Test review of the Canon PowerShot SX200 digital camera

Product Overview

Overall rating:

87%
Overall score:87%
Features:90%
Value:85%
Performance:90%
Image Quality:85%
Design:85%

Pros:

  • PASM control, wedge shape design, control layout

Cons:

  • Permanently popped-up flash, unnatural colours, high-ISO detail mush

Product:

Canon PowerShot SX200

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£360.00

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Features

The SX200 IS features a 12 x optical zoom with an equivalent focal range of 28-336mm. It has optical image stabilisation, with a 1/2.33in CCD sensor at 12.1MP. It has a 3in LCD with a resolution of 230K. Full manual control over shutter and aperture plus Full HD video capture with HDMI out socket is provided.



Design

In a fashion befitting the compact superzoom category, the SX200 is larger than your average compact camera, but still small enough to fit relatively easily in the pocket.



The SX200 IS sports a wedge-shaped body, thickening out towards the right hand side of the camera, thus providing a comfortable hold for operating the camera. Whilst the camera is generally well designed, it isn’t without flaws.



The problem with the SX200 IS lies in the camera’s built-in flash. It’s of the pop-up variety, but Canon has chosen to have it pop up whenever the camera is in use, without the option to force it closed. Not only is this a touch annoying when using the camera, but also I’d imagine that it would be fairly easy to break in some way during common day-to-day use.



Performance

Lens and focus performance is good, with the lens travelling from the wide to the tele end of the zoom quickly, though in quite a noisy fashion. Autofocus is both accurate and handled in no time at all. Exposures are generally reliable, though it displays a slight tendency to underexposure at times. The camera a sports prompt autofocus system, and there is very little hanging around involved in general use. The menu system is also both intuitive and simple to navigate.



Image Quality

The SX200 IS handles image noise well, with usable results right up to the maximum ISO, at full resolution, of 1600, though does use fairly aggressive noise reduction and thus fine detail is smudged. However, if you’re not wanting to handle noise reduction manually in
post production, the SX200 IS makes sense.


Canon SX200 ISThe overall look of images produced are slightly flat in appearance compared to others . Colour rendition displays quite unnatural tones, with fairly saturated blue. With such a wide focal range packed into a small body, fringing is always going to be an issue. The SX200 IS struggles in difficult light, with fringing appearing around a subject’s edges. At low ISO settings the relatively high pixel count of the SX200 IS helps for fine detail.


Value For Money

The Canon SX200 IS is currently available around the £350 mark, which is fairly pricey. If you look at what the cameras is lacking as a serious shooting proposition, namely Raw capture, it seems a touch expensive. However, it is generally good at what it does, and that is combine a large focal range into a relatively compact body, with few compromises.

Verdict

The Canon SX200 IS is a very good camera. It offers exactly what models in the compact superzoom market should: namely, an extensive focal range in a compact body, along with extensive functionality and an ample LCD screen. However, it does have niggles with regards to design. The permanently popped-up flash is both intrusive and no doubt easily broken.

Full Specification

Dimensions:
103 x 60.5 x 37.5mm
Power:
Lithium H rechargeable

Connectivity:
HDMI out, AV out, USB 2
Memory Card:
SD/SDHC, MMC, MMC Plus

Flash Modes:
Auto, manual on/off
ISO Range:
80-1600

White Balance:
Auto, 5 preset, custom
Metering System:
Evaluative, Centre, Spot

Exposure Modes:
P,A,S,M, Auto, HD video, scene
Shutter Speeds:
1/3200 – 15sec

File Formats:
JPG, MOV/H.264
Lens:
28-336mm, f/3.4-5.3

LCD:
3in, 230k dot LCD
Sensor:
12.1MP, 1/2.3in CCD