The Canon Powershot SX210 IS offers a step up from the standard compact, providing a 14x optical zoom and some great features.
Look and feel
The camera weighs about 215 grams, heavier than a standard compact, but understandable considering the length of the lens. It’s also quite slim for what it offers.
Design-wise, it looks pretty good. The front and back of the camera are either black, beige or purple, depending on the model you buy, and the edges are curved, slightly concaved and silver.
Its 3-inch widescreen looks well and is large enough to show the quality of the image. It has the fairly standard Canon camera layout. At the top, there’s the on button, the zoom and the shutter release button.
At the back, there’s a dial for switching to different modes, a record button to film straight to video, the playback button and the menu and display buttons. The navigation function works as both a scrolling wheel and traditional buttons, providing choice for whichever is your preference.
While the design works well overall, there were two issues I had with it. First, the flash is placed on the top left-hand corner and pops up when you turn it on. However, I naturally place my finger on this corner, which prevented it from popping up at times when I turned it on, which got annoying.
The other issue was the zoom function which, as opposed to a circular wheel, is a smaller toggle from left to right to zoom in and out. It didn’t seem intuitive and felt a bit small and awkward to use.
The 14x optical zoom is pretty impressive, though somewhat soft when zooming right in. The image quality is extremely high – though at 14 megapixels, I was expecting it to be. Small details within each shot look quite crisp and clear.
The colours of the photos are quite accurate, if just a little bit saturated, but there are several different colour modes to toggle through. Its wide-angle lens works great for landscape shots, capturing a lot of detail.
Canon’s Image Stabilisation technology is effective. It reduces blur incredibly well, even when I deliberately shook my hands while taking the image.
There are also several modes on the camera, too, suiting different circumstances and the type of camera owner. Manual mode offers a huge amount of settings to adjust for experienced camera users. On the other end of the spectrum, easy mode eliminates complexity for new users.
Other settings include portrait, landscape, kids and pets and indoor shooting. There’s a mode that prioritises the shutter speed and a mode that focuses on the aperture. All are very useful, but one of the most interesting features is the Smart Shutter mode, which detects when you smile and takes the picture automatically.
It’s highly responsive, taking the shot when smiling slightly or broadly. It may not be for everyone, but it’s a lot of fun to show off.
This camera offer 720p HD video with stereo sound. It looks quite good onscreen – the wide display works especially well for this mode.
The quality of the video is superb – bright and sharp, making it a great camera for filming special events. The Image Stabilisation also prevents blurred video while moving it around.
However, many of the effects from the photo mode can’t be used here, which is a pity, though there are different colour modes to flick through, too.
The Canon Powershot SX210 IS is a great device for those who want to go beyond compact cameras without approaching the more professional DSLR territory. Its settings are varied enough to appeal to those who are a dab hand at photography and its easy and auto modes work well for beginners to break themselves in and wish to learn more about cameras.
The Canon Powershot SX210 IS costs €319 and is available now at leading camera retailers.