Customer Review

183 of 187 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Faulty?, 30 May 2010
This review is from: Canon PowerShot SX210 IS Digital Camera - Black (14.1 MP, 14x Optical Zoom) 3.0 Inch PureColor LCD (Electronics)
Given the positive reviews so far for this camera - I am assuming mine was faulty as I had to send it back to Amazon. I've bought Canon products often and can't really think of any previous instance of being disappointed with their products. I have an EOS 350 DSLR and it's still my first choice when I want really excellent quality image results. However, our much-loved family Canon Powershot A95 point and shoot died recently so we chose the Powershot SX210 IS as our new family camera due to the positive reviews and impressive spec. On first inspection, it's a nice looking camera. It feels robust, the design is attractive and the weight is comfortable in the hand. The only criticism I've read on Amazon is about the flash being poorly situated and popping up whenever you switch on. However, the positioning didn't bother me and I found that if you rest your finger gently over the housing when you switch on, the flash gun stays in its recess.

Switching on, one is immediately impressed by the sizable screen space at the back. The controls feel sturdy and responsive and the new Canon software is very slick, intuitive and fun to use. The indicated battery life is poor compared to the A95 (which took 4 x AA batteries), but the camera is much lighter with its dedicated battery. So far, so good. But then I attempted to take photos and shoot video with it. My criteria here is fairly straightforward - with the DSLR, I'm prepared to spend a bit of time with the settings to compose the best shot for the conditions I'm shooting in - with a point and shoot camera, I expect it to do all the thinking so I just relax and catch those impromptu family moments. With the A95 this approach produced perfectly usable shots 9 out of 10 times. On the SX210, it was more like 2 out of 10 good shots.

In bright sunny weather, I found blue skies to appear very artificial as if overly processed in Photoshop, with severe purple fringing. I also found in practice that lovely screen very difficult to see in sunlight. Auto focus appeared to be quick and responsive - until I downloaded the images. Just about any slight movement in the shot caused some degree of blurring in the image - regardless of which settings I used. Colours frequently seemed unreal - not something I would normally associate with Canon - lovely warm colours on both my other Canon cameras. In particular, on still shots, the camera could not focus in macro mode - I tried 100 different positions around several objects and never achieved a sharp image.

On the video, the 720p resolution was one of the main reasons we chose this camera as our old Powershot only had 640. Unfortunately, the video was unusable in practice - the feature uses auto focus and auto white balance, and both were active constantly during shooting. Even without using the zoom, in a living room with controlled lighting and filming my daughter seated and playing, the camera continually refocused and changed the light balance. I contacted Canon to try and troubleshoot this problem but was advised just to return the camera. It appears you cannot disable these features.

I'm really hoping this was a faulty camera as the SX210 looks and feels like a quality point and shoot - but this experience has made we wary about replacing it for the same model. A few photography blogs that have reviewed the SX210 have alluded to the limitations of putting 14m megapixels on such a small chip and described the sorts of issues that I experienced in the stills I took with this camera.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Jul 2010 21:03:59 BDT
Fenix Rising says:
Is your indepth review really fair if you are dealing with a faulty camera there Davie? Can't see any issues with the photos uploaded by another customer. The photos look pretty darn good infact - look for yourself!

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Aug 2010 13:35:05 BDT
Tech 2.0 says:
Did you get a replacement, and did that suffer the same problems?

Posted on 22 Sep 2010 14:39:32 BDT
HMM says:
I experienced the same problem. Why it's best to buy from Amazon is because you can return easily.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Oct 2010 20:55:58 BDT
Davie 66 says:
Gadget Freak - apologies for such a slow response. I didn't in the end replace the SX210 for an identical model but instead went for the Ricoh CX3, also widely recommended on the web. I've now looked in depth at about 3 cameras in this price range and find that they all suffer from variations of the same problems. The CX3 was a significant improvement in many respects, especially the macro facility, screen display and the colour representation but blurring of moving subjects and very poor indoor results along with the disappointing 720p video meant that my partner, for whom the camera was a gift, gave up and bought our old Powershot A95 again via ebay. Sure enough, despite the much lower spec, the image results are simply better in nearly every instance. No noticeable blurring and vastly better indoor shots (with and without flash). Perhaps, with lots of setting manipulation, you would get better results with these cameras but I don't think they fit the 'point and shoot' criteria in that case - the A95, despite it's antiquity in the digital camera world simply takes great pix without any thought save for framing.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Oct 2010 20:57:17 BDT
Davie 66 says:
Yes, Amazon have proved to be fantastic in this regard - no fuss, very quick service.

Posted on 10 Nov 2010 20:02:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Nov 2010 20:04:32 GMT
JH says:
I couldn't agree more with your review. I did read it before getting my sx210, thinking you must have been unlucky due to all the glowing reviews. Unfortunately I've had exactly the same problems.

I've also been getting a shaky camera icon with pretty much every shot I try to take, unless under brilliant bright light. Using the flash doesn't stop this. I've got friends to try using it to make sure it's not just me being rubbish, and even tried resting the camera on a table and using the self-timer so I was nowhere near it when the shutter went off - STILL I got the shaky camera icon. And although some of the shots looked ok on the screen, when I looked at them on my computer, they were far too soft. Not to mention that regardless of what mode I'm in, even a basic point and shoot shot takes at least 2-3 seconds to save.

I've taken advice from various blogs to find ways to correct the problems I've been having, but with no joy.

It's a real shame as there's so much that promised to be great about this camera. I'm guessing I may also have had a faulty one. I'm no David Bailey, but I've always had Canons in the past and never encountered any of the problems this has thrown up. In fact, the battered A80 I'm replacing because it melts every other shot is more reliable than my shiny new sx210. Really disappointing.

Posted on 16 Dec 2010 23:07:54 GMT
A. S. Gavril says:
I have the same problem, the pictures are very good, but it loses the focus when filming ...

Posted on 1 Apr 2011 10:28:28 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Apr 2011 10:30:09 BDT
K. Harris says:
I have the same problem with this camera and even returned it to Amazon for a replacement because I thought it was faulty. I received a replacement and still have the same issues with it. I find the photos are very soft and even more so when you upload them to view on a computer screen. I also find that any slight movement and I end up with a very blurred photo. I have two small children and so I find that most of my photos are ending up blurred. Photos taken at night also look really poor.

Posted on 11 Aug 2011 21:40:16 BDT
Rachel O says:
I've had the same problem with my camera except that i kept thinking it will get better once i get used to using that camera, but now i've had it for just over a year and canon probably wont do anything about it - anyone got any ideas what i can do?

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Nov 2011 17:10:24 GMT
You need to look at the settings that you are using for the shot. If the light is poor increase the shutter speed and or the ISO settings.
Have had absolutely no problems with my camera over 16 months. But usually use my own settings.
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