Canon SX210 IS
The Canon Powershot SX210 IS is available from Amazon UK.

We’ve just published our review of the new Canon Powershot SX210 IS (shown at Focus on Imaging) – the camera features a 14.1 megapixel sensor, a wide-angle 14x optical zoom lens (28 – 392mm), Optical Image Stabilizer, 3.0″ Widescreen LCD, HD movies with stereo sound, HDMI, Smart Auto, Face Detection, Smart Flash Exposure, i-Contrast, DIGIC 4, Servo AF/AE, Manual Control, Creative shooting modes, and Smart Shutter. The camera is available in black, gold and pink/purple for £260 (also available with £30 Cashback from Canon until the 30/06/2010!)

Canon intro: “The PowerShot SX210 IS combines compact, take-anywhere proportions with a wide 28mm Canon lens, perfect for capturing landscapes or group shots. A 14x optical zoom lets you fill the frame with distant subjects, while the 4-stop optical Image Stabilizer prevents image blur due to camera shake throughout the long zoom range.”

View our Canon Powershot SX210 IS Sample Photos
Read our Canon Powershot SX210 IS Review

Canon Powershot SX210 IS – Digital Camera Review
Review Date: 17/05/2010
Rating: Recommended,
Author: Joshua Waller

Canon SX210 IS

Specifications / Features:
14.1 Megapixel sensor
14x Optical zoom lens (wide-angle 28mm-392mm, F3.1-5.9)
3″ Wide LCD Screen (16:9) 230k pixels
Smart Auto, Scene Detection Technology
Smart Flash Exposure (FE)
Face Detection, Smile shutter
Intelligent Contrast Correction
HD Movie with Stereo Sound, 720p, HDMI out
DIGIC 4 & Servo AF/AE
Manual Control, Manual Focus
ISO: AUTO, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
IS: Optical Image Stabilisation
Macro: 5cm
Shooting / Scene modes: Auto*, Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual, Easy*, Portrait, Landscape, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Smart Shutter (Smile, Wink Self-Timer, FaceSelf-Timer), Low Light (3.5MP), Color Accent, Color Swap, Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Beach, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Stitch Assist, Movie, *with Scene Detection Technology and Motion Detection Technology
Image sizes available: L 14mp, M1 9mp, M2 5mp, M3 2mp, S VGA, Widescreen (16:9) 9mp 4320×2432
Histogram: Playback only.
Exposure bracketing: No
Optical viewfinder: No
Manual WB: Yes
Battery: Li-ion battery
Built in memory: None
Memory Storage: SD/SDHC
Size / Weight: 105.8 x 59.3 x 31.9mm, 215g

Canon SX210 IS

Box contents: Digital Camera, Wrist strap, Battery charger, Lithium Ion Battery (NB-5L), AV Cable, USB cable, CD-ROM (Software).

Box contents / Memory Cards: The box contents are fairly typical, there is no memory included, and the manual is on CD, with only a quick start manual provided in the box. You’ll also need to look at getting a camera case (such as the Lowepro Rezo 30 or 20), and a screen protector is recommended. A large SD/SDHC memory card is highly recommended – especially if you plan on recording long videos – and you would be well advised to buy a Class 6 card to get optimium performance out of the camera – view our guide to digital camera memory cards.

Canon SX210 IS

Battery Life: The camera managed to take 260 shots before the battery went flat – which amusingly is the exact number the camera is rated at being able to take according to CIPA / Canon testing. This is quite good for a compact camera – but as the camera uses a lithium ion battery it’s recommended you buy a backup battery if you’re away from somewhere you can charge the camera battery.

Speed: Tested with a Class 6 SDHC card, the camera is quick to switch on and take the first shot in 2.3 seconds (start up image off). Continuous shooting is a little slow at 1.3 seconds between shots (without flash), and with flash there’s 2.6 seconds between shots. Single shot to shot time takes 2.4 seconds (without flash) and 3.8 seconds with flash on. Focus is quite quick at Around 0.4 seconds at wide-angle, and the shutter response is around 0.1 seconds which is good. Overall the speed is quite good, however the shot to shot time and continuous shooting was a little slow, and it would have been nice if this was quicker.

Canon SX210 IS

Ease of Use / Menu: The camera is easy to use, with a clear and well laid out menu, typical of Canon cameras, the scroll wheel is intuitive and easy to use, and the red video button can be set as a custom function button (default is record movie, and the other options are: face select, ISO, WB, Custom White Balance, Servo AF, Digital Tele Converter, Red-eye correction, i-Contrast, Display overview, Display off, and Not assigned). The AUTO mode is called “Smart AUTO” and will automatically choose the best shooting mode depending on subject, for example, switching to macro mode when the subject is close to the camera, or portrait for pictures of people. There’s also built in hints and tips.

Canon SX210 IS

Ergonomics and buttons: The camera is a little bit slippery and there is very little in the way of anything to hold on to. There’s nothing on the front to hold on to, and the back is dominated by the large screen and controls, meaning that it’s best to hold the camera with two hands, and use the wrist strap. However, if you do use two hands to hold the camera, then you can end up stopping the flash from opening. The camera flash pops up automatically when switch the camera on, and pops down again when you switch the camera off whether you want to use it or not – thankfully you can open and close it manually as well. The zoom control is very small, but works well offering fairly pointed edges so that you can control the zoom well – the camera has two zoom speeds: slow and fast. The 4-way scroll wheel lets you set flash, focus, exposure compensation, and self-timer although it would be nice if it was labelled. The mode dial is quite stiff and is the natural place to place your thumb when using the camera with one hand, although personally I would have preferred there to be a rubber grip there instead, and the mode dial located elsewhere (or covered?). The buttons are good size on the back and the power button is nicely recessed so that you don’t accidentally switch it on and off.

Canon SX210 IS

Image Quality: The camera has a tendency to overexpose (-1/3 or -2/3 exposure compensation recommended). Colour is often excellent with bright saturated natural looking colours and skin tones, and the Vivid mode produces bright punchy images. Detail can be very good in bright conditions, when low ISO settings are used, however it’s best not to view images at 100% on screen as you could end up disappointed with the image quality as images are occasionally soft. (Who needs 14 megapixels anyway, if photos only ever end up on Facebook or printed at a maximum of A4? Remember when all you needed was a 4 or 5 megapixel camera for A4 prints?)

Canon SX210 IS

Noise / IQ Issues? As mentioned elsewhere, purple fringing / chromatic aberation was noticeable and higher than average compared to similar cameras – as shown in the 100% view below, which is taken from the top left of the image above. Noise was occassionally an issue with this camera, particularly if the ISO setting went upto ISO400 or above, as detail began to disappear very quickly. Therefore it’s probably best to stick to ISO200, 100 or 80 for the most detail, and best results. ISO1600 is probably best avoided all-together.

Canon SX210 IS

Video: Stereo sound, HD 720p (1280×720), 30fps, My colours and White Balance options are available (including custom). You can also select VGA and 320×240 video at 30fps. Optical image stabilisation appears to be active when recording, and optical zoom is available although it zooms slowly, and some noise is picked up by the microphones.

Anythink else interesting? Available in other colours, and with a £30 Canon Cashback until the end of June 2010. Date stamp can be used on any size image.


Easyjet Flight - 200mm Equiv.

Image Quality: Overall the image quality is generally quite good but I expected slightly better image quality from a Canon camera – particularly with regards to vignetting at full optical zoom and purple fringing is higher than I like. A they say less is often more – and I feel that this camera could have been better by using a 10 or 12 megapixel sensor. Noise, vignetting and chromatic aberrations are a problem, and strong noise control often reduces the level of detail when the ISO is increased above ISO400. Optical image stabilisation and the intelligent / smart AUTO mode(s) help get good results – and as long as you don’t plan on viewing the photos at 100% or printing large A3 sized prints then most people would be happy with the image quality the camera provides. Colour, saturation, white balance, focus and exposure were generally very good although it helps to set exposure compensation to -1/3 or more for punchier images. 7.5/10

Everything else (the camera as a whole): The camera is quick to switch on, although the camera occasionally felt a little bit slow with a slow continuous shooting mode, and shot to shot time. The camera has an impressive HD video mode. Some kind of hand-grip would be very helpful, and it would be better if it was quicker – it’s a shame it doesn’t feature a high speed 10 megapixel CMOS sensor such as the one featured in the Ricoh CX3 (5fps), Sony Cybershot HX5 (10fps) and Casio FH100 (40fps @ 9mp). The SX210 IS lens has one of the longest telephoto reaches available in a “pocket-zoom” camera zooming all the way from 28mm to 392mm! The only other compact camera with more optical zoom is the Samsung WB600 – and that features a wider end zooming from 24mm to 360mm. 9/10

Value for Money: The Canon Powershot SX210 IS is at the more expensive end of the market, priced at £260, but with a £30 cashback offer (available till end of June 2010) it makes the camera more competitive with the other cameras available. It is priced in the same region as the Casio Exilim FH100, and Panasonic Lumix TZ10, it’s more expensive than the Samsung WB600, Panasonic Lumix TZ8, Nikon Coolpix S8000, Olympus Mju 9010, Sony Cybershot H55, Casio Exilim FH10, Canon Powershot SX120 IS, and slightly cheaper than the Ricoh CX3 and Sony Cybershot HX5. 7.5/10

DigiCamReview RecommendedConclusion: The Canon Powershot SX210 IS has an impressive zoom range, one of the longest reaches available at 14x optical zoom – zooming all the way to the equivalent of 392mm – normally this level of optical zoom comes in the form of an SLR-style ultra zoom. Instead you can fit this camera in your pocket! The camera also features a large screen, impressive HD video with stereo sound that lets you use optical zoom, and smart AUTO mode. However there are always compromises made in some areas, the full optical zoom shows vignetting, the high megapixel sensor features noticable noise, and the compact size means it’s difficult to hold at all times.

Overall the camera is very appealing even with these downsides, and the positives outweigh the negatives especially considering the small size of the camera, and the Canon Powershot SX210 IS can produce some pleasing photos, and is Recommended!

Canon Powershot SX210 IS Rating: Recommended (8/10)
Check for the latest prices on Amazon UK

What I Like:
– Compact and stylish body, available in Black, Gold, Pink/Purple
– Impressively large 14x optical zoom range considering size (28mm – 392mm)
– Large 3″ screen (it’s 16:9 so usable area for 4:3 photos is more like 6.25cm or 2.46″)
– Optical zoom (and sound!) available while recording videos
– Excellent video mode with stereo sound, 1280×720 HD videos, 30fps (720p)
– Easy to use menu system and modes
– Excellent colour, good macro mode
– Focus assist lamp

What I Don’t Like:
– Vignetting when using full 14x optical zoom
– Noise (black dots) in some images
– Strong purple fringing / chromatic abberations
– Slow fps, and slightly sluggish shot to shot time
– Only one 16:9 Widescreen photo mode at 9mp
– Auto / Manual pop-up flash may annoy some
– Small zoom control
– No hand grip

View our Canon Powershot SX210 IS Sample Photos
Check for the latest prices on Amazon UK

This review is Copyright (C) Joshua Waller / 2010, and should not be published on any other site without prior permission. (Quotes and fair-use apply, as long as a link is pointed back to this article – thanks!)

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2 Responses to Canon Powershot SX210 IS Review – Zoooom!

  1. Barbara says:

    Hi Josh,

    I found your review very helpful. My husband just bought me this camera and I have been playing with it this past weekend because we have 14 days before we can return it (well, less than that now).

    I do find the flash annoying and I always have my finger on it when I turn the camera on. I should get used to that after a while.

    The biggest problem is that I noticed that when I zoom all the way, the lens keeps moving off the subject; I can’t keep it steady. When I click to take the picture, the motion makes the lens move off my subject. It’s like I can’t keep the camera still enough. My husband thinks I’m crazy. Do you know why this is happening? Do they recommend a sturdy surface or tripod to sit the camera on when zooming this far? Is there another setting I can use to stabilize the zoom?

    I like taking photos of birds and wildlife in my backyard, so I really use the zoom a lot. I’m considering returning the camera because of this. I’m not sure what to do.

    Thank you.

  2. sakis p says:

    hello Barbara !

    When you have a camera with zoom 3x you can keep the camera and you can take good pictures only under good light! If the light is not enough, then you can not take un-moved pictures with 3x zoom!
    Did you ever used binocular? If the binocular is until 8x zoom then you can see something, but if is 10x zoom or more, 12x 15x etc then you can’t keep the binocular steady, you’ll see nothing if you do not use something steady. For this the series binocular have trip mount hole. Exactly the same happen with the digital camera, nobody can keep steady a digital camera with 8x zoom or 14x!
    The reason that I’ll not by this camera final is not about this, but because the bad quality of the image! noise, purple colors, very bad quality in 100% view.
    An other camera with high zoom is the Olympus SP-800UZ with useless 30x zoom and extra low quality of pictures in 30x zoom or less!
    Avoid cameras with bad quality of images, so maybe canon olympus or any other brand they will improve them products 🙂

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