Canon SX200 IS Review

 
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Canon PowerShot SX200 IS Optics


Lens

Zoom
A whopping 12x optical zoom lens with very good performance. Digital zoom produces softer detail definition, though results are suitable for smaller prints.

28mm eq. 336mm eq. 4x Digital Zoom

The Canon PowerShot SX200 IS' optical zoom range covers the equivalent of a 28-336mm zoom on a 35mm camera, which is quite extensive for a consumer digital camera. Results at full wide angle are good, with only moderate blurring in the corners of the frame and a low level of coma distortion. Fine details are pretty distinct in the center of the frame, though areas of low contrast do tend to blur more strongly. Details are much sharper at full telephoto, again with only moderate blurring in the corners (though some bright chromatic aberration is visible on parts of the house trim). The camera's 4x digital zoom produces the usual soft results that are about as good as cropping the image afterward.

Macro
Small macro area in normal mode as well as Super mode, though blurring and chromatic aberration become an issue at the Super setting. Flash has trouble in normal mode, but performs fairly well in Super mode.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash
Super Macro Super Macro with Flash

The Canon SX200's normal Macro setting captured a small minimum area measuring 1.62 x 1.22 inches (41 x 31 millimeters). Though resolution and detail are high, details are slightly soft throughout the frame, with moderate blurring and chromatic aberration radiating in from the corners. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The camera's Super Macro mode was able to focus even closer, capturing a minimum area of 1.19 x 0.89 inches (30 x 23 millimeters), with excellent detail in the center, but corner softness and chromatic aberration were much stronger here. In normal Macro mode, the PowerShot SX200 IS' flash was blocked by the lens, resulting in a very dark shadow. However, in Super Macro mode, flash performance was better, and slightly more even than the external lighting.

Geometric Distortion
Much lower than average barrel distortion at wide angle, and only a small amount of pincushion at telephoto.

Barrel distortion at 28mm eq. is 0.3%
Pincushion at 336mm eq. is 0.1%

The Canon PowerShot SX200 IS' 0.3% barrel distortion at wide angle is surprisingly low compared to most consumer digital cameras, and only moderately noticeable. At the telephoto end, the Canon SX200's 0.1% pincushion distortion is also low and barely noticeable. Distortion is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

Chromatic Aberration
Moderately high distortion at both wide-angle and telephoto, with bright pixels at both settings.

Wide: Moderately high and bright,
top left @ 100%
Wide: Also bright,
top right @ 100%
Tele: Higher and quite bright,
top left @100%
Tele: Also quite bright,
top right @100%

Chromatic aberration is moderately high at wide angle, showing bright purple and green coloration. At telephoto, chromatic aberration is reduced. Coloration is still fairly bright, but it doesn't stretch over as wide an area. Chromatic aberration is a form of distortion visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target. Note also that for cameras with sensors 12 megapixels or more, we're now displaying the CA crops at 100% instead of 200% to avoid over-emphasizing the effect.

Corner Sharpness
Modest blurring in the corners of the frame at wide-angle, but much stronger blurring at telephoto.

Wide: Slightly soft in the
corners (upper right).
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Strong blurring in the
lower corners (lower right).
Tele: Sharper at center.

The Canon PowerShot SX200 IS produced only slightly soft corners of the frame at full wide-angle. However, at full telephoto, softening in the corners is much more pronounced and extends a long way in toward the center.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Very good accuracy from the LCD monitor.

28mm eq., LCD 336mm eq., LCD

The Canon PowerShot SX200 IS' LCD monitor showed about 101% coverage accuracy at wide angle and telephoto. Great results!

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Canon PowerShot SX200 IS Photo Gallery.

Canon SX200 IS

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