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A good affordable super zoom compact
on 15 May 2014
This is the lower priced superzoom model Canon are offering (SX700 HS being the model above it)
I took one for a spin for a few days and will convey my thoughts overall, this was bought as a gift for my niece after I tried another model and wasn't happy with it. Overall pretty pleased, it's one of the better superzooms in this price range.
On paper it's a normal point and shoot, but the SX600 HS has a superzoom range of 18x, not as big as some rivals, but still quite a useful focal range for a day camera or travel camera.
A quick list of good and bad points
+ Useful 18x zoom giving an equivalent of 25mm - 450mm in 35mm terms, nice wide angle and decent tele end
+ Well priced in the superzoom compact sector
+ 3" LCD is 460k quite sharp and good enough to use in most lighting conditions
+ Good consistent autofocus performance with mostly reliable metering and auto white balance
+ Simple and easy to operate with logical menus
+ Photo quality quite reasonable at this price point (for normal print sizes)
+ Built in NFC and wifi
+ Has a real battery and charger so you are not stuck with in camera charging
+ Quite a few effects and colour filters to experiment with: Fisheye, Toy Camera, Sepia, Miniature
+ Fairly good macro performance: 5cm
+ Has a max of 15 seconds exposure (useful for night shots)
+ Video is quite good, 1920 x 1080 Full HD 30fps, stereo sound... clips show good detail and the AF keeps up well with the zoom. There is no audible motor noise when zooming (least I couldn't hear any) Video does get a bit "grainy in lower light/indoors"
- No manual controls (maybe not a problem at this price point but worth a mention)
- Images quite soft at higher ISO levels, I'd stick to below ISO 800 if possible ok for smaller prints though
- Lens performance is a bit softer tele end (less contrast) could be sharper in the corners at full wide angle (it's not bad though), some purple fringing at the wide end too.
- Can be prone to clipping highlights
- No panoramic mode (most cameras have this now)
Battery life I got about 280-320 shots per charge, as per usual it's worth getting a spare.
You do get a few higher speed shooting modes, one is 3.9 fps and a 4 megapixel super high speed at 10.5 fps which is likely to be enough to capture any high speed events, and 4mp is fine for a 10 x 8" print or slightly bigger.
The Canon is a pretty good camera in most respects it's well priced, mostly good performance and a easy to use for shooters of all skill levels. It's an auto point and shoot in many ways, but you can adjust the important areas such as exposure compensation and white balance and ISO.
Images (and video) are quite good in bright light, lower light levels I would avoid the highest ISO setttings both stills and video take a dive here. But for the majority of users this camera will make pleasing prints, and the competitive price is nice to see too. There are some other options out there, the TZ-55 costs a bit more and is better featured (in some ways) it's also a larger camera (in part due to the flip LCD on the back), the Fuji F900 is also worth a look it's a less easy to use camera that might reward those willing to put the effort in and learn it's quirks, but it's capable of decent quality images and good dynamic range.
The Canon is close to if not slighty better for video v the TZ-55 (in my view) it's better than the Fuji in this area too. It's a good choice if you want something easy to use out of the box, the Panasonic and Fuji might be better suited to those who like to dabble and experiment more.
Tricky choice for superzoom compacts at this price point, bar a few bits left out (no pano mode is strange, and some manual controls would be nice) The SX600 HS is a pretty strong offering and the price is quite wallet friendly too.