Canon PowerShot SX500 IS evaluation: Small, gentle finances digital camera with large zoom


For individuals who like a variety of zoom in a really compact, light-weight digital camera, that is the SX500 IS. It additionally has semimanual and handbook controls, that are a little bit of a rarity in lower-end megazooms, however Canon consists of them in all of its PowerShot SX-series fashions.

Sadly, within the SX500 IS Canon used a 16-megapixel CCD sensor and an previous Digic 4 picture processor as an alternative of considered one of its higher HS CMOS sensors and a more moderen, extra highly effective Digic 5 processor. Sure, that retains the worth down, but it surely leads to a digital camera with zoom lens however slower efficiency, fewer taking pictures choices, and the necessity to shoot with a variety of gentle or lengthy exposures to get one of the best outcomes.

So, yeah, it is not good, however for its avenue worth of round $250, it is nonetheless not a foul method to lay arms on a variety of zoom energy.

Image high quality
As is the case with many point-and-shoots, how happy you’re with the SX500 IS’ picture high quality goes to rely in your wants and expectations. If you happen to’re anticipating stellar digital SLR-quality photos, you will be upset. The identical goes for excellent low-light pictures. What the SX500 is nice for is out of doors pictures in good lighting for small prints (8×10 or smaller) or viewing onscreen at 50 p.c or smaller.

Noise and artifacts are seen even at ISO 100 when pixel peeping, so if the standard at full dimension is one thing that issues to you, this digital camera will most likely disappoint. Then again, as much as ISO 200 you get ok element that you may nonetheless do some enlarging and cropping.

Up at ISO 400 is the place the noise begins to be extra seen and may end up in some noticeable yellow blotching. Going above that you will begin to see extra coloration noise, artifacts, and lack of element, which simply leads to topics that seem smooth and desaturated. The digital camera positively favors dropping shutter pace over elevating ISO when left in auto. That is good basically, however if you happen to’re not paying consideration it might end in blurry pictures.

Colour efficiency is usually excellent as much as ISO 400. If the majority of your pictures will likely be taken outside in good lighting, you need to be fairly happy with the outcomes. Publicity is usually excellent, too, as is white steadiness. As with a variety of compact cameras, clipped highlights are frequent.

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The 720p video high quality is nice and higher than I’ve seen from some entry-level “full HD” camcorders I’ve examined. However as with its pictures, you will see extra noise the much less gentle you will have. Additionally, you might discover some vertical smear when taking pictures shiny gentle sources, such because the purple streak on the left facet of the display screen seize above. That is frequent with client CCD sensors.

The lens does zoom whereas recording and when it is zooming in you’ll hear some slight motor sound picked up by the stereo mics on high in very quiet scenes. Total, although, for capturing the occasional clip for Net sharing, it does a positive job.

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Capturing efficiency
Editors’ word: We not too long ago up to date our testing methodology to offer barely extra real-world efficiency info, so the outcomes aren’t essentially comparable with earlier testing. Till we’re completed refining our procedures, we won’t be posting comparative efficiency charts.

The SX500 IS is among the first cameras to function a much-needed new autofocus (AF) system for PowerShot fashions. Canon says algorithm enhancements, lighter lens components, a stronger lens motor, and reductions in processing and AF scan instances all end in sooner focusing and fewer shutter lag. Being sooner does not essentially imply it is quick, although.

In our lab assessments, from off to first seize took on common 2.3 seconds, whereas shot-to-shot instances averaged 2.5 seconds. Turning on the flash slowed that all the way down to 4.4 seconds. Shutter lag — the time from urgent the shutter launch to seize with out prefocusing — took 0.3 second in shiny lighting; in low gentle it was longer at 0.7 second. Zooming in extends that wait to about 1 second.

The digital camera does have two steady taking pictures modes, one with autofocus and one with out, the place it units publicity and focus with the primary shot. The previous is able to as much as 0.6 body per second, whereas the latter can rise up to 0.8fps. Principally, if you happen to’re good at anticipating motion and might study to dwell inside these limitations, you may get pictures of children, pets, and sports activities. On the entire, although, I would not suggest it for often capturing fast-moving topics, particularly indoors.

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Design and options
Contemplating its 30x, f3.4-5.8, 24-720mm lens, the digital camera is remarkably compact. At the very least a part of the rationale for that’s the lack of an digital viewfinder (EVF). It is a deal breaker for some individuals, although with its massive 3-inch LCD that will get shiny sufficient to see in daylight it is slightly simpler to forgive.

The physique is perhaps compact, however there’s nonetheless room for big, easy-to-press buttons. You get a one-touch film report button along with show, menu, and publicity compensation buttons above and beneath the navigational scroll wheel. The wheel surrounds a Func./Set button and has high, backside, left, and proper stress factors for ISO sensitivity, focus (handbook, regular, and macro), flash, and timer. The wheel is responsive with tactile stops to it, so you’ll not simply overshoot what you are making an attempt to pick out. Its operation is total simple to choose up, however even seasoned Canon customers will need to look at the total handbook included on the software program disc bundled with the digital camera.