Canon Powershot SX10 IS Review

Review Date: November 17th 2008
Author: Gavin Stoker

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Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10M Superfine mode, which gives an average image size of around 4-5Mb.

First off, we had the misfortune to be testing the SX10 IS across a period of very inclement weather in the UK, with plenty of characterless grey skies to contend with for days on end. Faced with exposing for dark foregrounds, sky detail inevitably suffered, with blank expressionless expanses rendered, though the level of sharpness delivered when examining intended subjects, generally, is good. As we've experienced with recent generations of PowerShots, colours are slightly muted however, trademark autumn/winter hues in particular benefiting greatly from the selection of the 'Vivid' setting from among the 'My colours' effects options to deliver a vivacity that is closer to that as experienced by the photographer's eye. The SX10 IS' lens doesn't suffer as evidently from barrel distortion at maximum wide angle as some, and pixel fringing though there if examining the images particularly closely on a desktop is reasonably well controlled. While at maximum telephoto, and with image stabilisation set to continuous for the majority of our test period (single shot, panning or 'off' are alternatively offered), there is occasional camera shake visible, this is the exception rather than the rule. In roughly two out of three attempts the camera delivered the shot we were after. As for its handling of image noise, faced with an interior daylight shot without the aid of flash, the SX10 IS opted for ISO 200 and delivered a sharp noise free image. Results continue commendably up to ISO 800, which is the first instance of noise visibly intruding, though not at ruinous levels. Examining our test shots, even at its top manually selectable setting of ISO 1600, the visible noise levels haven't intruded to such an extent that the picture is only fit for the trashcan. It makes you wonder why Canon didn't chance its arm and extend the range slightly higher.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Canon Powershot SX10 IS which you can select at any time if the camera is in any of the creative shooting modes. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default setting ideally and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes via the My Colors menu option.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon Powershot SX10 IS handled chromatic aberrations well during the review. There's some purple and cyan fringing between areas of high contrast, but it's only noticeable on really close inspection, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)
Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Canon Powershot SX10 IS offers a Super Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is just 1cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

Macro Shot (100% Crop)

Flash

The flash settings on the Canon Powershot SX10 IS are Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Sync Speed and Red-eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Auto Flash - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64
ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (560mm)

Auto Flash - Telephoto (560mm)
ISO 64
ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. Neither the Auto setting and the Red-eye reduction modes caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Flash - Red-eye Flash

Flash - Red-eye Flash (100% Crop)

Night Shot

The Canon Powershot SX10 IS's maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1 second, f/4 at ISO 200. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)
Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

DIWAPhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Canon Powershot SX10 IS have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.

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