Canon PowerShot SX210 IS Review

March 29, 2010 | Gavin Stoker | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 14 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 3.5Mb.

With images appearing warm and colourful in the main, without at any point looking unnatural, and displaying a good level of sharpness to boot, we found it hard to find fault with the SX210 IS' results when used for a general selection of subject matter; if anything the pixel count-diminishing (and so image softening) low light mode being less successful than the other recording mode options. The miniature and fisheye effects are a welcome addition to Canon's, er, cannon in adding a fun element, and we found our test attempts when utilising such modes were largely successful.

As our white wall test shots demonstrate there is visible barrel distortion when examining images taken at maximum wideangle setting, though Canon claimed to us that the make up of the lens has ensured such aberrations are kept as subtle as possible. They're at a level that we can live with certainly, in that busier scenes hide anything 'wrong'.

For the asking price the ISO range we're presented with via the SX210 IS (IS O80-1600) is modest. But a larger pixel count can mean more danger of image noise ruining a shot at the higher settings, and by capping proceedings at ISO 1600 Canon has played it safe. As on competing models, here we get a clean bill of health in terms of intrusive noise up until ISO 800 at full resolution, and even though detail is softening at ISO 1600, we were able to achieve pictures that were still useable.

In aiming to appeal to as broad a customer base as possible, the SX210 IS works best when viewed as a general-purpose snapper. This then allows room for one to occasionally be pleasantly surprised with the results - which indeed we were.


There are 6 ISO settings available on the Canon Powershot SX210 IS. 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)


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 SX210 IS handled chromatic aberrations excellently during the review, with very limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)


The Canon Powershot SX210 IS offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 5cms 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

100% Crop


The flash settings on the Canon Powershot SX210 IS are Auto, Flash On, Slow Synchro, and Flash Off, with Red-eye Correction and Red-Eye Lamp settings available via the Flash Settings main menu option. 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 (392mm)

Auto Flash - Telephoto (392mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On setting or the Red-Eye Correction option caused any red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red-eye Correction

Red-eye Correction (100% Crop)

Night Shot

The Canon Powershot SX210 IS's maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds in the Long Shutter mode, which is good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/15th second at ISO 400. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like. The camera takes the same amount of time again to apply noise reduction, so for example at the 10 second setting the actual exposure takes 20 seconds.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Canon PowerShot SX210 IS camera, which were all taken using the 14 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1280x720 at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 30 second movie is 90Mb in size.

Product Images

Canon Powershot SX210 IS

Front of the Camera

Canon Powershot SX210 IS

Front of the Camera / Flash Raised

Canon Powershot SX210 IS

Isometric View

Canon Powershot SX210 IS

Isometric View

Canon Powershot SX210 IS

Rear of the Camera

Canon Powershot SX210 IS

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Canon Powershot SX210 IS

Rear of the Camera / Image Info

Canon Powershot SX210 IS

Top of the Camera

Canon Powershot SX210 IS

Side of the Camera


Canon Powershot SX210 IS

Side of the Camera

Canon Powershot SX210 IS

Memory Card Slot

Canon Powershot SX210 IS

Battery Compartment


Viewed as a competent all-in-one option for both photos and video - and thus the only camera many families may ever need - what initially appears a premium price for the SX210 IS begins to make more sense. And, once you've become used to a camera with such a broad focal range that it's possible to frame up subjects near or far in pretty much an instant, it's a drag to go back to your common-or-garden 3x zoom snapper, the usual 'family friendly' tool of choice.

Continuing to focus on the positives, this Canon PowerShot's larger physical size (over, say, a slimline IXUS) also means that children and the elderly should find this offering easier to grip and operate than the latest credit card sized camera alternative. And even with bigger than average dimensions it's still a more portable option than any DSLR or Micro Four Thirds or rival system hybrid for those looking for an able travel companion. The SX210 IS will also help you achieve a wider range of photography than possible with a regular issue compact, and enable you to have fun whilst doing so, which again takes some of the sting out of the high-ish price tag.

With the pluses outweighing the minuses then, the Canon PowerShot SX210 IS weighs in as being worthy of a coveted Photography Blog Recommendation for anyone looking for an undemanding travel camera that almost does it all.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4
Value for money 3

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Canon PowerShot SX210 IS from around the web. »

The SX210 IS is of course the replacement for last year's SX200 IS, Canon's first real stab at the long-zoom compact market. Although it had all the right features it lacked the build quality to compete with Panasonic's market-leading TZ7, so this year Canon has made several improvements, not least of which is a sleek new all-metal body available in a bronze, pink or black. The camera measures 105.8 x 59.3 x 31.9 mm and weighs 215g loaded, making it about a millimetre slimmer and a massive three grams lighter than the TZ10. The SX210 still features the novelty pop-up, pop-down flash of the SX200 and it still gets in the way until you get used to it.
Read the full review »




1/2.3 type CCD

Effective Pixels

Approx 14.1M

Colour Filter Type

Primary Colour



DIGIC 4 with iSAPS technology


Focal Length

5.0 - 70.0 mm (35mm equivalent: 28-392mm)


Optical 14x. Digital approx. 4x (with Digital Tele-Converter approx. 1.7x or 2.1x and Safety Zoom¹). Combined approx. 56x

Maximum f/number

f/3.1 - f/5.9


12 elements in 10 groups (1 UD lens, 1 double-sided aspherical lens, 1 single-sided aspherical UA lens)

Image Stabilisation

Yes (lens shift-type), 4-stop. Dynamic IS (in Movie)




AF System/ Points

Face Detection, 1-point AF (fixed to centre or Face Select and Track)

AF Modes

Single, Continuous, Servo AF/AE¹

AF Point Selection

Size (Normal, Small)

AF Lock

On/Off Selectable

AF Assist Beam


Manual Focus


Closest Focusing Distance

5cm (W) from front of lens in macro


Metering modes

Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre-weighted average, Spot (Centre)

AE Lock

On/Off Selectable

Exposure Compensation

+/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments. i-Contrast for automatic dynamic range correction

ISO sensitivity*

AUTO, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600



1 - 1/3200 sec (factory default)
15 - 1/3200 sec (total range - varies by shooting mode)





Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom



7.6 cm (3.0”) PureColor II G (TFT), aspect ratio 16:9, approx. 230,000 dots


Approx. 100%


Adjustable to one of five levels. Quick-bright LCD



Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Synchro

Slow Sync Speed

Yes. Fastest speed 1/2000 sec

Red-Eye Reduction


Flash Exposure Compensation

+/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments. Face Detection FE, Safety FE, Smart Flash Exposure

Flash Exposure Lock


Manual Power Adjustment

3 levels with internal flash

Built-in Flash Range

75cm-3.5m (W) / 1.0m-2.0m (T)

External Flash

Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1



Auto*, Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual, Easy*, Portrait, Landscape, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Smart Shutter(Smile, Wink Self-Timer, FaceSelf-Timer), Low Light (3.5MP), Color Accent, Color Swap, Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Beach, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Stitch Assist, Movie
*with Scene Detection Technology and Motion Detection Technology

Photo Effects

My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)

Drive modes

Single, Continuous, Continuous with AF, Self-Timer

Continuous Shooting

Approx. 0.7 shots/sec.¹, AF: Approx. 0.5 shots/sec.¹, LV: Approx. 0.5 shots/sec.¹ (until memory card becomes full)²


Image Size

(L) 4320 x 3240, (M1) 3456 x 2592, (M2) 2592 x 1944, (M3) 1600 x 1200, (S) 640 x 480, (W) 4320 x 2432. Resize in playback (M3, S, 320 x 240)


Fine, Normal


(HD) 1280 x 720, 30fps, (L)640 x 480, 30fps, (M)320 x 240, 30fps

Movie Length

Up to 4GB or 29 min. 59 sec (HD)¹
Up to 4GB or 1 hour (L, M)²


Still Image Type

JPEG compression, (Exif 2.2 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system, Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant


MOV [H.264 + Linear PCM (stereo)]


Canon Printers

Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers and Canon Inkjet Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Photo Print, Fixed Size Print and Movie Print supported on SELPHY CP & ES printers only)




Red-Eye Correction

Yes, during shooting and playback

My Camera / My Menu

Start-up image and camera sounds customisation

My Category

Image tagging feature

Intelligent Orientation Sensor




Playback Zoom

Approx. 2x – 10x

Self Timer

Approx. 2 or 10 sec. or Custom

Menu Languages

English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Chinese (traditional), Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Thai, Arabic, Ukrainian, Romanian, Farsi



Hi-Speed USB (MTP, PTP) dedicated connector (Mini-B compatible)


HDMI Mini Connector. A/V output (PAL/NTSC)

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