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Canon Powershot SX10 IS
Zoom levels are getting ridiculously high these days in consumer cameras and I couldn't be happier. While anything that supports 10X optical zoom and above can be technically classified as a superzoom camera, manufacturers are pushing the envelope with 15X, 18X, and with the new SX10 IS - 20X (28 - 560mm) optical zoom. By adding the IS (Image Stabilization) in the name of the camera itself Canon is reassuring the people that their images at full zoom levels will not end up a blurry mess. After using the camera for a couple of weeks, I can back that claim.
But before we get to that, let's put first things first and talk about its looks and ease of use.
__STARTQUOTE__The SX10 IS makes it clear that you're serious about your photography.__ENDQUOTE__Build Quality
Even though the SX10 IS has a completely plastic body, it feels quite sturdy and is also a bit on the heavier side at 600g (with 4 AA batteries). The body's almost as big as an entry-level DSLR camera at 128 x 88 x 87mm. Rest assured, this is not one of those cute pocketable superzooms; it's a camera that makes it clear that you're serious about your photography.
The tilt-n'-swivel screen is always an appreciated factor in a camera, and as Canon's superzoom tradition goes, this one has it too. Compared to some of the giddily consumer-friendly cameras out there, the 2.5-inch screen may not sound impressive, but considering its excellent outdoor performance and the fact that it can move around to adjust to any tricky angle o may want to shoot in, I'll give the display a big thumbs up.
Navigation on the SX10 IS is very convenient with perfectly marked buttons and a jog-dial that works like a charm. With all the buttons placed on the right, the camera design is optimized for single-handed operation.
As I mentioned earlier, the camera features 20X optical zoom, which is an industry first in superzooms. Of course all that high zoom would be useless without excellent image stabilization, and luckily the SX10 IS has just that. Considering that you are shooting under normal lighting conditions, the camera will manage to prevent quite a bit of image blurring from hand-held shots taken with full zoom.
10 megapixel seems to be the bare minimum resolution these days, and that's exactly what the SX10 IS offers. Considering the high zoom level, I don't think 10 megapixel is really a compromise.
High ISO performance was not too bad. While the camera did produce a considerable amount of noise at ISO 1600, images shot on it were quite usable once compressed to smaller sizes. For prints, I would not recommend shooting over ISO 400, as that's where the noise gets visible.
__STARTQUOTE__The camera will manage to prevent quite a bit of image blurring from hand-held shots taken with full zoom.__ENDQUOTE__Video shooting may not be of primary importance when purchasing a digital superzoom, but Canon decided to keep that factor as one of the selling points in the SX10 IS. The video records at a modest resolution of 640x480 (30 fps), but thanks to Canon's intuitive dual mic placement, it records sound in true stereo. The audio channel separation was quite noticeable in our tests, which was refreshing and a great plus point. Of course being able to use the 20X optical zoom just adds to your video shooting experience.
The SX10 IS managed to capture the finer details in our test shots. This is a perfect example of how I'd much rather have a lower megapixel camera giving me better details than a high megapixel camera giving me smudges on full res.
The colors seemed a notch brighter than natural, but that didn't result in any loss in image quality. Saturation of colors is a normal practice in consumer cameras, so if you're looking at extremely natural color tones, you should try shooting with the natural color preset present in the camera.
For some weird reason, the Night Snapshot preset used the lowest ISO sensitivity (ISO 80) and used a slow shutter speed to compensate. While using a lower ISO may eliminate noise to a big extent, it's not suitable for dark environments.
Instead, I tried raising the camera's sensitivity to ISO 400 and compensated the shutter speed accordingly to get the shot below. The higher ISO does add quite a bit of noise, but the image is still a lot more usable than the camera's default mode.
Skin tones were well replicated in our tests, with the results looking quite natural.
The camera is quite a fast performer with just a little over a second in start-up time and a little under 2 seconds to shut-down. Shot-to-shot time was close to an impressive 2 fps.
Picture clarity in video mode too was impressively clear. Though the camera would take a while to get the right focus in low-light conditions, it would perform very well under normal conditions.
Rs. 25,000 seems a bit too high for a non-DLSR digital camera, but considering that this is one camera that does it all, you do get your money's worth. Excellent image quality, fast performance, and features that give you a major advantage in your photography are good enough reasons to get this camera; considering that you're a serious enthusiast, of course.
128 x 88 x 87 mm
4 x AA
|LCD Type||2.5", 230,000 px, Tilt-N'-Swivel|
|Effective Pixels||10.0 Megapixels|
|ISO Sensitivity||Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600|
|Optical Zoom||20X (28mm - 560mm)|
|Digital Zoom||Yes, 4x|
|Shutter Speed||15-1/3200 sec|
|Aperture Range||F2.8 - F5.7|
|White Balance||6 positions & manual preset|
|Flash||Auto, Fill-in, Red-Eye reduction, Slow Sync, Off|
|Self Timer||2 or 10 sec or custom|
|Video Resolution||640x480 @ 30fps|