Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 vs Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Comparison

April 23, 2013

Fujifilm SL1000 and Canon SX50 HS superzoom cameras banner

In this article I will be comparing the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 versus Canon Sx50 HS. If you are interested in the HS50EXR, I recommend reading my FinePix HS50EXR vs Canon SX50 HS comparison.  This article will give you a good understanding of the differences between these two ultrazoom cameras.

Camera Size & Design

The first thing that you notice about the camera is its external design.  The size of the camera does play an important factor for many people. The truth is that non of those cameras can be put in your pocket, those are bridge cameras and are much larger than a conventional compact camera.  Both the FujiFilm SL1000 and Canon SX50 HS are much larger than a compact camera (ie. PowerShot SX280 HS), but still smaller than an entry-level DSLR camera (ie. Canon EOS 1100D, Nikon D3200). The reason for this is of course the size of the lens and the Electronic Viewfinder.

Canon SX50 HS and Fujifilm SL1000 ultra zoom cameras

Canon SX50 HS and Fujifilm SL1000 ultra zoom cameras (Front & Rear sides)

What to look for in a superzoom camera when looking at the body design?

  • Ergonomics – some prefer a larger camera size, makes it easier to hold and helps better stabilize the camera when shooting handheld
  • Viewfinder – most of the superzoom cameras utilize an electronic viewfinder. The quality of the viewfinder (size, resolution) is important if you use it to compose your shots
  • Buttons and dials – use for fast access to popular functions and settings that the camera offer, without diving into menus which takes more time, which can cause you to miss a shot
  • Rear LCD – check the resolution, size, whether it’s a touch-screen or not, is it an articulated screen and if so which type of mechanism (ie. fully articulated, tilt only) and its good to know the visibility of the display in bright daylight
  • Connectors – find whether the camera has connectors that you plan to use, for example: 3.5 mm mic connector to connect external stereo microphone, HDMI, USB, hot-shoe (connect an external flash), etc.
  • Lens – does the lens supports manual focus / zoom. Some lenses have rings for manual zoom or/and focus which make it easier to make fine adjustment to the zoom / focus
  • Pop up flash – whether the camera has a pop up flash or not
  • Does the camera has an AF assist lamp
  • Built Quality

Most of those things are easy to spot just by looking at the camera’s design.

Size and ergonomics – The SL1000 is larger than the SX50 HS, which is mostly noticeable in its depth, it’s 1.7 centimeters longer than the SX50 HS. I actually was quite amazed with the size of the SX50 HS, Canon able to make this camera quite compact.

SX50 HS and SL1000 Top View

SX50 HS and SL1000 Top View - size comparison

You can see that the FinePix SL1000 has a longer grip and has more room for the fingers to fit in between the grip and the lens. I have larger hands and I fin the Fuji grip to be more comfortable to hold.  It’s worth mentioning that Canon has improved the grip size over the SX40 HS which was much smaller and has less depth. Furthermore, the SL1000′ grip has covered with a rubberized cover, the SX50HS has a partial anti-slip coating.

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS dimensions: 122.5×87.3×105.5 mm (camera body only, excluding protrusion)
FujiFilm FinePix SL1000 dimensions: 122.7×88.6×122.6 mm (camera body only, excluding protrusion)

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS [595 g] weights 10% (64 grams) less than FujiFilm FinePix SL1000 [659 g] (*inc. batteries and memory card).

Viewfinder – Both cameras have an Electronic Viewfinder. This is not an optical viewfinder. Instead of a glass that reflects the light from a mirror as in reflex cameras, there is a tiny LCD screen inside the viewfinder compartment that streams data from the sensor, so in this case what you see is what you get. You get to see the final image as it will look after you press the shutter button to capture the image.

Not all Electronic viewfinders are the same. The SX50 HS has a 202K-dots resolution and the SL1000 has a 920K-dots resolution EVF. The Fuji’s one is much better than the Canon’s. I always shoot via the viewfinder, make me feel more closer to the subject that I’m shooting, especially when shooting in bright daylight. A higher resolution screen will make the projected image looks sharper. With a lower-res viewfinder you’ll notice the pixels and it’s hard to focus on small subjects and making sure that the subject is in focus. This is something that you certainly consider when choosing between two cameras.

In this case, the Fuji SL1000 wins, hands down.

Rear LCD – The back LCD is also a very important aspect of any digital camera.  The back LCD can be used for various things: checking out focus and sharpness, composing images in Live View or recording videos, browsing through photos and change settings. If the back LCD is a touch screen, it can offer you even more options to capture the image by using the touch user interface.

The Canon PowerShot Sx50 HS LCD is kind of disappointment. It’s ‘only’ 2.8-inch in size and has 461K-dots resolution. This is below the standards (3-inch) and what we are used to see in other cameras. The good news is that it has an articulated LCD that uses a mechanical arm to swivel/tilt the screen. You can even point the screen forward for self-portraits. This is screen is excellent for video shooters as well. You can grab low and high angle shots with ease.

The Fujifilm SL1000 comes with a 3-inch 920K-dot tilting LCD monitor. Take a look at the next image to see the difference..

Fully articulated vs tilting lcd display

Fully articulated vs tilting LCD screen

 

The SX50 HS is much more flexible display. The SL100 can tilt 180° but as you can see that its movement is limited. with the Fuji you get a higher quality and larger screen, but compromise on flexibility.

SX50 for Flexibility, SL1000 for size and resolution.

Buttons – both cameras are designed well. The SL1000 has two buttons at the top for changing exposure and for burst shot, but those can be customized to act as zoom in/out buttons. Both cameras have a top wheel dial for changing the shooting mode and both offer P/S/A/M functionality that allows the photographer up to full manual control over the exposure (M – fully manual, you choose the ISO, shutter speed and aperture).

Canon SX50 HSFujifilm SL1000
Zoom lever (telephoto/wide angle), also used for image magnification and index when viewing images on the LCD
Shutter Button
Mode dial
Flash button
Framing Assist - Lock button (on the lens)
Framing Assist - Seek button (one the lens)
Left, Up, Down, Right buttons and Control dial
Short-cut button (top left size near the EVF), also used for Direct Print
Diopter adjustment dial
Playback button
Power button
Movie button AF Frame selector / single image erase button
Menu button
Macro / Manual focus button
Exposure compensation button
Self timer button
Function / Set button
ISO button
Diopter adjustment control
Zoom control
Shutter button
Exposure compensation button
Burst mode button
On/Off switch
Mode dial
Flash pop-up button
Side lever
Selector button
Display / Back button
EVF/LCD button
Movie recording button,
Playback button

 

Sensor & Lens

The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS uses a 12.1MP 1/2.3-inch BSI-CMOS sensor (6.17 x 4.55 mm). Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 uses a 16.2MP 1/2.3-inch BSI-CMOS sensor (6.17 x 4.55 mm).  Thing to note here is that the SL1000 doesn’t employ Fujifilm’s EXR sensor as found on the HS50EXR camera.  EXR Sensors are uniquely designed by Fujifilm with its own patented color filter array. It utilizes three difference modes (ie. High Sensitivity, Dynamic Range and High resolution) to achieve high quality results depends on the scene (more info about it on fujifilmexr.com).

Both cameras have the same sensors size, but the Canon has less pixels. Less pixels is not a bad things, on the contrary, larger pixels absorb more light photons and result in better image quality overall. The size of the pixel is not the only factor, but it does have a large impact on the final output. That’s why large sensors perform much better in low light and have higher dynamic range and better color accuracy. Both cameras utilize a back-illuminated technology to improve the sensors sensitivity, two times more compare to a conventional CMOS sensor.

At the end of the day, we look at the final image quality. I will talk about the next section when I compare the image quality and high ISO performance of those two cameras.

Both the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 have a 24-1200 mm 50x optical zoom lens with lens-shift image stabilization. This is ridiculous how close you can zoom in with those lenses, and they relatively so small that its astonishing.

The lens is probably the main reason why you want to buy an ultra-zoom camera. The lens has direct impact on the final result, and has a great weight on your photos and videos image quality.

Just for a laugh :) , take a look how the Canon 1200 mm lens mounted on the Canon 5D Mark III looks alongside the SX50 HS and SL1000 (note: the Canon is a prime lens, not a zoom one, but still)

1200mm canon lens size comparison

Canon 1200 mm lens mounted on 5D MKIII near the SX50 and SL1000- LOLz!

Canon PowerShot  SX50 HS – 24-12000 mm (35mm equivalent) f/3.4-6.5 IS (lens-shift image stabilization), Canon optics 
Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 – 24-1200 mm (35mm equivalent) f/ 2.9-6.5 with lens-shift image stabilization, Fujinon Optics

Both cameras have the same 50x optical zoom, a HUGE ZOOM! – this is by far the longest zoom on the market, you can’t get more than that right now. This turns those cameras into a telescope. These are not the only camera that have a 50x optical zoom (e.g. Sony Cyber-shot HX300 has 24-1200 mm 50x optical zoom lens).

The most important thing that I personally want to know is how 50x optical zoom looks like in practice?  How close you can really get to a subject using the full 50x zoom, let’s find out!

50x Optical Zoom Example – Get ready to be blown away!

This is just out of this world. The videos was shot with the Canon SX50 HS. The SX40 HS has a 35x 24-850mm lens, so this is a big difference in favor of the SX50 HS. On both cameras you get both a wide-angle and very high magnification to play with. You can take photos that other photographers just can’t capture due to this huge zoom.

wait, wait.. one example isn’t enough, take a look at this one two, shot with the SX50 HS (full zoom example)

Mind blowing zoom!

I have to admit, I was never so excited about a lens for a long time.

The Fuji lens is faster than the Canon’s when shooting wide-angle shots (f2.9 vs 3.4) but both have the same maximum aperture size at the tele-end (f6.5). This should give a small edge to the Fuji, but this edge could be lost do to the pixel size which is larger on the Canon’s sensor.

So what you can do with that big zoom? – Shoot birds and animals in the wild, shoot a close up shot of the Big Ben’s clock, shoot photos of people from far away, shoot insects without scaring them off, shoot surfers surfing at the beach, etc. The possibilities are just endless. This opens a whole new world of creative possibilities, and that’s what I LOVE about ultra-zoom cameras, you get amazing shots that even many pros can’t take without carrying heavy, bulky and very expensive equipment.

 Image Quality

magnifying glass on image, inspecting qualitySo you wonder what about the image quality. Super zoom lenses are known for their relatively low performance compare to lenses with a smaller zoom factor.  No doubt that companies were able to improve the optical performance over the years, but most of use don’t care about that, we just want to know that we can take high quality images and the lens doesn’t have any critical hit on image quality. Don’t expect the lens to be as sharp as a small zoom camera in all focal lengths though.

I’ve already did my analysis on the Canon SX50 HS when I wrote my Canon SX50 HS vs Fujifilm HS50EXR comparison. I found the image quality to be surprisingly good, especially at high ISO. The SX50 HS can shoot relatively clean images up to ISO 800 (including), quite amazing considering its small sensor size. At 1200 mm the image is a but soft which is expected from such a lens, but still looks very good.  The SX50 HS is an all-around very good performer and its high ISO performance is excellent compare to its competition.

I wasn’t impresses when I saw the HS50 EXR high ISO performance, it was around 1.5EV stops beyond the SX50 HS. I was expecting more than the EXR sensor, even when shooting in high resolution mode. The SL1000 noise levels are very good and up to ISO 400 image is relatively very clean, things start to get more noisy at ISO 800, but still very usable, ISO1600 and above image is much more noisy. Overall very good performance!

The SL1000 has a higher maximum ISO of 12,800 compare to ISO6400 on the Canon. I compared sample images from both cameras at high ISO settings on ephotozine.com and found the SX50 HS to perform better in high ISO. It’s not a big difference, but it’s visible. This stands with the same result that I’ve seen when I compared the HS50 versus the SX50 HS.

I really liked the output of both cameras. Colors just look vibrant and pleases the eye of the viewer. Both cameras can also shoot in RAW file format too.

After observing many other sample images, I came to a conclusion that the SX50 HS high ISO performance is better but both can capture EXCELLENT high quality photos. Also worth mentioning that the Fuji has 3D capture capabilities, the SX50 HS does not.

 Video

Both cameras can record Full HD videos.  The SL1000 record Full HD 1080i videos at 60 frames-per-second, the Canon at 24 frames-per-second (24p). Some people love shooting in 24p, and its more video editing friendly. Both have built-in stereo mic, and both can shoot slow motion videos.

Let’s take a look at two videos, one shot with the SL1000, the other with the SX50 HS.

First is FinePix SL1000 (720p)

Canon SX50 HS

It’s hard to tell which one performs better from the videos I’ve found, but both look very impressive.

 

 Other differences

  • SL1000 has a better built-in flash range (26′ vs 18′)
  • SL1000 has a 30-1/1700 sec shutter speed compare to 15-1/2000 sec of the Canon
  • Battery life is better on the Fuji with 350 shots (CIPA) and Canon 315 shots
  • SL1000 can shoot up to 10 fps in burst mode, Canon can shoot at 2.2 fps, but capable of 13 fps in High-Speed Burst HQ (exposure and focus are locked at the first frame)
  • SX50 HS can shoot macro as close as 0cm, SL1000 starting at 1cm (super macro mode)
  • SL1000 can shoot higher speed movies (480 fps vs 240 fps)
  • SL1000 has in-camera sweep panorama, the SX50 HS offer stitch assistant only, you need to finish the composition in external software
I”ll end my comparison with two excellent videos, on by The Fuji Guys and the other one by DigitalCameraWorld
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4xRHkNMdH4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSUCubBuFro

 

Conclusion

Both the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS and Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 are very impressive ultra-zoom cameras. They both have a very huge 50x optical zoom lens with effective image stabilization mechanism.  If you shoot a lot of images at high ISO, the SX50 HS might be the better pick due to its overall better ISO performance. I can see why Canon has decided to stay with a relatively low resolution, the focus was IQ, and we can see that Canon did smart not going with more pixels.

I am disappointed with the small low-res back LCD and the low-res EVF which is, for me, close to be not usable. It is more flexible in movement, but I overall prefer the EVF and the Back LCD quality of the SL1000. These are two things that might convince people to get the SL1000 over the SX50 HS.

The SX50 HS is blazing fast when it comes to operation and autofocus, but that can be said on the Fuji as well. the both have very fast shuter responce (around ~0.1 sec), the Canon does have a faster full zoom / focus shutter response, but the Fuji has faster shot-to-shot time (almost twice faster than the SX50 HS). In practice, many people find the SL1000 focus to be slower than the SX50 HS.

I love the SL1000 ergonomics, it’s just feels better in the hands (I do have large hands). The rubber coating on the SL1000 does feel good in the hands, gives a secure feel. I also liked the eye-sensor on the SL1000, although very sensitive, still can save on battery life.

It really depends on what features you are looking on your next camera.  Some will love the Fujifilm SL1000 sweep panorama, better ergonomics and better LCD and EVF. Others will love the smaller size factor of the SX50 HS, it’s framing assist features, great high ISO performance and 24p movie  recording. I don’t see big flaws in any of these two cameras. I recommend them both, and I think that its better to understand the differences and see what features you prefer better. I am really impressed with both cameras, image quality wise they are both excellent in good lighting conditions.  You can’t go wrong choosing either, but make sure you understand the differences and choosing the one that fist your shooting style best.

Buy Canon PowerShot SX50 HS from B&h Photo Video here

Buy Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 from B&H Photo Video here

Buy Canon PowerShot SX50 HS from Adorama camera store

Buy Fujifilm FinePix SL1000 from Adorama camera store

 

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  6. Panasonic FZ200 vs Canon SX50 HS Comparison
  7. Canon PowerShot G15 vs G1 X Comparison – High End Compact Cameras
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  • gabi

    Hi, great review. Now I’m going to read the other review Panasonic PZ200 vs Canon SX50.

  • Idan

    Thanks Gabi, you welcome

  • Gordon

    Excellent help in a great review, now considering the Fuji over the Canon. Keep up the good work

  • Jaisson

    Hi what camera could you recomend for plane spotting? At the Airport and that ones that is flying at 35,000 ft? just kidding for this ones i’d need another camera and lens haha

    tks

  • Miguel Gago

    Hi, congratulations for your excellent and detailed reviews!

    When do you expect to review the new Fuji S1?

    Thanks

  • jazz

    excellent info. nothing is perfect. I traded my Nikon p510 in for an SL1000. the EVF on the SL1000 is why i bought it. the noise is high though and much more noticeable at even lower ISO. i found a bit laggy on shot to shot but overall zoom action is much faster than older Nikon. auto focus even indoors on video is very good. but i wish it had manual focus.

    for me this camera handles noise much worse than competitors. however at 260 bucks with hi res evf and screen. incredible value with responsive focus. if noise was less of a problem it would be easily the category winner for value and features. i have yet to try outdoors in sunlight and i expect noise will be much less of a problem if ISO is kept at 100. video i find very good. i am surprised when you say pq is overall similar to canon because in my shots at a gym today i have visible noise even at lower iso 400-600 in fluor lit gym. with the p510 also 16mp no such problem. still trying out and experimenting as i just got it but i am thinking it will be best for video and outdoor shots not so sure about indoor photos like ball game. auto scene mode is frustrating. i would rather pick the one i want. control wheel very sensitive and playback and video buttons feel exactly the same. manual very basic 100 page vs 230 for Nikon. p520 is good although 42x much more responsive than 510 but has same lousy low res evf as 510. Nikon p530 might be a killer.

  • jazz

    also i think that if canon fixes the low quality screen and evf it could be a real killer. i have seen sample video at 200x digital zoom. amazing.

  • jazz

    auto scene mode is frustrating. i would rather pick the one i want…

    oops my mistake. this is available in sp mode. still discovering…

  • jazz

    have decided to keep the sl1000. for $250 its almost got all the features. have to keep it 100-400 iso ideally to minimise noise.

    note about the nikons – they just announced p530 and 600 with super ed glass but same lousy evf. also the p510 and 520 have a serious design glitch. when shooting video the screen goes black for about 1-2 seconds so will mess up the start of yr video every time. serious design flaw.

    canon is set to release sx60 in summer. if they fix evf and lcd. could be the new king

  • jazz

    i returned the fuji. it has good features for the price esp the evf but color smearing noise starts at 200 iso thats tough to swallow. the canon i think is the best 50x choice much faster zoom action and good focusing better umage q. i played around with the canon. much faster zoom and continuous focus than fuji or nikon. have not tried fz 200 but at over 500 for 25x tough choice. altho the canon evf is only 200k dots it is much better than nikon 200k and not a huge diff with fuji i was surprised