Canon PowerShot SX200 IS Review

The Canon PowerShot SX200 IS super zoom compact camera is built on a Canon-branded 12x optical zoom lens, a CCD image sensor with 12.1 megapixels that measures 1/2.3 inches, and a DIGIC 4 image processor.

Principal Attributes

  • Zoom Lens with a focal length range of 28-336 millimeters and an aperture range of 3.4-5.3
  • Image Stabilization Utilizing Optical Techniques
  • Continuous filming at 1.0 frames per second with a screen measuring 3.00 inches
  • 247g. 103 x 61 x 38 mm

The lens on the Canon SX200 IS provides genuine optical image stabilization, which is essential considering the extensive zoom range offered by the camera. The focal lengths offered by the lens vary from a wide angle of 28 millimeters to a telephoto of 336 millimeters. Over the course of the zoom range, the maximum aperture shifts from f/2.8 to f/4.9.

The Canon SX200 IS only has a 3.0-inch LCD with a resolution of 230,000 dots, so you won’t be able to use it as a genuine optical viewfinder as you would with other cameras. The Canon SX200 provides real manual shooting in addition to program, aperture-priority, and shutter-priority shooting modes. The maximum image dimensions are 4,000 by 3,000 pixels, and the camera’s maximum ISO is 6400. Movie recording at 30 frames per second and 720p (1,280 x 720) resolution may also be accomplished with the Canon SX200. The normal sensitivity range is between 80 and 1,600 equivalents of ISO, however, it may be increased all the way up to 3,200 equivalents of ISO when using the high-sensitivity scene mode.

At wide-angle, the built-in flash strobe has an effective range of 10.5 feet (3.2 meters), while at telephoto, it has a range of 6.6 feet (2.0 meters). SD, SDHC, and MMC cards, including MMCplus and HC MMCplus varieties, are used to store digital media such as photographs and motion pictures. The Canon PowerShot SX200 is powered by a proprietary NB-5L lithium-ion rechargeable battery and offers HDMI high-definition video output, as well as NTSC/PAL standard definition video output and USB 2.0 High-Speed computer connectivity. Additionally, the Canon PowerShot SX200 can output video in either standard or high definition.

Large glass always looks attractive, and the 12-times zoom capability of the 28-336mm lens on the Canon SX200 will catch your eye. However, the SX200 is not without intelligence. In addition to handling post-processing for the 1/2.3-inch, 12.1-megapixel sensor, the DIGIC 4 image processor also adds some unique capabilities. The most noteworthy feature of the Canon SX200 is its ability to track the faces of moving subjects, automatically adjusting the focus, exposure, and white balance settings to best suit the people being photographed. This capacity also applies to the self-timer, which may hold the shutter open until you step into the frame using the self-timer.

The pop-up flash on the Canon SX200 is my one and only significant complaint about an otherwise wonderful camera. When I used the review unit in Record mode, there was no option to prevent the message from appearing on the screen.

Aside from that, the Canon SX200 accompanied me wherever I went and, in contrast to me, returned with its memory full of stunning photographs. It was quite painful for me to watch it leave.

Look and Feel

The Canon SX200 is not completely black, which was the first thing that came to my attention about the camera. The review unit that Canon provided had a maroon color. The color maroon has a startlingly lovely appearance despite the fact that it does not make a fashion statement or enter into political debates. After all, it is a camera, and no one particularly wants it to become the center of attention or to start a quarrel.

If it looks beautiful in red, the Canon SX200 must be stunning with that enormous piece of glass in front of it. The 12x zoom lens is contained within a very large barrel that extends outward almost to the same extent as the width of the body.

Unfortuitously, the flash appears every time the lens is removed from its housing. I was under the impression that switching off the flash would shut it. Or that I could simply force it back into the space it came from, but that wasn’t the case. At first, I believed that there was no hope for this little one. It is inconceivable that I will carry the Canon SX200 about the town without first detaching the flash from the body of the camera. But I was able to get around that obstacle. My fingers did get caught on it more times than I want to count, but overall, it wasn’t as much of a challenge as I had anticipated. Nevertheless, it would be convenient to be able to close it and make it stay closed.

A reader subsequently shared with me the information that the flash on currently available models may be turned off when operating in the Record mode. — MRP

The Canon SX200 has a nice grip, which is enhanced by a flared right side and a little indentation on the rear that has a grid of smaller bumps. I thought the grip was comfortable to use.

The Canon SX200 is not a lightweight camera; nevertheless, the bulk of the camera helps steady it when you hit the shutter button, so I have no issues with that aspect of the device. Although it is a digital camera that is better suited for a coat pocket than a shirt pocket, I stuffed it in my shirt pocket without giving it a second thought so that I wouldn’t have to hobble around.

Controls

On the top deck of the Canon SX200 are a button that is quite small for turning the camera on and off, a lovely Mode dial that hangs off the rear edge just enough for your thumb to easily rotate it, and a huge Shutter button that is ringed with the Zoom lever, which is something that I really appreciate. All of these controls are positioned closer to the middle of the body than is typical (as is the lens, for that matter).

The zooming mechanism of the Canon SX200 is very regulated and smooth. Every zoom need to have the demeanor of the one found on the Canon SX200.

On the rear is where you’ll find the 3.0-inch LCD screen, which is surrounded by the standard four little buttons surrounding the navigator and a large button in the middle that says “Function/Set.” In addition, there is a ring that surrounds the navigator of the Canon SX200, which makes it simple to navigate through the menu and pick the various choices.

Share, Playback, Display, and Menu are the names of the four little buttons that can be found surrounding the navigator on the Canon SX200. These buttons are recognizable to users of most Canon PowerShots. You have the option of programming the Share button to do a variety of functions, including setting Face Select, ISO, White Balance, Custom White Balance, Red Eye Correction, Digital Teleconverter, i-Contrast, Display Overlay, or Display Off. I put it to use for ISO.

The standard functions may be accessed using the arrow locations on the Control Dial itself. The up arrow cycles through the exposure compensation settings, the right arrow cycles through the flash modes, the down arrow cycles through the release modes (such as the options for the self-timer), and the left arrow cycles through the focus modes (like Macro).

Lens

That breathtaking glass has a 35mm equivalent range of 28-336mm, which is a somewhat different 12x reach than the 25-300mm that the Panasonic ZS3 offers. When you’ve got 336 millimeters in your back pocket, a 3x or 5x zoom just isn’t going to cut it anymore. It will save you the cost of taking the bus, a cab, the boat, and a significant amount of walking.

It is also the answer to the problem of shooting those sports like baseball, basketball, volleyball, and soccer, which may be compared to the next best thing to Halloween. And for those who have no one to humiliate, that great range may do wonders for isolating a subject against a background that is so gorgeously blurred that it once prompted a Zen monk to shout, “Bokeh!” Since then, the term has become common usage.

The most important question for every hyper zoom camera is, then, what sort of light it requires. The sensor sees a smaller part of the entire image as you rack out the barrel, and as a result, less of the total light that is entering the lens is captured by the sensor. This helps to explain why the maximum aperture of the majority of digital camera zoom lenses lowers as the lens’s focal length increases toward the telephoto end of its range. Lens designers have the ability to employ optical tricks to reduce the impact or possibly eliminate it entirely; however, these techniques increase both the cost and the size of the lens. As a direct consequence of this, long-ratio zoom lenses, such as the one found on the Canon SX200IS, have a tendency to have a fairly dull telephoto end.

In wide-angle mode on the Canon SX200, the maximum aperture is f/3.4, while in telephoto mode, it’s a somewhat dark f/5.3. It stops down to f/8.0 regardless of the focal length, which is a range that may be used in Manual mode.

And the lens on the Canon SX200 has Canon’s optical stabilization, which is why the camera has IS in its name. Optical stabilization is essential for a lens with such a great zoom range, but it also comes in quite useful when shooting in natural light (even if the flash does insist on popping up).

Even though I was using the macro setting, I had some problems getting good close-up shots, which I didn’t realize until I got back to the hotel. The Canon SX200 has a Macro mode as well as a Super Macro mode, however, several images that should have been in focus while using the Macro mode came out strangely blurry instead. Taking macro photographs required more attention to detail than normal.

The Canon SX200 took really nice pictures, and I was pleased with the results. They had pleasing hues and a high level of detail, and some of them were clear winners (like that plant in the gallery that just pops off the background).

There is relatively little distortion even when shooting at wide angles, and it is much less when using telephoto lenses. Surprisingly, the telephoto option on the Canon SX200 causes considerable blurring in the corners of the image, whereas the wide-angle setting produces virtually little of this effect.

Modes

One of the reasons I prefer the SX line of cameras is that it gives such a wide variety of shooting settings

This is accomplished by selecting PASM on the Canon SX200, which stands for Programmed Auto, Aperture Priority (Av), Shutter Priority (Tv), and Manual (which gives you independent control of both aperture and shutter). The majority of digital cameras sidestep all of this, but the ability to shoot in Aperture Priority makes life worth living, and the ability to shoot in Manual gives you the ability to live life like Harrison Ford. When compared to Easy or Green mode, Program mode on the Canon SX200 allows for more customization of the camera’s settings than the other two modes.

On the other hand, the Canon SX200 comes with a mode called Easy Mode that may be used for situations in which you don’t want anybody to operate anything other than the shutter button. It’s basically the same as Auto mode, except that it shows the directions on the screen. This way, if you give the camera over to another person, you won’t have to scream instructions to them from across the room.

Scene modes are something that Canon likes to place on the Mode dial (like Portrait, Landscape, Night Snapshot, Kids&Pets, and Indoor). They are the most often selected Scene options and may be accessed quite quickly there. But if you turn the Mode Dial to the Scene setting on the Canon SX200, you’ll find a few extra options that Canon refers to as Special Scenes. These include the Foliage effect, Snow effect, Beach effect, Sunset effect, Fireworks effect, Aquarium effect, Night Scene effect, ISO 3200 effect, Color Accent effect, Color Swap effect, and Stitch Assist effect.

The Movie mode is available at long last. You have a plethora of alternatives to choose from, which is not something that is typically found on digital cameras. The image size can be high definition at 1,280 x 720, standard definition at 640 x 480, and even lower resolution at 320 x 240. All of those are recorded with a monoaural soundtrack at a rate of 30 frames per second. And as an added advantage, the Canon SX200 informs you, when you pick one in Movie mode’s Menu, how much time you have left for it on your SD card. Brilliant.

Digital zoom is the sole option available when viewing videos captured with the Canon SX200. At least there is no noise produced by the zoom. The maximum length of a segment is 29 minutes and 59 seconds, or 4 gigabytes. Additionally, thanks to the built-in HDMI connector, you can watch 720p footage directly from the camera on your HDTV by just plugging an HDMI cable into the camera and your HDTV (an HDMI cable is not included).

Menu

The menu system of the Canon SX200 works the same way as that of other PowerShots. You can access the primary camera settings that you’ll be configuring by pressing the Menu button on your device. The Function/Set button gives you access to the camera’s settings, which you may alter before taking a picture. In addition, buttons provide access to the settings, which may be altered between each photo.

On the Canon SX200, the Function menu works a little differently than it does on other cameras. Instead of the typical vertical and horizontal fly-out menus, it uses two stripes on the left side of the LCD to perform the same functions. You start by pressing Function/Set, then you spin the Control Dial to go from one option to another, then you push the Right side of the Control Dial to select an option, then you scroll through the settings for that option, and then you press Function/Set to choose one.

Storage & Battery

Memory cards like SD, SDHC, MultiMediaCard, MMCplus Card, and HC MMCplus can be used with the Canon SX200, however, if you plan on shooting high-definition videos, you will need a quick SDHC card. Still, photographs captured at their full resolution of 4,000 x 3,000 can be stored on a 2GB card if they are of a fine quality setting. On the Canon SX200, the same memory card can record a maximum of 10 minutes 53 seconds of high definition video or 23 minutes 49 seconds of footage of broadcast quality.

The power comes from a custom-made lithium-ion battery model NB-SL with a rating of 3.7 volts and 1120 milliampere hours. In accordance with Canon’s CIPA regulations, the Canon SX200 was able to produce 280 still images or 300 minutes of video playback, but I honestly don’t recall ever having to recharge it. I would use it for a shot, then after returning home, I would use it for another shoot. After approximately a week, I began to question whether or not I had actually charged the battery, and I sheepishly fished out the charger in order to give it a boost. But I did it simply out of shame.

The Canon SX200 comes with an AC Adapter Kit called ACK-DC30 that costs $70, but I didn’t feel particularly awful about not purchasing it.

Shooting

The fact that you can carry a 12x optical zoom around with you in the Canon SX200 contributes to the enjoyable nature of shooting with this camera. You don’t glance about and think to yourself, “Well, if only I had a 300mm lens,” while you observe your surroundings. You have a lens that can see everything from three walls in a room to that child in the center field if you have a Canon SX200.

Additionally, the silky-smooth 12x zoom that comes standard on the Canon SX200 makes it simple to frame your shots just as you want them.

You are aware that the Canon SX200 enables you to access any location, but you also have some entertaining options for composing the shot you want to take. There is the conventional aspect ratio of 4:3, as well as 16:9, which is becoming the ratio that I favor more and more.

When you factor in the many exposure modes, you suddenly have a highly flexible little box in your hands. It is also the perfect size for carrying on while traveling.

That it can be used in so many different ways is quite empowering. I was taking a photo of a ship coming in one minute, a movie of some figure going by on a bike singing “The Girl from Ipanema” the next, and before I could stop laughing I was shooting a close-up image of a little cupcake the next. I came so close to forgetting to eat my lunch.

It just so happened that I was reading Joe McNally’s entertaining The Hot Shoe Diaries about utilizing flash for everything (flossing, too, I’m pretty sure, but I haven’t completed the book yet), and the small flash that came with the Canon SX200 was an annoyance since it would always pop up. I decided to try a few other things, such as putting the camera to -2.0 EV while simultaneously adjusting the flash to +1.3 EV. You are able to achieve that with the Canon SX200, and the resulting picture may be rather spectacular. A somewhat peculiar photo. Just like Joe says.

The EV setting was one of the minor issues that we were unable to resolve straight immediately. The EV setting on the Canon SX200 may be adjusted with relative ease. Simply turn the Control Dial while simultaneously pressing the Up arrow key. The problem is that the Canon SX200 remembers the setting even if you switch it off and then back on again. That is a little bit strange, and being the creature of habit that I am, I was anticipating that it will launch with the default settings (EV 0). As a result, a handful of the photographs in the gallery are underexposed.

On a digital camera, doing so is not technically illegal, and it is more in line with what one would anticipate seeing on a digital SLR. A few of my most impressive Gallery images were taken at -0.3 EV.

If you let the Canon SX200 choose on its own, the ISO setting that it favors is 75. My photos were not very good when I used an ISO setting of 3,200, but the main issue was that the camera had trouble focusing when there was not enough light. But even if you use a sensor with a 1/2.3-inch size, you won’t be able to achieve a level of noise and detail that is acceptable at ISO 3,200.

The shooting experience with a digital camera was, on the whole, exceptionally pleasant, although they were little hiccups that occurred here and there. If I had been able to keep the camera for a month, I would have forgotten to tell you about them.

Included in the box

  • A digital camera with a Canon PowerShot SX200 IS.
  • Battery Pack for Lithium-ion Devices, Model NB-5L
  • Charger for Batteries CB-2LX
  • Wrist Strap WS-DC9
  • Digital Camera Solution CD-ROM
  • Interface Cable for USB Devices IFC-400PCU
  • AV Cable Model Number: AVC-DC400

Image Quality

During the course of our evaluation, the Canon PowerShot SX200 has captured photographs of exceptionally high quality. The 1/2.3-inch sensor with 12.1 megapixels captured noise-free photographs at ISO 100 and 200. ISO 400 images also appear fine, despite a minor reduction in saturation, but noise is not present in these images. At ISO 800, there is a discernible increase in noise as well as a blurring of finer details, and at ISO 1600, the quality of the image is significantly worse, giving the impression that someone has smeared vaseline on the lens. The Canon PowerShot SX200 IS handled chromatic aberrations quite effectively, with only very minor purple fringing effects occurring in high contrast settings.

This was due to the fact that the camera only produced fringing when there was a lot of contrast. The built-in flash performed admirably indoors, avoiding red-eye and achieving an exposure that was just right. The nighttime shot came out well thanks to the maximum shutter speed of 15 seconds, which allowed you to catch an adequate amount of light. Anti-shake is a feature that distinguishes this camera from its rivals and is one that functions exceptionally well whether the camera is held by hand in low-light settings or when the telephoto end of the zoom range is being utilized.

The macro performance is outstanding, enabling you to focus on the topic from a distance of 0 centimeters or less. The pictures came out of the Canon PowerShot SX200 IS with the default sharpening setting. For the best results, you should perform additional sharpening in an application such as Adobe Photoshop; alternatively, you can adjust the setting directly in the camera. The pictures were a little soft when they were first taken.

Specifications

Body typeCompact
Max resolution4000 x 3000
Other resolutions4000 x 2248, 3264 x 2448, 2592 x 1944, 1600 x 1200, 640 x 480, 320 x 140
Image ratio w:h4:3, 16:9
Effective pixels12 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Sensor typeCCD
ISOAuto, 80 ,100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
White balance presets5
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatNo
JPEG quality levelsFine, Normal
Focal length (equiv.)28–336 mm
Optical zoom12×
Maximum apertureF3.4–5.3
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)SingleLive View
Digital zoomYes (4x)
Manual focusYes
Macro focus range0 cm (0″)
Number of focus points9
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3″
Screen dots230,000
Touch screenNo
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Minimum shutter speed15 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/3200 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject / scene modesYes
Built-in flashYes (Pop-up)
Flash range3.20 m
External flashNo
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-eye, Fill-in, Slow Syncro, Manual
Continuous drive0.8 fps
Self-timerYes (2 sec or 10 sec, Custom)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
Resolutions1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30 fps)
FormatMotion JPEG
MicrophoneMono
Storage typesSD/SDHC/MMC/MMCplus/MMCplus HC
Storage includedUnknown
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion NB-5L battery & charger
Weight (inc. batteries)247 g (0.54 lb / 8.71 oz)
Dimensions103 x 61 x 38 mm (4.06 x 2.4 x 1.5″)
Orientation sensorYes
GPSNone

Conclusion

Although the Canon PowerShot SX200 IS is a good initial try at a travel-zoom camera, in the end, it is unable to fully equal the performance of its primary competitor, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7. To begin with the positives, the primary point of distinction of the SX200 IS is the PASM creative shooting modes. These modes will immediately attract the attention of the experienced photographer who is searching for a pocket camera that they can truly operate.

Because all of the other cameras in this category are simple point-and-shoots, the fact that the SX200 IS has modes for aperture-priority, shutter-priority, and manual exposure gives it a significant competitive edge. The 12x zoom lens is also a big standout, with a very varied focal range of 28-336mm that will cover practically every photography circumstance that you’ll run across. This range makes the lens quite useful. However, it is not nearly as wide as the 25mm lens that comes with the DMC-TZ7, and it displays a little more distortion at either end. Additionally, it is much larger in size, which makes it less well-suited to a shooting that is more candid. The same can be said about the general proportions of the SX200, which are larger and heavier than those of its competitors. This may be the case just by a few grams and millimeters, but it is significant nonetheless in a segment of the market where size is the most essential factor.

With a sensor that captures photos at the high standard of quality that we have come to associate with Canon cameras, the SX200 IS takes the lead in the battle for the highest number of megapixels. ISO 100–400 is an acceptable range for most images, which is on par with most of its key rivals. The ISO 800 option, which produces photos that are somewhat soft and desaturated, should only be used in extreme circumstances. The Canon PowerShot SX200 IS handled chromatic aberrations exceptionally well, and its macro performance was an astounding 0 centimeters. Additionally, the camera’s image stabilization feature made a significant impact when the camera was held by hand at slower shutter rates.

However, video is a very another ballgame. It is possible to record high-definition video with a resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels, but doing so causes your memory card to fill up very quickly because QuickTime is a format that requires a lot of storage space. Additionally, the sound quality is the standard muffled mono, and worst of all, you are unable to zoom in or out while the video is being recorded. Although the SX200’s inclusion of an HDMI connector makes it simple to connect it to an HDTV, we were disappointed that an appropriate cable was not provided in the packaging. In general, it is not as high quality as the video that can be captured with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7.

The Canon PowerShot SX200 IS suffers from this flaw, along with quite a few others, in quite a few other crucial areas as well. The resolution of the 3-inch LCD screen is poorer, the continuous shooting speed is near twice as sluggish, the lens is a touch slower, the flash comes up unexpectedly for every photo, and the Clever Auto Mode is not quite as smart as the Intelligent Auto mode offered by Panasonic. This leaves us with a camera that is still extremely powerful and will particularly appeal to the more experienced photographer, but also a camera that comes in a clear second in the race, rather than taking the top spot on the winners’ podium in the competition.

Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Focusing by Hand (Manual)
  • Lightweight at 247 grams
  • Image Stabilization
  • High Shutter Speed of 1/3200 of a Second
Need improvement
  • No Full HD Video
  • No wireless connection was established.
  • Lack of a Screen That Articulates
  • There is not an external flash shoe.

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