Canon PowerShot SX210 IS Overview
Reviewed by Dan Havlik and Stephanie Boozer
Review Date: 05/18/2010
For a $350 pocket camera, the Canon PowerShot SX210 IS certainly has a lot going for it. For starters there’s the impressive 14x optical zoom, equivalent to a 28mm to 392mm range on a 35mm camera, providing everything from a useful wide-angle to a powerful telephoto. To keep those zoomed shots steady, Canon has paired the lens with a true optical image stabilization system for combatting blur from camera shake. Aperture ranges from f/3.1 to f/5.9 across the zoom range, so whether you’re capturing sweeping shots of the Grand Canyon or zoomed in close-ups of wildlife, the Canon PowerShot SX210 is designed to be the only camera you’ll need.
Like several of Canon’s latest PowerShot digital cameras, the SX210 IS uses a 14.1-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CCD image sensor which can shoot between ISO 80 and 1,600. Along with the classic pre-set scene modes you’ll find on most point-and-shoots, Canon’s added several fun new settings to the SX210 IS including Fish-eye and Miniature, which mimic the effects you get with high-priced specialty lenses for digital SLRs. In addition to the Face Detection self-timer available on previous models, the Canon SX210 adds Smile and Wink modes where the camera will wait to take the picture only when it detects a smile or after a wink from the subject. Meanwhile, Canon’s Smart FE (Flash Exposure) function is designed to optimize and not overdo flash so you don’t “nuke out” your subject; and the Low Light mode increases ISO to 6,400 while dropping resolution to 3.5 megapixels.
Though it doesn’t have an optical viewfinder, the camera’s 3-inch LCD screen with 230,000 dots of resolution helps with framing your shots. LCD coverage is close to 100% so what you see on the screen is what you’ll capture when you press the shutter. Though the screen crops down to the 4:3 aspect ratio when shooting still images, you’ll get full 16:9 widescreen coverage on the LCD when using the Canon SX210’s movie mode. And the movie mode is a good one, offering high definition 720p (1280 x 720) or standard definition video capture at either VGA (640 x 480) or QVGA (320 x 240) resolution. Frame rate for movie clips is 30 frames per second in the Motion JPEG AVI format with sound recorded in stereo.
To view your high-def footage from the camera on your flat-screen HDTV, just use the Canon SX210’s mini-HDMI port though, as with most digital cameras, there’s no HDMI cable included in the box. One of the biggest improvements to the Canon SX210 is mechanical. A major annoyance on the SX200 IS was its pop-up flash, which couldn’t be closed when the camera was on. Now, with the SX210 IS, all you have to do is place a finger over the flash to keep it down.
The Canon SX210 comes in three colors: black, purple, and gold, and retails for US$350. Let’s take a closer look.