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.