Canon SX210 IS Camera Real-World Review

The Canon SX210 IS camera was my choice when it was time to upgrade to another, and of course, a better, compact camera.

These were my even more specific criteria this time:

  • Significant zoom beyond the typical 3x or 4x
  • HD video with stereo microphones

Every other feature was assumed to be better.

I do a lot of photography, and having a family, commuting by motorcycle, being a musician, and more makes me inclined to have a relatively high optical zoom lens and high-definition video mode with stereo sound. The only nice-to-have feature would be a built-in GPS that automatically geo-tags the photos. I did not make the GPS a requirement because, realistically, they do not track well indoors, and because there are so few GPS-enabled cameras, I did not want to limit my overall camera choices.

The Choice

Ultimately, I chose and really like the Canon SX210 IS. I want to address some specific points from my perspective. You won’t see some of these discussed on your typical Internet search!

Canon PowerShot SX210 IS

Pop-up Flash

A common (but I feel unjustified) criticism of the SX210 IS found on the Internet is the pop-up flash, located on the top left, where most right-handed people will put their left index finger when holding the camera. At first, I agreed. Sure enough, the first time I turned the camera on, my finger was over the pop-up flash, and of course, it did not pop up! Worse, you can feel and hear the unfortunate sound of a mechanism being “held back,” which initially scared me. The bottom line is that you get used to it fast and adjust your camera’s handling accordingly. It is not a big deal. Theoretically, it is permitted to pull the flash up manually (there is a small tab) and push it down manually, but I’d rather avoid that for fear of wearing out the mechanism. Now, I make a point of picking up the camera, quickly putting the wrist strap on my right wrist (which we all MUST do), holding the camera with my right hand, and squeezing the power button. Yes, it sounds like a lot when you write it out, but it’s nothing!

The following “issue” with the flash is holding the camera because, after all, the flash is now “in the way.” It’s not really, although I had to get used to it. Your left hand still has your thumb underneath, but keep your left index finger behind the flash.

So why even have a pop-up flash? The theory is that it raises the flash high enough to not shadow over the long zoom lens. It also allows for the flash to be larger, although I haven’t verified that the output is greater than other compact cameras of this size.

Soft Photo/Play Select Button

A subtle consideration is that there is no mechanical switch to select between shooting and reviewing pictures. Instead, there is a soft button with a play icon. You push the button to review the pictures and videos you have already taken. You are required to press the shutter button slightly to switch back to “take a picture” mode.

Image Samples from the Canon SX210 IS Camera

Rocco's First Motorcycle Ride

I love the high-power optical zoom and the terrific HD stereo videos.

Official List of SX210 IS Features from Canon

  • Powerful 14x optical zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer; improved Dynamic mode for enhanced image stabilization
  • 14.1-megapixel resolution
  • 28mm wide-angle lens
  • 3.0-inch wide PureColor System LCD
  • HD shooting capability at 720p with stereo sound plus HDMI output
  • DIGIC 4 Image Processor with evolved Face Detection Technology; new scene modes

Credits: Stock image of the Canon PowerShot SX210 IS from the Canon USA website.

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