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Canon PowerShot 520 HS Review

This 10.1-megapixel digital point-and-shoot camera from Canon has an impressive 12x zoom, which is the equivalent of a 28-336-millimeter telephoto zoom lens on a 35-millimeter camera.

With numerous forms of image stabilization, which is also employed during 720p HD video recording, and hundreds of useful shooting settings, the camera is an excellent all-around performer.

The ELPH 520 HS is equipped with a 10.1-megapixel picture sensor that can shoot photographs with a maximum resolution of 3648 x 2736 pixels and movies in 720p. This provides you with the opportunity to expand or crop a piece of your photograph for printing or publishing on the internet, among other things.

In low light, with the camera shaking, or when shooting a fast-moving subject, the Intelligent IS image stabilization technology guarantees that photographs and videos are as clear as possible and are not blurred by the camera.

It will assess the scene and the subjects included within it in order to decide the most appropriate stabilization approach to use for every particular situation.

View your photographs on the 3.0″ PureColor LCD display, which may assist you in composing your shots before you shoot and reviewing them afterward – even in direct sunshine. You may also notice that the photographs you take have better color representation and a more accurate portrayal of the scene.

With innovative features such as Smart Shutter, Face ID, and Tracking AF, it will be simpler to snap the photographs you desire without having to touch a button on your phone or camera.

Smart Shutter allows you to take images just by strolling within the camera’s field of vision – the camera will take a shot as soon as it detects your face.

Simply use the Face Detection function to identify and register your face, as well as the faces of up to 12 other people. The Tracking AF option, which tracks your chosen target and keeps them in focus no matter where they move inside the frame, may also be used for more precise shots.

More: Best Canon Point and Shoot Camera | Best Point and Shoot Camera | Best Point and Shoot Camera for Travel | Best Point and Shoot Camera under 300

Body & Operation

Why would manufacturers continue to produce low-cost super zoom cameras when the majority of the demand in the current market appears to be for more expensive products? Are they hoping to lure consumers who are knowledgeable with their finances away from their smartphones? It would appear to be the case with the release of two new models in the Canon PowerShot lineup: the 16-megapixel SX520 HS, which is currently being reviewed on this site and is available for purchase at a suggested price of £299; the SX400 IS, which is scheduled to follow on later and will be an Argos exclusive model in the UK; and so on.

The 42x (or 24-1008mm equivalent in 35mm terms) and 30x (or 24-720mm) zoom lenses that the two bridge versions claim, respectively, hint that we are getting a good deal of power for our money.

The PowerShot SX520 HS has a 16-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor and a Digic 4 CPU; this is why the name of the camera indicates that it has ‘High Sensitivity.’ In contrast, the Canon SX400 IS has a 16-megapixel charge-coupled device (CCD) sensor.

Both cameras are equipped with optical image stabilization, which is something we would anticipate given the comprehensive lens ranges available in both models.

The molded, rubberized grip on the SX520 HS certainly feels comfortable when the camera is held in the palm of your hand, supporting Canon’s assertion that this iteration of the handgrips has been engineered to be more ergonomic and comparable to those found on DSLRs. Additionally, and this is somewhat unique for a bridge camera in this price range, the power source is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, as opposed to a handful of conventional AA batteries.

When you take up the SX520 HS, you’ll notice that despite being a bridge/super zoom/all-in-one device, it feels surprisingly lightweight. Even with the memory card and batteries installed, the device may claim to weigh 441 grams, but in our experience, it is noticeably lighter than that.

This is a camera that, for obvious reasons, you’ll want to grab with both hands in order to produce blur-free images when shooting in daylight. If you do so, you’ll be able to attempt shots toward the telephoto end of the available zoom range.

Even though the majority of the lens can be retracted back into its housing when it is not in use, the optics here obviously dominate proceedings, meaning that this is still a bulky-ish camera. However, it does take up less space than a DSLR proper would with an eye-level viewfinder, which is a feature that this bridge camera does not have.

The back panel, which has a resolution of 461k dots and measures 3 inches, is similarly fixed. This means that there is no way to tilt or swivel the screen in order to obtain more creative framing angles. While this could have been a desirable feature, considering the low-ish price, it is not a deal breaker.

If you are interested in street photography, the telephoto setting makes it simple to capture candid close-ups of individuals who are unaware that they are being photographed, while the widest angle option, 24 millimeters, still enables us to fit a lot into the frame.

The all-encompassing nature of the lens reach also makes this one an ideal camera for visitors, as it enables us to frame our shots in a variety of ways without requiring us to go either forward or backward in our position.

Quality of the Image

The SuperFine JPEG setting at 16 megapixels was used to capture each of the sample photographs included in this review. This setting results in an image that is around 6 megabytes in size on average.

Even without selecting any of the “Super Vivid” color options, when there is a lot of available sunshine, the colors that are captured by the Canon PowerShot SX520 HS absolutely “pop,” particularly the blues and greens that are captured in landscape photographs.

There is also sufficient detail in the highlights and shadows to satisfy, and despite the fact that we could always use more detail still, we are talking about a camera with a small-ish, typical 1/2.3-inch sensor here. This means that there is enough detail in the highlights and shadows to satisfy. Because of this, the manufacturer of the camera has decided that the highest ISO setting that can be selected is just 3200, which may sound like a little number but is actually quite high.

There is also the possibility of selecting the fully automatic low light mode; however, doing so causes the resolution to decrease to four megapixels and produces some pretty unsettling effects when used in almost complete darkness, so it is recommended that this mode be avoided whenever possible.

Sticking at ISO800 – or ISO1600 if you have to – is still the best way to avoid grain and image noise. The maximum ISO3200 level, while not dreadful and potentially more forgiving if you want to turn the result into a black-and-white image, is only really worth accessing in the event of an emergency.

A maximum lens aperture of f/3.4 may not be something to write home about, and it progresses to a so-so f/8 while shooting at infinity telephoto, but at this price, it’s a case of horses for courses.

At maximum wide angle, we are noticing a teeny bit of softness in the extreme corners of the frame in addition to a fish eye effect due to that ultra-wide 24mm maximum setting, and at maximum telephoto, we are noticing a slight softness overall in images that were taken handheld at maximum wide angle.

The results and level of detail, on the other hand, are surprisingly good for a camera that costs less than $300. In addition, all of this needs to be examined within the framework of a zoom reach that gives us a significant amount of leeway in terms of how we frame still photographs and movies.

Even though the SX520 HS will never be able to take the place of a DSLR or a CSC, it may still be a good choice for a family that is looking for an affordable all-in-one alternative.

Canon PowerShot 520 HS Specs

Body typeUltracompact
Max resolution3648 x 2736
Other resolutions3648 x 2736, 3648 x 2432, 3648 x 2048, 2816 x 2112, 2816 x 1880, 2816 x 1584, 2736 x 2736, 2192 x 2736, 2112 x 2112, 1920 x 1080, 1600 x 1064, 1696 x 2112, 1200 x 1200, 960 x 1200, 640 x 480, 640 x 424, 640 x 360, 480 x 480, 384 x 480, 320 x 240
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels10 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors17 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Sensor typeBSI-CMOS
ProcessorDIGIC 5
ISOAuto 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes (1)
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatNo
JPEG quality levelsSuperfine, Fine
Focal length (equiv.)28–336 mm
Optical zoom12×
Maximum apertureF3.4–5.6
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterTrackingSingleContinuousFace Detection
Digital zoomYes (4x)
Manual focusNo
Macro focus range1 cm (0.39″)
Number of focus points9
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3″
Screen dots461,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typePureColor II G TFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Minimum shutter speed15 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Aperture priorityNo
Shutter priorityNo
Manual exposure modeNo
Subject/scene modesYes
Built-in flashYes
Flash Range2.50 m
External flashNo
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync
Continuous drive2.8 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec, Custom)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
WB BracketingNo
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps) 640 x 480 (30, 120 fps), 320 x 240 (240 fps)
Videography notesMiniature Effect (HD, L) 6fps, 3fps, 1.5 fps iFrame Movie (HD)
Storage typesmicroSD/microSDHC/microSDXC
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (Mini)
Remote controlNo
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion NB-9L rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)190
Weight (inc. batteries)155 g (0.34 lb / 5.47 oz)
Dimensions87 x 54 x 19 mm (3.43 x 2.13 x 0.75″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo


Putting a large 42x optical zoom into a compact body with a small-ish sensor is never going to make for the best of bedfellows if the ultimate in image quality is your aim. However, we’d argue that the 16-megapixel Canon PowerShot SX520 HS is more about convenience, flexibility, and value for money all of which it largely delivers. It also has a lot of room for improvement in terms of image quality.

The build does feel a little bit plastic-y in comparison to the smaller DSLRs it resembles at first glance, but given the price tag, this is to be expected. Having a camera with this kind of zoom range that feels lightweight into the bargain isn’t necessarily a bad thing you want the conveniences of a broad focal range but not the bulk that is normally associated with it. Having a camera with this kind of zoom range that feels lightweight into the bargain isn’t necessarily a bad

Canon PowerShot 520 HS Price

Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Full HD Video
  • Image Stabilization
  • Putting a Focus on Face Detection
  • 461k dots LCD Resolution
Need Improvements
  • No wireless connection was established.
  • There is not external flash shoe.
  • A Lack of a Touch Screen
  • Lack of a Screen That Articulates

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This 10.1-megapixel digital point-and-shoot camera from Canon has an impressive 12x zoom, which is the equivalent of a 28-336-millimeter telephoto zoom lens on a 35-millimeter camera. With numerous forms of image stabilization, which is also employed during 720p HD video recording, and hundreds of...Canon PowerShot 520 HS Review