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Canon PowerShot SX10 IS - Canon PowerShot SX10 IS

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


In terms of performance, although the SX1 IS is supposed to be the high-performance model of the two, the SX10 is by no means slow. It starts up in two seconds and shuts down again in about one and a half, which is very fast for a super-zoom camera. In single-shot mode it has a shot-to-shot cycle time of 1.8 seconds, while in the standard continuous shooting mode it can snap away at 0.7 seconds per frame, apparently until the memory card is full, which is certainly above average. There is also an AF continuous mode, although this is somewhat slower.

The autofocus system is a bit of a departure for Canon, since this is the first model in ages that doesn't have the much criticised multi-zone AiAF system. Instead it has a simple one-zone AF mode, with a dedicated button to quickly move and resize the AF point. In practice this is exactly how most people were using previous Canon models anyway, so they've simply omitted a feature that nobody was using. The simpler system is quicker, easier to use and most importantly a lot more accurate.

I found exposure metering to be accurate and reliable, although in very high contrast situations it did tend to over-expose somewhat, burning out some bright highlights. Dynamic range is actually quite good, so it is better than most at preserving shadow detail. The SX10 has Canon's iContrast function for boosting shadow detail, and it does work very well, with hardly any extra noise.

The overall image quality is very good. The lens has fantastic centre sharpness, and the level of recorded detail is superb, among the best I've seen. Wide angle barrel distortion is kept to an acceptable minimum, and telephoto pincushion distortion is also thankfully mostly absent. There is some chromatic aberration toward the edges of the frame at al focal lengths, but again it's kept to an acceptable minimum.

Despite the smaller 1/2.3-inch sensor, noise control is also very good. While noise is visible from 200 ISO upwards, Canon's usual process of reducing chroma noise more than luminance noise means that images at 400 and 800 ISO still have plenty of fine detail and good contrast. 1600 ISo is a bit of a mess, but not totally unusable.


The PowerShot SX10 IS is an expensive and quite complex camera, and not really suited for the beginner, however in capable hands it is capable of producing excellent results, and has enough creative versatility to do so in a wide range of situations. Build quality, handling, performance and image quality are all up to Canon's usual high standard.


January 23, 2009, 11:02 pm

I bought one of these just before christmas, couldnt wait for you review, as i do trust your judgement. On my first hand experience on this camera I would agree with your findings, but add a few things.

Movie mode is excellent, same is the ability to zoom and get a blur free picture thanks to the IS, which also works in said movie mode

The selection wheel is a pain, more like a wheel of misfortune, when moving it either does nothing or moves too far, it has no clicks and works like a moody teenager

camera is a little bigger than expected, annoying doesnt come with a printed manual (pdf only) or even the tiniest sd card for test, does have 4 alkalines and the cheapest mini usb cable i have ever seen.


January 24, 2009, 7:29 pm

It looks like a superb camera with the best picture quality I've seen from ultrazooms in its class (with the Sony H50 in second). The only real negatives (for me) are its size and weight.


January 25, 2009, 5:05 am


IMO Sony H50 is easily beaten by Panny FZ28 (both in terms of IQ and user-friendliness).

SX10 IS looks nice (almost DSLR-like), is loaded with tons of features, but lacks RAW.


January 31, 2009, 7:26 pm

Where is the Review for the Canon SX1 IS?!


February 1, 2009, 10:23 pm

What's your preferred choice? This, or the Panasonc FZ28?


February 4, 2009, 6:41 am

I bought it at 260 USD. I think it's of great price and value.


May 5, 2009, 9:31 pm

I have for a few weeks now been contemplating buying this camera and have written down lots of stores on-line prices. Now we come to the pure greed of UK suppliers, including my favourite, Amazon. they have ALL stuck on from between 㿅.00 to over 㿔.00 on this camera--why you ask? Well Canon are doing a 㿞.00 cash-back on this camera. These greedy stores just hate to see anyone getting something do they not? Not a review of course just my feelings on the greed of UK camera sellers and worth a mention here. Give them all a miss until offer ends and watch them tumble the prices.


August 13, 2010, 11:33 am

After 1.5 years of easy use of my Canon SX10 IS, the camera has thousands of bad CCD pixels (one vertical line + some standalone). Repairing costs the 85% of a new SX20 IS, though I will not buy a new one nor have the old repaired. I will look around at other brands.

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