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Canon PowerShot SX30 IS review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £335
inc VAT

The enormous 35x zoom is tempting but neither the lens nor the sensor lives up to expectations at this price.


1/2.3in 14.0-megapixel sensor, 35.0x zoom (24-840mm equivalent), 601g

Now that some compact-shaped cameras come with up to 18x zoom lenses; bulkier, pricier ultra-zoom cameras need to do something special to justify their existence. A 35x zoom lens ought to do it, though – with it the PowerShot SX30 IS comfortably outstretches the 30x zoom on the previous record holder, the Fujifilm HS10.

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS zoom

The SX30 IS is quite a departure from its predecessor, the 20x zoom SX20 IS. Bulbous curves are gone in favour of a more angular design that looks smarter but isn’t as comfortable to hold. The switch from four AA batteries to a Li-ion rechargeable cell is welcome, reducing the weight and making recharging less fiddly. It also removes the cost of buying batteries separately, but the new model is around £50 more expensive than the old one.

The articulated screen is bigger at 2.7in across, although that’s still smaller than the 3in screens of almost all other ultra-zoom cameras. The hotshoe for an external flashgun is concealed underneath a rubber cover – easy to miss.

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS open

The controls and options are the usual fare for an ultra-zoom camera, with manual exposure and focus and a wheel encircling the navigation pad for quick adjustments. ISO speed and focus area are within easy reach, and a customisable button can be assigned to various roles including white balance. There’s also a button that momentarily pulls back the zoom. It proved highly useful when we’d zoomed in so much that it was hard to find the intended subject on the LCD screen. There’s still no RAW capture, though – a serious omission for this type of camera.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ***
CCD effective megapixels 14.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.3in
Viewfinder electronic (202,000 pixels)
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 2.7in
LCD screen resolution 230,000 pixels
Articulated screen Yes
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 35.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 24-840mm
Image stabilisation optical, lens based
Maximum image resolution 4,320×3,240
Maximum movie resolution 1280×720
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
File formats JPEG; QuickTime (AVC)


Memory slot SDXC
Mermory supplied none
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 370 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, mini HDMI
HDMI output resolution 1080i
Body material plastic
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB and AV cables
Weight 601g
Size 92x123x108mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £335

Camera Controls

Exposure modes program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed 15 to 1/3,200 seconds
Aperture range f/2.7-8 (wide), f/5.8-8 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 80 to 1600
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 6 presets, manual
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness, red, green, blue, skin tone, i-contrast, flash compensation
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 0cm
Auto-focus modes flexible spot, face detect
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, focus bracket

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