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Canon PowerShot SX110 IS - Canon PowerShot SX110 IS

By Cliff Smith



  • Recommended by TR
Canon PowerShot SX110 IS


Our Score:


Despite being sold as a “family camera”, the SX110 IS has a pretty comprehensive specification, more than enough to please any more creative photographers looking to experiment a little. The 6-60mm f/2.8 – f/4.3 lens is nice and bright, and features Canon’s acclaimed optical image stabilisation technology. The camera is equipped with the same DIGIC III processor as the advanced PowerShot G9, and in terms of zoom power and resolution it is definitely towards the top end of Canon’s extensive range.

Despite this the camera is well designed and very simple to operate. I’m not keen on the word “intuitive” when applied to technology, but the SX110’s control system is certainly very easy to grasp, with large, clearly labelled controls that should present little problem even for those with limited finger mobility. The large and solidly clunky mode dial on the top plate carries the main shooting modes, including automatic, program exposure, aperture and shutter priority and full manual exposure.

Shutter and aperture settings are adjusted via the rotating wheel that also doubles as the D-pad, with shutter speeds from 15 secs to 1/2500th of a second and aperture values from f/8 to f/2.8 available in 1/3EV increments. I’m not usually a fan of rotary dial controls of this type, but in this case Canon has got the feel and function pretty much perfect and exposure settings are quick and easy to adjust. The monitor previews the brightness of the exposure, and there is also match-needle metering on screen.

Manual focusing is also controlled by the rotary dial, and again is works surprisingly well, with automatic magnification of the centre of the frame. The monitor is certainly sharp enough for accurate manual focusing.

Along with the manual options the SX110 has 12 scene modes, both on the mode dial and accessed via the Scene Mode setting. As well as this there are a number of pre-set colour modes, and a custom mode with adjustable contrast, saturation and sharpness. Other automatic features include face detection and auto red-eye correction. There is also a motion-detection system to reduce movement blur, but this only operates in the high-ISO mode.


October 3, 2008, 9:42 pm

Not surprized - the Canon P & S's are generally very good.


October 4, 2008, 4:05 pm

This puts me in a bit of a pickle as I wanted to get the Panasonic DMC-TZ5.


October 4, 2008, 5:23 pm

Looks like an excellent camera. What I also like about it is that it's thinner and more pocketable than the SX100. It's a credible alternative to the larger, bulkier SLR-like superzooms.


October 4, 2008, 8:36 pm

Canon SX110 or Panasonic TZ5 - tough choice?

Tom MacFarlane 1

October 11, 2008, 12:16 am

I currently use the SX100 and it is a superb camera. I have also used the Panasonic TZ3. All I can say, JimmyDee, is go for the Canon. This review - and in particular the images - confirm Canon's superiority. With the SX110 you'll get a slightly better spec than the SX100.

Ross 1

October 25, 2008, 6:05 pm

Like Bobsta and JimmyDee, I too was considering the Panasonic TZ5 but before I took the leap into Digital with my Olympus C-750 I had used a Canon A1 35mm for years, and I mean YEARS with not one camera fault showing up. Canon and Nikon lenses are the best in the world while maintaining some balance between cost and common sense.

I therefore plucked up the courage of my convictions, and after reading the spec sheets and pre-launch reviews of the SX110 I abandoned the idea of going for the TZ5 - and am so glad I did.

What you get with Canon's SX110 is years of photographic experience - this beast was not as easy (for me) to get to grips with at first, but after a couple of days, the menu systems became pretty obvious in most things. One thing that surprised me was the minimum aperture is F8 which I didn't realise beforehand - but as most lenses give their best performance at f8 or f5.6 this is not a problem unless you want long time exposures, eg to blur moving water, while using a tripod - 3/4 to 2 seconds etc. I still have my cokin Neutral Density filters for such situations so its not a problem.

In every other respect, the camera outperforms in every area when compared to my Olympus C-750 which I sold recently. Better than this, it outperforms in every area of my expectations - the sharpness of the lens, through the range, is incredible. The optical image stabilisation is done using ceramic guides which tweak the lens at the moment of exposure - when your back is against the wall, this gives you approx two stops extra hand holding stability - and of course, on a tripod at full zoom the IS completely secures a sharp image for you.

Macro, which is one of my great interests, performs stunningly, and the colours (try shooting flowers - wow!) are correctly saturated leaving little for photoshop to do.

I am SO glad I gave up on the Panasonic and bought this (3 weeks ago) and had I known how good this was I would have gone for the SX100 last year - still, just as well I suppose, the 3" LCD makes it an even better image making machine - If I may add, I bought a Manfrotto Modo Maxi tripod with integrated head - this has a 'leg spread' setting where the tripod head is about six inches from the ground (the tripod centre column unscrews just under the head to allow this to work) If you are into macro, grab one now - I paid about 45 quid which, given the quality and lightness (under a kg) is great - its only suitable for light cameras and partners my SX110 brilliantly!

So, go out and buy an SX110 now, or, next year when they replace it (SX120?) buy that instead!

Happy photography, Ross


November 14, 2008, 5:56 am

On the whole I really like the SX110. I feel that the only real downside is the high CCD noise when using high ISO settings. Unfortunately, in low light situations this is relatively necessary if you shoot indoors and try to use the zoom at all (see examples here http://digicamtech.blogspot....


January 27, 2009, 2:54 pm

Is it all right using it with rechargeable Ni-MH AA batteries, Sony or Sanyo 2100 or 2700 mAh for instance?


January 31, 2009, 10:47 am

Yes it is. I bought it a few days ago, the user guide mentions Ni-MH batteries, it works just fine (unlike a Metz flash years ago, 45 CT1 I believe, the version with alkaline batteries power would be damaged if used with rechargeable batteries).

I just checked out my first tests, many of them in dawn or crepuscule, hendheld and tripod, just _absolutely_great_ camera for the money, I'm still surprised. I was considering it as a family/travel camera but I see now why the vendor was asking if I'm going to use it for job.

I've always had cameras with manual controls and I'm very glad I didn't renounce having them this time, I think they just make easy a lot of otherwise difficult or impossible situations.

So thanks a lot for your comments and thanks to trustedreviews for really helping in the choice.

(BTW, I also had quite similar opinions from expert friends about this camera and its competitors.)

chris sharp

February 9, 2009, 7:51 pm

Does anyone know if this uses the same softwaree as the SX100?



David Bate

April 7, 2009, 2:54 am

After over 50 years with 35mm.cameras, I went digital about 8 years ago. My partner and I now own 4 cameras, all Canon, the latest of which is the superb SX110IS.We like the very clear and easily navigated Canon menu system, which is common to all. The 3" LCD display is very clear and the zoom range is perfect for our photography. I like the pop-up flash which helps to reduce red-eye.Loads of manual options too and that amazing 1 cm. macro! We often print direct from the SD cards to A4 size and cannot fault the results from this camera at anything up to ISO 400.The alignment grid overlay {on all our Canons) is most useful too. Image quality and detail are generally superb. I just wish a live hystogram could be displayed before pressing the release but otherwise another Canon cracker!

Sachin 2

April 8, 2009, 7:16 pm


I have purchased the cannon sx110 last month and I am facing problem like after coping the images to comuter it looks vary dark , does anyone knows how to increase the brightness.

Thanks in advance.


David Bate

April 10, 2009, 4:18 am

Hi Sachin, Difficult to make any suggestions with so little info. to go on. I assume you are happy with the images on the camera screen so your exposures should be ok. The camera metering system is very good normally. Make sure you're not set to spot metering - can be a bit tricky to select the right subject area for this. Have you made any prints from images? That's almost the ultimate test for a satisfactory picture! If you bought the camera from a local dealer, have a chat with the guy who sold it to you, with some samples if possible. Computer stored images can be greatly improved in almost any of the photo programs available. Googles "Picasa3" is a freebie download and quite useful. It has a nice horizon straightening feature too! Don't give up. Dave Bate

David Bate

April 18, 2009, 4:00 am

Hi, Sachin,Are you still there and were my detailed comments of April 9 of any value?

Some response would be appreciated! Dave Bate

Lesley Sangster

May 22, 2009, 12:44 pm

I'd like to try out my new sx 110 but I can't open the battery/SD compartment. What's the trick?


June 3, 2009, 12:35 am

Does anyone have any comments on the canon powershot sx110 is vs. the fujifilm finepix s1500?


June 4, 2009, 6:19 pm

I have read elsewhere that this camera has rather heavy battery usage - anuyone have any comments ?


June 6, 2009, 12:49 pm

I have had this camera for 3 weeks now and I really enjoy taking photos with it.

I have mainly used it outdoors in good lighting so I can say the battrey life is great. Just make sure you switch from continuous image stabilisation to single shot. I get about 300 shots from a pair of Sanyo Eneloop's. The flash is slow to recharge so I wouldn't buy this for indoor use. But then again what would you do with a 10x zoom indoors anyway.


June 8, 2009, 5:48 pm

Thanks, that was my only concern. Sadly I've missed the cashback offer but financial constraints are in place until payday.


July 10, 2009, 3:00 am

Hi, TheMirkster said that he/she wouldn't recommend this camera for indoor use. I unfortunately can't afford to buy more than one camera at a time, so I need one that works equally well inside and outside. I really like the sound of this camera, especially the zoom, but I'm a little worried now about how it works indoors. Is it really that bad? What would other people advise?

Thanks for all your help!

Peter Maholchic

July 13, 2009, 9:03 pm

Provided there is adequate illumination on the subject this camera produces nice quality photographs. I found it to be an adequate travel camera outdoors in brilliant light. However in less than ideal conditions the camera produces images so soft that all detail is regretfully gone.

Subham Das

July 28, 2009, 1:42 pm

Hello Everybody,

I have bought this camera on January 10th,2009. Now from that time onwards this camera has caused immense headache. I use a pair of Sanyo 2700mAh rechargable battery, but somehow even after charging the batteries fully, it lasts only for 2 hrs at a stretch maximum when used in this camera. I previously felt that something is wrong with the Batteries and got it checked. Also have used the same batteries with other gadgets and seems like the batteries work fine. Makes me guess there is something wrong with the camera. It draws tooooooooooo much charge. I called up the Canon peoiple and they recomended me to use Uniross batteries. Though i havent used Uniross, i would like to get advice from others about what batteries to use for longer battery life?

Subham Das


August 15, 2009, 7:49 pm

I bought this camera around December last year and it's been absolutely fantastic! In reply to Subham Das, I've recently been using Energizer Lithium +AA Batteries which cost around £6 for a pack of 6 and I seriously advise you to buy these!!! I went on holiday for two weeks and took my camera and I only used one pair of batteries for the whole fortnight. Unfortunately, these are just single use yet somebody told me that you can buy them as rechargables aswell so I'm currently on the hunt for some as I was so impressed!

Hope this helps


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