SX50 – Shooting RAW

Hi all,

We’ve had our SX50 for about 3 months, and until now all the images we’ve posted have been shot as what we call “detuned” jpegs… where the camera’s jpeg engine is used to render and compress the image using minimized or reduced settings for NR, sharpening, saturation, and contrast. This method is somewhat analogous to shooting RAW, because most of the processing is then done in post rather than in-camera. We have been pleased with the results we get shooting this way with all our cameras, and recommend it to anyone who prefers not to deal with RAW processing for whatever reasons.

I had tried shooting the SX50 in RAW just briefly early on, and my initial efforts yielded somewhat mixed results. There was some additional detail in the RAW files and more latitude for exposure correction. At base ISOs the noise in oof backgrounds was surprisingly slight and easily dealt with, but in-focus subjects were both noiser and more artifacted at the pixel level. It required a fair bit of additional post-processing effort to achieve visible improvements in finished image quality at screen resolutions, when compared to our processed JPEG files. Writing the much larger RAW data files to the memory card also takes a toll on continuous shot to shot performance, so we just returned to shooting JPEG only instead.

I’ve recently revisited shooting RAW with the SX50 and am actively researching software and workflow variations which may allow us to further optimize the value of this feature…
Here are a few recently taken SX50 RAW images which have been converted with Digital Photo Professional (the included Canonware) and finished in Photoshop:

I hope to try using Lightroom, Adobe Camera RAW, and some other applications which support SX50 RAW files, to see if we can develop a workflow and/or results that encourage us to shoot the SX50 RAW more often.

EDIT 3/5/2013 : Some additional RAW samples are now available here:  CR2 Gallery

Stay tuned,



10 thoughts on “SX50 – Shooting RAW

  1. I envy you of the possibility taking photographs of such colorful birds ( here are only mostly sparrows and blackbirds ), but more I envy you of your excellent skill to produce such masterpieces.
    Would you mind testing DOX pro 8, which now has a module for the SX 50 ?

  2. Hi Kenn and Temple,

    I just followed the link in the POTN thread. Great blog you have here and most helpful. It’s simply wonderful how you share your knowledge so generously with everyone else. Kudos to you both.

    Best regards,

  3. Hi Kenn & Temple!
    Great shots with the SX 50. I have been debating the merits of the SX50 compared to other cameras of this type for a while. I’m downsizing my camera inventory, and have been wondering if the SX50 would suit me. From your great shots, I’m now convinced it would. I have a question about having to use a tripod for maxi,un zoom shots ie. 1200mm. Did you use one for your max zoom shots? Another question, do you use a blind?
    Thank you for the great shots.
    Gene Lake

    • Hi Gene, thanks for your comments.

      We follow the developments in all the leading superzoom cameras with great interest, and have owned and used many of several different brands. We also study the best birding images posted around the web from all the various models in this category. Clearly, each has strengths and weaknesses in various applications, and features which will be more or less important to different users.
      The SX50 offers many features that we feel are currently “best in class”. It has the longest reach available, the best pixel-level IQ and in-camera jpeg processing, and its lens-based image stabilization is truly excellent. We shoot it at 1200mm hand-held with slow shutters every day, and are very pleased with the images it captures for us.
      Other leading models variously offer better AF and/or continuous shooting speeds, brighter (but shorter) lenses, larger and higher resolution viewfinders, and variations in size, handling, and other ergonomic features which will also appeal to many users, often making choices difficult. We welcome all such advancements from every manufacturer to encourage competition and continued improvements in all these cameras. For our specific purposes, we would and did choose the SX50 from amongst the current offerings.

      And no, we don’t use a blind, although many birders do get great results this way. You can learn more about our specific birding methods in our series of articles on “The Joys of Backyard Birding”.

      Best luck with whichever camera you choose, and happy birding.


  4. Heya im for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really useful &amp it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me. bcbfcbccdceg

  5. I’m glad I found this site because I am waiting for my sx50 in the mail and typically I wanted the camera just to use as a back up bird identifier with highest ISO possible but after seeing these pictures I will definitely use my C2 with low ISO/shutter and hope to get the odd money shot!! Keep up the good work Kenn and Temple!

  6. Hi Great to read all this. I bought an SX50 late last year and only now thinking about using raw. I’m really happy with it but ready for the next step. I primarily do outdoor nature photography and am fortunate to live on a large pond and see a lot of birds. Really enjoyed reading this and look forward to reading more, thanks !bvn

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