Canon PowerShot SX240 HS Review

The Canon PowerShot SX240 HS is a new travel-zoom camera that has been released by Canon to replace the SX230 HS model. There is a full 1080p HD Movie Mode with stereo sound and an HDMI output, as well as a DIGIC 5 image-processing engine, a longer 20x, 25-500mm optical zoom lens with a built-in 4-stop image stabilizer and Intelligent IS technology, a 12.1 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, a 3 inch LCD screen with 460k-dot resolution, a Smart Auto mode with Scene Detection Technology, and an Easy mode for beginners.

Main Features

  • 12MP – 1/2.3-inch BSI-CMOS Sensor
  • ISO 100 – 3200
  • 25-500 mm F3.5-6.8 Zoom Lens
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • 3.00″ Fixed Type Screen
  • 2.0fps continuous shooting
  • 224g. 106 x 61 x 33 mm

In addition, the Canon SX240 HS provides users with a comprehensive selection of manual exposure modes, a fast burst shooting rate of 10.3 frames per second at the full 12-megapixel resolution, Face Identification, a variety of Creative Filters, and a movie mode that can record at 240 frames per second for super slow motion.

Ease of Operation

At first sight, the newly released Canon PowerShot SX240 HS appears to be virtually identical to its predecessor, the SX230 HS. However, in terms of both its design and its functionality, it is not quite a perfect match. The SX240 HS has a build quality that is the usual robust blend of plastic and metal, and the camera seems durable enough to handle the occasional drop or hit. The build quality of the SX240 HS is excellent. Although the SX240 HS is noticeably larger and especially wider than your typical compact camera, it is still able to fit into your pocket and is reasonably light at 231 grams with the memory card and battery installed. It has slightly curved edges and corners that give it the appearance of being less boxy and rectangular than it actually is.

Although the lens extends an awkward 2 inches from the body when it is set to the maximum 500mm equivalent telephoto setting, this relatively little increase in size seems like a reasonable trade-off in light of the incredible 20x zoom capability that is already packed into the camera. Although the maximum apertures at each end of the range are quite sluggish (f/3.5 and f/6.8 respectively), having the equivalent of a 25-500mm zoom lens in such a comparatively tiny device is an impressive accomplishment nonetheless. We have a hunch that the majority of users won’t pay attention to that particular feature, but rather be drawn in by the camera’s capacity to take photographs of anything from ultra-wide-angle landscapes to up-close and intimate action photos. The front of the camera now features a handgrip, which was not present in the SX230 model. This helps to make the camera more stable. This most vertical bar, when used in conjunction with the powerful image stabilization system that automatically prevents blur by matching the optical Image Stabilizer to the scene from a range of 7 different modes, helps to ensure that the majority of your shots taken in good light are sharp, regardless of the focal length of the lens that you are using. A tiny window for a self-timer or AF assist lamp is located to the top left of the lens on the front of the SX240 HS camera. This window completes the front of the camera.

Design

On the top of the camera, next to the large shutter release button, which has just the right amount of “give” to enable users to determine a definite halfway point when pressed, and encircling the shutter release button is a responsive rocker switch for operating the zoom — a nudge to the right zooms in, and a nudge to the left zooms out. Both of these actions are performed by giving the rocker switch a gentle nudge. A tiny pop-up flash unit, holes for the stereo sound and microphone, and a repositioned and recessed on/off button are all situated on the top of the SX240 HS. Although the button is a touch unresponsive to use, it does ensure that the camera won’t be switched on accidentally.

Front and back

Moving around to the back of the camera, you will find that the shooting mode wheel is located on the top right of the back plate. This wheel features a multitude of options, a total of 12, and has the sort of set-up that can be found on an entry-level DSLR in terms of its combination of creative manual options and point and shoot modes for common subjects.

In addition to the scene and subject detecting Smart Auto feature, Canon has intelligently added a ‘easy mode’ in this camera. The latter is represented by a camera with a heart icon, which is more commonly used to indicate a ‘favorites’ option. This mode eliminates virtually all of the user-selectable shooting choices, making it possible to operate the camera in a fuss-free, point-and-shoot manner that is appropriate for total novices.

The new Live mode takes things one step further in terms of complexity by allowing you to modify the primary settings of the camera by dragging three sliders onscreen. These sliders go from dark to light, neutral to vivid, and cold to warm, respectively.

The dial that controls the camera’s shooting modes is also where the camera’s scene modes are located. Some of these scene modes are similar to the kinds of options that are available on the most recent consumer DSLRs and Micro Four Thirds hybrids. The Smart Shutter scene mode provides additional hand-holding by allowing the shutter to be operated with a grin or a wink, making the camera seem more user-friendly overall and coming in useful for situations in which you want to be a part of the image.

The shooting mode dial also provides access to the creative effects mode, which contains nine different looks including the popular perspective warping fisheye, miniature and toy camera options, and the interesting Movie Digest mode, which captures up to 4 seconds of the action before a still shot is taken, then joins all the clips together from the same day into a single VGA movie, which creates a time-lapse movie overview. The creative effects mode can be accessed by turning the shooting mode dial to the appropriate setting.

When you are presented with exciting new tools, like the effects mentioned above, the temptation to use them in an uncontrolled manner is, of course, great. It is challenging to say no to the “miniature effect” created by the tilt-and-shift lens-like device, which turns real-life people, such as friends and coworkers, into figures resembling toy soldiers.

In addition, users of the SX240 HS can go one step further and precisely control the width of the portion of the image that is sharply in focus, leaving the rest of the image to be artistically blurred, by pressing the ‘display’ button located on the back plate of the camera and then toggling the zoom switch located on the top plate of the camera. Because a convenient live preview of each one is displayed on the screen, you do not even need to snap a photo in order to see what the final outcomes of each effect will be.

Front & Top

However, users do have access to the ‘My Colors’ settings, which include color swap and color accent for anyone wanting to experiment with something visually different from the norm, even if the results do sometimes resemble an early 1990s grunge rock video. Unfortunately, such effects cannot also be used when recording movies; however, users do have access to these settings. However, when you go to movie mode, Smart Auto will be activated, and the camera will look through its 21 possible settings to determine which one would work best.

Because of the zoom’s exceptionally smooth and silent transition, the built-in microphone will not pick up any operational buzzes, which is the typical reason why manufacturers disable the zoom feature. This is perhaps the most useful aspect of the camera, as it allows the full 20x optical zoom to be used when shooting movies. The focus is automatically changed whenever the user zooms in or out. Because there is no alternative manual adjustment ring, this means that the movie may become blurry for a couple of seconds before the camera latches on to its intended subject.

According to Canon, the Dynamic Image Stabilization feature also activates when taking video to ensure smooth tracking shots. This feature might come in handy when filming while walking, for example. The SX240 HS is one of the few tiny cameras now available on the market that offers such outstanding quality, and the newly developed Intelligent IS technology helps to keep film stable. Full HD movies can be recorded at 1920 x 1080p at 24 frames per second with stereo sound with this camera.

Because of its user-friendly user interface (UI) and uncomplicated menu structure, the SX240 HS makes switching between different modes and functions an easy operation to perform. The Function menu is likely to be the one that is most useful to you out of the two menus. To access the Function menu, press the Func/Set button that is located in the centre of the four-way navigation pad. This provides you with easy access to the features of the camera that you use the most, and everything is labeled properly so that you can understand what each function does; this is also true for the Main menu system.

The inclusion of a Digic V processor, the same type of processor that can be found in Canon’s most advanced DSLRs, ensures that the camera will operate quickly. Other than that, the technology included in the PowerShot SX240 HS is quite comparable to that found in Canon’s other contemporary non-super zoom IXUS and PowerShot compacts. As was mentioned before, it is equipped with Smart Auto with Scene Detection Technology, which enables the camera to evaluate the subjects being photographed with at least 58 different on-board factors and choose the mode that would produce the best possible results.

Also included are the shadow detail enhancing i-Contrast, the Smart Flash Exposure technology that adjusts flash levels according to the prevailing conditions, and the Face Detection technology that can recognize up to a whopping 35 faces in a frame, while the Face Self Timer allows you as the photographer to join them before the shutter fires. All of these features are included in this model.

Slot for memory cards and a compartment for batteries

The operational controls of the Canon are located on the far right because the extended LCD monitor that uses a widescreen format takes up about four-fifths of the backplate of the camera. The shooting mode dial is about the size of a cent and has a ridged edge that enables a more firm grip and has a great, substantial feel. It is located at the very top of the camera.

This stiffness guarantees that it clicks into position for each set in such a manner that it is difficult to unintentionally slip from one choice to another when retrieving the camera from a pocket or camera bag. This is made possible by the fact that it clicks into place for each setting.

The one-touch video record button and the next to it, equally sized replay/playback button may be found just below the mode dial that controls the filming mode. These two controls, which do not require an explanation, are located above the command/dial scroll wheel. Changes may be made to the settings for the flash, as well as those for the self-timer, auto, close up (up to 5 cm from a subject), or manual focus, as well as exposure correction (+/- 2EV).

When the camera is set to manual focus, a distance slider will display to the right of the screen. This slider may be adjusted by swiveling the scroll wheel (which can be a bit cumbersome), rather than the more natural method of tabbing up or down. As was just discussed, pressing the primary function/set button will automatically bring about any adjustments that need to be made to the current state of affairs.

When playing back your images, the Self-timer button also functions as a Delete button. This immediately addresses one of our most significant complaints regarding the SX230 model, which astonishingly lacked a dedicated Delete button and required no fewer than six button presses to get rid of an image.

While the top pair of buttons on the back of the SX240 HS is for the self-explanatory ‘display’ and menu,’ the bottom pair of buttons on the back of the camera is for the self-explanatory ‘display’ and menu.’ Pressing the top pair of buttons will either turn off or bring up the on-screen shooting information. If the user so chooses, they may additionally enable compositional grid lines via the menu panels, or they can choose to present a picture with gray bars, which will crop the image to a ratio comparable to 3:2 instead of the normal 4:3 that is displayed.

A subsequent press of the menu button itself brings up two folders: the first folder contains the shooting menu, which is where users can activate features such as the iContrast setting; the second folder contains the standard setup menu. Both of these menus can be accessed by pressing the menu button.

If you continue to look at the camera from the rear, the HDMI connectivity is hidden behind a plastic port cover that is secured by a pretty flimsy rubber latch on the right-hand side of the camera. This is the port that enables the camera to be linked up to a flat panel TV once the appropriate cable has been obtained. It is located next to a second port that is more traditionally used for the output of AV and USB signals.

Underneath this compartment is a plastic lug that may be used to attach the wrist strap that is included in the packaging. Underneath a side-opening catch and door at the bottom of the SX240 HS is a second dual compartment that contains a slot for a media card in addition to the supplied rechargeable battery. This compartment is good for a respectable 230 shots from a full charge, which is an increase of 20 over its predecessor.

Image Quality

The Canon PowerShot SX240 HS is capable of producing photographs of exceptionally high quality. At ISO 100, 200, and 400, it captured photographs with no noise; however, at ISO 800, it captured images with considerable noise and a minor loss of color saturation. Even while ISO 1600 exhibits more noticeable noise and a loss of color, the setting is still completely acceptable, and even the highest possible level of ISO 3200 does not suffer too severely from the effect.

The Canon PowerShot SX240 HS did a good job at handling chromatic aberrations, with the camera only displaying a small number of purple fringing effects in high contrast conditions and mainly along the frame’s borders. The built-in flash did a fantastic job indoors, producing images free of red-eye and with enough exposure overall.

When shooting in low-light settings with the camera held by hand or when utilizing the telephoto end of the zoom range, anti-shake performs really well. The macro performance is rather strong, letting you focus on the topic from a distance as near as 5 centimeters.

The photographs were a touch soft right out of the Canon PowerShot SX240 HS when the default sharpening level was used. For the best results, you should do further sharpening in an application such as Adobe Photoshop; alternatively, you may modify the setting directly in the camera.

Specifications

Body typeCompact
Max resolution4000 x 3000
Other resolutions4000 x 3000, 4000 x 2248, 4000 x 2664, 2992 x 2992, 2816 x 2112, 2816 x 1880, 2816 x 1584, 2112 x 2112, 1920 x 1080, 1600 x 1200, 1600 x 1064, 1200 x 1200, 640 x 480, 640 x 424, 640 x 360, 480 x 480
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels12 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 levelsFine, Normal
Focal length (equiv.)25–500 mm
Optical zoom20×
Maximum apertureF3.5–6.8
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterTrackingSingleContinuousFace Detection
Digital zoomYes (4x)
Manual focusYes
Macro focus range5 cm (1.97″)
Number of focus points9
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3″
Screen dots461,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typePureColor II TFT LCD
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
Flash range3.50 m
External flashYes (optional HF-DC2)
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync
Continuous drive2.4 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec, Custom)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±2 (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)
FormatH.264
Videography notesMiniature Effect (HD, L) 6fps, 3fps, 1.5 fps iFrame Movie (HD)
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (Mini)
Remote controlNo
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion NB-6L rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)230
Weight (inc. batteries)224 g (0.49 lb / 7.90 oz)
Dimensions106 x 61 x 33 mm (4.17 x 2.4 x 1.3″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo
GPSNone

Conclusion

The newly released Canon PowerShot SX240 HS travel-zoom camera closes the gap between itself and the market-leading Panasonic TZ series by providing a zoom range that is far greater, adding additional capabilities, and addressing some of the problems that plagued its predecessor. Full 1080p HD movies make the SX240 HS a more than capable all-in-one camera for both still images and video; but, the built-in GPS system of the otherwise same and slightly more costly SX260 HS model is worth the additional expense. Both models are otherwise identical.

The new 25-500mm, 20x zoom lens gives a broad focus range that makes it easy to frame up things close or distant in pretty much an instant. This is really astounding given the size of the SX240 HS, which is just a little larger than the majority of compact cameras. The flash unit, which always flashed up anytime the camera SX230 was turned on, as well as the odd 6-step process for deleting images, which slowed down operation, have both been removed, much to our relief. Another significant advancement provided by the SX240 HS is a burst shooting speed of 10.3 frames per second at the full resolution of 12 megapixels.

The image quality is comparable to that of the previous model, the SX230, which is to say that it is extremely good. The use of a back-illuminated sensor allows the SX240 to work well in low light, with a useful ISO range of 100-800 with even the higher settings proving to be suitable for web usage and tiny prints. This helps the SX240 to perform well in low light. The presence of complete manual settings makes the SX240 HS equally well suited to more experienced users searching for a small alternative to their DSLR as it is to the novice. However, there is no support for the raw format, which is maybe to be expected, so the bargain is not made much sweeter.

Pros & Cons

Good For
  • 461k dots LCD Resolution
  • Flash Shoe Attachment External
  • Image Stabilization
  • Full HD Video
  • Putting a Focus on Face Detection
Need Improvement
  • No shooting in RAW format
  • No wireless connection was established.
  • A Lack of a Touch Screen
  • Lack of a Screen That Articulates
  • No Built-in Viewfinder

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