Canon PowerShot SX270 HS Review

The Canon PowerShot SX270 HS is a new travel-zoom camera that has been released by Canon to replace the SX260 HS model. The SX270 has an optical zoom lens with a 20x magnification and a focal length range of 25-500 millimeters. It also has an integrated anti-shake system with an improved Dynamic IS and a 5-axis stabilizer.

In addition to these features, the camera has a back-illuminated CMOS sensor with 12.1 megapixels, a 3-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 460k dots, a DIGIC 6 image-processing engine, a full 1080p HD Movie Mode at 60 frames per second with stereo sound and an HDMI output, a Smart Auto mode with Scene Detection Technology, and an Easy mode for users who are just starting out.

In addition, the Canon SX270 HS provides users with a wide variety of manual exposure modes, a fast burst shooting rate of 14 frames per second at the full 12-megapixel resolution, Face Identification, a selection of creative filters, and the ability to record super slow-motion movies at 120 or 240 frames per second. The Canon PowerShot SX270 can be purchased for the price of $279 and comes in either blue or gray.

Ease of Operation

At first sight, the newly released Canon PowerShot SX270 HS appears to be virtually identical to its predecessor, the SX260 HS. However, in terms of both its form and its functionality, it is not quite a perfect match. The SX270 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 SX270 HS is excellent.

Curved edges and corners give the impression that it is less boxy and rectangular than it actually is. Additionally, despite the fact that the SX270 HS is noticeably larger and especially wider than the typical compact camera, it is still able to fit into your pocket and is still relatively light at 233 grams with the memory card and battery installed.

When considering the 20x built-in zoom capacity, this relatively tiny size seems like a reasonable compromise; but, when using the lens at its maximum 500mm equivalent telephoto setting, it extends an awkwardly large 2 inches from the body of the camera.

Although the maximum apertures at either end of the range are pretty slow (f/3.5 and f/6.8 respectively), having the equivalent of a 25-500mm zoom lens in such a relatively small body is an impressive accomplishment nonetheless. However, we have a hunch that the majority of users won’t pay attention to that particular feature since they will be more interested in the camera’s capacity to record anything from ultra-wide-angle landscapes to close-up and personal action images.

A large handgrip is located on the front of the SX270 HS, which helps to keep it stable. This 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.

The front of the SX270 HS is finished off with a small window for a self-timer/AF assist lamp located to the top left of the lens, small holes for the stereo speakers, and a microphone located to the bottom right of the lens. All of these features are located in the center of the lens.

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.

The recessed on/off button on the top of the SX270 HS is a little unresponsive to operate, but it does ensure that the camera won’t be turned on accidentally. In addition, the pop-up flash unit for the SX270 HS is positioned on the top of the device.

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 an ‘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.

Modes

The 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 on the screen. These sliders go from dark to light, neutral to vivid, and cold to warm.

The scene modes for the SX270 are located on the shooting mode dial, and some of them again mimic the kinds of settings that you’ll find 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 SX270 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.

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.

Built-in Microphone

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.

Autofocus

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.

One of the few tiny cameras now available on the market that offers such outstanding quality, the SX270 HS records 1920 x 1080p Full HD videos at either 60 or 30 frames per second with stereo sound. Additionally, the Intelligent IS technology assists with keeping your film stable.

User-Friendly Interface

Because of its user-friendly user interface (UI) and uncomplicated menu structure, the SX270 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 center 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 VI processor, the same kind of processor that can be found in Canon’s more advanced DSLRs, ensures that the camera will operate quickly. Aside from that, the technology that is built inside the PowerShot SX270 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 onboard factors and choose the model that would produce the best possible results.

Face Detection

Face Detection technology that can distinguish up to an astounding 35 faces in a frame, while Face Self Timer allows you as the photographer to join them before the shutter fires

The built-in flash of the SX270 HS is of the pop-up style, and it is positioned to one side of the lens. This placement helps to reduce the likelihood of red-eye (with automatic red-eye correction software further built-in as a belt and braces approach and selectable via the shooting menu folder).

Operational Controls

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 snaps into place for each setting in such a manner that it is difficult to mistakenly slip from one choice to another while retrieving the camera from a pocket or camera bag. Specifically, this rigidity makes it difficult to shift from one setting to another by accident.

The one-touch video record button is located below the shooting mode dial, and next to it is the replay/playback button, which is the same size as the first button. 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 you are watching back your photographs, the button labeled “Self-timer” also functions as a button labeled “Delete.”

While the top pair of buttons on the back of the SX270 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 contrast setting; the second folder contains the standard setup menu. Both of these menus can be accessed by pressing the menu button.

HDMI connectivity

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 plug that can 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 SX270 HS is a second dual compartment with a slot for a media card in addition to the supplied rechargeable battery. This compartment is good for an average of 210 shots from a full charge, which is 20 fewer than its predecessor was capable of.

Quality of the Image

The Fine JPEG option at 12 megapixels was used to capture all of the sample photographs for this evaluation. This setting results in an average image size of around 4.5 megabytes.

The Canon PowerShot SX270 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 has more noticeable noise and a loss of color, it is still completely acceptable, and even the quicker option of ISO 3200 does not suffer too terribly. However, we do not recommend utilizing the fastest speed of ISO 6400.

The Canon PowerShot SX270 HS performed quite well when it came to handling chromatic aberrations. The camera produced very little purple fringing effects, however, these effects only appeared in high contrast conditions and often near the frame’s corners. The built-in flash did a fantastic job indoors, producing images free of red-eye and with enough exposure overall. The night snapshot turned out wonderfully, and the maximum shutter speed of 15 seconds was more than adequate for the majority of the shots taken after dark.

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 SX270 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 inside the camera. Your photos may be given a more interesting look by utilizing the many Creative Filters and My Color mode options.

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 6
ISOAuto 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes (1)
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatNo
JPEG quality levelsSuperfine, Fine
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″)
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3″
Screen dots461,000
Touch screenNo
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Minimum shutter speed15 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/3200 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Built-in flashYes
Flash range3.50 m
External flashYes (optional HF-DC2)
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync
Continuous drive3.8 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec, Custom)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
WB BracketingNo
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60, 30 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps) 640 x 480 (30, 120 fps), 320 x 240 (240 fps)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
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)210
Weight (inc. batteries)233 g (0.51 lb / 8.22 oz)
Dimensions106 x 63 x 33 mm (4.17 x 2.48 x 1.3″)
Timelapse recordingNo
GPSNone

Conclusion

The Canon PowerShot SX270 HS is virtually identical to the flagship SX280 HS model, with the exception that it lacks the GPS and wireless networking capabilities of the latter. That is a shame, especially considering the fact that the price difference between the two cameras is very marginal, but all things considered, the Canon PowerShot SX270 HS is a well-specified travel zoom that gives the joint-best image quality among the cameras in its category.

Because of the introduction of the DIGIC 6 processor, the image quality of the SX270 is marginally superior to that of its predecessor, the SX260, which was already of extremely high caliber. Even the higher settings are sufficient for web use and smaller prints, although we recommend avoiding the new top speed of ISO 6400. The back-illuminated sensor helps the SX270 perform well in low light, with a usable ISO range of 100-1600 and even the higher settings proving adequate for web use and smaller prints.

Even though it has full manual settings, the SX270 HS does not support the raw file format, which is frustrating because it would be ideal for more experienced users searching for a small alternative to their DSLR. The exact same 25-500mm, 20x zoom lens gives a vast 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 SX270 HS, which is just a bit larger than the majority of compacts.

Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Putting a Focus on Face Detection
  • Image Stabilization
  • High Shutter Speed of 1/3200 of a Second
  • 461k dots LCD Resolution
  • Full HD Video
Need Improvement
  • A Lack of a Touch Screen
  • No wireless connection was established.
  • Lack of a Screen That Articulates
  • There is not an external flash shoe.
  • No Built-in Viewfinder

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