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Canon SX50 vs Olympus XZ-2

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and the Olympus XZ-2 are two digital cameras that were announced in September 2012. Both the SX50 and the XZ-2 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on a 1/2.3-inch (SX50) and a 1/1.7-inch (XZ-2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 11.8 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
Olympus XZ-2
Canon SX50   Olympus XZ-2
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
12 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor 11.8 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor
1080/24p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 80-6,400 ISO 100-12,800
Electronic viewfinder (202k dots) Viewfinder optional
3.0 LCD, 461k dots 3.0 LCD, 920k dots
Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting touchscreen
2.2 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Lens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
315 shots per battery charge340 shots per battery charge
123 x 87 x 106 mm, 595 g 113 x 65 x 48 mm, 346 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and the Olympus XZ-2? 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 physical size and weight of the Canon SX50 and the Olympus XZ-2 are illustrated 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon SX50 vs Olympus XZ-2
Compare SX50 versus XZ-2 top
Comparison SX50 or XZ-2 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus XZ-2 is considerably smaller (31 percent) than the Canon SX50. Moreover, the XZ-2 is substantially lighter (42 percent) than the SX50. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the SX50 nor the XZ-2 are weather-sealed.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 SX50 123 mm 87 mm 106 mm 595 g 315 n Sep 2012 429i
2.
 
Olympus XZ-2 113 mm 65 mm 48 mm 346 g 340 n Sep 2012 599i
3.
 
Canon SX60 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549i
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 449i
6.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799i
7.
 
Canon G15 107 mm 76 mm 40 mm 352 g 350 n Sep 2012 499i
8.
 
Canon SX40 123 mm 92 mm 108 mm 600 g 380 n Sep 2011 429i
9.
 
Canon 1100D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
10.
 
Canon G12 112 mm 76 mm 48 mm 401 g 370 n Sep 2010 499i
11.
 
Olympus Stylus 1 116 mm 87 mm 57 mm 402 g 410 n Oct 2013 699i
12.
 
Olympus E-PL2 114 mm 72 mm 42 mm 362 g 280 n Jan 2011 599i
13.
 
Olympus E-PL3 110 mm 64 mm 37 mm 313 g 300 n Jun 2011 599i
14.
 
Olympus XZ-1 111 mm 65 mm 42 mm 275 g 320 n Jan 2011 499i
15.
 
Panasonic LX7 111 mm 68 mm 46 mm 298 g 330 n Jul 2012 499i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150 124 mm 82 mm 92 mm 528 g 410 n Aug 2011 499i
17.
 
Pentax MX-1 122 mm 61 mm 51 mm 391 g 290 n Jan 2013 499i
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 markedly lower price (by 28 percent) than the XZ-2, which puts it into a different market segment. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 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 Olympus XZ-2 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the XZ-2 is 54 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 4.4. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Canon SX50 and Olympus XZ-2 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon SX50 offers a higher resolution of 12 megapixels, compared with 11.8 MP of the Olympus XZ-2. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.53μm versus 1.91μm for the XZ-2). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus XZ-2 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (no boost).

SX50 versus XZ-2 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. 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 SX50 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p20.311.217947
2.
 
Olympus XZ-2 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.411.321649
3.
 
Canon SX60 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739
4.
 
Canon G16 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.011.723054
5.
 
Canon S120 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656
6.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
7.
 
Canon G15 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/24p19.911.516546
8.
 
Canon SX40 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/24p........
9.
 
Canon 1100D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
10.
 
Canon G12 1/1.7 10.0 3648 2736720/24p20.411.216147
11.
 
Olympus Stylus 1 1/1.7 11.8 3968 29761080/30p20.711.617951
12.
 
Olympus E-PL2 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.410.257355
13.
 
Olympus E-PL3 Four Thirds 12.2 4032 30241080/60i20.910.349952
14.
 
Olympus XZ-1 1/1.7 10.1 3664 2752720/30p18.810.411734
15.
 
Panasonic LX7 1/1.7 10.0 3648 27361080/60p20.711.714750
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150 1/2.3 12.0 4000 30001080/60p19.410.913240
17.
 
Pentax MX-1 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/30p20.411.320849

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the XZ-2 provides a faster frame rate than the SX50. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/24p.

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), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the XZ-2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the XZ-2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon SX50 and Olympus XZ-2 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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon SX50202 n3.0 / 461 swivel n 1/2000s 2.2 Y Y
2.
 
Olympus XZ-2optional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon SX60922 n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/2000s 6.4 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G16optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.2 Y Y
5.
 
Canon S120none n3.0 / 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y
6.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/4000s 1.9 Y Y
7.
 
Canon G15optical n3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/4000s 2.1 Y Y
8.
 
Canon SX40202 n2.7 / 230 swivel n 1/3200s 10.3 Y Y
9.
 
Canon 1100Doptical n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Canon G12optical n2.8 / 461 swivel n 1/4000s 1.1 Y Y
11.
 
Olympus Stylus 11440 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 7.0 Y Y
12.
 
Olympus E-PL2optional n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
13.
 
Olympus E-PL3optional n3.0 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5 n Y
14.
 
Olympus XZ-1optional n3.0 / 614 fixed n 1/2000s 2.0 Y Y
15.
 
Panasonic LX7optional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150202 n3.0 / 460 swivel n 1/2000s 12.0 Y Y
17.
 
Pentax MX-1none n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/8000s 1.0 Y Y

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The XZ-2 has a touchscreen, while the SX50 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

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 XZ-2 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Olympus XZ-2 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Both the SX50 and the XZ-2 have zoom lenses built in. The SX50 has a 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 optic and the XZ-2 offers a 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Canon provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the Olympus. The XZ-2 offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the SX50 and the XZ-2 write their files to 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 SX50 HS and Olympus XZ-2 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 SX50Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Olympus XZ-2Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon SX60Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon G16Ystereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
5.
 
Canon S120-stereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
6.
 
Canon G1 XYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Canon G15Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon SX40Ystereo / mono--YES2.0---
9.
 
Canon 1100DYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon G12Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Olympus Stylus 1Ystereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
12.
 
Olympus E-PL2Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-PL3Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
14.
 
Olympus XZ-1Ymono / ---mini2.0---
15.
 
Panasonic LX7Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic FZ150Ystereo / ---mini2.0---
17.
 
Pentax MX-1-stereo / mono--mini2.0---

Both the SX50 and the XZ-2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The SX50 was replaced by the Canon SX60, while the XZ-2 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Olympus websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon SX50 better than the Olympus XZ-2 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS:

  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • 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.
  • 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).

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Advantages of the Olympus XZ-2:

  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/24p).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 461k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 2.2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/3.4).
  • More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 123x87mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 249g or 42 percent) and is thus easier to take along.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the XZ-2 emerges as the winner of the match-up (8 : 6 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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.

SX50 06:08 XZ-2

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon SX50 and the Olympus XZ-2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the SX50 or the XZ-2. 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.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 SX503/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 429i
2.
 
Olympus XZ-24/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 599i
3.
 
Canon SX603/5+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2014 549i
4.
 
Canon G164/5+....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 549 i
5.
 
Canon S120..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 449i
6.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+..76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799i
7.
 
Canon G154/5+..76/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 499i
8.
 
Canon SX40..+....4.5/54/5 Sep 2011 429i
9.
 
Canon 1100D..80/100..69/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
10.
 
Canon G124/5+..73/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2010 499i
11.
 
Olympus Stylus 1..+ +....4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 699i
12.
 
Olympus E-PL23/583/100..71/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 599i
13.
 
Olympus E-PL33/5+ +..72/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599i
14.
 
Olympus XZ-14/5....74/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2011 499i
15.
 
Panasonic LX73/5+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2012 499i
16.
 
Panasonic FZ1503/5+ +..76/1004/54.5/5 Aug 2011 499i
17.
 
Pentax MX-13/5....74/1004/54/5 Jan 2013 499i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon SX50:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus XZ-2:
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. 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 SX50 vs Olympus XZ-2

    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 Olympus XZ-2
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5
    Launch Date September 2012 September 2012
    Launch Price USD 429 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon SX50 Olympus XZ-2
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format 1/2.3" Sensor 1/1.7" Sensor
    Sensor Size 6.17 x 4.55 mm 7.6 x 5.7 mm
    Sensor Area 28.0735 mm2 43.32 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 7.7 mm 9.5 mm
    Crop Factor 5.6x 4.4x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels 11.8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels 3968 x 2976 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 1.53 μm 1.91 μm
    Pixel Density 42.74 MP/cm2 27.26 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/24p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 80 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 5 TruePic VI
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 47 49
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 20.3 20.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 179 216
    Screen Specs Canon SX50 Olympus XZ-2
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Viewfinder optional
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Resolution 202k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 461k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon SX50 Olympus XZ-2
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 2.2 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationLens-based stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon SX50 Olympus XZ-2
    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 Olympus XZ-2
    Battery Type NB-10L Li-90B
    Battery Life (CIPA)315 shots per charge340 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 123 x 87 x 106 mm
    (4.8 x 3.4 x 4.2 in)
    113 x 65 x 48 mm
    (4.4 x 2.6 x 1.9 in)
    Camera Weight 595 g (21.0 oz) 346 g (12.2 oz)

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