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Canon Powershot SX260 HS GPS Pocket Zoom Review

Canon's latest compact travel zoom features a 20x optical zoom lens and built in GPS.

| Canon PowerShot SX260 HS in Compact Cameras

Canon Powershot SX260 HS GPS Pocket Zoom Review: Canon Powershot Sx260hs Front Direct
Canon Powershot SX260 HS

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 SX260 HS GPS Pocket Zoom Review: Canon Powershot Sx260hs Front On Wide
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 SX260 HS GPS Pocket Zoom Review: Canon Powershot Sx260hs Front On
Canon Powershot SX260HS Front On

Key Features

  • 12.1 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor
  • 20x optical zoom lens, 25 - 500mm equivalent
  • Intelligent Optical Image Stabilisation
  • 3inch screen
  • Full HD Video, Stereo sound
  • P/A/S/M Controls
  • Digic 5 processor
  • High Speed (HS) System
  • Smart Auto 58 scenes
  • GPS, GPS Logger, GPS Auto time
  • Face ID

Canon Powershot SX260 HS Handling

Canon Powershot SX260 HS GPS Pocket Zoom Review: Canon Powershot Sx260hs Top Angle
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 SX260 HS GPS Pocket Zoom Review: Canon Powershot Sx260hs Rear
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 SX260 HS GPS Pocket Zoom Review: Canon Powershot Sx260hs Bottom
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 Pentax VS20
Shutter Response 0.05 0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.3 0.35
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.4 0.4
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.7 2.0
Shot to Shot (without flash) 1.9 2.5
Shot to Shot with Flash 3.3 3.9
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) 2fps 1fps
Continuous HS mode (mp) 10fps (10 shots, 12mp) 10fps (20 shots, 5mp)
Continuous Shooting (with Flash) 1.5s N/A

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.

Value For Money

The Canon Powershot SX260 HS is available for around £270, this is quite good value for money with alternative cameras costing between £250 to £350. These cameras also offer a lot of optical zoom in a compact body with GPS: Sony Cybershot HX20v, Panasonic Lumix TZ30, Fujifilm FinePix F770EXR and Nikon Coolpix S9300. 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.

Canon Powershot SX260 HS Verdict

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.

  Canon Powershot SX260 HS GPS Pocket Zoom Review:
  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


Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.5 - f/6.8
35mm equivalent25mm - 500mm
Optical Zoom20x
Image Sensor
Pixels12.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4000
Pixels (H)3000
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution461,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus5cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • Manual
  • AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/3200sec
Shutter speeds longest15sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
  • Multi Pattern
  • Centre Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting2.4fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-6L
Battery Life (CIPA rating)230shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data

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Photographs taken using the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS

FLUTTERBY LINDA SUEGrandson Michael takes control of the Piper PA -28 Warrior 11NeighboursPram RideBeefeater TeabreakSunset JoggerSaturday ShadowsWines & SpiritsSeen Better Timesyoung sparrow hawkStreet Art PortraitStreet ArtYaleBen and Troyspot the fishermen!

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bhavya3654 Avatar
18 Apr 2012 5:22PM
good featured camera Grin
Bob1951 Avatar
Bob1951 10 United States
21 Nov 2012 4:08PM
Am picking 1 up on black friday for $199. at Best Buy

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