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Canon PowerShot SX260 HS what you need to know

Canon SX260 HS is portable and easy to carry (little travel compact), with 12.1 megapixel travel zoom, has a 20x optical zoom lens that ranges from a wide-angle 25mm through to a lengthy 500mm (in two second) equivalent – the zoom is  ideal for all manner of shots from groups to portraits, through to distant subjects or close-to-lens macro shots.

The design and Usability

There building quality is very impressive, feels solid and well built, and there is a predominantly metal outer shell which makes slightly heavier than rival camera’s.  The camera weighs just about 230g including card and battery which isn’t going to weigh you down.  The buttons are easy accessible and there is rotating wheel around the D-pad which is common in canon cameras.

In the middle of D-pad there is the Func/Set Button which can be used to access a quick menu that opens up a range of shooting options down the left-hand side of the 3in, 460k-dot screen.  Main Menu button, that opens up a more in-depth but still easy-to-navigate in-camera menu.

There is f/3.5-6.8 maximum aperture is more limited than the competition at its telephoto focal length. With the optical image stabilisation means the lens elements can move by microscopic amounts in order to counteract handshake.

There is a large shutter release button on the top of the camera which enable users to determine a definite halfway point when pressed and encircling the shutter release button is a responsive rocker switch for operating the zoom - a nudge to the right zooming in, to the left zooming out.

Alongside is the built-in GPS system ( which is set to off as a default and to enable it, you have to go into the main menu, go to Settings and scroll down to the GPS Settings sub menu), the main difference between the SX260 HS and the cheaper SX240 HS model. It's worth noting that GPS should't be used in every country, so if you're travelling abroad you should check with that country's regulations to make sure you're OK doing it. The improved GPS Logger function charts your journey for up to 48 hours on a single battery charge, and you can view your progress on the included Map Utility software. The GPS system does have trouble locking onto a sattelite indoors or in a built-up urban area, but we found that it worked reliably outside even with cloud cover.

Though the 12.1-megapixel sensor in SX260 HS is not high but there is a good reason behind it: the more conservative number of pixels on the sensor surface means that more light can reach each of those pixels and, in turn, you ought to get better image quality thanks to a better source signal.

There is a GPS functionality and ability to record full HD movies at 24fps, ably supported by 720p HD and 640 x 480 VGA standard definition options. The SX260's CMOS sensor is of the backlit variety, which basically means the wiring sits on the underside of the chip rather than on top. There is also a black-illuminated and extra brownie point on the imaging front adding to the sensor’s wiring.

With an ISO sensitivity that ranges from 100-3200 at full resolution, the camera’s sharpest and best results are from ISO 100-200.

The camera is well featured and offers some good range of exposure modes the lack of a one-touch Panorama mode remains a bit of an omission, while processing and AF speed isn’t quite top of its class either.

The SX260 HS benefits from Canon's latest DIGIC 5 image processor, which is way faster than DIGIC 4 processor which allows the camera to shoot at a maximum 10fps in High-Speed Burst mode. Though the camera isn’t particular one of the fastest, however, with a maximum aperture that runs from f/3.5 at wide-angle, stopping down to f/6.8 at the camera’s maximum telephoto reach. It will takes about 2.5 seconds to start-up the  SX260.

Also there is other exposure modes includes a Smart Auto scene selector mode; an Easy mode that effectively disables access to the Quick Menu for hassle-free point-and-shoot photography; a Live View mode that uses simplified on-screen sliders for easy control over exposure, vibrancy and white balance; a Movie Digest mode that automatically records a short video clip every time a still image is taken; and a Discreet mode for silent/flash-free operation.

There are 10 individually selectable Scene modes, which includes the aforementioned High-Speed Burst mode, along with a couple of dedicated portrait modes. There is also Panorama assist mode. Audio is recorded in stereo via two microphones positioned on the top of the camera and files are stored in the H.264 .MOV format.

Autofocus options are limited; more automated point-and-shoot exposure modes the camera will automatically select its own AF points. There is no guarantee that the camera will focus on what you want when facing with a complicated scene.



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