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Canon PowerShot SX210 hands-on Digital Camera Review

Ian Farrell went with Canon to the Mercedes Benz World in Weybridge to put the Canon PowerShot SX210 to the test.

|  Canon Powershot SX210 IS in Compact Cameras
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The latest addition to the Canon PowerShot range, the SX210, was described as an ideal family camera and perfect for the enthusiast travel photographer at a recent UK press briefing. The event, which took place at Mercedes Benz World in Weybridge, enabled ePHOTOzine to get its hands on one of the first working samples of the camera in the country for an exclusive preview.

Canon Powershot SX210 IS camera Canon Powershot SX210 IS Ian Farrell with the Canon
Ian Farrell takes the Canon Powershot SX210 IS for a first look test drive.

Canon Powershot SX210: Features
The PowerShot SX210 is the successor to the popular PowerShot SX200. It improves on its predecessor through the addition of new functions, as well as enhancements of existing features. For instance, resolution is up from 12.1 to 14.1 megapixels, while optical zoom magnification is now 14x, increased from 12x. The SX200's lens covers an equivalent range of 28– 392mm, with an effective dynamic Image Stabilisation system helping to keep things steady at long focal lengths and in low light.

Other features include i-Contrast, which aims to keep detail in shadow areas in highcontrast situations, as well as 'miniature' and 'fish-eye' simulation effects. HD video recording at 720p resolution and 30fps is available, and the intelligent Easy mode will pick the right shooting conditions automatically even when capturing moving footage.

The camera's sleek exterior (available in black, pink or gold) is comfortable to hold and use. The huge 16:9 view screen on the back is flanked by a chunky mode dial, combined rocker-switch and four-way control, and buttons for playback and instant video recording. A peculiarity is that the built-in flash always pops up when the camera is powered on, whether it's needed or not. This happened with the SX200 too, but at least the SX210 allows you to manually push the flash down if it's not needed, and this quickly stops being irritating once you are used to it.

Canon Powershot SX210 IS test track
This shot of the test track shows how the camera handles bright reflections as well as green.
Canon Powershot SX210 IS sweet spot mode
The miniature effect makes real life items look like toys when shot from above.

When it comes to exposure modes, Canon says the SX210 has all bases covered. An Easy mode restricts most options and the camera does virtually everything for you – perfect for kids and beginners, and even works in movie mode. The next level up are catered for by Scene modes which taylor the camera towards certain subject matter. More experienced users will enjoy Program, Av, Tv and Manual modes, for more creative control. The Scene modes deserve an extra mention for a couple of nice new options: a new low light mode employs pixel binning to take the camera's sensitivity to the dizzy heights of ISO6400, while lowering the pixel count to 3.5-megapixel at the same time. The results are impressive. Also present is a Smart Shutter Scene mode, which incorporates an option for triggering the self timer by winking at the camera. Sounds odd, but more useful than you might first imagine.

Canon Powershot SX210 IS cars
The canon Powershot SX210 IS was tested at Mercedes World test track.
As several high-power Mercedes-Benz cars where being put through their paces on the test track, so we did the same with the SX210, trying it out in all manner of conditions. The camera is exceptionally easy to use, with no real reason to resort to the instruction manual, even when attempting to use the more advanced features. Focus is swift and accurate and capable of tracking moving objects with reasonable accuracy.

Exposure is also very well judged in most situations, and dynamic range well controlled for a camera of this type, even in bright sunny conditions.

The PowerShot SX210 offers plenty of control over colour rendition too, with numerous presets and customisation options. A Scene mode even lets you shoot in black & white except for one colour, which is retained. Skin tones are well controlled and natural. Video is always important in cameras like this, and the PowerShot SX210ʼs 720p HD video capture doesn't disappoint. The two-way image stabilisation ensured a remarkably shake-free performance from the back seat of an AMG Mercedes being thrown around a test track by one of Mercedes-Benz World's expert drivers.

Canon Powershot SX210: Summary
First impressions of the PowerShot SX210 are good. Gone are the slight handling niggles of the SX200 – the SX210 feels like an accomplished all-rounder. Look out for our more detailed test coming up soon.

I also took a small sample video using the Canon Powershot SX210 IS while I was thrown around in the back seat of a Mercedes on the test track.

You can view this on by clicking the link below.

Canon Powershot SX210 IS preview video

Canon Powershot SX210: Specification
Price £358.00
Resolution 14.1Mp
Sensor size 1/2.3in
Sensor type CCD
Max Image size 4320x3240
Aspect ratio  
Focusing system TTL
Focus points  
Focus type Face detection, 1-point AF, single, continuous, servo AF/AE
File types JPEG
ISO sensitivity ISO80-1600
Metering system  
Metering types Evaluative, centre-weighted, spot
Exposure compensation +/- 2EV in 1/3 step increments
Shutter speed range 15sec - 1/3,200sec
Frames-per-second 0.7fps
Image stabilisation Yes, lens shift type, 4 stop compensation
Monitor 3in Purecolour II G, 230,000dots (76,000pixels)
Media type SD, SDHC, SDXC
Interface USB 2.0, HDMI
Power Li-Ion NB-5L battery
Size 105.8x59.3x31.9mm
Weight 215g

The Canon Powershot SX210 IS costs around £358 and is available now from Warehouse Express:

Canon Powershot SX210 IS

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Chaitanya 9 14 1 United Kingdom
19 Mar 2010 5:36PM
Looks like superzoom camera's are getting smaller day by day, I remember the Panasonic FZ50 I owned it was as big as Nikon D90 and only had 12x optical zoom. Waiting for a full review of Canon Powershot SX210.

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dalethorn 9 7 United States
28 Mar 2010 10:05PM
10x zoom, 12x zoom - all of that means nothing really. What matters when you want a clear photo of that little bird a way off is the *amount* of zoom, in mm equivalent to 35 mm cameras. In the case of the SX210, it's 392 mm, and believe me it works. I have a Panasonic G1 with 400 mm equivalent lens, and although several times as large and three times the price, the Canon SX210 will take as good a photo of that little bird as the Pana G1.
anzi 8
3 Sep 2010 9:09AM
When ever it comes to digital imaging and photography, canon is considered as the top quality symbol. Since August 1937 Canon is giving its best to provide the unique quality. I am photography lover and i have always seen that people are confused between Canon Cameras and Nikon Cameras but after experiencing the both i realized Canon cameras not only provide good result but they are user friendly as well, their cameras and cameras accessories easily available. I am personally comfy with Canon.
Glad to see that SX210 is having great features and its Weight is just 215g and Shutter speed range is 15sec - 1/3,200sec which matters a lot.

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