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Canon Powershot SX280 HS Digital Camera

1/22/2014 10:01:00 AM
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Not perfect, but class-leading photo and video quality plus some great extras.

Pocket Ultrazoom cameras make great travel companions, so we’re happy to see GPS and Wi-Fi built into the SX280 HS. GPS means you can see exactly where you were when you took a photo, and Wi-Fi lets you upload snaps from virtually anywhere in the world.

The SX280 HS has a 20x zoom, 12-megapixel sensor, manual exposure control and 1080p video recording at up to 60fps. Battery life isn’t so impressive, though, rated at 210 shots.

Canon Powershot SX280 HS

Canon Powershot SX280 HS

Canon hasn’t changed its menu system for years, and with good reason. Pressing the Func Set button reveals commonly used settings as a strip of icons on the screen, while others are available in the main menu. There’s a mode dial and rear wheel for quick access to exposure controls.

Performance has improved over last year’s SX260 HS, but it still lags behind the competition. We measured 1.6 seconds between shots in normal use, which isn’t a disaster, but rival cameras from Panasonic and Sony are twice as fast.

Canon hasn’t changed its menu system for years

Canon hasn’t changed its menu system for years

The video mode is a real show-stopper, with a choice of 30 or 60fps frame rates and picture quality that’s among the highest we’ve seen. Details are sharp and precise, and noise reduction cleaned the picture up a treat in very low light. The soundtrack was detailed, too, although the zoom motor was picked up by the microphone. The optical stabilization did a fine job of smoothing out shakes in handheld telephoto shots.

60fps videos are encoded at 34Mbit/s, which avoids compression artefacts but limits recording times to around 17 minutes before the 4GB file size limit strikes; 30fps recording is more practical (not least because YouTube converts 60fps to 30fps anyway), giving 25-minute recordings.

The optical stabilization did a fine job of smoothing out shakes in handheld telephoto shots

The optical stabilization did a fine job of smoothing out shakes in handheld telephoto shots

The SX280 HS put in a stellar performance in our photo tests, too. Noise was unobtrusive up to ISO 800, and although noise reduction softened details at ISO 1600 and 3200, there was little grain. Focus was sharp throughout the zoom range, and the JPEG processing did a great job of picking out details.

We’d have liked a longer-lasting battery and faster performance from the SX280 HS but, even so, this is the best pocket ultrazoom camera currently available.

This is the best pocket ultrazoom camera currently available

This is the best pocket ultrazoom camera currently available

Specifications

·         Rating: 6/6

·         Megapixels: 12 megapixels

·         Sensor size: 1/2.3in

·         Viewfinder: None

·         LCD screen: 3in (461,000 dots)

·         Articulated: No

·         Touchscreen: No

·         Optical zoom: 20x (25-500mm)

·         Optical stabilization: Optical, lens based

·         Orientation sensor: Yes

·         Maximum resolution: 4000x3000

·         File formats: JPEG; MP4 (AVC)

·         Video resolutions: 1080p at 30/60fps, 720p at 30fps, VGA at 30fps

·         Slow motion video modes: N/A

·         Maximum video clip length: 17m 0s

Controls

·         Exposure modes: Program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual

·         Shutter speed range: 15 to 1/2000 seconds

·         Aperture range: f/3.5-8 (wide), f/6.8-8 (Tele)

·         ISO speed range: 80to 6400

·         Exposure compensation: +/-2 EV

·         White balance: Auto, 7 presets, manual

·         Additional image controls: Contrast, saturation, sharpness, red, green, blue, skin tone, i.Contrast

·         Manual focus: Yes

·         Closest macro focus (wide): 5 cm

·         Closest macro focus (Tele): 1m

·         Auto-focus modes: Multi/face detect, center, tracking

·         Metering modes: Multi, center-weighted, center, face detect

·         Flash modes: Auto, forced, suppressed, slow Synchro, red-eye reduction

·         Drive modes: Single, continuous, self-timer

Physical

·         Card slot: SDXC

·         Memory supplied: None

·         Battery type: Li-ion

·         Battery life (CIPA): 210 shots

·         Connectivity: USB, A/V, mini HDMI

·         Wireless: Wi-Fi

·         GPS: Yes

·         Hotshoe: No

·         Body material: Aluminum

·         Accessories: USB cable

·         Weight: 233g

·         Size (H x W x D): 63x107x33mm

Buying information

·         Price: $300

·         Supplier: www.canon.com

 

 
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