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on 28 June 2013
Really happy with this camera. It's not too complicated to use, looks good, is small which makes it easy to carry and it's 30mm zoom is amazing (but you do need a support or tripod as it's very difficult to not shake the camera when the zoom is out fully) As you can probably tell from my review I am not an experienced photographer, I just love taking pictures and this camera suits me down to the ground. I would recommend you purchase an Anti-glare Screen protector for the back screen as this camera does not have a view finder (which I would have really preferred) and when you do get glare on sunny days you can only really see your reflection.
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on 25 April 2015
Happy with the camera, however it arrived without a lens cap (despite 'lens cap' being stated as included in the box). Seller provided a discount, but very inconvenient- trying to buy a lens cap to fit is proving very difficult.
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on 24 December 2014
Buy this product.
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on 30 July 2013
I am having so much fun with this camera. I have only ever used point and shoot before, this camera lets me go from that in stages as I gain confidence to a fully manual mode. Even I am surprised by how good the photos are. The only downside is that the manual is online.
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VINE VOICEon 14 November 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First impressions

I thought this was a surprisingly small and light camera for having a 30x zoom. It won't fit in a pocket - unless it's a big, baggy one - but should slip easily into a bag, or not wreck your neck muscles if carried on a strap. It has a nice comfortable grip, a good clear layout on the back with a nice clear screen (although I could only test it in autumn sunlight), a convenient one-touch recording button for movies and, wonder of wonders, a lens cap with a thin strap you can attach to the camera body so you can be sure of not losing it. It also feels reassuringly solid and well made. All in all, it gave a good first impression. The only no-no was the discovery that the Digital Zoom was switched on by default. The camera gives you a 30x Optical zoom anyway. A Digital zoom appears to add to that but doesn't actually give you any extra pixels - the ones you have are magnified and image quality suffers as a result. Most photographers would advise you to turn the digital zoom off and forget about it. And this camera cannot afford to give away image quality as it is its weakest point already. The other annoying negative is a manual that comes on disc rather than as a book.

Startup time is fast, as you'd expect with a modern camera. The menus are nice and clear with a brief description underneath of what each option is for. This is not always too helpful - if you don't know what a "Servo AF" is, or whether you want it on or off, just telling you that the option turns it on or off is not all the useful! So you need the manual - bad luck if you're out in the field and away from your PC for viewing it. However, Canon menus on the whole are usually nice and clear and easy to navigate, and this one is no exception. The settings you can change vary depending if you're in Automatic or one of the more manual modes. There are also some very basic editing options available when reviewing your photos.

Using the camera

The zoom is great fun! It is amazing what you can see, when you zoom right in on a screne. A truly excellent feature of the camera is the zoom assist button on the side, Press and hold this button, use the zoom controls to frame the part of the scene you want to zoom into and then when you release the button, the camera zooms in automatically to your frame. This process allows you to see a nice, clear box superimposed on the whole scene, allowing you avoid accidentally cropping out part of a person, or allowing annoying objects into your picture and I found myself using it all the time when zooming. A very nice touch.

Now for quality and use. If you're a happy point-and-click photographer who wants a decent camera to use on holidays and the like, you can almost stop reading here. Although not a fast ("bright") lens, pictures printed at 6in x 4in, or A4, or viewed on screen are fine with good colour balance. In all but the brightest light, however, you will need some form of tripod or other means of stabilising the lens at extreme zoom in order to get a sharp picture. But for almost everything, Automatic mode will serve you well and produce nice photos. Annoyingly, if you want to use Macro mode (and most people enjoy taking some macro photos) you can't do it in Automatic and will need to switch to a different mode. However, ordinary folk who don't want to be camera geeks will be well pleased with this camera.

If you're an enthusiast

If however you are a bit of a camera geek, the good news ends here, even though the camera provides some settings for the enthusiast (Av, TV, Manual, Program). The SX500 does have a very small sensor, as do most cameras of its class. Even allowing for that though, it has a noise problem. Even at the lowest ISOs, noise is clearly visible and zooming in to 100% will leave you disappointed, as will the relatively 'soft' images. Forget low-light photography - the noise is pretty terrible by ISO 800 and you'll need to use a flash. Flash balance is fairly good but still quite noisy - snaps only, really. There's some vignetting at the wide end of the zoom range but it's not terrible. What is more of a struggle is that the lens is pretty slow even at wide angle (max aperture at wide angle is f/3.4), let alone at extreme zoom. A tripod is a must - but the quality of the pictures will still disappoint. That's not only for noise but for chromatic aberration (ie purple fringing). I haven't seen this much purple fringing on any camera for years and it's really disappointing. Macro results, however, seemed pretty good and produced the sharpest & best images of any I took. The centre of the lens, it seems, is extremely sharp. Astonishingly the zoom goes to 0cm! Good luck getting light on the subject though - I couldn't find a way to test that! Colour reproduction seemed very good and true to life on all photos I took - this has always been a strong point of Canon cameras.


Overall then, if you want a long zoom in a really very compact camera you probably won't find a longer zoom or a smaller body than this. If you're a casual user and don't want to enlarge your images, or crop in on them tightly, you're likely to be very happy with this camera. As a holiday and snaps camera for this kind of user, it's pretty excellent and even though the image quality could be better it's not likely to be much of a problem. For this kind of user, I'd give the camera 4 stars - maybe 4 and a half.

If you're an enthusiast, I think you're going to be disappointed with the image quality and the noise issues. For this group of users, who don't want to carry a heavy DSLR (or want to leave it behind sometimes) I think the compromises go too far, despite the wonderful long lens. The image quality just isn't up to scratch. For this group, then, 2 stars - and maybe, just maybe, 3 if the long zoom is an absolute 'must have' (but you'd be better with a larger-sensor compact and a crop, I think). And not having a manual to hand is infuriating for those who want to fully explore a camera's capabilities.

This makes a single overall rating for this camera a very difficult choice! But in all honesty, I think I can't give it more than 3 stars with the proviso (if you've read this far!) that it might suit YOU personally down to the ground if you're a casual snapper.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
April 2014 update : This Canon SX500 IS has been replaced with the identical looking 30x zoom Canon PowerShot SX510 HS Camera (12.1MP, 3 inch rear LCD) that has a 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor (which is a 4 million pixel drop in resolution from the 16 megapixel CCD in this SX500). Although probably less sharp than the SX500's old 16MP CCD detector in daylight, the new back-illuminated 12MP CMOS detector in the SX510 increases low light sensitivity and so reduces image noise in lower light (still using Digic 4 processing), and the cameras ISO max has been increased from 1600 to ISO 3200. Otherwise the newer SX510 HS has near identical features to this SX500 IS and shares the same lens, and so also has purple fringing problems in areas of hi-contrast. Which rate the new Canon PowerShot SX510 HS highly giving it a 'recommended' rating.


My wife rates this Canon SX500 IS camera very highly. The PowerShot SX500 IS measures 104 x 70 x 80mm and weighs 341g including battery. That's pretty small and light for a camera with a massive 30x zoom - in fact this Canon SX500 is the smallest and lightest mega zoom camera currently available. That zoom is the 35mm dSLR equivalent of suitcase full of SLR lenses ranging from 24mm wide angle to 720mm telephoto, and there's the Canon's macro option that can focus from 0 cm. Plus the camera is solidly built, looks great, isn't expensive and has a load of adjustable control features. OK image quality isn't as good as a decent bridge camera, there's noise on all images and this becomes very noticeable above ISO 400 or if you enlarge the photo. Plus purple fringing can appear in areas of high contrast (an optical effect of that great zoom lens). But at standard viewing on a 24" PC monitor the images generally look pretty good, and importantly the camera has decent lens stabilisation built in so at least the handheld shots are nearly always in focus - even in low light provided the scene is fairly static. If you want better photo quality at high enlargement you'll have to forgo the massive 30x zoom or pay more and buy a larger camera. The camera can also shoot movies at (HD) 1280 x 720, 25 fps, and video quality is fine for casual use.

The lack of an LCD viewfinder (EVF) can be a problem in very bright sunshine as the rear LCD panel is all you have, but this camera's LCD screen is far superior to my wife's old Olympus u740 compact where you couldn't see anything at all in daylight. My wife has the option of both cameras, and now it's always this Canon SX500 that goes out with her despite it being more bulky - it's just so more usable in the field. My wife's review: `Actually this is a really good camera'. She's not interested in using my larger Olympus e620 dSLR or Canon SX50 HS bridge camera, she just wants a decent point and shoot that has a few customisable settings if required. This camera offers all that and more - the 30x zoom in particular - and it's pretty cheap with a street price of around £220.

The camera has quite a few adjustable settings, so you can change the focus from face recognition to centre point, manually set the ISO, White Balance and Exposure Compensation (brightness). You can switch off the autoexposure AE and autofocus AF lock, and there's an autofocus AF light and the option of manual focus. Plus there's three metering and focusing modes, art filters, and a selection of preset Scene Modes. Camera modes include Smart Auto (32 scenes detected), Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual, and Live View Control. The maximum resolution photo is 4608 x 3456 Large jpgs (there's no RAW) and a 32Gb SD HC card can hold 4,560 Large photos on the card (and it can work with Eye-fi cards). The lens appears to have a screw thread for attachments and the camera can take the optional Canon HF-DC2 high power flash.

The camera comes with a NB-6L battery, a mains charger, a standard mini USB lead, and the software/operating manual CD. There's no SD HC card, case or lens hood supplied. I bought a couple of Sandisk Ultra SDHC 16GB cards, and a spare Canon NB-6L battery as the battery is quite small and only lasts around 195 shots. The flash has to be manually pulled up to use (no auto pop-up), but at least that prevents the flash firing accidently. The camera has a Mini HDMI out for a TV (cable not supplied). We purchased the official Canon DCC-950 camera case, nice but it lacks decent storage even for a spare battery, so we had to get a larger generic camera case as well. We also fitted an anti-reflection screen protector for the camera's rear LCD.

From the technical point of view the maximum lens aperture is f3.4-5.8, so the camera's not especially good at bringing in light to the CCD sensor. Worse still the 16MP CCD sensor with Digic 4 processing is not as good dealing with low light as a 12-16 MP Megapixel CMOS detector with Digic 5 would be, so the camera is susceptible to image noise in the photos and streaking on video in bright light (but using a CMOS sensor would up the price). Fortunately there's the decent intelligent image stabilization built into the lens to iron-out any camera wobbles, so at least the photo should be in focus - indoors without the flash my wife can get a fair number of blurred shots, but these are due to focus lock failure rather than camera shake (she tends to press the shutter release too hard and takes a picture by mistake, but at least she knows the picture will be blurred and can take another). Plus the camera has that problem with purple fringing in areas of high contrast, it's in just about every photo if you view at 100%. However when I haven't got my camera with me, I'm more than happy to borrow this camera - there's no advantage to having a mass of superb dSLR kit if it's left at home because it's too intrusive and bulky for the location. The camera is perfectly useable hand held at full 30x zoom, particularly if the view is fairly static.

If you can put up with the Canon SX500's size (despite being smaller and cheaper than a typical megazoom bridge, the camera is still noticeably bigger than our Olympus u740 micro-compact and can't quite fit into the pocket) and if you can live with the compromise in image quality caused by the large zoom and low price, then this camera has a lot to recommend it. My wife is very happy with it, and she uses it a lot indoors and out. We both rate the camera 5* for build and value, and 4* for photo quality. I've posted example photos under customer images.
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on 28 December 2012
A good point and shoot camera. I wish I put forward a bit more money for a cheap DSLR but I couldn't fit it into my budget. If like me you're unprepared to spend that much this camera may be worth trying.

Pros: Very good for macro photos, good zoom, easy to use, I have no complaints about the video capture (seems good to me), small and light.

Cons: Very noticeable chromatic abrasion against a cloudy sky (especially on tree branches etc). Quite a bit of noise, albeit a lot less than you'd get on cheaper cameras. Colors appear to be a bit washed out to me at times, jpeg only (no RAW), images seem to become 'damaged' easily if you try to improve them in photoshop/lightroom/whatever (that is to say they get more noisy and the jpeg artifacts become more apparent).
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on 17 October 2012
I bought this camera as an alternative to a more complicated dslr. Ive had it for about to weeks, and I do alot of outdoor/nature photography(hobby). Ive taken some really great shots and am still learning all there is to know about this camera. But overall I would say that it is a really fun camera and it has a really great zoom. Can take acceptable pictures at really far distances. The macro is far better than my last camera and is suitable for my needs and since my primary photography targets are insects, this should say something. With the camera's zoom capabilities I might consider shooting birds lol. :) An extra battery might be something you want to consider however. One full charge will last me 2 or 3 days.....thats maybe an hour a day of active picture taking.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 March 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The unique selling point of this camera has to be the ability to remain compact, while incorporating a fantastic built in zoom. In the past, bridge cameras were closer to the size, and price, of an entry level DSLR. This meant that they were bulky and heavy, and the only real advantage was that an additional bag of lenses wasn't required.

With the Canon Powershot SX500, the x30 optical zoom has been retained, but the size of the camera has been massively reduced. It is now closer to the size of an average compact, with a large-ish lens attached to the front. The quality of the zoom has not been reduced either - in fact I would even go as far as to say that it has been improved. In addition to the x30 optical zoom, this can be extended to x120 with the assistance of the digital zoom. With other cameras that I have used in the past, the digital zoom was traditionally useless, even if you were using a tripod, as the pictures would either be excessively blurred, or contain a lot of noise.

In order to prove this, I set the camera a challenge. The challenge was as follows: would I be able to take a picture of a standard page of normal sized text in a magazine (Gardener's World, in case you're interested!), in daylight conditions, from four metres away and using the x120 digital zoom? The answer is yes. There was a bit of noise, and the colours were slightly distorted, but considering the challenge that was involved, I was very impressed. I couldn't even see that there was text on the page with the naked eye!

As I mentioned above, the main selling point of this camera is the ability to remain small, while keeping its fantastic zoom. Therefore, some compromises have needed to be made, so that it can still be affordable as a budget camera. The most major of these is that the number of shooting modes is somewhat limited compared to other cameras currently on the market. Therefore, unless have a snow (which at the time of writing, I do!) or a fireworks scene, there is little option but to take pictures on the automatic mode. Having said this, this will probably not really be an issue for the majority of people that this camera is aimed at. In fact, I only tend to change the settings and use scene modes when using a DSLR, on all other cameras, automatic mode is good enough for the situation.

While the number of scene modes is somewhat limited, it is still possible to adjust many other settings through the use of a full manual mode. Shutter and aperture priority modes are also available, however you've be forgiven for thinking they didn't at first glance, as Canon have called them Tv and Av modes, rather than the more common S and A.

One final point I would mention is the battery life. I received the Camera in October 2012 and have used it on and off since that date. During that period of time (6 months), I have charged the battery once and it is still showing 2 bars. A lot more impressive than another camera which I recently tried which had a battery life of a week, even if it wasn't used!

Overall, I am very impressed with this little camera. Yes, it may not be the most versatile and come with the most options and settings available, however for most people, I think the most important thing after image quality (and all cameras have mastered this by now), is zoom capability and quality. The majority of the other features are just nice to haves. Therefore, I can't find any fault with how it performs and at the end of the day, if I do find myself in a very special situation that requires all sorts of special features, I wouldn't be wanting to use what is, for all intents and purposes, a budget camera.
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on 5 May 2017
This is not the best camera out there as far as image quality is concerned but it has an incredible zoom range and very good battery life.

The results are good and it's very affordable. It's a great camera for photographing/videoing birds and other wildlife without the bulk and weight of a DSLR.

I'm constantly amazed reach of the zoom lens on such a small camera.
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