Canon Powershot SX10 IS Review

Digital Cameras with Extended Zoom Lenses

Canon Powershot SX10 IS Ease of Use 7
Features 9
Movie Mode 9
Build Quality8
Colours 9
Photo Quality 9
Style 8
Lowlight 9
Macro 9
Value for Money 8
10 Megapixels
20x Zoom
2.5 inch LCD Screen
124.0 x 88.3 x 86.9mm


The Canon Powershot SX10 is an advanced, super zoom camera. It has a wide angle, 20x optical zoom lens and an impressive set of controls, including manual exposure and focusing. It also has a custom mode, flip out and twist LCD screen, hot shoe and image stabilisation.

Why Buy The Canon Powershot SX10 IS

In terms of picture quality this is one of the best super zoom cameras. Add in all the various controls and you have a very enticing packing for anyone who is serious about photography.

Main Features

LCD Screen:

2.5 inches
124.0 x 88.3 x 86.9mm

HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Memory Cards:


Image Quality - See Sample Images Below

Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light

After the composition of a shot my favourite aspect is the sharpness of the photo. When it comes to focusing I think Canon digital cameras continue to have the edge over the competition. The Powershot SX10 IS upholds that view with a series of sharp shots.

In my first outdoor shot the brickwork on the building in the centre of the photo is more or less pin sharp. There is only a small loss of sharpness as you move out towards the edges. The colours are powerful enough and the photo is one the best from a super zoom camera. Even the glare from the sun is handled surprisingly well.

Owing to the distance of this scene I think it is my toughest test shot. Here the Powershot SX10 IS delivers another above average shot when it comes to sharpness. With some cameras the left side of this shot can be very soft, but here sharpness is above average.

You can see just how close you can zoom in on the subject with a 20x zoom lens. Sharpness is good again. There is a small amount of purple fringing showing if you blow the picture up into a large print, but it compares well to the amount produced by other super zoom digital cameras.

My final outdoor scenic shot confirms my findings. Sharpness is again above average with minimal fall off as you reach out towards the edges. You should be able to create bright, colourful scenes with the Powershot SX10 IS.


Working closer to the subject the Powershot SX10 IS is able to produce another sharp image. The colours are about right as well.

This is another example of how the better digital compacts are able to control the amount of flash light they produce. This leads to the colours being both stronger and also retaining a more natural feel.

I am happy with all three of my portrait shots. This final one is taken using window light. The definition in the photo is good and you may wish to experiment using natural light instead of flash from time to time.

Macro, Colours and Noise

A good quality macro shot says a lot about the quality of the lens. This camera has no minimum focusing distance and is more or less able to focus from right next to the subject. The Powershot SX10 IS should be able to take some excellent close up shots.

The colours have been consistent throughout my tests. They have plenty of punch and one thing you will not suffer from is washed out photos.

Although the top of the range Canon models handle ISO quite well there is still a loss of quality at ISO 400, especially in the darker areas of the shot. Quality falls away with each increase in ISO, so that at ISO 1600 there are high levels of noise across the picture.


In terms of picture quality I have no complaints. If I was looking for a super zoom digital camera based purely on picture quality this would be the one I would buy out of the models I have reviewed to date.

See sample images link arrow


This is one of the larger and heavier super zoom cameras. It is designed along the lines of a Digital SLR.

Shutter Lag Times

Shutter Lag Rating Par

Single Shot
Five Shots
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time

0.32 seconds
8.15 seconds
0.52 seconds
11.95 seconds
2.34 seconds

Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Par The reason for the difficult rating is the number of features Canon has built into the camera. To make the most of it you will need to spend some time learning how the camera works and what can be gained from the different controls.

Points I Like

Photo quality - features - flip out and twist LCD screen - optical zoom available for movies

Where it Could Improve

Camera has a plastic feel


The Canon Powershot SX10 IS has the edge over other super zoom digital cameras when it comes to the sharpness of the pictures it produces. I have very few complaints about this camera and it is one for the shortlist if you are looking for plenty of zoom power.

Product Shots

Front View

Front View

Back View

Back View

Top View

Top View

Sample Menus

menu setup

menu 2 functions

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

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Read Review: Panasonic DMC FZ48 Review

Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Rating 86/100

The Fuji Finepix HS30EXR does offer a number of differences to rival Super Zoom or Bridge digital cameras. The main difference is the twisting lens barrel, but there are other handling aspects that make it that bit closer to a Digital SLR experience. In terms of features Fuji have packed in just about everything they can think of. Picture quality compares well against rival cameras and shutter response times are also impressive. This makes this camera a very attractive proposition if you are looking for a fully featured camera with a great deal of zoom power.

Read Review: Fuji Finepix HS30EXR Review

Nikon Coolpix L810 Rating 79/100

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Related Pages

Canon Powershot SX10 IS Review Canon Powershot SX10 IS Specification Canon Powershot SX10 IS Sample Images Canon Powershot SX10 IS Features Canon Digital Cameras

Review Date

December 2008

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