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Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Digital Camera Review

canon20120501ba.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Ashley Akers 

If you’re not quite ready to fork out the big dollars for the cheapest DSLR or you’re looking for something that packs a little more punch than your current compact then the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS may very well be the exact camera you’re looking for. It boasts many useful features and will impress your friends and family, who still insist on using their mobile phone cameras. Let’s see them easily log and display images to Google maps with built in GPS. Let’s see them take Full HD, stabilized video. Let’s see them zoom to an incredible 20x. The SX260 does all this and more at an unbelievably affordable price!


Appearance and functionality



The SX260 has a compact, sleek design with a high quality finish. At first glance, the large lens and subtle, angular edged design make it stand out from the lower range marketed, compact cameras. With a simple, yet effective grip on the front absent from many lower models, aesthetically this camera makes you want to pick it up and start shooting. Gone are the days when you can’t be bothered searching through your partners bag to find your old, basic, digital, compact camera just for a quick snapshot. The beautiful Canon Powershot SX260 HS will, no doubt, be conveniently attached to your hand at all times. This is a camera that makes you feel like you want to shoot with it.

The PowerShot SX260 instantly starts up and has many quick start and easy to use modes so you don’t miss a beat.  All the key functions are easily accessible from dials and buttons on the right of the camera and unlike cheaper, compact digital cameras the inclusion of a continuous, rolling navigation dial makes menu navigation sleek, professional and easy. No doubt you’ll easily be able to switch to fast continuous shooting or adjust the exposure compensation to perfect your shot with little thought to it or little need to read earnestly through the manual.

This SX260 goes where you wouldn’t expect it to go with a range of features including: a full manual mode, allowing the budding photographer to adjust shutter speed and aperture for a more creative or personalised look and a GPS location system that’ll allow you to locate and display all your holiday snaps on Google maps.


Image Quality / Lens Quality


canon20120501bd.jpgThe image quality on the SX260 is exceptional.  It handles low light well up until ISO800 and grain is only apparent at ISO1600 but only becomes more of a problem at ISO3200 where it considerably diminishes image quality.  However if the alternative is having no photos of your Grandma blowing out her  150th birthday candles in the dark, then there’s little reason to complain and you’ll be more than happy with the results.

The 12.1mp resolution on the SX260 makes good use of the impressive 20x optical zoom. That’ll make high quality, printable images of any awards ceremony, graduation or sneak peak at that impressive sports car down the road.  The lens has an aperture range of f3.5 to f6.8 and with the ability to handle low light well and the inclusion of IS or Image Stabilization then this lens does a more than satisfactory job.
The SX260 has good control over it’s macro feature with the ability to focus and take high quality images little more than a centimeter from the lens for any of those close up details you desire. The focus in these photos is as good and sharp as any other.




The LCD on the SX260 has enough resolution to be able to see all the fresh dents in your brand new car or more importantly the licence plate of the car driving away that put them there. It’s 7.5cms, well constructed and shows vivid and correct colours.  The sleek, professional menu design and onscreen information makes the LCD screen a generous contributor to the quality and usability of this camera.



canon20120501bc.jpgGone are the days when you’d need both a digital still camera and a video camcorder. The SX260 easily fills both of these categories with high quality. When creating a video my main concern is to make it watchable and re-watchable. Too many times have I had to endure through poorly shot, poor quality family videos, it’s time to put an end to it. It’s one thing to record something that you can only struggle through and another to record something you want to watch over and over again.

The SX260 makes it more than easy to make a re-watchable video. Although I had a few problems with the slow motion video as bright background light was flickering slightly there was nothing stopping the flow from there. IS stabilizes the video; Full HD video resolution makes it easily watchable on a TV; the HDMI port makes it instantly ready to view straight off the camera and the iFrame video format makes it easier to import, edit and share your videos.






For under $500 the Canon Powershot SX260 does more than you’d expect. It has many unique features that set it aside from other similar priced models such as GPS and iFrame Video. It has the highest build quality and the highest quality materials. It does everything you’d expect a more expensive model to do but at the cheaper price.  If you’re ready for the next step in photography but not quite ready for the big step to DSLR then this camera is for you. It does most of what the higher end cameras will but at a much cheaper price.


Accessories Used During Testing:

SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s SD Card 

Tamrac Pro Compact Digital / 5689 Camera Bag  


Recommended Retailer:

View / Buy The Canon Powershot SX260 HS 



Appearance rating 4 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Video quality
4 stars
Lens quality
4 stars
LCD screen (Rear)
4 stars
Value for money 4 stars
RRP (AUD) Body only $499.95
Effective Pixels 12.1 Mega pixels
Sensor Type
1/2.3 type back-illuminated CMOS, DIGIC 5 with iSAPS technology
Image Sizes 4 Sizes / 4 Aspect Ratios
Lens 4.5 – 90.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 25 – 500 mm), Optical 20x. ZoomPlus 39x. Digital Approx. 4.0x (with Digital Tele-Converter Approx. 1.5x or 2.0x and Safety Zoom¹). Combined Approx. 80x. f/3.5 – f/6.8. 12 elements in 10 groups
Lens Mount
Resolution Settings: Stills 4:3 - (L) 4000 x 3000, (M1) 2816 x 2112, (M2) 1600 x 1200, (S) 640 x 480
16:9 - (L) 4000 x 2248, (M1) 2816 x 1584, (M2) 1920 x 1080, (S) 640 x 360
3:2 - (L) 4000 x 2664, (M1) 2816 x 1880, (M2) 1600 x 1064, (S) 640 x 424
1:1 - (L) 2992 x 2992, (M1) 2112 x 2112, (M2) 1200 x 1200, (S) 480 x 480
Resize in playback (M2, S, XS)
*XS is half the length and width of S
Resolution Settings: Video (Full HD) 1920 x 1080, 24 fps, (HD) 1280 x 720, 30 fps, (L) 640 x 480, 30 fps
Super Slow Motion Movie (L) 640 x 480, 120fps, (M) 320 x 240, 240fps
Miniature Effect (HD, L) 6fps, 3fps, 1.5 fps
iFrame Movie (HD)
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds 1 – 1/3200 sec. (factory default), 15 – 1/3200 sec. (total range – varies by shooting mode)
ISO AUTO, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
LCD Monitor 7.5 cm (3.0”) PureColor II G (TFT). Approx. 461,000 dots, Approx. 100%. Adjustable five levels. Quick-bright LCD
Viewfinder -
Flash Yes, Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Synchro
Hot Shoe No
White Balance TTL, Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Underwater, Custom. Multi-area WB correction available in Smart Auto
Self Timer Approx. 2 or 10 sec., Custom
Stills Format/s
JPEG compression, (Exif 2.3 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system, Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
Video Format/s MOV [H.264 + Linear PCM (stereo)]
iFrame. GPS LOG: LOG [NMEA 0183 message format compliant¹]
Video Recording Time/s -
Storage Type - External SD, SDHC, SDXC
Storage Type - Internal
Connectivity Hi-Speed USB (MTP, PTP) dedicated connector (Mini-B compatible), HDMI Mini Connector (HDMI-CEC compatible), A/V output (PAL/NTSC)
Power Source AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC40
Battery Options Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-6L
Battery Life Approx. 230 shots¹ (Measured with GPS features off)
Approx. 300 min. playback
More than 48 hours using only GPS Logger
Dimensions 106.3 mm (W) x 61.0mm (H) x 32.7mm (D)
Weight Approx. 231 g (including battery and memory card)



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