One of two cameras replacing the S5 IS, the SX10 IS offers 10.0 megapixels and 20x stabilised zoom
The S-series is being discontinued, with the popular S5 IS, launched in 2007, being the last model; however the design concept lives on in the two cameras with which Canon is replacing the S5; the £400 SX1 IS, and this, the £280 SX10 IS. Both models take up where the S5 left off, featuring 20x optical zoom image stabilised lenses with 28mm-equivalent wide angle settings, 10-megapixel sensors and fully articulated flipn- twist monitor screens.
Both new cameras also feature high quality video recording modes, but they do also have some significant differences to account for the difference in price. The SX1 has a faster CMOS sensor allowing 4fps continuous shooting, as well as 1080p HD video capability and a wide-screen 16:9 monitor screen. The cheaper SX10 IS with its 1/2.3” CCD sensor can shoot 1.5 frames per second and has VGA video recording, although with 30fps, stereo audio video, full optical zoom, image stabilisation, a high-quality low-compression recording format and one hour maximum clip length, even the SX10’s lesser capabilities are still well above the average.
As a still camera too the SX10 is impressive. Canon has chosen to ditch the often criticised AiAF multi-zone autofocus system in favour of a simpler but faster and more versatile FlexiZone single-point system, with a dedicated button to quickly re-size and move the AF point to anywhere in the central region of the frame. It is more complex to use effectively and not as accommodating for those who prefer their cameras to be auto-everything, but for more patient photographers it is definitely a more useful system.
As well as this the SX10 has a full range of manual exposure modes, with shutter speeds of 15 seconds to 1/3200th and aperture control in 1/3EV increments, with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 – f/5.7, and a minimum of f/8.
It has multi-zone, centreweighted and spot metering, as well as an improved face detection system that can track partially obscured or profile-view faces. Among many other options the Canon quick menu includes full colour manual control, with customisable contrast, saturation and sharpness. One advanced function notable by its absence however is Raw mode, which would have increased the camera’s appeal to serious photographers. Some of the SX10’s main rivals do have this feature.