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Canon SX1 vs SX50

The Canon PowerShot SX1 IS and the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2008 and September 2012. Both the SX1 and the SX50 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The SX1 has a resolution of 10 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.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX1
versus
Canon SX50
Canon SX1   Canon SX50
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5
10 MP – 1/2.3" sensor 12 MP – 1/2.3" sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/24p Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 80-6,400
Electronic viewfinder (202k dots) Electronic viewfinder (202k dots)
2.8" LCD – 230k dots 3.0" LCD – 461k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 2.2 shutter flaps per second
128 x 88 x 88 mm, 615 g 123 x 87 x 106 mm, 595 g
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX1 IS 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.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon SX1 and the Canon SX50. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon SX1 vs Canon SX50
Compare SX1 versus SX50 top
Comparison SX1 or SX50 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX50 is notably smaller (5 percent) than the Canon SX1. Moreover, the SX50 is slightly lighter (3 percent) than the SX1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX1 nor the SX50 are weather-sealed.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX1 128 mm 88 mm 88 mm 615 g .. n Sep 2008 599ebay.com
2.
 
Canon SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX70 127 mm 91 mm 117 mm 608 g 325 n Sep 2018 549 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549ebay.com
5.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549ebay.com
6.
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449ebay.com
7.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499ebay.com
8.
 
Canon SX40 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 600 g 380 n Sep 2011 429ebay.com
9.
 
Canon SX20 123 mm 88 mm 87 mm 600 g .. n Aug 2009 399ebay.com
10.
 
Canon SX10 123 mm 88 mm 87 mm 600 g .. n Sep 2008 399ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic FZ300 132 mm 92 mm 117 mm 691 g 380 Y Jul 2015 599 amazon.com
12.
 
Panasonic FZ200 125 mm 87 mm 110 mm 588 g 540 n Jul 2012 599ebay.com
13.
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 499ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 markedly lower price (by 28 percent) than the SX1, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/2.3-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 5.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon SX1 and Canon SX50 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the SX50 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the SX1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 10 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the SX50 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.53μm versus 1.67μm for the SX1). However, it should be noted that the SX50 is much more recent (by 4 years) than the SX1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Canon SX50 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the SX50 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon SX1 are 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm for good quality, 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon PowerShot SX1 IS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS are ISO 80 to ISO 6400 (no boost).

In terms of underlying technology, the SX1 is build around a CMOS sensor, while the SX50 uses a BSI-CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

SX1 versus SX50 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon SX1 1/2.3 10.0 3648 27361080/30p19.010.314435
2.
 
Canon SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
3.
 
Canon SX70 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38884K/30p20.612.1106351
4.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
5.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
6.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
7.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
8.
 
Canon SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.610.940941
9.
 
Canon SX20 1/2.3 12.0 4000 3000720/30p19.210.522537
10.
 
Canon SX10 1/2.3 10.0 3648 2736480/30p19.010.314435
11.
 
Panasonic FZ300 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30004K/30p19.311.09738
12.
 
Panasonic FZ200 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.110.811437
13.
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the SX1 provides a higher frame rate than the SX50. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the SX50 is limited to 1080/24p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The SX1 and the SX50 are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 202k dots. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX1 and Canon SX50 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX1202 n2.8 / 230 swivel n 1/3200s 4.0/s Y Y
2.
 
Canon SX50202 n3.0 / 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2/s Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX702360 n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/2000s 10.0/s Y Y
4.
 
Canon SX60922 n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4/s Y Y
5.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2/s Y Y
6.
 
Canon S120none n3.0 / 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon G15optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1/s Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX40202 n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3/s Y Y
9.
 
Canon SX20202 n2.5 / 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.7/s Y Y
10.
 
Canon SX10202 n2.5 / 230 swivel n 1/3200s 0.7/s Y Y
11.
 
Panasonic FZ3001440 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 12.0/s Y Y
12.
 
Panasonic FZ2001312 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0/s Y Y
13.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0/s Y Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.
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 SX1 does not have a selfie-screen.

Both the SX1 and the SX50 have zoom lenses built in. The SX1 has a 28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 optic and the SX50 offers a 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the SX50 provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the SX1. The SX1 offers the faster maximum aperture.

The SX1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the SX50 uses SDXC cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 PowerShot SX1 IS and Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX1Ystereo / mono--YES2.0---
2.
 
Canon SX50Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX70-stereo / monoY-micro2.0Y-Y
4.
 
Canon SX60Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon S120-stereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
7.
 
Canon G15Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon SX40Ystereo / mono--YES2.0---
9.
 
Canon SX20Ystereo / mono--YES2.0---
10.
 
Canon SX10Ystereo / mono---2.0---
11.
 
Panasonic FZ300Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
12.
 
Panasonic FZ200Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---
13.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo / ---mini2.0---

Both the SX1 and the SX50 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The SX50 was replaced by the Canon SX60, while the SX1 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the SX1 and SX50 can be found, respectively, in the Canon SX1 Manual (free pdf) or the online Canon SX50 Manual.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon SX1 and the Canon SX50? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Canon PowerShot SX1 IS:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/24p).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/3200s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.8 vs f/3.4).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2008).


Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12 vs 10MP), which boosts linear resolution by 10%.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 230k dots).
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (28 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the SX1 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the SX50 emerges as the winner of the match-up (9 : 6 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SX1 06:09 SX50

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX1 and the Canon SX50 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the SX1 and the SX50 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX1..+ +..+..3.5/5 Sep 2008 599ebay.com
2.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429ebay.com
3.
 
Canon SX70..+ +3.5/5..3.5/53.5/5 Sep 2018 549 amazon.com
4.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549ebay.com
5.
 
Canon G164/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549ebay.com
6.
 
Canon S120..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449ebay.com
7.
 
Canon G154/5+..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499ebay.com
8.
 
Canon SX40..+....4.5/54/5 Sep 2011 429ebay.com
9.
 
Canon SX20..+ +..73/100..4/5 Aug 2009 399ebay.com
10.
 
Canon SX10..+ +......4/5 Sep 2008 399ebay.com
11.
 
Panasonic FZ300..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2015 599 amazon.com
12.
 
Panasonic FZ2003/5+ +..80/1004.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599ebay.com
13.
 
Panasonic FZ1503/5+ +..76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon SX1 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon SX1 Canon SX50
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-560mm f/2.8-5.7 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5
    Launch Date September 2008 September 2012
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 429
    Sensor Specs Canon SX1 Canon SX50
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3648 x 2736 pixels 4000 x 3000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.67 μm 1.53 μm
    Pixel Density 35.55 MP/cm2 42.74 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/24p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 80 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 47
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 20.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 179
    Screen Specs Canon SX1 Canon SX50
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots 202k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.8inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 461k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX1 Canon SX50
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 2.2 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX1 Canon SX50
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port YES HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon SX1 Canon SX50
    Battery Type 4xAA NB-10L
    Body Dimensions 128 x 88 x 88 mm
    (5.0 x 3.5 x 3.5 in)
    123 x 87 x 106 mm
    (4.8 x 3.4 x 4.2 in)
    Camera Weight 615 g (21.7 oz) 595 g (21.0 oz)
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    Check SX1 offers at
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    Check SX50 offers at
    ebay.com

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