||n||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/3200s||10.3||Y||Y|
|11.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n|
|12.||Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|13.||Canon T1i||optical||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.4||Y||n|
|14.||Canon 40D||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5||Y||n|
|15.||Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|16.||Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|17.||Panasonic FZ150||202||n||3.0 / 460||swivel||n||1/2000s||12.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the 50D, but is missing on the SX50 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.The SX50 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the 50D does not have a selfie-screen.
The 50D writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the SX50 uses SDXC cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 50D and Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon SX50||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 90D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon 80D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon 7D II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|7.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Canon S120||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Canon G15||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon SX40||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||YES||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 7D||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon T1i||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon 40D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon 30D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Canon 20D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic FZ150||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 50D (unlike the SX50) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 50D and the SX50 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 50D was replaced by the Canon 60D, while the SX50 was followed by the Canon SX60. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 50D and the Canon SX50? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 50D:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.1 vs 12MP) with a 14% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (16 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (2 stops ISO advantage).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 461k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.3 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (800 versus 315) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2008).
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS:
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 5 vs DIGIC 4).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/24p video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 50D requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (123x87mm vs 146x108mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 50D).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the 50D launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 50D emerges as the winner of the contest (14 : 11 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 50D and the Canon SX50 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 50D and the SX50 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|2.||Canon SX50||3/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|3.||Canon 90D||4/5||+||4.5/5||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2019||1,199|
|4.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|5.||Canon 7D II||4.5/5||+||3.5/5||84/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799|
|6.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|7.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|8.||Canon S120||..||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|9.||Canon G15||4/5||+||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|10.||Canon SX40||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2011||429|
|11.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|12.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|13.||Canon T1i||..||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|14.||Canon 40D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,299|
|15.||Canon 30D||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2006||1,399|
|16.||Canon 20D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2004||1,499|
|17.||Panasonic FZ150||3/5||+ +||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Canon 50D vs Canon SX50
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 50D||Canon SX50|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5|
|Launch Date||August 2008||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 1,299||USD 429|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 50D||Canon SX50|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.1 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4752 x 3168 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.69 μm||1.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.53 MP/cm2||42.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 12,800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 4||DIGIC 5|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||63||47|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.8||20.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.4||11.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||696||179|
|Screen Specs||Canon 50D||Canon SX50|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||202k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||461k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 50D||Canon SX50|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||6.3 shutter flaps/s||2.2 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 50D||Canon SX50|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 50D||Canon SX50|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||800 shots per charge||315 shots per charge|
146 x 108 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
123 x 87 x 106 mm
(4.8 x 3.4 x 4.2 in)
|Camera Weight||822 g (29.0 oz)||595 g (21.0 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.