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Tony Britton Dec 9, 2013 10:51 PM

Canon SX40 & SX50 New Member

I just joined today. I own and enjoy using the Canon SX40 & SX50. I mostly photograph birds & wildlife and have a few galleries with many of my favorite images captured with these excellent cameras. The galleries titled "Canon SX50 HS" and "Strictly for The Birds" are two galleries that contain many examples of my work from these cameras that I hope you'll enjoy viewing.

Take care,


SIMON40 Dec 10, 2013 10:58 AM

I'd be interested to know how the two compare- aside from the extra zoom.
Does the IS cope with the extra zoom..? Is the AF as good/better..? Does the slower aperture make any real difference..?

Some great work there Tony- and with all due respect, proving that exotic equipment is not required for great shots...
Is the H-5 still in use...? How do you find the G11..? :)

Tony Britton Dec 10, 2013 10:19 PM

Hello SIMON40
Thanks for taking the time to look & comment. Bear in mind that I don't have much of a deep technical understanding of how my cameras operate with regard to f-stops and the like, but I'll do my best to share what I've discovered through trial & error, and practice!

Compared to the SX40, the SX50 is so much more responsive and I've experienced no between shot lag that was such a major liability with SX40. The SX50 locks focus so incredibly fast even in the low-light situations I've encountered, that it's really a night & day difference. I haven't yet used the SX50 indoors.

The image stabilization is superb even toward the long end or at maximum zoom. Please look at the last image on the last page of my SX50 gallery. That night heron was photographed hand-held, (all my bird & wildlife photos were taken hand-held) at maximum zoom. I do not sharpen my photos in post, only typically using a one-click "Auto Contrast" correction if I feel I need to. But as far as resolution at maximum zoom is concerned, this is a good example.

I shoot all of my bird & wildlife photos, especially with the SX40 & SX50 nearly exclusively in Shutter Priority Mode because I believe that using as high a shutter speed as possible greatly helps to reduce or eliminate any chance of hand-held "camera" shake especially with these monster zooms. This strategy combined with the excellent image-stabilization of the camera, I believe, lends my images that extra bit of noticeable sharpness. It's really a preference to shoot in this mode and I'm sure the camera would do quite well shooting in the other modes, as well.

In Shutter Priority mode at least two ways I control the lightness or darkness in the image is by means of exposure compensation and/or varying the ISO setting. The SX50 allows so much more control over these two settings. Incidentally, I'm a heavy user of and believer in factoring in exposure compensation adjustments for each and every shot I take. Some of these smaller sensor point-and-shoot cameras tend to overexpose the image. To well, compensate, and especially in conditions of very bright sunshine I nearly always decrease the exposure compensation to a value near the -1.3 to -1.0 or even lower ranges. I especially like a "darker" quality in my photographs and this is helps me to achieve this.

I really enjoyed the Sony DSC-H5 and gave it to my nephew when I bought the SX40. I bought the G11 for one reason only! Macro! It's a great overall camera, but the macro mode is astounding!

I hope some of this information proves helpful.

Take care,


SIMON40 Dec 11, 2013 4:04 AM

Thanks for that Tony...
I had an SX40 some time ago, and found it to be a really good camera- and it sounds like the "50" has improved several areas..! :)

rstone Dec 29, 2013 11:24 PM


Originally Posted by Tony Britton (Post 1363557)
That night heron was photographed hand-held, (all my bird & wildlife photos were taken hand-held) at maximum zoom.

Tony, are you saying that photo was taken HH at 1200mm (equivalent).. If so, would you mind sharing shutter speed, ISO and aperture? I'm having a hard time fathoming this..

SIMON40 Dec 30, 2013 12:34 PM

rstone... if you click on an image in the gallery,then click the little "i" logo bottom right of pic,you'll have the shooting info... :)

Tony Britton Jan 2, 2014 12:23 AM

Shutter Speed reply
Hello rstone,

Thanks also to SIMON40 for the information on how to access my camera settings. I believe you're taking about my photo of the juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron. The shutter speed was 1/500. On SmugMug, anything that indicates a focal length of 215mm is maximum zoom on the SX50. Every shot in this gallery was taken hand-held.

Here's a current copy of my preferred SX50 settings, so far:

“Recording Pixel Setting" (Image Size) is set to "L" for LARGE 12M 4000x3000 & "Compression Ratio" (Image Quality) is set to "SUPERFINE Jpeg." I use Continuous Auto-Focus, Auto-Focus Frame: FlexiZone, Center-Weighted-Average Metering, Spot AE is set to Center. I stay as close to ISO 80 or 100 as possible, although regarding the preservation of fine detail ISO 200 has also provided excellent results. I really like the results I get bumping things up to ISO 100 especially when approaching maximum zoom. High ISO NR is set to "Standard" and I NEVER use AUTO ISO. Image Stabilization is set to: Continuous, and I select the appropriate white-balance PRESET icon for the particular weather condition, and I never use the "AWB" preset icon. I prefer to shoot using Burst Mode. Since I DO NOT use "Custom Colors," settings regarding Sharpness, Contrast, and Saturation remain at their Default (ZERO) points, so therefore, I have not pressed any buttons to increase these values beyond their factory defaults. I do not use the Shadow or iContrast features. I shoot all my photographs via the LCD which remains at the factory default brightness. This should cover most of the main settings I use and I'll have to dig deeper into the menus to see if there are some new settings or features in the SX50 I haven't noticed yet that differ from my SX40 settings and will let you and the other members know if that's the case.

I believe three main factors have helped me get the type of images I'm very happy with. 1. Shooting primarily in Shutter Priority Mode. 2. Adjusting Exposure Compensation values for each and every shot. 3. Using Center-Weighted-Average Metering.

For razor sharp, hand-held photos especially at or near maximum zoom, it's helped me immensely to shoot in Shutter Priority Mode. I can increase the shutter speed to very high values and by doing so, greatly reduce hand-held camera shake. Along with the excellent image-stabilization performance of the camera, this combination (fast shutter speed & image-stabilization) gives my photos that extra bit of clarity that people often comment on. Have you tried pressing the Framing Assist-Lock button on the camera (page 57 of the manual) while composing a shot? It's very effective, as well.

Also, I'm a heavy user of the "Exposure Compensation" features this camera has to offer and this allows me to effectively control the level of lightness or darkness I want in the final image while shooting in Shutter Priority Mode and is a good strategy before I'm forced to increase the ISO level thereby helping to keep noise levels to a minimum. In Shutter Priority Mode the camera automatically selects the aperture value. While Aperture Priority Mode is an excellent way to get great photos with this camera, I mostly focus on single subjects in my photography, like birds, so depth of field isn't as important to me. I specifically set an exposure compensation value for every shot I take. Although the values might change slightly from shot to shot, and depend on the amount of bright sunlight striking the subject, they're usually in the minus range of say, -1.3 or much lower in some cases on bright sunny days. This is critical to the style and "look" of what I want in an image. I prefer a slightly "darker tone" in my images and along with keeping the ISO values as close to ISO 80 or ISO 100 as possible, this is how I achieve images with such deep and rich color chiefly because I'm preventing the camera from producing an overexposed image. That's how I get nice white feather detail in my egret shots. Besides minimizing the challenge of not overexposing the white feathers of egrets, the general results simply look more dramatic and naturally sharper, in my opinion. In post-processing the only "correction" I ever really need to make is a one-click "Auto Contrast" in Photoshop Elements. Each image on my website will display the actual settings used for that particular photo and is a good way to see the shutter speeds and the exposure compensation settings that were used, as well. Smugmug often incorrectly states the shooting mode as "Manual" but I rarely use this mode. Better than 95% of my bird & wildlife photos were taken using Shutter Priority Mode. Finally, I like the results I get using Center-Weighted- Average Metering.

To be sure, I've gotten excellent results shooting in Aperture Priority Mode & Manual Mode it's just I know the behavior of my SX40 and nearly now with the SX50 that within seconds I know where I want to be setting wise to get the look I want.

Take care,


rstone Jan 2, 2014 8:58 PM

Simon, thanks for the info. Wasn't aware of that.

Tony, absolutely incredible results from a non DSLR camera, perhaps the best I have ever seen. These shots look like they were taken with a 1DX and 400mm 2.8 lens! So convincing, I just ordered one and hope I can do half as good as you...:D

Tony Britton Jan 3, 2014 6:31 AM

Hello rstone,

Thanks for your generous comments. I really appreciate that!


vIZnquest Aug 10, 2014 11:39 AM

Tony, astounding shots you have taken. Thanks for sharing and making this a real world testimony on how well shots can be taken with these two bridge cameras.

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