The Canon Powershot SX210IS is a nice mid-level device for those want a little extra from their camera without having to break the bank, says Adam Maguire.
Canon’s Powershot range has traditionally been the company’s bridge between its consumer-level IXUS and professional-level EOS brands. The SX210IS sits at the lower end of this, taking more of the form of a consumer device than a low-rent SLR.
That is not to say it is under-powered. Sporting a 14.1 megapixel sensor and a 14x optical zoom the device offers plenty of punch despite being in quite a compact-like body. To compliment that the camera also has a Digic 4 processor – the same used in the company’s DSLRs – a 3″ widescreen display for viewing the photos you’ve taken.
In terms of features the camera is equally feature-laden. Besides all the usual presets there is also plenty of sensors – like low-light, motion and – interestingly – blink detection. The camera also offers HD video recording and includes a HDMI-out port for easy connection to a TV.
Physically the camera has a simple, squared design which fits easily into anything but the tightest of pockets. All its bells and whistles are kept nicely tucked away when the device is powered down, with the flash only popping up when it is turned on.
The controls and menu system will be familiar to anyone who has already used a canon camera. There is a click-wheel that features all the various presets at the top while a second one towards the bottom is more contextual, allowing users to scroll quickly through photos or navigate through menus depending on the situation.
There are a few notable errors in the design, however. The most notable is the lack of a regular view-finder, meaning you have to rely on the LCD screen to see what you are about to take. Most of the time this is not an issue but obviously in darker settings it can prove unreliable.
The fact that the flash automatically pops up when the device is powered on is also a bit odd – it would prove more useful if it only popped up when a photo was about to be taken in a dark area – but this is hardly the worst thing in the world.
Overall the SX210IS is a quality and easy-to-use camera, especially for anyone who has had another Canon camera. The quality of the images are strong too, even if you just rely on the ‘Auto’ setting to get your results. The additional option of HD video is also extremely handy to have available.
In short, for its price, the Powershot SX210IS is a camera worth getting, either for users stepping up for a compact or looking for a powerful but portable alternative to their DSLR. The price is quite reasonable too, meaning it will not break the bank if you do decide to take the plunge.