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Canon PowerShot SX10 IS review




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In much the same way that Canon's G-series has for many years set the benchmark for high-end compacts, the S-series has, since its introduction in 2004, set the standard for super-zoom bridge cameras. The last model in the series was the S5 IS, launched in 2007, which featured a 12x zoom optically stabilised lens, 8.0 megapixel CCD sensor and VGA 30fps video recording with stereo audio.

Canon has now merged the S series with its new SX line, and the S5 has been replaced by two models; the £400 CMOS-sensored SX1 IS, which I will be reviewing next week, and today's review camera, the 10-megapixel, 20x zoom SX10 IS.

At £280 the SX10 is quite expensive, but then so are a lot of its competitors, cameras such as the much-commented-upon Panasonic FZ28 (£243), the Olympus SP-570 UZ (£245) and new SP-590 UZ (review coming soon) and the Nikon P80 (£250). However even by these standards the SX10 IS is a bit pricey.

Externally the SX10 IS looks very similar to its predecessor. It is a large camera even by super-zoom standards, only a little smaller than a compact DSLR. In fact it's almost exactly the same size as the Panasonic Lumix G1 that I reviewed last week. At 560g it's also quite heavy. A substantial portion of that is accounted for by the weight of the big zoom lens and the four AA batteries that power it, but it also reflects the camera's robust build quality.

The lens is impressive though. It's quite a wide, squat shape, but extends just over 5cm at full zoom. The top of the lens barrel is marked with the equivalent 35mm focal length settings, from 28mm to 560mm, but this is largely cosmetic since the lines don't actually match the selected focal length with any real accuracy.

The camera's SLR-like shape provides excellent handling, and the large handgrip is very secure and comfortable to hold. The shaped and textured thumbgrip area on the back also ensures a firm grip, although I did that the position and sensitivity of the D-pad control on the rear of the camera to be a frequent problem. On several occasions I accidentally switched the camera into manual focus mode or changed the ISO setting by jogging the D-pad with my thumb while shooting, but then maybe that's just me being a clumsy twit.


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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