Right off the bat, I can make three, important claims about the Canon Powershot SX510 Superzoom Camera: One, I am absolutely certain that the SX510HS does not provide the greatest image and video quality of any digital camera. Two, I am equally certain that the Sx510 does not possess the biggest nor best superzoom capabilities of any digital camera on the market. Three, the Canon Powershot SX510 provides perhaps the biggest punch and bang for the buck of any digital camera for its price range. At around $200.00, the SX510HS allows you to capture stunning, detailed photographs and videos of far-away subjects which cannot be revealed with the naked eye. Below is a brief sample of a German Shepard wanting in the back door of his/her home from around 200 yards away from my deck. You can see the scratches on the door paint and frame around the window as well as the color of the dog collar and the expressions on its face.
Canon Powershot SX510HS Superzoom Demonstration
SX510HS Offers Greatest Bang for the Buck of any Digital Camera
Obviously, the subtitle is only my opinion, but having a 30X, full-motion zoom lens in such a small form factor is what makes the $200 Canon SX510HS Camera an extremely impressive tool. Canon probably has one of the best reputations around for making digital cameras, but not all of their consumer-grade products are adored by true photo enthusiasts and camera review blogs. I usually spend a good deal of time on sites like Dpreview, Steves-Digicams and Digital Camera World while shopping for a new camera. While these are excellent websites for gaining a truthful and comprehensive view of the capabilities and quality of cameras, they don’t always represent the needs and desires of your typical bargain-hunting, digital camera user. I knew this camera would be well worth the $200 I spent on it, simply by browsing the dozens of reviews of other users like myself who appreciate the power of a superzoom lens in a small unit.
Image and Video Quality of the SX510HS
Just about every, small low-end digital camera I have purchased has been much more impressive with outdoor shooting than indoor and the Canon SX510HS Camera is no exception. On a clear, sunny day, I have captured some amazingly colorful, crisp, true-to-life images. The outdoor quality is definitely a notch or two better than my previous, Panasonic ZS1 Digital Camera which I reviewed about 3 years ago. The outdoor image to the left was taken on a very windy day, which accounts for a little bit of the blurring. To the right is an indoor image taken without the flash in a very, sun-lit room of my home. Pictured in the center is a picture of a steak dinner taken with the flash indoors at night when it was dark outside.
Taking shots of human faces indoors is probably the one area where I am least satisfied with the Canon SX510HS superzoom camera. With decent indoor lighting, however, I think the picture quality is better than the Panasonic ZS1 and the multitude of other, low-end digital cameras that I have owned.
Canon SX510HS Functions and Features
Because there are plenty of other excellent websites that can explain the exact features and functions of the SX510HS camera better than me, I won’t bother to even attempt a stab at interjecting too many details of my own. What I do want to do is give you my overall impression of the operation, functionality and features of the camera. The actual operation of the SX510HS camera took some getting use to for me. This is only because I have not previously owned a Canon digital camera. I felt the user interface was a bit less intuitive than the Panasonic, but after about 15 minutes of playing around with the dials and settings I was able to get comfortable with the majority of the operations of the camera without having to refer to the user manual. Taking video with the SX510HS camera is a simple matter of pressing the red record button right from the AUTO mode of the camera. This is the same setting for taking automatic shots. Canon has made it so that you can get the best pictures most of the time within the AUTO mode of the camera. The camera’s built-in intelligence seems good enough to sense what it is you are wanting to do, whether it’s shooting a close-up macro image, or a mid-range subject from 20 feet away.
Wi-Fi Features of the SX510HS
With the SX510HS, I can easily transfer pictures wirelessly to my PC without having to remove the media or use a USB cable. This is pretty much a standard feature in digital cameras these days. However, the SX510HS boasts a list of other wireless features which I have not quite figured out how to use. For example, I should be able to upload photos to my PC from the camera without having to touch my computer by using Canon’s included imaging software. I have yet to figure out how to do this. Also, I should be able to instant-message pictures as well as send them to other cameras. I have not tried real hard to figure this out and am not sure it is worth the hassle trying to learn. For now, I am content being able to access the camera directory of images and videos without having to use SD cards or cables.
Why buy a Superzoom Camera?
If the detailed video demonstration of the SX510HS doesn’t convince you, there are a couple of other reasons to buy a digital camera with a powerful, native zoom lens: One, to get a close-up, full frame image, you are not going to have to sacrifice megapixels when you crop the subject of your image for viewing on your screen or print. Two, having the large zoom gives you a great deal of flexibility when it comes to aiming for the subject of your shot and later cropping it to match your exact intention. Three, you will capture far more details with a superzoom, point and shoot camera than you can ever imagine capturing with your typical, out-of-the-box, DSLR that costs 5 to 10 times more money. Even my last camera had decent zoom capability, but more is better. The shot to the left, is of my neighbor’s dog barking at me from two houses up and about 40 yards away. Finally, you simply cannot beat the convenience of a camera with these types of zoom capabilities in such a small, footprint. The Canon SX510HS camera is so small and lightweight that it can be taken anywhere. This is not something you can do with a DSLR camera. Professional photographers, have a great deal of equipment to take around, including their collection of large, telephoto lenses. Even true, photo professionals would probably enjoy owning the SX510HS for those times when he/she doesn’t feel like lugging around all of their equipment.
The reason I bought the Canon SX510HS camera is because I couldn’t find a better, smaller unit with such impressive zoom capabilities. The image and video quality are significantly improved over other cameras I’ve owned. The opportunities for breath-taking outdoor photos of wild-life, nature and other interesting shots this summer makes the Canon SX510HS the most interesting digital camera I’ve ever owned.