Canon Powershot SX280 HS Review

May 28, 2013 | Mark Goldstein |


The SX280 HS principally adds built-in wi-fi connectivity, the latest DIGIC 6 image processing engine, 60fps movies, quicker GPS and better image quality at the same price-point as last year's SX260 HS model. The wireless feature feels a little half-baked, especially in comparison to Samsung's recent compacts, and we'd have liked a touchscreen interface, but overall the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS is a well-specified travel-zoom that offers the best image quality in its class.

Image quality is slightly better than on the previous SX260, which was already very good, thanks to the debut of the DIGIC 6 processor. The back-illuminated sensor helps the SX280 to 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, although we'd avoid the new top speed of ISO 6400. Full manual controls make the SX280 HS as well suited to more experienced users looking for a compact alternative to their DSLR as it is the beginner, but disappointingly there's still now raw format support.

The same 25-500mm, 20x zoom lens offers a broad focal range that makes it possible to frame up subjects near or far in pretty much an instant, pretty amazing given the size of the SX280 HS which is only a little larger than most compacts. The GPS system has been speeded-up, so that the waiting time for a lock on the nearest satellite is shorter, while wi-fi makes its first appearance on a Canon travel-zoom. As with Canon's other wireless compacts, though, it doesn't offer all of the features of rival systems and is a little difficult to both setup and use. Using both GPS and wi-fi quickly drained the battery, so buy a couple of spares if you want to take full advantage of the camera's features.

Despite our quibbles with the wi-fi implementation and lack of touch-screen control, the inclusion of DIGIC 6 has brought a number of significant improvements to Canon's 2013 travel-zoom model, making the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS a real contender to the market-leading Panasonic TZ series.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4