Canon PowerShot SX10 IS review
I have owned three models in this series, which should give an indication that I really like this level of camera. For me, the best feature is the 20x optical zoom (it gets insane if you add digital). You will get amazing pictures that you never thought possible before. This goes hand-in-hand with the image stabilization, which is absolutely necessary at higher magnifications if you shoot hand-held. They have consolidated what used to be buttons located all over the body, to the control wheel, so there is less likelihood of accidentally activating a feature. I often shoot in locations where flash is forbidden, so I like the fact that the flash cannot fire unless you manually deploy it (not everyone’s favorite feature). If you shoot people a lot, you may like the face recognition feature, which will automatically optimize focus and exposure for the individual it thinks is the main subject. Using conventional AA batteries can save you in the field if your rechargeables (which you definitely will want to have) finally run out of gas – you can just pop in the nearest store and buy some. I appreciate that Canon added a lens hood, but I have yet to test its effectiveness. You will not be ashamed to show the videos you take with this camera – they are brilliant with amazing sound. The big, bright, rotatable, stowable LCD display is a beautiful design.
The lens cap design is fussy, and you can think you’ve put it on securely when you have not. It has no tether, but rather a clip on the back by which you are supposed to attach it to the camera strap when shooting, but that is also pretty insecure (Canon is going to do a brisk business in replacements). I need an extendable eye shade for the viewfinder, as it is very hard to use in any amount of sunlight. The lens hood stows by reversing it over the lens barrel (a nice feat of engineering), but this takes up much of the space between the barrel and the grip, which is where your fingers are supposed to go.
Other Thoughts: This camera is a winner. It is so good in automatic mode, I have to force myself to practice using the manual settings, or I would quickly forget how. There is enough resolution here so that you can easily overshoot and handle the final framing on your computer – cropping is not an issue. About 60% of the image tweaking features could be eliminated, as users of this type of camera will also have computer software for these tasks. I have yet to master the manual focus mode, but I’m working on it.