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Canon PowerShot SX60 HS : A super-zoom compact for travellers

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The SX60 HS is Canon’s latest and greatest addition to its PowerShot bridge camera line-up. It boasts a huge 65x optical zoom with a 35mm-equivalent focal range of 21-1365mm.

 

It’s currently the biggest zoom range you can get from any bridge camera and trumps ultrazoom rivals like the 63x Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400, 60x Nikon Coolpix P600 and 60x Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ72. But the SX60 HS packs more than just a big lens. Its 16.1MP high-sensitivity CMOS sensor promises excellent image quality, especially as it’s paired with Canon’s high-end DIGIC 6 processor. This also enables up to 6.4fps continuous shooting and Full HD video capture with stereo sound. The camera isn’t short on features either, with a 922k-dot electronic viewfinder, flip-out LCD display and clever Zoom Framing Assist function. You also get built-in Wi-Fi with NFC pairing for easy image sharing and remote camera control, plus plenty of creative effects and filters, and all for an RRP of $389.

Canon PowerShot SX60 HS : Build and handling

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Top of the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS : 

Canon PowerShot SX60 HS

On top of the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS sits a proper hotshoe mount, should you wish to connect a separate flashgun or remote flash triggering device. The camera’s built-in flash has to be manually opened by pulling it upward, rather than using a typical button release. Next to the flash there’s a useful customisable shortcut button which can be configured to operate one of various shooting options like white balance or exposure metering. It’s a shame this control is located directly alongside the power button though, as the two can be easily confused until you’re familiar with the camera.

You also get two dials on top of the SX60 HS. One is a control dial just like you’d find on a Canon DSLR, which makes it far easier to adjust common settings like exposure compensation than fiddling with buttons. The main mode dial sits behind this and provides instant selection of the camera’s auto, program auto, aperture and shutter priority modes, as well as a fully manual option.

Canon PowerShot SX60 HS -  Tilting LCD Screen : 

Canon PowerShot SX60 HS screen

Above the Wi-Fi button sits the usual directional dial pad that doubles as controls for burst shooting, flash, macro focus and display options. The latter allows you to show histograms and other information overlays in playback mode, but it also switches between the LCD and electronic viewfinder when shooting. Alternatively you can activate the EVF by flipping the movable LCD screen into its closed position. It’s a pity the camera doesn’t have an automatic eye-detection system to switch between the two though.

Thankfully the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS's LCD and EVF themselves are both good quality and easy to use. Unfortunately the 922k-dot LCD screen isn’t touch-sensitive, but it does have great viewing angles which translate to accurate colour and contrast reproduction, regardless of your angle of view. The screen also benefits from being a fold-out unit, making it easy to compose high and low angle shots, as well as a good old selfie. Screen brightness is also high enough to be usable under direct sunlight, but if things get too bright, the electronic viewfinder is a useful alternative. Its 922k-dot resolution is crisp, but be prepared to squint at the small physical size of the EFF, which isn’t helped by a seemingly pointless black border around the image preview area.

Image quality

  • ISO100-3200
  • Photo Effects
  • Good detail at low sensitivities

Images straight from the camera are beautifully bright and punchy, displaying a typical level of Canon saturation that I've come to expect.

The camera works especially well in good light, putting in a performance that is comparable to a DSLR. At lower sensitivities, the amount of detail resolved is fantastic when examining at 100%, which gives you excellent scope should you wish to crop an image down the line.

As you move up the sensitivity scale however, the performance dips a little. Examining images taken at ISO 1600 reveals noise at 100% magnification, although overall a decent impression of detail is kept when viewing at normal printing and web sizes. In dark conditions, a fair amount of image smudging can be seen – and not just when viewing images at 100%. Trying to use the extensive zoom range in dark conditions is also difficult as the camera will often struggle to focus.

By examining the raw files we can see how much processing the camera applies to JPEG images. If you're interested in retaining more detail at the expense of noise, it's good to work with the raw format files.

Canon PowerShot SX60 HS -Verdict : 

If you're using it mainly in good light, or as a holiday camera, you're going to be extremely pleased with this camera. It's nice to see Canon thinking about advanced amateurs with this bridge camera offering, for instance by keeping raw format shooting as an option. Manual control and a decent range of dials and buttons also makes it likely to appeal to the enthusiast user.

Image quality is good, with bright and punchy colours and plenty of detail. In lower light, then you will see noise starting to appear if you examine at 100%, and in situations where it's very dark, the PowerShot SX60 HS struggles, but not any more so than other cameras of its kind. Given its big appearance, it can be hard to remember that at its heart is a small (1/2.3-inch) sensor.

Many people appreciate a viewfinder, and while the electronic device found here on the SX60 HS is large enough to be useful, there's no eye sensor which makes using it a less than seamless transition, which is a touch disappointing. On the plus side, the high resolution screen is fully articulating, which makes composing from awkward angles easy, it would have been nice to see a touch sensitive device here though.

With a host of interesting and useful features, picking one as a standout feature is fairly tricky, but it probably has to be the incredible zoom range that the SX60 HS offers. Not only is 65x optical zoom versatile, the performance at the far end of the telephoto optic is also impressive, while even the ZoomPlus is useful if you really do need to get even closer than the 65x optical zoom allows.

Luckily there's no huge bugbear with the SX60, rather a series of small things that if each were corrected would add up to make a good camera even better. For instance, it'd be nice to see a touchscreen, but it's not a deal breaker. Similarly, the Camera Window app could have greater control, but the fact that you have it at all is a bonus. What is a little more disappointing is the fact that the viewfinder doesn't have an eye sensor.

Another great performer by Canon which is kept from perfection by a few small, but significant, niggles.If you're mainly interested in a camera that you're going to use in good light but you still want to maintain control over every aspect of shooting, this is a good option, while the incredible zoom gives you lots of scope for flexibility.

 

Highs :

  • Market-leading 65x zoom range

  • Full manual control and raw files

  • Wi-Fi and NFC built in

Canon Powershot SX60HS review

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Sample Image : 

Canon PowerShot SX60 HS monde

 


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