16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
An excellent travel camera!,
This review is from: Canon Powershot SX260 HS GPS Digital Camera - Grey (12.1 MP, 20x Optical Zoom) 3.0 Inch LCD (Camera)
After having bought a Panasonic TZ30 to replace an ageing TZ5 my partner decided to renew her travel zoom too and treated herself to the Canon Powershot SX260HS - we both use Nikon DSLRs (a D90 and D3100) as our main cameras. I have taken a eager interest in the Canon SX260HS out of anxiety as to whether I made the right choice in going for the TZ30 but this review focuses on the Canon.
To me, the overriding issue is ultimately the quality of photographs rather than novelty features, however, both cameras are in the same price range; have a similar pixel count; 20x zooms with stabilisation and cost circa £220. The key differences are that the Canon is slightly bigger and heavier (deeper plus 30g heavier); has no touch screen; no in camera HDR support or 3D facility - none of these are tiebreakers for us but picture quality is. It's a pity neither the Canon or Panasonic supports RAW mode. Also, both cameras offer a variety of burst modes including a 10fps mode which fixes the focus on the first frame. One differential is that in this mode the Canon LCD turns off which can make panning difficult.
The SX260 is very pocketable and easy to use with a rapid start-up. The zoom/stabilisation are excellent and the pictures remain clear at high zoom. The pictures this Canon produces are very good and more than acceptable from the size of camera, although, at the £200 plus mark you have a right to expect something better than more basic pocket cameras. The SX260 maintains the principle in cameras of this type that as the ISO increases the noise level increases significantly - I can only say that it is no worse or better than our TZ30. Overall though, taking account of the size of the camera pictures are lovely and clear at normal working ISO levels (up to 800), although, I could not say to my eye that it is any better or worse than the TZ30 - both produce good quality output. The 2MP difference between the SX260 and TZ30 makes no difference in practice. In summary, I think most people buying the HX260 will, providing they accept it isn't a DSLR, be very pleased with the results.
The SX260 sports a pop up flash which I think is very useful on a camera this size. The fact that when the flash is required it pops up means that you are discouraged from obscuring it with your finger - all too easy to do on a small camera. Even using the anti-red eye setting cameras this small are inclined to produce redeye - unlike the TZ30 there is an in camera editing tool to deal with this though. It's a pity there's no RAW mode because the clarity of shots suggests the camera could do justice to the format. The accompanying sound is clear too. Movie is good and sharp on the SX260 - jitter free and you can zoom while shooting.
In terms of ergonomics etc. The SX260 is excellent - it's easy to use on "Smart Automatic" most of the time, but there are lots of options for manual or preset modes that are easily selectable via the jog dial and/or the clear menus. The LCD display on the SX260 could be better - it is adequate at 460K dots but many competing cameras (e.g. Sony) offer twice this. This fact is less excusable as it is not touch screen. The built in GPS is great and finds a fix quite quickly, although, in common with other cameras this really drains the battery quickly. The battery is removed from the camera for charging in the supplied charger unit which bucks the trend towards chargers that plug into the camera.
If you are looking for a quality, compact travel zoom I'd be surprised if you were disappointed with the SX260 - it's a very good camera indeed but just check out the competition from Sony, Nikon and Panasonic in case you want a different mix of features/strengths - I think there's a very good chance you'll come back to the SX260HS (or the non-GPS SX240 at around £30 cheaper). Recommended.