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Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Review

The Canon SX30 IS is the successor of the SX20 IS, which was released in 2009, and was an upgrade to the SX10 IS, released in 2008. Compared to the SX20 IS, Canon has increased the resolution ever so slightly. This time, the company upgraded the CCD sensor in the SX30 from twelve to fourteen, but Canon’s DIGIC 4 image processor still processes the result.

The SX20’s 20x optical zoom lens has been replaced with a jaw-dropping 35x optical zoom lens, which offers focal lengths ranging from a generous 24mm wide-angle to a “don’t-you-need-a-tripod?” 840mm-equivalent telephoto. The SX20’s 20x optical zoom lens has been replaced with a 35x optical zoom lens. This lens consists of one high-index / ultra-low-dispersion lens element and one ultra-low dispersion ultra-high index lens element.

It is indicated by the “IS” in the SX30 IS’s name that it incorporates Canon’s Image Stabilization technology, which helps combat the effects of blur caused by camera shake. It is said to be Canon’s most powerful IS system, with a claimed 4.5 stop improvement, and it helps fight the effects of blur caused by camera shake. However, even with stabilization turned on, we anticipate that blurred images will be a concern when shooting at the most significant focal lengths in less-than-ideal lighting circumstances.

Further recognizing the potential handling issues of such a long-zoom lens in a camera intended for consumer use, Canon has added a new Zoom Framing Assist button. This button allows the user to quickly zoom the lens out if they lose track of their subject and then zoom back in once they’ve re-entered the issue in the image frame. In other words, the Zoom Framing Assist button allows the user to quickly zoom the lens out if they lose track of their subject. There are a total of 28 different scene modes, and the Smart Auto feature automatically chooses the one most suited for the subject matter.

The images are framed and evaluated on the tilt-and-swivel LCD of the Canon SX30, which has a resolution of around 230,000 dots and is only a touch more significant than the 2.5-inch panel of the Canon SX20. The Canon PowerShot SX30 IS keeps the high-definition 720p movie mode that its predecessor had and the ability to record stereo sound. In addition, it can shoot still images.

A movie-mode form of Smart Auto can identify and set the camera up for 21 various scenario types. An option called Dynamic IS, which is accessible while recording movies, seeks to lessen the amount of camera wobble that occurs when filming when the camera is moving. Several effects modes are also selected, such as Fish-eye, Miniature, Poster, and Super Vivid. The Miniature effect may be used not only for still photographs but also for movie recordings. This has an impact on the frame rate of the movie, just like a mode that is available in some of Olympus’ cameras that are very similar to it; if the film was recorded in miniature mode, Canon allows playback at either 6, 3, or 1.5 frames per second.

The HDMI high-definition video output from the PowerShot SX20 is carried over to the PowerShot SX30 IS. The PowerShot SX30 IS now gets its power from a proprietary lithium-ion battery pack instead of the four AA batteries it used to rely on for power. This is an important difference between the two models. The Canon SX30 now accepts the most recent generation of SDXC cards, in addition to the SD and SDHC card storage offered by the SX20. Additionally, the Canon SX30 IS has just been awarded the Eye-Fi Connected certification, which indicates that it allows users access to specific administrative functions of popular WiFi-capable SD cards while the camera is in use.

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Build Quality

The majority of mega-zoom cameras have the appearance of compact digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs). Still, they do not allow the user to change lenses and do not provide the same level of responsiveness or image quality as DSLRs. Those are some of the drawbacks. You won’t have to spend an arm and a leg on the glass to have the same focal range, which is a significant plus. For instance, a Nikon 600mm telephoto lens will save you around $10,000. It is easy to understand why mega-zoom point-and-shoot cameras such as the Canon SX30 are so popular when one considers the expense of massive glass on an SLR camera.

The FinePix HS10 from Fujifilm, which retails for $500 and features 30x optical zoom, made headlines only a year ago (24-720mm). Olympus even said that its $350 30x SP-800UZ was the “longest ultra zoom” in the world with its 840mm focal length. Now, with the PowerShot SX30, Canon has matched that one and even gone wider (24mm as opposed to 28mm), which is a massive advantage in our book. It’s quite incredible what this 840mm focal length can do for you, as we’ll explain in just a moment more.

The Canon SX30 IS is one of the more aesthetically pleasing Mega-Zooms because of its all-black design and beautiful, subdued finish. It doesn’t have a ton of stickers all over it, yet it still looks classy. You can probably guess that the 35x lens takes up most of the front, and similar to the majority of cameras of this type, you use a string to tie the lens cover to the strap. This appears to be of a lower level of technology, and I prefer to keep the cap in my pocket. 67mm diameter filters may be used with this lens by attaching an optional adapter (Canon part number FA-DC67A).

Additionally, a lens hood can be purchased as a separate accessory (LH-DC60). The AF Assist/self-timer lamp and the two stereo mics under the flash are the only additional features that can be seen on the front of the Canon SX30 IS, aside from a few modest logos. Compared to other models on the market, having stereo sound is a significant advantage. The Canon SX30 IS has overall dimensions of 4.8 by 3.6 by 4.2 inches (122.29 by 92.4 by 107.7 millimeters) and a fully-loaded weight of 21.7 ounces (615g).

On top, moving from left to right, you’ll find the key for adjusting the flash, a manual instant that lifts, and behind that, a cover that covers the hot shoe for an optional external moment. All of these features are located on the top of the camera. The ergonomic pistol grip has a mode dial, an on/off button, and a shutter button, all encircled by a zoom toggle switch. This switch sits on the edge of the pistol grip.

The mode dial offers a wide variety of settings comparable to those found on beginner DSLR cameras. Smart Auto, Program AE, Aperture- and Shutter-priority, complete Manual, two user-customizable settings, three standard Scene selections (Portrait, Landscape, and Sports), and Scene, which has 15 additional possibilities. Several are relatively conventional, but other effects, such as Fish-eye and Miniature, are interesting, even if they are not practical.

At long last, there is a Movie setting, even though there is a red video button on the back of the camera that may be used to swiftly capture movies without resorting to the Mode dial. The Canon SX30 IS, like other digital cameras, can record video in the H.264 MOV format with 1,280 by 720p resolution at 30 frames per second.

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Image Quality

During our evaluation, the Canon PowerShot SX30 generated photographs of a quality that was far higher than typical. Noise is the primary disadvantage of the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS in terms of image quality; at an ISO setting of 400, the camera displays some noise, blurring details, and a small desaturation of colors. As the ISO increases, noise and loss of information become increasingly noticeable until you reach the highest possible value of 1600.

In conditions with high contrast, the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS handled chromatic aberrations quite competently, producing purple and green fringing effects that were well-controlled but ubiquitous. The 14-megapixel images came out of the camera with the default sharpening setting and were just a little bit soft. If you want the images to be sharper, you will either need to sharpen them further in an application like Adobe Photoshop or you will need to increase the level of sharpening that is done in the camera.

The nighttime shot turned out quite well, and the maximum shutter speed was 15 seconds meant that you could catch sufficient light for almost any scenario. Even though there is a lot of lens distortion and shadows at such a short distance, the performance of the camera’s macro mode is a standout highlight, allowing you to focus as close to the subject as 0 centimeters away from the object of your photograph. The built-in flash did a fantastic job indoors, producing images free of red-eye and with enough exposure overall. When utilizing the telephoto end of the extremely wide zoom range or holding the camera by hand in low-light settings, the 4.5-stop anti-shake mechanism effectively keeps blurry images from being captured.

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS ISO

Noise and Detail: Detail is good at ISO 80 and 100, with some apparent softening appearing as early as ISO 200. Noise levels continue to increase as the ISO value increases. At all of the different ISO settings, the chroma (color) noise is controlled relatively well. However, the luminance noise starts to become more visible around ISO 400. The attempts made to reduce noise also play a factor, and these efforts muddy fine features, which is why the results at ISO 1,600 are somewhat fuzzy. See the “Printed outcomes” section for further information on how this impacts prints.

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Specifications

Body typeSLR-like (bridge)
Max resolution4320 x 3240
Other resolutions3744 x 2104, 3072 x 2304, 1600 x 1200, 640 x 480, 320 x 240
Image ratio w:h4:3, 16:9
Effective pixels14 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Sensor typeCCD
ProcessorDigic 4
ISOAuto, 80 ,100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatNo
Focal length (equiv.)24–840 mm
Optical zoom35×
Maximum apertureF2.7–5.8
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaSingleLive View
Digital zoomYes (4x)
Manual focusYes
Macro focus range0 cm (0″)
Number of focus points9
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size2.7″
Screen dots230,000
Touch screenNo
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
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 range6.80 m
External flashYes (Hot-shoe)
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Fill-in
Continuous drive0.6 fps
Self-timerYes (2 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, 15 fps)
FormatMotion JPEG
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC/MMCplus/HC MMCplus
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
WirelessEye-Fi Connected
Remote controlNo
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion NB-7L rechargeable battery & charger
Weight (inc. batteries)601 g (1.32 lb / 21.20 oz)
Dimensions123 x 92 x 108 mm (4.84 x 3.62 x 4.25″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Conclusion

In terms of sheer focal length, the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS leaves rival super-zooms behind in its wake. With settings that range from 24 millimeters wide-angle to 840 millimeters telephoto, this camera offers more than enough adaptability to fulfill the requirements of the vast majority of individuals. The engineers at Canon have also developed a highly efficient image-stabilization technology.

This, in conjunction with respectably bright maximum apertures, helps to keep the bulk of your images crisp. The official price increase puts it in direct competition with other premium super-zooms, entry-level DSLRs, and compact system cameras. Unfortunately, the longer lens and moving to a 14-megapixel sensor don’t favor the SX30’s image quality, especially in low-light situations. Additionally, the SX30 is now in direct competition with other premium super-zooms.

No other small camera can compete with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-ability HX90V to record high-definition video in 720p resolution, including image stabilization, stereo sound, and the capacity to use its great 35x zoom fully. Unfortunately, the situation isn’t quite as bright regarding the SX30’s still shots. Even at the relatively low speed of ISO 400, there is noise and a loss of fine detail in the photos taken by the camera.

The shift to additional megapixels appears to have caused a sacrifice in the overall image quality at higher ISO speeds, hence reducing this camera’s capacity to function in low-light conditions. Another issue that has to be addressed is the increased visibility of chromatic aberrations, which appear as unattractive purple and green spots anywhere there is a region of the image that contains a lot of contrast.

As with the SX20, several essential features have been thoughtfully preserved. These include the LCD screen’s ability to tilt and swivel, a dedicated record button for instant video clips, an electronic viewfinder, and an external hot shoe. These features combine to make the SX30 IS an appealing digital camera for the enthusiastic hobbyist, especially given the availability of a full range of manual shooting modes.

The only snag is that there is still no RAW file format available, which forces Canon customers to purchase either the G12 or the S95 because those are the only Canon compacts capable of shooting in RAW format. Several competing super-zoom cameras also support RAW, the most notable of which being the Panasonic FZ45, Fujifilm HS10, and Olympus SP-590 UZ; thus, if this is an essential feature, there are other options available within the same category.

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Flash Shoe Attachment External
  • Image Stabilization
  • Screen That Can Be Moved Around
  • Screen That Can Be Moved Around
  • High Shutter Speed of 1/3200 of a Second
Need Improvement
  • No Full HD Video
  • No Wireless Connection
  • No RAW Shooting
  • No Touch Screen

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