Canon Powershot SX220 HS Review

Mid Zoom Digital Cameras

Canon Powershot SX220 HS Ease of Use 8
Features 8
Movie Mode 9
Build Quality8
Colours 9
Photo Quality 9
Style 8
Lowlight 9
Macro 8
Value for Money 8
12 Megapixels
14x Zoom
3 inch LCD Screen
105.7 x 61.6 x 33.2 mm


The Canon Powershot SX220 HS is a 12 megapixel digital camera. It offers plenty of zoom power and a range of advanced features in a relatively compact body. Cameras like the Powershot SX220 HS are often of interest if you are planning to travel owing to the combination of features and size. They are also a popular choice if you are looking for a digital camera that offers a step up from a basic point and shoot digital camera.

Why Buy The Canon Powershot SX220 HS

The Powershot SX220 HS has a touch of extra class when it comes to picture quality. There is also a good range of features packed inside the handy sized body.

Main Features

LCD Screen:

3 inches
105.7 x 61.6 x 33.2 mm

HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Memory Cards:

Lithium-ion Rechargeable


Megapixels and Zoom

The Powershot SX220 HS has 12 megapixels and a 14x zoom lens. The lens has wide angle capabilities as well as the more obvious telephoto qualities for zooming in. A wide angle lens helps you to pack wider scenes into your shots. This comes in especially useful if you are planning to photograph subjects such as landscapes and groups of people.

Memory Cards

You can use SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards. Canon have not built in any memory to the Powershot SX220 HS, so you will need a memory card before you can start using the camera.


Power is supplied by a lithium ion battery. Canon estimates you should be able to take around 210 shots in between charges.

Movie Mode

There are a wide range of movie options. These include the ability to shoot Full High Definition movies. Both zoom and image stabilisation are available in movie mode. You can also shoot slow motion movies at lower resolutions. You also have access to a number of predefined movie shooting modes.

LCD Screen

The LCD screen is 3 inches in size.

Scene Modes

Canon have added the following scene modes to the camera: Portrait, Landscape, Kids & Pets, Smart Shutter (Smile, Wink Self-Timer, FaceSelf-Timer), High-speed Burst (3.0MP), Best Image Selection (3.0MP), Handheld Night Scene, Low Light (3.0MP), Creative Filter (Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap), Beach, Underwater, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks and Stitch Assist.

Macro Mode

For close up shots the Powershot SX220 HS is capable of focusing from 5cm away from the camera.

Advanced Features

The advanced features you have access to include fully manual operation, aperture priority and shutter priority. These give you a degree of creative control over your shots. You also have available ISO, white balance, three types of metering and exposure compensation.


General Handling

Usually with a camera of this size you have that bit of extra room to hold the camera. With the Powershot SX220 HS that is made a bit harder as the back of the camera is very busy with buttons and dials. There is no place reserved for your thumb and it is likely to end up being rested on the control dial. This may be no more than a minor issue, but it does make it a little harder to get a really good grip of the camera.

Flash Positioning

The flash unit pops up on the top of the camera in the corner. Obviously the flash unit needs to go somewhere, but the downside of this placement is it makes it harder to take a firm hold of the camera when flash is in use. It is not a problem when flash is not required as you can close the flash unit and open it again manually when you need to use it.

LCD Screen Quality

The LCD screen quality is very good. It compares well against many other digital cameras and you should find it possible to view the screen even in bright light.

Turn on Time and Shutter Delay

For a single photo the Powershot SX220 HS posted quite a fast time. The turn on time was about standard. When you use flash there is no doubt the camera slows down. It then becomes slow in comparison with other digital cameras.

Design, Build Quality and Finish

Canon have gone for a fairly straightforward design. The camera may lack a touch of the visual appeal of some Canon pocket cameras, but it still feels like there is a bit of extra quality in the build. The model used for testing had a black front and back with the top and sides of the camera in silver. It had a matt finish.

Camera Controls

On the top of the camera is the shutter button. This button sits inside a ring used to control zooming in and out. Also on the top is the pop up flash unit.

At the top on the back of the camera is the on off button and the main control dial. The dial is used to select the shooting mode. Next comes two buttons. One starts and stops movie recording the other allows you to review photos and movie clips. Below this comes the main control area. This comprises of a wheel to select menu items and controls for setting the flash mode, changing focus mode, setting the self timer and using exposure compensation. In the centre of this area is a button to access main functions and to confirm your chosen selections. The final two buttons at the bottom and for changing the information on the LCD screen and accessing the menu system.

Image Quality - See Sample Images Below

Picture Quality Summary

Picture quality is very good indeed. There are no significant picture quality issue and the Powershot SX220 HS is flexible enough to cope with most types of photo opportunity.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

Two points that are noticeable immediately are the sharpness of the shot and the definition showing in the shady areas of the photo. These are both significant, but the level of detail showing around the name of the boat suggest this camera will handle noise well and is likely to do a good job in situations when the light is not perfect. Some detail is lost in the lightest areas of the shot.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

In terms of sharpness this test shot compares very well against other digital cameras, especially when you take into account the fact it has a wide angle lens. There is a small issue with vertical lines falling inwards as you move towards the edges of the photo.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

Zooming in poses no great difficulty to the camera. This is another sharp photo with focusing levels being maintained right across the picture. As can happen with this length of lens you will see some purple fringing if you look at full size images on a computer screen. This should not be an issue as long as you keep print sizes reasonable.

Outdoor Building

It is hard to find fault with this shot. The big plus point is the fact that there is virtually no loss of sharpness as you move out towards the edge of the shot. Some cameras over exposure this shot making it too bright, but the Powershot SX220 HS copes well with the lighting.

Outdoor Portrait

There are no problems as you move in closer. The Powershot SX220 HS is able to produce colours with a touch of warmth with the skin tones keeping a fairly natural look. This type of shot is handled well by most digital cameras and this camera is as good as most of its direct competitors.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

Canon digital cameras tend to produce some of the best shots with flash. One of the reasons for this is they are very good at distributing light evenly. They also manage to control they amount of light well. This leads to photographs that retain that bit more colour.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

To be able to produce indoor portraits without flash you still require decent lighting. This is the same as with any digital camera. The Powershot SX220 HS does manage to keep noise levels down well compared with other cameras and you should find an impressive level of detail in any window light portrait shots you take.


The quality of the close up shots produced by the Powershot SX220 HS is excellent. As with other shots there is plenty of colour packed in and sharpness is spot on. The only problem you may find is that the camera does not always manage to achieve sharp focus on the very area you want in focus.


Colours appear to have an added touch of warmth to them. Add in the brightness of the photos and you have a recipe for good quality photographs.


Noise levels are controlled as well as you can expect from a relatively small compact camera. There are no main issue and apart from when you are taking pictures in poor light your photos should be more or less noise free.

Shutter Lag Times

Shutter Lag Rating Fast

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

0.29 seconds
10.97 seconds
1.61 seconds
16.81 seconds
2.91 seconds

Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Par Owing to the amount of features on offer it will take a while to fully master this camera. You do have the option to use the camera in point and shoot mode, but that would be a waste of the features on offer.

Points I Like

Picture quality, features, compact size, value for money

Where it Could Improve

A touch of purple fringing, handling, shutter delay times with flash


The Canon Powershot SX220 HS does a very good all round job. With the length of lens and range of features you have plenty of flexibility at your finger tips. The camera has no major and very few minor weaknesses and is a good choice if you are looking for a digital camera that is a clear step up from more basic models.

Test Shots

outdoors 1 outdoors 2 outdoors 3

building macro colours

portrait-outdoors portrait-indoors indoors

See sample images link arrow

Product Shots

Front View

Front View

Back View

Back View

Top View

Top View

Sample Menus

menu setup

playback functions

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Related Pages

Canon Powershot SX220 HS Review Canon Powershot SX220 HS Specification Canon Powershot SX220 HS Sample Images Canon Digital Cameras

Review Date

November 2011

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