Canon SX510 Preview
by Roger Slavens
The Canon SX500 IS stands as one of the most popular compact digital cameras on the planet today, ranking 4th on Amazon's list of best selling point-and-shoots. And why not? Consumers loved getting a 30x optical zoom and decent low ISO image quality at a relatively inexpensive price point. If that formula holds true, its successor, the Canon SX510 HS, should be even more in demand since it trades in the SX500's less-powerful CCD sensor for a CMOS sensor designed to deliver better image quality and 1080p video. The new superzoom also adds Wi-Fi technology for sharing photos and movies instantly. Oh yeah, at a manufacturer suggested retail price of US$250, it's also $80 cheaper at launch than its predecessor!
At the core of the SX510 HS's upgrades is its new 12.1-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor which is paired with the legacy DIGIC 4 image processor from the SX500. Canon claims the new sensor delivers sharper, more vivid images and enables full 1080p HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) movie making at a 24 frames-per-second rate. Additionally, the company says the autofocusing system on the SX510 has been enhanced, with AF lag time dramatically reduced for a better overall picture-taking experience.
The Canon SX510's lens remains the same at its predecessor's, a 30x optical zoom lens that boasts a 24-720mm equivalent range, and features Intelligent IS technology to combat camera shake. The max aperture of f/3.4 at wide angle and f/5.8 at tele is not the brightest, but fairly typical for a superzoom in this price range. Despite the range of the zoom, the camera remains smaller and lighter than many in its class. The SX510 still fits in the palm of your hand and, though it's somewhat shaped like a DSLR, it will never bog you down like one.
Overall, the camera's exterior design appears almost identical to the SX500's. It features a Mode dial with full PASM controls, as well as a Zoom Framing Assist button on the side of the lens barrel. This latter feature allows you to find and track subjects, zooming in and out as needed to keep them properly framed. On the back, the 3-inch, 461K-dot resolution LCD monitor may not be the sharpest and brightest, but it's on par with other consumer-oriented superzoom models.
Finally, the SX510's built-in Wi-Fi functionality allows you to accomplish two important things. You can share photos and movies with friends wirelessly via your favorite social networking sites, or via email using the Canon iMAGE Gateway photo site. You can also quickly transfer files to your smart devices -- both iOS and Android phones and tablets -- that have been equipped with the Canon CameraWindow app and paired with the SX510. Canon claims that it's made the Wi-Fi setup process easier than ever, and that images can be printed on select printers over a Wi-Fi connection by using the camera's Wireless PictBridge feature.
Available from September 2013, the Canon PowerShot SX510 HS is priced at US$250. It comes only in black.
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