The Canon Poweershot SX260 HS is this years update to the Canon Powershot SX230 HS - and updates the optical zoom from a 14x optical zoom, to a new 20x optical zoom lens! Other features include a 12 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor, 3inch screen and built in GPS. Another version of this camera is available without GPS, called the Canon Powershot SX240 HS.
Canon Powershot SX260 HS Features
Canon Powershot SX260HS Front On Wide
The camera features Full HD video with stereo sound and optical zoom, full manual controls, GPS built in with logging and auto time update, a 3 inch screen and an impressive wide angle 20x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilisation. The lens provides the equivalent of 25mm to 500mm optical zoom.
Canon Powershot SX260HS Front On
12.1 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor
20x optical zoom lens, 25 - 500mm equivalent
Intelligent Optical Image Stabilisation
Full HD Video, Stereo sound
Digic 5 processor
High Speed (HS) System
Smart Auto 58 scenes
GPS, GPS Logger, GPS Auto time
Canon Powershot SX260 HS Handling
Canon Powershot SX260HS Top Angle
Handling - There is a good rubber grip on the front of the camera, with the rear featuring a mode dial where you thumb rests. This works quite well as a rear grip, as the dial doesn't rotate too easily making it suitable to grip with your thumb. There is a good number of controls on the back on the rear scroll wheel / d-pad, with the Func/Set button giving access to an overlay of the most commonly accessed settings. There are also dedicated video and playback buttons. The on/off switch is nicely recessed which means you shouldn't accidentally switch the camera on or off.
Canon Powershot SX260HS Rear
Menus - Built in hints and tips explains each option on the camera. Manual focus is available, flash compensation, and the camera gives an overlay of the most common options making it easy to choose and change settings. The menu button lets you set additional photo and setup options. In playback there are also playback and print options.
Canon Powershot SX260HS Bottom
Battery Life - Battery life is rated at 230 shots according to CIPA standards. We were able to take over 250 shots which is better than expected. GPS logging will decrease battery life as the GPS remains on, even when the camera is off so that you can log your location while travelling.
Speed - We tested each camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.
Canon SX260 HS
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot (without flash)
Shot to Shot with Flash
Continuous Shooting (JPEG)
Continuous HS mode (mp)
10fps (10 shots, 12mp)
10fps (20 shots, 5mp)
Continuous Shooting (with Flash)
Start up screen was switched off. Shutter response and focus was quick and the camera offers a quick 10fps continuous shooting mode at 12 megapixels, although this is only available in the scene modes. In other modes the continuous shooting slows to 2fps.
Canon Powershot SX260 HS Performance
Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review and product ratings.
Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Sample Photos
Sample Photos - In our portrait shot there was little to no red-eye in photos, and good colour reproduction. The outdoor photos were particularly colourful with bright saturated colours that are pleasing to view, as well as good levels of detail.
Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Lens test images
Lens Performance - The 20x optical zoom lens performs well at both the wide and telephoto ends of the lens, although there is some barrel distortion at wide-angle. There is also some pincushion distortion at full zoom. Detail is good although there is slight softness in the corners but not excessive. Vignetting was not noticed during testing, although some purple fringing was visible in areas of high contrast.
Canon PowerShot SX260 HS ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - Noise is lowest at ISO100, with good results at ISO200 and ISO400. At ISO800 noise becomes more noticeable with detail and colour lost. Again at ISO1600 as noise increase detail and colour decrease although the results should still be useful if resized or used on the web. At ISO3200 noise increases and we'd definitely recommend resizing or further processing to remove some of the noise.
Canon PowerShot SX260 HS White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Under tungsten lighting images have a yellow cast when using the auto white balance. Using the tungsten preset gives very good results. Under fluorescent lighting the auto white balance gives very good results with the fluorescent preset giving reasonable results. Detail is very good even in darker areas of the image.
Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Digital filters
Digital Filters - While the SX260 doesn't offer a HDR mode, it does offer iContrast instead - iContrast boosts the ISO setting and while it does increase dynamic range, it also increases the level of purple fringing. Scenes include: Handheld nightscene, low-light, it's also where they keep the 10fps shooting mode, and then creative effects is where you find: fish-eye, miniature, toycam, soft focus, mono,super vivid, poster effect, colour accent, colour swap. There's also a discreet mode. Live view lets you alter Dark/Light , Neutral/Vivid, Warm/Cool. No automatic panoramic mode.
My Colours lets you choose from a number of presets, as well as custom where you can alter contrast, sharpness, saturation, red, green, blue levels and skin tone.
Video - Wind Filter, Stereo sound, optical zoom quite quick, you can also take photos while recording, these are at the full 12 megapixels. There are also high speed video modes at 240 or 120 fps. Movie digest is another feature of the camera where it records a short video with every photo, then puts each clip into one video file, giving you a quick video of your day's activities.
The Canon Powershot SX260 HS offers a lot of optical zoom in a compact camera body and has a number of features that the traveller will find appealing including GPS with GPS logging. Full HD video is available with stereo sound and optical zoom as well as high speed video modes and the camera's movie digest mode is a good way to record both videos and photos. Image quality is good with pleasing colours and good levels of detail and the high speed shooting mode will also appeal, although it would be nice if it was available in all of the modes. The camera offers good value for money and its compact size and high zoom should make it high up on your shortlist if you're looking for a compact travel zoom.
The Canon Powershot SX260 HS is a very capable travel zoom with a compact and stylish body.
Canon Powershot SX260 HS Pros
Good image quality - good detail and colour
20x optical zoom lens in a compact camera
Full HD video, Stereo sound, also Slow motion video
10fps shooting, 10 frames
Reasonable value for money
Canon Powershot SX260 HS Cons
Lacks HDR mode
Lacks auto-panoramic stitching
High Speed 10fps only available in one mode