Canon PowerShot SX200 IS review

Ben Pitt
23 Jun 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT



1/2.3in 12.0-megapixel sensor, 12.0x zoom (28-336mm equivalent), 220g

The SX200 IS is a big departure from the bulbous plastic designs of previous SX-series cameras.

Its aluminium shell comes in blue, black or red, and there's a 3in screen, an HDMI output and 720p video capture. The lens is now wide angle with a 12x zoom that, along with Panasonic's cameras, is the biggest to be found in a compact camera. We're not so keen on the way the flash rises when the camera is switched on, but at least it's out of the way of fingers.

This is the only camera here to include the full complement of shutter priority, aperture priority and manual exposure modes. The aperture doesn't have a huge range, varying from f/3.4 to f/8 at the wide angle and f/5.3 to f/8 for telephoto shots, but keen photographers will still appreciate this control.

Manual exposure and focus are extremely well implemented, with a wheel for dialling in large adjustments. A Function button provides access to various other photographic settings, but while the redesigned layout looks smarter than on previous Canon cameras, it isn't as easy to navigate. Performance was a little on the slow side, but this camera is unlikely to keep most people waiting.

It's great to see 1,280x720-resolution video on so many cameras this month, but the SX200 IS's implementation is a mixed bag. Video quality is excellent except in very gloomy conditions, the HDMI output is a treat and there's no limit to recording time (Panasonic's TZ7 is limited to 15 minutes per clip). However, optical zoom is unavailable while shooting and the 23Mbit/s bit rate is excessive, filling a 2GB card in just 11 minutes.

Quality of photos was generally excellent, with immaculate colours and barely any lens distortion. However, focus was soft in quite a few of our test shots and low-light photos were below average. This is at odds with the enthusiast-oriented manual controls. We would prefer to live without the controls and go for Panasonic's TZ7.

Basic Specifications

CCD effective megapixels12.0 megapixels
CCD size1/2.3in
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution230,000 pixels
Optical zoom12.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent28-336mm
Image stabilisationoptical, sensor shift
Maximum image resolution4,000x3,000
Maximum movie resolution1,280x720
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG; QuickTime (AVC)


Memory slotSDHC
Mermory suppliednone
Battery type3.7V 1,120mAh Li-ion
Battery Life (tested)280 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV, mini HDMI
Body materialaluminium
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables

Buying Information


Camera Controls

Exposure modesprogram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed15 to 1/2,500 seconds
Aperture rangef/3.4 to f/f5.3
ISO range (at full resolution)80 to 1600
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceauto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controlsintelligent contrast
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus0cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, centre, face detect
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer, face self-timer

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