Canon PowerShot SX510 HS Review

November 15, 2013 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 12 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.


It's an interesting move Canon have made with the drop in resolution from 16 to 12 megapixels. The lack of pixels should make pictures less noisy as we go through the stages. The SX500 HS which this camera is replacing showed noise coming through the image even at the lowest settings. It looks like Canon have been hard at work solving that problem, because the low ISO shots are completely noise free.

In fact, it's not really until ISO 800 that we start to see a slight amount of salt and pepper noise showing through on the darker areas of the test images. Colour noise begins to show at ISO 1600 and it's not a gradual thing either; it jumps in and attacks.

At the final manual setting ISO 3200, noise is all over the image, though less noticeable in highlights, strong pockets of colour noise affect the darker areas of the shot and black & white flecks spatter the image.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso80.jpg iso100.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso400.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso1600.jpg

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)



We found that the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS images are already very sharp, but do benefit from a little touch up in post processing.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Focal Range

The Canon PowerShot SX510 HS has the same 30x optical zoom as its predecessor, the SX500 HS. At wide-angle, it starts at a 35mm equivalent of 24mm and goes out to 720mm at full zoom.

On a typical, everyday photograph you shouldn't pick up any irregularities, such as barrel distortion. If you compose the image with the horizon towards the top or bottom of the frame or have vertical/horizontal lines towards the edges of the frame, you might discover barrel distortion.



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The lens system is the same as the SX500 HS and we still discovered chromatic aberration easily in a lot of pictures. It's not only resigned to the edges of the frame either, it does creep in worryingly close to the centre of the frame.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations 3 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 4 (100% Crop)

chromatic3.jpg chromatic4.jpg

File Quality

There are two settings of compression for the resolution. Superfine will record images around 5Mb in size. You can knock it down to Fine and images will be around 3.5Mb in size. We still recorded a lot of detail even in the Fine setting, and it will also free up space on the card.

SuperFine (4.86Mb) (100% Crop)

Fine (3.26Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_high.jpg quality_normal.jpg


The close focusing of the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS at wide-angle is point blank range. In our test image, the memory card is pressed up against the edge of the lens. It does mean that there's little light getting in when you do that and the edge definition drops off leaving around 50% of the image in focus.


Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


The Canon PowerShot SX510 HS has a new Smart flash system which compliments the ambient light. It certainly works, by stabilising the available light. There is a lot of vignetting at wide-angle but this is eradicated by the time you get to full zoom.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (720mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (720mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Red-eye-Reduction settings caused any red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg


There's no Night mode on the SX510 HS because it has manual modes with programmable shutter speeds down to 15 seconds. There is a low light option, but this mode drops the resolution to 3 megapixels and ramps up the ISO in order to avoid camera shake. Pictures in this mode are covered in noise with little or no detail.

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

night_scene.jpg night_scene_crop.jpg

Night Shutter-priority

Night Shutter-priority (100% Crop)

night_shutter_priority.jpg night_shutter_priority_crop.jpg