In November last year I reviewed the then-new PowerShot SX100 IS, the first model in a new series of compact cameras from Canon. The SX series are intended as “family cameras”, designed to be easy to use, but with enough versatility to appeal to more adventurous photographers. Canon has now added three new models to the SX range, with the launch last month of the 20x zoom SX1 IS and SX10 IS, and this, the 10x zoom, 9.0 megapixel SX110 IS.
It looks increasingly like the SX series is taking over from the venerable A-series as Canon’s primary mid-range compact cameras. While the latest A-series models, such as the A2000 IS lack the popular manual options of previous models, the SX110 IS has a full range of manual exposure options, plus other features that will appeal to more experienced photographers. It has a powerful pop-up flash, a large bright 3.0-inch 230k LCD monitor and a traditional, easy-to-use control interface.
The long-zoom compact market is still far from crowded, but nonetheless the SX110 IS has some formidable competition, primarily from Panasonic’s superb Lumix DMC-TZ5, which has a very similar specification with a 10x zoom lens, 9.1MP sensor and 3.0-inch monitor. However the TZ5 has a 28-280mm equivalent zoom range (the SX110 has 36-360mm), and that monitor has double the resolution of the Canon. The TZ5 is also a little cheaper, currently retailing at around £180. The SX110 will also see some competition from the 10MP 7.1x zoom Ricoh R8 (£145) and the new R10, although that camera will probably be more expensive.
The SX110 IS is not a small camera. Measuring 110.6 x 70.4 x 44.7mm and weighing around 300g including a pair of alkaline AA batteries it is significantly larger and heavier than the TZ5. It is really too big and heavy for convenient pocket portage, and would benefit from the additional purchase of a belt pouch. To be honest I’m surprised it only has a wrist strap, since I’ve seen smaller and lighter cameras with a neck strap. However the camera’s bulk reflects its excellent build quality. Despite its plastic body it feels solid and robust, the controls, battery hatch and pop-up flash are recessed and solidly mounted, and the curved shape is innately strong.