Camera Review: Canon Powershot SX270/280 HS

12megapixels, Digic 6 Processor, 20x Zoom (25mm-500mm)

Cons: long-winded sharing, ugly-looking (in my opinion), larger than competitors

Conclusion: I got it.  A great concert/general use camera.

In looking for a camera for the upcoming Pet Shop Boys 'Electric' Tour concert at the London o2 Arena on June the 18th, i looked at the Sony WX300, Sony DSC-HX50, Panasonic Lumix TZ40, and the Nikon s9500, and Canon SX270.   I settled, most happily, with the Canon sx270.  It's just too bad that i didn't get this camera for the Depeche Mode 'Delta Machine' Concert (image below) i just went to last week on the 29th of May, also at the London o2 Arena.

No, i'm not a silly Canon 'fanboy'.  I go with quality, not brand loyalty.  The cameras I've used so far are the Nikon F4/F5/F6/D700, the Mamiya 7II, and this is my first Canon, albeit a compact.  But the combination of specs in the Canon for a compact basically beats the competition by quite a bit from the sample shots i've seen at 100% view.  At small print sizes or viewing on computers, etc, the difference between any of the aforementioned models aren't significant.  However, this is going to be more obvious if you're printing larger than the normal 'consumer' sizes. 

The following are the points i considered.


The camera not having more than 12 megapixels is a BIG plus point as that means less noise > which in turn means less noise-reduction being used on the photo by the camera > which means that images look quite sharp when you view the image at 100% instead of looking like a watercolour/smudged. 

That is important if you're going to print larger images.  In other words, in terms of image quality, it is going to beat all those compact cameras with 1/2.3 sensor-sizes sporting higher megapixels.  Don't fall for the marketing ploy that more megapixels = sharper images.  That is simply NOT true. 

In low-light conditions, this camera is going to produce better quality images than, say, the Nikon s9500, the Sony WX300, or the Lumix TZ40 - all of which screws up the images by offering higher megapixels which in turn leads to more noise, which in turn leads to more noise-reduction/blurring used to make the image acceptable.  Sony is said to be the worst for this range of cameras.

Digic 6

With the improved Digic 6 processor, which Canon has strangely debuted in this compact camera - instead of, say, in its HX50V 1200mm zoom camera - we are also promised less noise.  So, less noise because of the 12megapixels + less noise because of its Digic 6 processor.  Low-light shots are going to be quite impressive, even when shooting with higher ISOs.

Higher ISO means letting in more light so that the image is brighter even in low light.  Generally, shooting in higher ISO also means more noise is introduced.  The combo of 12mp and the Digic 6 processor means that even with higher ISO shooting, there will be less noise than can usually be expected when shooting this way.

20x Zoom

That's 25mm to 500mm zoom.  And it is Optical zoom, not Digital zoom.  That means the zoom is going to be sharper.  Of course you have the option of zooming past the optical limit to the digital zoom, but i wouldn't normally use that as it degrades the quality of the image/video significantly. 

Anyway, the 20x zoom is really great for a camera this small.  Of course, if you want even more zoom, you can go for the Canon HX50v which offers 1200mm zoom.  For an idea of what that means, you can zoom on the moon until the moon just about fills your entire frame.  And it's sharp too!  And the HX50v also offers 12megapixels which is perfect for its 1/2.3 sensor size - though i'm wondering why Canon didn't increase the sensor size given the significantly larger size of the camera body so that more pixels can be thrown in. 


The Canon Powershot SX280 comes with wifi and GPS, and the SX270 does not.  That is the only difference.  Sharing to social networks with the SX280 is via the Canon Gateway and from accounts, you cannot share directly to social networks like you might with, say, a tablet. 

For myself, i went for the SX270 as immediate sharing is not important to me.  I could bring my tablet along and wifi the images on the camera to it and then upload, but i don't see the need for that either as i'm not a journalist, and i prefer to post-process my photos as well.  The price difference between the two is about 30gbp.