Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Review

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Review

Even though overall sales of compact cameras are declining, the trip camera subcategory of the market continues to do exceptionally well. These cameras have the potential to deliver substantially more than the typical capabilities of tiny cameras, particularly in terms of their zoom capabilities.

The Canon SX260 has been succeeded by the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS, sometimes known as the Canon SX280 for short. There are two different models of the same camera. One of them is the Canon SX270, which has pretty much all the same qualities as its more costly brother. However, it does not have built-in Wi-Fi or GPS like its sibling, which is slightly more expensive.

The primary selling point of this camera is its 20x optical zoom lens, which is accompanied by a CMOS sensor with a high sensitivity of 12.1 million pixels. The Canon SX280’s lens has the potential to attain a quite remarkable 500 millimeters in focal length, with a focal length equivalent beginning at 25 millimeters.

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Canon PowerShot SX280 12MP Digital Camera with 20x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom...

Last update was on: May 28, 2023 9:54 pm

You can even push it to 80x by combining ZoomPlus with the camera’s digital teleconverter, giving you an impressive 2000mm reach. Finally, zoom plus technology raises it to 40x, comparable to 1000mm. The image quality is likely to decrease at the 80x equivalent length, mainly because of the full-resolution image, yet it may be helpful occasionally.

The lens has a maximum aperture of f/3.5 when set to its widest possible angle. While not exceptionally brilliant compared to some of the high-end cameras currently available, it is about average for a camera with such a high zoom ratio.

The fact that the Canon SX280 is the first Canon camera of any sort to have the most recent Digic 6 processor is perhaps one of the fascinating aspects of this particular model. The most recent generation of Canon’s processors is frequently introduced first in the company’s tiny cameras before being made available in the company’s other models.

The performance of noise performance and video recording capabilities are expected to increase with the upgrade of the CPU. As a result, the Canon SX280 can have a frame rate of 60 frames per second, which resultingly smooth movie footage.

The top end of Canon’s PowerShot series often provides more advanced settings, such as complete manual control, than Canon’s IXUS range of cameras. For example, since it has various shooting settings, you can shoot in automatic, semi-automatic modes (aperture priority and shutter priority) or fully manual with the Canon SX280. Unfortunately, there are no raw format shooting capabilities available.

Scene modes, digital filter effect modes, and the intriguing Hybrid Auto mode are beginner-friendly modes in addition to the more complex modes. These modes may be found alongside the more complicated modes. This makes a brief video clip before you snap every photo, and after each day, all of the clips are combined into a movie digest to accompany your photographs.

The information the camera gets while shooting the movie clip is also used to decide the optimal settings to utilize for the still image being captured.

The Fish-eye Effect, the Toy Camera Effect, and the ever-present Miniature Effect are three examples of the digital filters that are now standard on most cameras to attract users of Instagram.

The Canon SX280 is the latest addition to the ever-growing lineup of Canon’s tiny cameras equipped with built-in Wi-Fi and GPS. The Wi-Fi capability is meant to make it quicker and easier to share photographs with others. In addition, the replication can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android devices, allowing users to transfer pictures from their camera to their smartphone or tablet. However, currently, there is no functionality for the remote control.

GPS not only allows you to maintain a diary of your travel, but it also gives you the option to geotag your photographs with the spot they were taken.

There are a few competitors to the Canon SX280 HS, which has a list price of £259.99, AU$ 299.95, or US$329.99. The Panasonic TZ40 is perhaps the most formidable of these rivals because it boasts a 20x optical zoom lens, built-in Wi-Fi, and GPS.

Another contender is the Nikon Coolpix S9500, which features a capable optical zoom of 22 times and a GPS. Even though it is substantially more costly and has a 30x optical zoom, Sony’s Cyber-shot HX50, released only later, is another possible competition.

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Build Quality

The Canon SX280 is very thin for such a tiny camera, and its ability to fit into a pocket, whether a pair of jeans or a coat, is a testament to the camera’s 20x optical zoom.

One-handed shooting is made more accessible by the presence of a narrow strip on the front of the camera that may be used as a finger grip; nevertheless, this feature does give the camera an unusual appearance because it doesn’t take up too much space.

Because every one of the camera’s buttons is clustered along the right-hand side, your thumb will have an easy time reaching for any one of them. On the top of the camera is where you’ll find the on/off switch, the zoom switch, and the release button for the shutter.

It is convenient that this switch has a solid feel and is not overly fragile, given the likelihood that you will utilize the zoom function rather frequently. In addition, the actual zooming motion is quite fluid and seamless, enabling you to easily transition from the wide-angle end of the lens to the telephoto end.

When it reaches the 40x digital zoom region, the zoom function pauses, making it simple to prevent inadvertent transitions into the digital mode even if you don’t want to use it. If you push the zoom up to the 80x maximum, which is an attractive feature, you must remove the zoom and then zoom in again.

On the rear of the camera, in the top-right corner, there is a mode dial that allows you to easily choose between the several available shooting modes. These shooting modes include automatic, semi-automatic (aperture and shutter priority), and fully manual. In addition, the scene mode, digital filters, and the Hybrid Auto mode may all be found in this menu.

It is helpful to have this dial since it eliminates the need to navigate the primary menu to select the shooting mode you wish to employ, which is a time-consuming process. Unfortunately, unlike the Panasonic TZ40, there is no space for groups of custom settings on this camera, which is a bit of a letdown.

In addition, the standard control pad for navigation has four directions and is encircled by a scrolling dial. Depending on the model you’re shooting in, this dial is used to set either the aperture or the shutter speed of the camera. If you are operating in the utterly manual mode, using the up directional key will allow you to toggle between the two. When you switch to one of the other shooting modes, you may use this button to adjust the exposure adjustment.

The four-way pad provides access to additional settings like the timer, flash (on/off), and macro, standard, and manual focusing modes. In addition, aIn addition, a quick menu will appear when you press the function button in the middle of the pad. This menu provides easy access to frequently used settings, such as the white balance, picture ratio, and sensitivity.

If you hit the button labeled “Menu,” you can access a more comprehensive menu, although you likely won’t find yourself using this feature very often.

The autofocus mode that is selected by default is Face AiAF. This gives faces priority, but it might create difficulties if you attempt to concentrate and refocus on other issues simultaneously.

We suggest selecting Center Frame AF for most of your shooting subjects because it makes it much simpler to both foci and recompose the shot. However, it is a massive disappointment because, in contrast to the Panasonic TZ40, you cannot select alternative AF points manually since this would provide greater versatility.

When you change one of the camera’s settings, the screen does not immediately reflect how that change will manifest in the final image. This is one of the camera’s more peculiar quirks. For instance, if you are shooting in aperture priority and set the exposure compensation to +2, the screen will show you how the exposure of the final image will be adjusted while you are making the change.

However, as soon as you close the dialog box for exposure adjustment, the picture will return to its normal state. Because of this, accurately assessing the settings, you need to apply might be challenging.

The Wi-Fi features of the camera are not challenging to use, although there are a few quirks that can sometimes be annoying. Since the only capability available currently is to transfer photographs between devices, it can only be used when images are being played back.

You may access the Wi-Fi settings by pressing the up button on the four-way control pad. Once you’ve already paired a device (such as a smartphone) with the camera, the camera will save the pairing information for faster access in the future.

Additionally, you can link the camera to other Wi-Fi-enabled devices, like PCs and printers. It’s a shame that there isn’t a means to share photographs via social networking sites immediately and email like with Samsung’s line of smart cameras, but unfortunately, there isn’t.

Instead, to share a photograph while you are out and about, you need to connect your phone to the camera, transfer the image, and reconnect your phone to a Wi-Fi or mobile data network to submit the photos. If you enjoy that sort of thing, having this feature could be worthwhile, even though it is somewhat laborious.

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Performance

We continue to be impressed with Canon’s line of IXUS and PowerShot cameras. As a result, we had high hopes for the Canon SX280, which boasts exceptional zoom capabilities and features sure to appeal to consumers.

We are relieved that the visual quality has not left us wanting more. The colors are solid and lively without being flashy or garishly bright. The skies and the most brilliant whites are both depicted accurately. Additionally, it works nicely with a variety of skin tones.

Even at lower sensitivities, there is evidence of some image smoothing when we zoom into the photographs to 100%; nonetheless, the camera performs similarly in this regard to what is likely its closest competition, the Panasonic TZ40. Because smoothing is not very evident at these lower ISOs at regular printing and web sizes, the general user does not need to be concerned about it.

When looking at photographs with areas of high contrast with great attention, one may see a tiny bit of purple fringing around the edges of the image, which is not unusual for compact cameras. However, it is rather well-regulated and is not especially obvious when photographs are seen in regular sizes.

Even though the lens of the Canon SX280 has a maximum aperture of f/3.5, it is still possible to obtain some pleasant shallow depth-of-field effects, particularly when capturing macro shots. These photographs have extremely good drop-offs in focus and nice bokeh in the parts that are out of focus; overall, the out-of-focus portions are depicted quite well.

When it comes to producing colors that are true to life, the automated white balance system does an adequate job in the vast majority of scenarios. However, there are situations when, while working with artificial illumination, the camera will produce somewhat warmer pictures than we would like them to. Therefore, you can either adjust the white balance setting on your camera to one that is more suitable or develop a white balance that is unique to your camera.

The general-purpose metering on Canon cameras, often called evaluative metering, produces balanced exposures in most lighting settings. However, when shooting in an environment with a very high contrast ratio, the camera may experience some difficulty. Still, you can switch to spot or partial metering to compensate for this. You can also recompose the shot after you have focused the camera, which will cause it to take a reading from a new portion of the scene.

Since the optical zoom lens is likely the most critical component of this camera, it is fair to anticipate that it will deliver satisfactory results. The images captured with the telephoto optic at its maximum extension are high quality, retaining much of the original detail.

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Battery

The battery life is reasonable when not utilizing GPS technology, allowing for a few solid hours of shooting time. Therefore, using it pretty little while on vacation should be good. However, if you believe you will use the device somewhat frequently, you might consider purchasing an additional battery just in case.

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Quality of the Image

The Canon PowerShot SX280 HS is capable of producing photographs of exceptionally high quality. At ISO 100, 200, and 400, it captured photos with no noise; however, at ISO 800, it captured images with considerable noise and a minor loss of color saturation. 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 SX280 HS performed exceptionally well when handling chromatic aberrations. The camera produced minimal purple fringing effects. However, these effects only appeared in high contrast conditions and often at the frame’s corners. The built-in flash did a fantastic indoor job, producing images free of red-eye and with enough overall exposure. The night snapshot came out wonderfully, and the maximum shutter speed of 15 seconds was more than adequate for most shots taken after dark.

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

When the default sharpening level was used, the photographs were soft right out of the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS. 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. Additionally, your photos may be given a more exciting look by utilizing the many Creative Filters and My Color mode options.

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS 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-weighted spot
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
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
GPS notesA-GPS (Assisted GPS) supported. GPS tagging, GPS Logger, automatic time update

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Final Verdict

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Canon PowerShot SX280 12MP Digital Camera with 20x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom...

Last update was on: May 28, 2023 9:54 pm

A ratio identical to that of the TZ40 is maintained by a 20x optical zoom, which provides excellent versatility. It does not entirely give the extra-long reach that can be achieved with the Sony HX50, which is equipped with a 30x zoom capacity; nevertheless, it is essential to note that this camera is far more affordable than the Sony. The digital zoom that Canon offers (called Zoom Plus) is also quite good and gives you more versatility if required.

Several manufacturers’ inclusion of digital filters in cameras is sure to appeal to the millions of smartphone photographers accustomed to using applications such as Instagram. Other manufacturers, such as Olympus and Panasonic, appear to do better with this than Canon, even though the Canon SX280 has some unique customization choices. It would be fantastic if Canon included a mechanism to save a “normal” version of a photo if you later decided that applying a digital filter was not the best option.

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS FAQs

What year did the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS come out?

In March 2013, Canon made the PowerShot SX280 HS available to consumers.

How much is a Canon PowerShot SX280 camera?

At its introduction, the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS had a price range of approximately $279 to $329. However, this price may change depending on the location and product availability.

Is Canon PowerShot SX280 suitable for wildlife photography?

It is possible that the 20x optical zoom lens on the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS is not powerful enough for wildlife photography, even though the camera has a reasonably quick autofocus and picture stabilization.

Additionally, it only has a 1/2.3-inch sensor, which may not perform as well in low-light environments or when recording fine details compared to bigger sensor cameras.

As a consequence of this, it is possible that dedicated wildlife photographers will not find it to be the most suitable option.



Paul is a highly experienced journalist and the editor of DSLRCameraSearch. With a background in the photographic industry since 2017, he has worked with notable clients such as . Paul's expertise lies in camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, and industry news. His work has been featured in renowned publications including . He is also a respected workshop host, speaker Photography Shows. Paul's passion for photography extends to his love for Sony, Canon, Olympus cameras.

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