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|Product:||Canon Powershot SX500 IS|
Canon Powershot SX500 IS Review - Joshua Waller reviews Canon's latest ultra zoom bridge camera, this time the Canon Powershot SX500 is even more compact than the previous model, yet features a 30x optical zoom lens. Find out how it performs in our review.
The Canon Powershot SX500 IS is Canon's latest ultra zoom bridge camera, yet it is a much smaller camera than other ultra zooms from Canon, and features a wide-angle 30x optical zoom lens equivalent to 24-720mm in 35mm terms. A 16 megapixel sensor, intelligent image stabilisation and creative effects as well as full manual controls should help get high quality shots. Find out how it performs in our review.
A unique feature of the Canon Powershot SX500 IS can be found on the left hand side of the lens barrel, a small zoom button, this lets you quickly zoom out when zoomed in, so that you can locate your subject again, and then go back to the zoomed in position again, Canon call this "Zoom Framing Assist". This is useful with such a long zoom as this camera has, as often you may lose your subject.
The camera has a number of other features that should help get good results, such as intelligent image stabilisation, smart auto mode which can detect 32 scenes, as well as face detection and creative filters. Full manual controls are available as well as 720p video with stereo sound and optical zoom.
- 16.0 megapixel CCD sensor
- 30x optical zoom lens, equivalent to 24-720mm
- 60x ZoomPlus (Digital Zoom)
- Optical image stabilisation
- 3 inch screen, 460k dots
- P / A / S / M modes
- 720p video, with optical zoom
- 0cm macro from the front of the lens
- 195 shot battery life
Handling - The Canon Powershot SX500 is surprisingly small in your hand, with the front grip providing space for just two of your fingers, and another finger above, on the shutter release button when holding it. On the back is a raised dot area to give your thumb a good grip, and the front grip features a textured area, although unfortunately it's not rubber. The camera's build quality is very good with a solid body and a metal tripod mount underneath the camera. Nearly all of the buttons can all be used with just the left hand, although for a better grip two hands are recommended, and you'll need two hands to use the left Frame assist button. The top mode dial and clear labelling makes it easy to switch modes as well as set options. A decent fabric neck-strap is included in the box.
Menus – Built in hints and tips explains each option on the camera. Manual focus is available, as well as flash compensation, and the camera gives an overlay of the most common options making it easy to choose and change settings when you press the Func/Set button. The menu button lets you set additional photo and setup options. In playback there are also playback and print options. You can quickly set exposure compensation, ISO, focus, flash and self-timer using the buttons on the back of the camera making it even easier to set these options without having to go into any menus.
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 195 shots according to CIPA test results, we were able to take just over 400 shots before the battery went flat. This is better than expected, although it may depend on how often you use flash or switch the camera on and off, and if you're away from a charger travelling, then a second battery would be recommended.
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
|Canon SX500 IS||Sony Alpha A37|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.275||0.15|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.35||0.15|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||1.9||0.9|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||2.0||0.5|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||4.0||0.8|
(shots before slow down)
|1.4s||6fps (11 shots)|
|Continuous Shooting - Flash||2.2s||0.7s|
|Continuous Shooting - RAW||N/A||6fps (7 shots)|
Shutter response is good, as is focus speed at wide and telephoto ends of the zoom. Switch on time is good for an ultra zoom camera. Shot to shot and continuous shooting speeds are quite slow especially compared to cameras with high speed shooting modes.
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Canon Powershot SX500 IS Sample Photos
Hall | 1/800 sec | f/4.5 | 6.9 mm | ISO 100
Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/5.0 | 17.6 mm | ISO 100
Mushrooms Macro | 1/1000 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Closest Macro | 1 sec | f/3.4 | 4.3 mm | ISO 200
30x | 1/320 sec | f/5.8 | 129.0 mm | ISO 100
60x ZoomPlus | 1/500 sec | f/5.8 | 129.0 mm | ISO 100
Sample Photos - The camera has a particularly impressive macro mode, with the camera able to focus on subjects directly in front of the lens, although lighting the subject becomes more difficult at this distance. As you zoom in the distance the camera can focus on the subject increases, and at full optical zoom the subject has to be 1.4 metres away. Colours are good and the flash performs well with little to no red-eye in photos.
Canon Powershot SX500 IS Lens test images
Wide | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Mid Zoom | 1/500 sec | f/5.0 | 16.2 mm | ISO 100
Full Zoom | 1/160 sec | f/5.8 | 129.0 mm | ISO 100
Trees | 1/30 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Lens Performance - Image quality is good with the lens performing well in a variety of conditions. Barrel distortion is low when shooting wide-angle, and pincushion distortion is very low when shooting at the telephoto end. There is some purple fringing visible in the shot of the Trees above, as well as noticeable chromatic aberrations in the wide shot of Thoresby hall. ZoomPlus is just another new name for digital zoom, and is best avoided as it does little to bring out any extra detail.
Canon Powershot SX500 IS ISO test images
1/6 sec | f/5.0 | 17.6 mm | ISO 100
1/13 sec | f/5.0 | 17.6 mm | ISO 200
1/25 sec | f/5.0 | 17.6 mm | ISO 400
1/50 sec | f/5.0 | 17.6 mm | ISO 800
1/100 sec | f/5.0 | 17.6 mm | ISO 1600
ISO Noise Performance - The camera features ISO100 to ISO1600. At ISO100 there is some noise visible, and this increases at ISO200. Noise gets worse at ISO400 with small white dots appearring in addition to the red, green and blue noise dots. At ISO800 additional black dots appear and detail is lost. ISO1600 shows the highest levels of noise, and the lowest levels of detail, so this setting is best avoided. Overall noise results are quite high, and it's best to use the lowest ISO settings.
Canon Powershot SX500 IS White-balance test images
AWB Tungsten | 1/6 sec | f/5.0 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
Tungsten Preset | 1/5 sec | f/5.0 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
AWB Fluorescent | 0.4 sec | f/5.0 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent Preset | 0.4 sec | f/5.0 | 9.1 mm | ISO 100
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) gives a warm result under tungsten lighting, and the tungsten preset gives a much more neutral result. AWB performs well under fluorescent lighting, with the fluorescent preset also giving a good result.
Canon Powershot SX500 IS Digital filters
Miniature | 1/160 sec | f/5.0 | 21.8 mm | ISO 100
Black And White | 1/800 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Fisheye | 1/1000 sec | f/3.4 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Mono | 1/800 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Nuetral | 1/800 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Positive Film | 1/800 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Poster | 1/800 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Sepia | 1/800 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Super Vivid | 1/800 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Toycam | 1/800 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Vivid Blue | 1/800 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Vivid Colour | 1/800 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Vivid Green | 1/800 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Vivid Red | 1/800 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Digital Filters - There are number of effects, as well as colour options on the camera as shown above. Unfortunately, like most Canon cameras, there is no auto-panoramic mode built in. There are additional options in playback including: iContrast, Red-eye correction, Cropping and My Colours.
Video - The camera records 720p video with stereo sound, as well as optical zoom. Wind filter options are available to help improve sound quality. Video quality is generally good even though it doesn't shoot at full HD.
Value For MoneyThe Canon Powershot SX500 is priced at around £269 which makes it quite good value for money. Other ultra zoom cameras to look at include the 30x optical zoom Olympus SP-810UZ, Fujifilm FinePix SL300, Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR, 42x optical zoom Nikon Coolpix P510, 30x optical zoom Sony Cybershot HX200v, and 24x optical zoom Panasonic Lumix FZ200, although the Canon Powershot SX500 is likely to be the smallest available with manual control.
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
|The Canon Powershot SX500 IS is a compact ultra zoom with good colour and detail in a compact package.|
Canon Powershot SX500 IS ProsCompact size
Easy to use with built in help
Excellent macro performance
Side zoom button for recomposing shots when zoomed in
Canon Powershot SX500 IS ConsHigh noise
Lacks panoramic mode
ZoomPlus 60x zoom is just another marketing name for digital zoom
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Canon Powershot SX500 IS Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.4 - f/5.8|
|35mm equivalent||24mm - 720mm|
|CCD pixels||16Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/2.3 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Screen resolution||461,000 dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/1600sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||15sec|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 1600|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-6L|
|Box Contents||No Data|