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The Canon Powershot SX510 HS was announced in August 2013 and is a mini bridge camera with 30x optical zoom, updating the Canon Powershot SX500 IS. It has a 12.1 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor, full 1080p HD video recording and is available for around £250.
To make picture taking easy there is Smart Auto mode which automatically adjusts the camera settings for the detected scene. For more control there are full manual controls so you can set the aperture and shutter speed. When zooming in to your subject you can use Zoom Framing Assist to quickly zoom out and back in again to relocate your subject.
- 12.1 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor
- 30x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 24-720mm)
- Optical image stabilisation
- 3.0 inch 461k dot LCD screen
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Manual controls
- Full 1080p HD video recording with stereo sound
- ISO 80 - 3200
- 0cm minimum focusing distance
- 3.8 fps continuous shooting
- Creative filters
On the top of the camera you'll find a mode dial which has a total of 11 options to choose from. Also on the top is the on / off button, shutter release and zoom rocker. The flash needs to manually popped up and down. Buttons on the rear of the camera include movie record, exposure compensation, playback, display and menu. There is a d-pad which also includes a rotating wheel - this is used to change the aperture and shutter speed if you are using the manual modes. The d-pad gives access to macro, flash, self-timer and ISO. On the lens barrel is a button which allows you to use Zoom Framing Assist.
The SX510 HS has a simple menu system - to change picture settings you press the function button which sits in the centre of the d-pad. Options here include white balance, light metering and drive mode, with the options available depending on which mode you are in. The rest of the settings are available via the menu button.
The Wi-Fi is easy to setup, just enter playback and press the ISO button (this has a Wi-Fi symbol in blue just above it). You then just need to follow the on screen instructions to connect the camera to a mobile device or PC for example. If you are connecting to a smartphone / tablet, ensure you have the free app installed before connecting.
Battery life is rated at 250 shots according to CIPA test results, which may be an issue if you're out shooting for a full day, although can be extended to 330 shots using the Eco mode. 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.
|Shutter Response||0.1 secs|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.25 secs|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.3 secs|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||1.85 secs|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||0.84 secs|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||2.3 secs|
|Continuous Shooting - JPEG||3.2 fps|
|High-speed Burst||8 fps|
Continuous shooting records in full resolution but slows after just 3 shots from 3.2 fps to 1.75 fps after eight shots. High-speed burst mode is limited to 3 megapixels.
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Canon Powershot SX510 HS Sample Photos
Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/5.0 | 9.3 mm | ISO 320
Landscape | 1/400 sec | f/4.5 | 6.7 mm | ISO 125
Night Landscape | 1/8 sec | f/3.4 | 4.3 mm | ISO 1600
Pet Portrait | 1/200 sec | f/5.6 | 66.7 mm | ISO 160
Sample Photos - Images are well exposed with good colour reproduction. Portrait shots are free of red-eye but skin tones aren't particularly well enhanced by the camera.
Canon Powershot SX510 HS Lens test images
Wide Angle | 1/800 sec | f/4.0 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Some Optical Zoom | 1/640 sec | f/5.0 | 23.0 mm | ISO 100
Full Optical Zoom | 1/800 sec | f/5.6 | 123.3 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/25 sec | f/3.4 | 4.3 mm | ISO 100
Lens Performance - Detail is good throughout the zoom range, with only a slight softening in the corners. In contrasting areas the images are prone to a little purple fringing though. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 0cm, so your subject can be right up to the lens when taking close-ups, with excellent results possible.
Canon Powershot SX510 HS ISO test images
1/4 sec | f/5.0 | 20.1 mm | ISO 80
1/5 sec | f/5.0 | 20.1 mm | ISO 100
1/10 sec | f/5.0 | 20.1 mm | ISO 200
1/20 sec | f/5.0 | 20.1 mm | ISO 400
1/40 sec | f/5.0 | 20.1 mm | ISO 800
1/80 sec | f/5.0 | 20.1 mm | ISO 1600
1/160 sec | f/5.0 | 20.1 mm | ISO 3200
ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 80 and remains so at ISO 100, 200 and 400. At ISO 800 there is a slight softening in places, with images losing sharpness at ISO 1600, but detail is still good. A little more detail is lost at ISO 3200, but image quality is still reasonable.
Canon Powershot SX510 HS White-balance test images
AWB Tungsten | 1/8 sec | f/5.0 | 9.3 mm | ISO 100
WB Tungsten | 1/6 sec | f/5.0 | 9.3 mm | ISO 100
AWB Fluorescent | 0.3 sec | f/5.0 | 9.3 mm | ISO 100
WB Fluorescent | 0.3 sec | f/5.0 | 9.3 mm | ISO 100
White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights the Auto White Balance (AWB) has a slight orange cast, with the incandescent preset taking a much better picture. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB and fluorescent preset both perform well.
Canon Powershot SX510 HS Digital filters
My Colours - Black And White | 0.8 sec | f/5.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 100
My Colours - Darker Skin Tone | 0.6 sec | f/5.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 100
My Colours - Lighter Skin Tone | 0.6 sec | f/5.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 100
My Colours - Neutral | 1 sec | f/5.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 100
My Colours - Positive Film | 0.8 sec | f/5.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 100
My Colours - Sepia | 1 sec | f/5.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 100
My Colours - Vivid | 1 sec | f/5.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 100
My Colours - Vivid Blue | 0.6 sec | f/5.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 100
My Colours - Vivid Green | 0.6 sec | f/5.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 100
My Colours - Vivid Red | 0.6 sec | f/5.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 100
Filter - Fisheye Effect | 1/25 sec | f/5.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 1600
Filter - Miniature Effect | 1/80 sec | f/5.0 | 8.6 mm | ISO 500
Filter - Monochrome | 1/25 sec | f/5.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 1600
Filter - Poster Effect | 1/13 sec | f/5.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 800
Filter - Super Vivid | 1/13 sec | f/5.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 800
Filter - Toy Camera Effect | 1/13 sec | f/5.0 | 8.8 mm | ISO 800
Digital Filters - There's plenty of options to help you take creative shots. You can choose from one of the 'My Colours' or enter the filters mode and choose from effects such as toy camera and miniature.
Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD with some optical zoom. Quality is good, with the focus quick to adjust when zooming.
Value For MoneyThe Canon PowerShot SX510 HS is available for around £250. Other cameras with 30x optical zoom are the Fujifilm FinePix S4800 at £139 and Sony Cybershot DSC-HX50 at £250. With slightly more zoom is the 35x optical zoom Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30 at £142, and the Nikon Coolpix P520 at £255 has 42x optical zoom.
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.
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|The Canon PowerShot SX510 HS packs a lot of zoom in a compact body, with impressive image quality.|
Canon PowerShot SX510 HS ProsVery good image quality
Lots of zoom in a compact body
Lens is wider than a typical compact camera
Full manual controls
0cm minimum focusing distance
Canon PowerShot SX510 HS ConsNo RAW shooting
Battery life could be better
Flash doesn't automatically pop-up
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Canon Powershot SX510 HS Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/3.4 - f/5.8|
|35mm equivalent||24mm - 720mm|
|CCD pixels||12.1Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Type||Back-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)|
|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||80 - 3200|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-6L|
|Box Contents||No Data|