TODO alt text

Canon PowerShot SX260 HS review

A talented travel camera packing a far-reaching 25-500mm zoom

Our Verdict

For

  • Great image quality
  • Excellent zoom range
  • Good handling
  • Full manual control
  • Full HD video with stereo sound

Against

  • Pictures can appear soft
  • Battery life reduced with GPS
  • Pop-up flash position
  • Basic panorama mode
  • No raw shooting

It's been five years since Canon launched its PowerShot SX series of family superzooms. SX cameras were designed to offer big lens performance at a more affordable price than traditional high-end superzooms, without skimping on features and functions.

The Canon PowerShot SX260 HS is the top pocket-friendly SX model for 2012, positioned under the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS bridge camera and its 35x optical zoom in the Canon lineup.

The Canon SX260 HS features a wider, longer 20x optical zoom than outgoing PowerShot SX230 HS. It's been launched alongside the Canon PowerShot SX240 HS, which is essentially the same camera but without GPS.

Canon PowerShot SX260 HS review

The new lens offers a 25-500mm equivalent range that surpasses the SX230's 28-392mm zoom at both wide-angle and telephoto ends of the reach, although it's not quite as bright (f/3.5-f/6.8, compared to the SX30's f/3.1-f/5.9).

Despite retaining the same 12.1 megapixel 1/2.3-inch back-illuminated CMOS sensor as the camera it replaces, the PowerShot SX260 HS gets Canon's latest Digic 5 processor, as featured in the Canon G1 X and Canon S100. This brings improved white balance measurement, advanced noise reduction capabilities and faster continuous shooting to the SX line.

Canon PowerShot SX260 HS at a glance
Sensor:
12.8MP (12.1MP effective) 1/2.3-inch back-illuminated CMOS
Lens: 4.5-90.0mm f/3.5-6.8 (25-500mm equivalent)
LCD Screen: 461k dot, 3-inch PureColor II G TFT LCD
Focus modes: Face Detection, Single, Continuous, Servo AF/AE, Tracking AF
Dimensions: 106.3mm x 61mm x 32.7mm, 231g (including battery/memory card)

Indeed, with a fast memory card and the right shooting conditions, Canon rates the PowerShot SX260 HS's high-speed Burst HQ mode as capable of taking full-res shots at 10.3 shots per second (the Canon SX30 HS could only capture 3MP files at around 8.1 shots per second).

Other changes include a more traditionally proportioned 3-inch 461,000 dot LCD screen, which is more suited to composing still images on, compared with the similarly specced 16:9 widescreen monitor on the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS.

Canon PowerShot SX260 HS review

The Canon PowerShot SX260 HS also detects up to 58 scene types in Smart Auto mode (compared to the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS's 32 scenes) and packs Canon's Intelligent IS image stabilisation system that detects the type of subject being photographed and optimises the setting accordingly.

In terms of shooting modes, the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS has something to appeal to all levels of photographer. Joining the full complement of advanced P, A, S, M settings are three fully automatic ones.

Canon PowerShot SX260 HS review

The ubiquitous green Smart Auto - a point-and-shoot mode that offers limited control - and the handholding Easy mode from the Canon SX230 HS are joined by Live View Control mode. This offers more snapshot simplicity, but with on-screen sliders offering six steps of adjustment for brightness, colour and white balance.

Other highlights on the Canon SX230 HS - priced at £329 in the UK and $349.99 in the US - include a Smart Shutter mode, which uses face detection to enable you to fire the shutter with a smile or wink, and nine different Creative Filters.

Canon PowerShot SX260 HS review

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
TouchscreenNo
Effective Camera Resolution12.1 Megapixel
GPSYes
USBYes
Wide AngleYes
PictBridgeYes
Product FamilyPowerShot SX
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourBlack
Optical Zoom20x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameCanon
FeaturesLive View, Self-timer, Wink Detection, Face Detection, Smile Detection, Continuous Shooting Mode, Orientation Sensor
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMOV, MPEG-4
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)231 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, WEEE, REACH, ENERGY STAR
Minimum Focus Distance50 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4000 x 3000
Maximum Frame Rate240 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeCMOS
HDMIYes
HD Movie ModeYes
Battery Model SupportedNB-6L
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height61 mm
Width106.3 mm
Depth32.7 mm
Autofocus Points1
Product SeriesSX
Focal Length4.50 mm to 90 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Flash ModesAuto Flash, Flash ON, Flash OFF, Slow Sync, Rear Curtain Sync, Red-eye Reduction, Flash Exposure Compensation
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerCanon, Inc
Product ModelSX260 HS
Product NamePowerShot SX260 HS Compact Camera
Product LinePowerShot
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number5900B012AA
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.canon.co.uk
Marketing Information

With 20x optical zoom to get you closer, Full HD movies and GPS to track locations, the compact PowerShot SX260 HS is the ideal travel companion. HS System and Intelligent IS ensure superb results.

Battery Life230 Shot
Package Contents
  • PowerShot SX260 HS Compact Camera
  • NB-6L Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
  • Charger
Display Resolution461000 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year
Built-in DevicesMicrophone, Speaker