An update on my search for a super-zoom.
Yesterday, my Mother-in-law and I, went to PC World in Worcester to get some hands on time with the various contenders. The camera is for my in-laws who are just casual snappers; they currently have a Canon A120. It is a very basic P&S but it does have a (tiny!) OVF and they have been very pleased with it. The only thing it doesn't provide is much 'range' in terms of telephoto ability.
The store had the Canon SX50 and all of the currently available rivals, even the new Panny with the 60x zoom range. On basic handling the SX50 seemed favourite. It was slightly smaller in the hand, but felt very well built; a real quality feel. (My mother-in-law said it felt like holding a 'real' camera!). The sales assistant was very helpful (once we'd found the one person in store able to talk about the cameras) and offered to power up the cameras so we could really try them out. He needed to charge up the Canon as it had been heavily used that day. There followed a short delay (20 mins) while we shopped else where and the camera battery got some juice. Ten we got to try it out. My mother-in-law really liked the EVF, the zoom range, and the floppy flappy (and therefore reversible) rear LCD. The assistant tried hard to swerve us on to the Sony HX300. We were told all about the wonders of the Carl Zeiss lens and the fabulous video abilities. For my mother-in-law the Canon won out as the Sony was bigger in the hand, didn't feel as well built (funny how these subjective design type issues make a difference isn't it!), and the rear screen didn't reverse. If the camera was for me I may have been swayed by the option on the Sony of using a control ring on the lens for either zooming or focusing (as that feels natural to me) rather than the rocker switch around the shutter button that seems more natural to P&Sers.
PC World had a fairly good store price of £349 (£305 was the best UK Internet price I could find yesterday) and my mother-in-law was so impatient to play with her new toy that she bought it there and then. Canon also have a £40 cash back on that camera at the moment suggesting to me it's probably due for renewal in the near future.
We've had a play with it this morning after the battery charged up. It is a nice little camera. The EVF would drive me mad after using big camera VFs but for my mother-in-law it is fine. Adjusting the VF diopter was fiddled but now it's done unlikely to need to do this again. The only default menu setting I've changed so far is to turn the electronic zoom off. We you've got 50x optical zoom then doubling this again make hand held use very tricky and it's easy to miss that you've gone past the optical limit.
A few more days testing before she returns home. So far so good
Nex 5, Nex 6 (IR), A7M2, A99 and a bunch of lenses.