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Canon Powershot SX30 IS

Canon Powershot SX30 ISReleased in 2010 the Canon Powershot SX30 IS is one of Canon’s superzoom cameras.

Like other "bridge" or super-zoom cameras the 14.1 megapixel Canon SX30IS features a high quality 35X optical zoom lens that has a 35mm equivalent focal range of 24mm to 840mm. As with other super zoom cameras the 35X optical zoom on the Canon allows the user to go from wide angle to extreme telephoto without the need to switch lenses.

The 35X zoom lens on the Canon SX30 gives it an edge over both the Sony DSC-HX100V and the Nikon Coolpix P500 when it comes to zooming in on a subject. At 840mm (35mm equivalent) the Canon edges out both the Nikon and Sony who stop at 810mm. With its aperture range of f/2.7 to f/5.8 the Canon’s lens comes out on top of most super-zoom cameras when it comes to the overall focal length.

Recognizing how easy camera shake could cause motion blur at a focal length of 840mm, Canon equipped the SX30 with an advanced image stabilization system that offers up to 4.5 stops of compensation.

This allows you to use a slower shutter speed than the “reciprocal rule” would normally allow when fully zoomed in.

Other performance issues built into the 35X zoom include Canon’s Ultra Sonic Motor (USM) for faster auto focusing and a Voice Coil Motor (VCM) for super quiet zooming which is so important when shooting video.Canon Powershot SX30 IS Top View

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS TopTo make tracking a moving object easier when using the telephoto lens, Canon has developed a “Zoom Framing Assist Function”. This feature is activated by pressing a dedicated button and quickly retracts the lens to one of three wider angle preset zoom levels. This allows the user to have a wider angle of view to track the subject with and once the subject is again in the center area of the lens, the button can be released and the camera will quickly return to the original zoom position. This can be a very handy feature when trying to follow a moving subject at the extreme end of the zoom range.

Features of the Canon Powershot SX30 IS

Canon Powershot SX30 IS LCDOn the back of the camera you will find a 2.7 articulated LCD display with 230,000 pixel resolution. Canon has included a “Quick-Bright” function that helps the user view images even in bright sunlight.

Canon has equipped the Powershot SX30 IS with a number of nice features that are not found on many other super zoom cameras. One of those is that with the addition of the Canon FA-DC67A Filter Adapter you can easily attach 67mm filters to the camera's lens.

Another nice feature of the Canon SX30 is the fact that it features both a built in pop up, manual flash as well as a hot shoe that allows you to use an external flash or other accessories. The addition of a hot shoe makes this super-zoom camera look more like a mini-DSLR.

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Top 2At the heart of the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS is a 14.1 megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CCD image sensor and Canon’s DIGIC 4 image processor. This combination allows the SX30 to have improved performance as well as processing speed.

The Canon PowerShot SX30 IS is able to record 720p HD movies with stereo sound using the complete zoom range of the camera. Switching from video to still mode is easy and the camera comes with a mini-HDMI port to allow connection to a High Definition TV. In video mode there is a “Miniature Effect” setting that allows you to take movies at a reduced frame rate of either 6, 3. Or 1.5 frames per second. Using this mode will create the effect of a high-speed or time-lapse movie of a miniature scale model.

The Canon SX30 is equipped with the standard array of camera modes one would expect on this style of camera. It features Canon’s “Smart Auto” mode which uses scene detection technology to automatically select the best of 28 different types of scenes for that particular setting. It also has a “Smart Flash Exposure” that will reduce or increase power to flash to help achieve perfectly exposed pictures when using the built in flash.

Besides the normal auto and scene modes the SX30 also features several semi-automatic modes common to DSLR's such as: Program Mode, Shutter Priority Mode, Aperture Priority Mode and a Manual Mode. The addition of these modes is why a camera like the Canon SX30 is a good "bridge" camera between a smaller point and shoot and a larger DSLR. It gives the user some of the best features of both worlds.

Other Features of the Canon Powershot SX30 IS:

  • It uses industry standard SDHC and SDXC memory cards.
  • Shutter speeds from 15 sec. to 1/3200 sec.
  • ISO range from 80 to 1600 (up to 6,400 ISO at 2 megapixels)
  • 1.3 frames per second burst mode at full resolution.
  • Digital Photo Maker

The bottom line…

Canon Powershot SX30 IS FrontWhile the Canon certainly leads the super zoom camera category with its outstanding 35X zoom lens which gives you a 35mm equivalent focal reach of 24mm to 840mm, it falls short in some other areas
Here are some areas where the Canon Powershot SX IS comes up short when compared with other super zoom cameras currently on the market.


  • Higher ISO performance is not as good as some cameras with some noticeable loss of image quality as low as ISO 400.
  • Another area that the Canon SX30IS comes up short is in its video record mode. It can only capture up to 720P HD movies while the Sony DSC-HX100V and Nikon Coolpix P500 both can capture 1080p HD video.
  • The Canon Powershot SX30 IS also has a slightly smaller and lower resolution LCD display that some other super zoom cameras. The 2.7 inch LCD on the Canon only has 231K resolution while the larger 3 inch LCD on the Sony DSC-HX100V has four times the resolution at 921K.
  • The burst speed on the Canon SX30 is only 1.3 frames per second compared with the 9-10 frames per second that is common on this type of camera.
  • Limited ISO range of 80-1600. Other similar cameras can capture images at full resolution up to an ISO of 3200.

Despite these issues the Canon Powershot SX30 IS is still a very good camera and one worth considering for those in the market for a super-zoom digital camera.

It strongest appeal is the 35X zoom lens and if the 840mm (35mm equivalent) optical zoom is not enough it also has up to a 140X digital zoom that does a better than average job. Normally I do not recommend using any type of digital zoom because of the image degradation that often occurs. However the Canon SX30's digital zoom does seem to do a pretty good job from what I have seen.

In typical Canon fashion the Powershot SX30 IS produces above average images, however at higher ISO speeds the images quickly lose their edge.

Other positives include a lithium-ion battery rated at 400 pictures per charge using the viewfinder and 370 when using the LCD screen. The SX30 is also good for Macro photography as it is able to focus very close to the lens.

The great thing about these types of “super-zoom” or “bridge” cameras is that they offer the user a lot more control than smaller point and shoot cameras do. They also feature outstanding lenses that give you a really amazing zoom spectrum from wide angle to extreme telephoto without the need for additional lenses.

While they are not in the same performance category as a DSLR they are nevertheless excellent cameras for many people who want to have some of the advantages of a DSLR without the extra cost, etc. (The advantages I am referring to are a DSLR style body, semi-automatic and manual modes similar to a DSLR, outstanding zoom range, etc.)

Just as one would want from a ‘bridge” camera, the Canon Powershot SX30IS has many advanced features and settings for those looking for a DSLR type shooting experience without having the extra cost of additional lenses or higher costs. While not on par with a DSLR, the Canon is certainly one of the top supe- zoom or bridge cameras on the market right now.

However as good as it is and even though it tops the class with its 840mm focal length lens, the Canon Powershot SX30 IS falls short of being able to earn the title "The King of the Super Zoom Cameras". While it is certainly one of the top cameras of this type on the market some of its shortcomings mentioned above prevent it from being the best in the class.


Canon Powershot SX30 IS Videos


Tags: Camera Review Canon