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Canon SX50 vs XSi

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi (labelled Canon 450D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and January 2008. The SX50 is a fixed lens compact, while the XSi is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX50) and an APS-C (XSi) sensor. The SX50 has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the XSi provides 12.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon SX50
versus
Canon XSi
Canon SX50 Canon XSi
Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Canon EF mount lenses
12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/24p Video no Video
ISO 80-6,400 ISO 100-1,600
Electronic viewfinder (202k dots) Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 3.0 LCD, 230k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
2.2 shutter flaps per second 3.5 shutter flaps per second
315 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
123 x 87 x 106 mm, 595 g 129 x 98 x 62 mm, 524 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and the Canon EOS Rebel XSi? 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon SX50 and the Canon XSi is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

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

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon XSi is notably larger (18 percent) than the Canon SX50. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX50 nor the XSi are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the SX50 has a lens built in, whereas the XSi 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 XSi and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the SX50 gets 315 shots out of its NB-10L battery, while the XSi can take 500 images on a single charge of its LP-E5 power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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 SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429 i
2.
 
Canon XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799 i
3.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549 i
4.
 
Canon G16 109 mm 76 mm 40 mm 356 g 360 n Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449 i
6.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799 i
7.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499 i
8.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849 i
9.
 
Canon SX40 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 600 g 380 n Sep 2011 429 i
10.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449 i
11.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449 i
12.
 
Canon G12 112 mm 76 mm 48 mm 401 g 370 n Sep 2010 499 i
13.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799 i
14.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299 i
15.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799 i
16.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499 i
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 499 i
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 XSi, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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.

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Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon SX50 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Canon XSi an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the XSi is 1075 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.6. The sensor in the SX50 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the XSi offers a 3:2 aspect.

In terms of chip-set technology, the SX50 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 5) than the XSi (DIGIC 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon SX50 and Canon XSi sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the XSi offers a higher resolution than the SX50 (12MP), but the XSi nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.19μm versus 1.53μm for the SX50) due to its larger sensor. However, the SX50 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 7 months) than the XSi, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel XSi are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

SX50 versus XSi MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the XSi offers substantially better image quality than the SX50 (overall score 14 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV of lower 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.

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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 SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.2179 47
2.
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.8692 61
3.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.8127 39
4.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.7230 54
5.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.9246 56
6.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.8644 60
7.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.5165 46
8.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.2722 62
9.
 
Canon SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p...... ..
10.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.0755 62
11.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.0755 62
12.
 
Canon G12 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.2161 47
13.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.5663 63
14.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.3703 64
15.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.0664 62
16.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.7147 50
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.9132 40

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The SX50 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the XSi does not. The highest resolution format that the SX50 can use is 1080/24p.

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the SX50 has an electronic viewfinder (202k dots), while the XSi 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon SX50, the Canon XSi, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX50202 n 3.0 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
2.
 
Canon XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
3.
 
Canon SX60922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G16optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
5.
 
Canon S120none n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
6.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n 3.0 922 Swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
7.
 
Canon G15optical n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
8.
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon SX40202 n 2.7 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3 Y Y
10.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
11.
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon G12optical n 2.8 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1 Y Y
13.
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
14.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
15.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n 3.0 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
The SX50 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the XSi does not have a selfie-screen.

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

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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 SX50 HS and Canon EOS Rebel XSi 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon SX50Ystereomono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Canon XSiY----mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX60YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G16Ystereomono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Canon S120-stereomono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon G1 XYstereomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon G15Ystereomono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon SX40Ystereomono--YES2.0---
10.
 
Canon 1100DYstereomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon G12Ystereomono--mini2.0---
13.
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
15.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereomono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo---mini2.0---

Both the SX50 and the XSi have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, 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.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon SX50 or the Canon XSi – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS:

  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 5 vs DIGIC 3).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/24p movies.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (461k vs 230k dots).
  • 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 a built-in lens, while the XSi requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (123x87mm vs 129x98mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 7 months of technical progress since the XSi launch.


Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:

  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2 stops ISO advantage).
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.5 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 315) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2008).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the SX50 emerges as the winner of the contest (11 : 9 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

SX50 11:09 XSi

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

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX50 or the XSi. 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon SX503/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429 i
2.
 
Canon XSi..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799 i
3.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549 i
4.
 
Canon G164/5+..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120..+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449 i
6.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799 i
7.
 
Canon G154/5+76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499 i
8.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849 i
9.
 
Canon SX40..+..4.5/54/5 Sep 2011 429 i
10.
 
Canon 1100D..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449 i
11.
 
Canon T3..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449 i
12.
 
Canon G124/5+73/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499 i
13.
 
Canon T1i..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799 i
14.
 
Canon 40D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299 i
15.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799 i
16.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499 i
17.
 
Panasonic FZ1503/5+ +76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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.

Canon SX50:
Check Ebay offers
Canon XSi:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon SX50 vs Canon XSi

    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 SX50 Canon XSi
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2012 January 2008
    Launch Price USD 429 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Canon SX50 Canon XSi
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 22.2 x 14.8 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 328.56 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 26.7 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 1.6x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 4272 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.53 μm 5.19 μm
    Pixel Density 42.74 MP/cm2 3.70 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 5 DIGIC 3
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 47 61
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.3 21.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 10.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 179 692
    Screen Specs Canon SX50 Canon XSi
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX50 Canon XSi
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.2 shutter flaps/s 3.5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX50 Canon XSi
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon SX50 Canon XSi
    Battery Type NB-10L LP-E5
    Battery Life (CIPA)315 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 123 x 87 x 106 mm
    (4.8 x 3.4 x 4.2 in)
    129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    Camera Weight 595 g (21.0 oz) 524 g (18.5 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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