Canon PowerShot SX60 HS Review

October 23, 2014 | Jack Baker |
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Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

Images taken with the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS immediately impress with vibrant yet natural colour reproduction and high levels of detail from the 16.1 megapixel CMOS sensor. A small amount of grain noise is visible at even the lowest sensor sensitivity, but this is typical of small 1/2.3” sensors.

As ISO sensitivities increase, the high-end DIGIC 6 processor does a good job of restraining image noise without sacrificing much detail. At ISO400 grain is slightly more prevalent and some colour speckling can be seen in neutral tones, but the camera’s unobtrusive noise reduction processing means images still appear natural and reasonably detailed. Even at ISO1600 image quality remains impressively high, with little more noise than at ISO400. Although the SX60 HS’ sensitivity scale tops out at an unusually low ISO3200, this setting is entirely useable thanks to low image noise levels, even if shots do look slightly soft.

The Canon PowerShot SX60 HS’s lens also performs very well, with excellent corner sharpness and minimal distortion. Chromatic aberration (purple fringing) can be spotted in high-contrast areas when viewing images at 100% size, but it’s nothing distracting. Macro performance is also impressive as the camera can focus whilst touching your subject.

However, image quality can be prone to some deterioration when shooting at extreme telephoto zoom lengths. Unless you’re in very bright conditions, the image stabilisation system alone isn’t enough to compensate for camera shake and the relatively narrow f/6.5 maximum telephoto aperture doesn’t let enough light through for fast shutter speeds. Consequently higher ISO sensitivities are required, which in turn can make images taken at long focal lengths look a bit soft.

Noise

The Canon PowerShot SX60 HS has sixteen sensitivity settings available at full resolution, ranging between ISO100 and ISO3200 in 1/3 EV steps. That’s a relatively low maximum sensitivity and many similar cameras will go higher, but the SX60 HS makes good use of the sensitivity scale it has by resolving plenty of detail with low levels of image noise.

Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with the JPEG version on the left and the RAW on the right.

JPEG RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg

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 sharp enough at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

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

Focal Range

The Canon PowerShot SX60 HS’s 65x optical zoom lens gives you a focal range of 21-1365mm (in 35mm-camera terms). Canon’s ZoomPlus feature can double this to 130x with a minimal reduction in image quality, whilst an additional 2x conventional digital zoom will give a combined maximum 260x zoom, albeit at the expense of image quality.

21mm

1365mm

focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon PowerShot SX60 HS suffered from chromatic aberrations, with purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, particularly at the edges of the frame, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

File Quality

The Canon PowerShot SX60 HS has two file quality options: Fine and Super Fine. File sizes average around 4-5MB and 7-8MB respectively.

SuperFine (4.68Mb) (100% Crop)

Fine (3.15Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_superfine.jpg quality_fine.jpg
   

RAW (13.3Mb) (100% Crop)

 
quality_raw.jpg  

Macro

With a 0cm macro focussing distance, you can literally touch the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS to your subject and it’ll still focus. This is only the case at maximum wide angle; zoom in and you’ll need to start backing the camera away from your subject.

Macro

Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg

Flash

The Canon PowerShot SX60 HS’s built-in flash includes four modes: Auto, On, Slow Synchro and Off. Red-eye reduction needs to be activated via the camera’s main menu. In our testing the SX60 HS successfully avoided red-eye with and without red-eye reduction, but did produce some noticeable wide-angle vignetting from a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (21mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (21mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (1365mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (1365mm)

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

Handheld NightScene

Use this mode to shoot a night-time scene without the need for a tripod. The Canon PowerShot SX60 HS shoots multiple frames and combines them into a single image that minimises camera shake and image noise.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Anti-Shake

Canon’s Intelligent IS optical image stabilisation system does a great job at ironing out the effects of camera shake and is essential when using the majority of the SX60 HS’ focal length range.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length Anti-Shake Off (100% Crop) Anti-Shake On (100% Crop)
1/5th sec / 24mm antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg

Creative Filters

In addition to the Creative Shot effects, the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS also packs various conventional filters, with many also having their own customisation options. These include: HDR (Natural, Art Standard, Art Vivid, Art Bold, Art Embossed), Fish-eye Effect (three levels of distortion), Miniature Effect (selectable horizontal and vertical blur position), Toy Camera Effect (Cool, Standard, Warm), Soft Focus (three levels of blur), Monochome (Blue, B/W, Sepia), Super Vivid, and Poster Effect.

Off

HDR Natural

Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_1a-HDR_off.JPG Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_1b-HDR-Natural.JPG
   

HDR Art Standard

HDR Art Vivid

Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_1c-HDR-Art_Standard.JPG Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_1d-HDR-Art_Vivid.JPG
   

HDR Art Bold

HDR Art Embossed

Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_1e-HDR-Art_Bold.JPG Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_1f-HDR-Art_Embossed.JPG
   

Fisheye

Miniature

Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_2-Fish-eye_Effect.JPG Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_3-Miniature_Effect.JPG
   

Toy Camera Cool

Toy Camera Standard

Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_4a-Toy_Camera_Effect-Cool.JPG Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_4b-Toy_Camera_Effect-Standard.JPG
   

Toy Camera Warm

Soft Focus

Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_4c-Toy_Camera_Effect-Warm.JPG Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_5-Soft_Focus.JPG
   

Monochrome Blue

Monochrome B&W

Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_6a-Monochome-Blue.JPG Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_6b-Monochome-B_W.JPG
   

Monochrome Sepia

Poster Effect

Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_6c-Monochome-Sepia.JPG Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_7-Poster_Effect.JPG
   

Super Vivid

 
Canon_PowerShot_SX60_HS-Creative_Filter_8-Super_Vivid.JPG