The bridge camera sector of the market is one that continues to grow and expand, despite the relative downturn in the rest of the compact camera sector. These cameras look like DSLR’s but comfortably fit into the compact camera segment due to their size or sensors and these cameras do not have interchangeable lenses.
Canon has launched a spree of various cameras under the Power Shot umbrella and has been facing competitors like Samsung, Nikon, Sony and Panasonic. But, Canon remains undeterred and launches new models constantly. The company has launched its newly announced Power Shot SX520 HS that has superseded the previous SX 510 HS. We are going to take a close look into the details and the brains that went behind making the SX 520 HS. Let' take an elaborate look into the making of this camera.
The versatile SX 520 HS has an incredible 42x Optical Zoom (Optical 42x Zoom Plus 84x Digital Approx. 4x (with Digital Tele-Converter Approx. 1.6x or 2.0x ¹). Combined Approx. 168x) and 24mm Wide-Angle lens that makes this camera seem like it was built to zoom. Canon’s high-magnification shooting with advanced Canon optics is quite simple and spectacular. The Optical Image Stabilizer and Intelligent IS keep images clear and steady, while Zoom Framing Assist and a new Advanced Zoom Framing Assist function help users keep a track of their subjects and capture stunning shots, the feature helps follow the subjects movement and keeps it in focus whether the user is shooting a still or shooting a super-lifelike 1080p Full HD video. There is also a High Speed Auto Focus that reduces the lag time. The camera performs brilliantly even in low light conditions all glory goes to the 16 Megapixel High-Sensitivity 1/2.3 inch CCD sensor and Canon DIGIC 4+ Image Processor that together create the Canon HS SYSTEM. This sophisticated Point and Shoot camera captures more than memories, it shoots dreams with the best quality and absolute versatility. Although 42X seems pretty long a zoom range, it is lesser than the 62x optical zoom that is currently the market leader. A 24mm wide angle lens gives the user an impressive reach of 1008mm at the telephoto end of the optic. The Zoom plus Technology found in this camera incorporates a Digital Zoom that boosts the zoom range up to 84x, and works by rebuilding the pixel count up to the same resolution as those taken using the optical zoom. The CCD sensors usually help manufacturers curb the overall cost of the camera as opposed to a CMOS sensor.
The camera uses a DIGIC 4+ processor, and while this isn't Canon's most recent processor, it is claimed that it is 60% quicker at high ISOs and 30% quicker at focusing and processing than a standard Digic 4 processor, which is what the SX510 used. This processor seems quite interesting to try and experiment with. Another interesting features is the Hybrid Auto, which takes a two second clip of video along with every picture (when shooting in auto mode) for a highlights video at the end of the day, and Creative Shot, which takes five images with a digital filter applied to it. The camera's ISO sensitivity runs from 100 to 3200, and Zoom Framing Assist is also included - this helps when framing an image with the lens zoomed out to full telephoto zoom.
There are a few additional features on this device such as Red Eye Correction (during shooting and playback) Intelligent Orientation Sensor, Histogram, Playback zoom (Approx. 2x – 10x) Self Timer (Approx. 2 or 10 sec and Custom) as well as multi language support (English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Greek, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Spanish, Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Simplified Chinese, Chinese (traditional), Japanese, Korean, Thai, Arabic, Romanian, Farsi, Hindi, Malay, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Hebrew). Overall, there are various prominent changes in the SX 520 as compared with the SX 510. This camera seems more faster in terms of processing and functionality.
Design and Build:
At first glance, you might feel that the SX 520 is some sort of a compact DSLR from Canon; the camera shares similarity with the EOS 1100D but, this camera is different. This camera measures 120.0 x 81.7 x 91.9 mm and weighs approximately 441 grams (including battery and memory card). You will find a sturdy grip that is quite comfortable to hold with a single hand, there is also a ridge on the grip for your finger to make it sit comfortably. The zoom switch rests above the grip allowing the users to extend the lens. There is a scrolling dial on the grip that shares similarity with DSLR’s and can be used for changing various settings depending on the shooting mode. The mode dial also allows users to change between exposure modes quickly. The buttons have also been laid out in a similar fashion to that of the various Canon DSLR’s these days. There is also a 4 way navigation pad that has different functions assigned to each button. The accesses sensitivity (ISO), left accesses focusing mode, down accesses display options and right accesses flash options. The 3 inch (7.5 cm) TFT screen has approximately 461,000 dots has 100 % coverage. The brightness of the screen has 5 different levels that can be adjusted as per requirement Design wise, this camera shares a lot of resemblance with DSLR cameras. But, it is a unique point and shoot camera.
The AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (fixed to centre) on the canon Power Shot SX 520 HS is quite remarkable as are the modes. The device has a few AF modes such as Single, Continuous, Servo AF/AE¹ and Tracking AF with AF lock as well as AF assist beam. The exposure Control on this device is controlled by Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre-weighted average, Spot (Centre) metering modes. As far as the WB (white balance) is concerned, users can choose Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom WB modes as per their shooting requirement, you can also use the support of Flash for enhanced imaging performance in low lights with Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Synchro modes.
Canon has also built in a few impressive shooting modes for avid photographers to try and experiment. These modes include Smart Auto (32 scenes detected), Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual, Hybrid Auto, Live View Control, Creative Shot, SCN (Portrait, Smart Shutter (Smile, Wink Self-Timer, FaceSelf-Timer), High-speed Burst (4.0MP), Low Light, Snow, Fireworks), Creative Filters (Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect) as well as Movie mode.
The Movie mode is quite good and has various sub modes under it such as; Smart Auto (21 scenes detected), Standard, Program AE, Portrait, Miniature Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Snow, Fireworks that brings out high quality and amazing videos. You can also try the various photo effects in built such as; My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red and Custom Color. You can shoot approximately 1.6 shots per second on this camera (till the memory lasts).
Battery and Hardware:
The SX 520 HS supports SD, SDHC and SDXC cards and is compatible with PC (Windows 8 / 8.1 / 7 SP1) and MAC (Mac OS X 10.8 / 10.9)and comes with Canon’s Image Browser EX software. The camera functions on a Lithium Li0ion NB-6LH rechargeable battery and provides the user Approximately 210 shots with a single charge and this can be extended to 290 shots on Eco mode. The battery also gives the user a playback time of around 300 minutes.
The Canon Power shot is a great camera with a few highs such as:
A Good Zoom
Manual Controls for professionals
Zoom Framing Assist
However, this camera too has a few drawbacks such as:
No RAW format shooting
Lack of Touch Screen
Lack of Wi-Fi
This camera is a good attempt by Canon to remain a notch higher than competitors in the race. You can certainly try your hands on this camera.
Canon PowerShot SX520 HS Rivals:
Canon Powershot SX510 HS
Canon Powershot SX50 HS
Nikon Coolpix P520
Nikon Coolpix P600
Fujifilm FinePix SL1000