Canon compact cameras have carved a niche in the market for their reliability, ease of use, and good image quality.
The SX-series, successor to the S-series, is the ‘performance range’ of Canon PowerShot cameras with high zoom ratios and advanced features. The SX240 HS joins the bandwagon with a 20x optical zoom and priority modes.
Design and Build Quality
The Canon SX240 HS features an outer body built with tough engineering plastic except for the back panel that has a metal exterior. The lens has a three segment construction. The LCD panel is housed in a metal frame, but is still prone to scratch since the frame does not enclose the sides of the screen. The tripod mount is metal and the buttons and dials provide a positive feel.
The 12.1-megapixel Canon PowerShot SX240 HS uses a 1/2.3-inch Type (6.16 x 4.62 mm) CMOS sensor for imaging. It is powered by the latest Digic 5 imaging processor. The camera features a 25-500mm equivalent f/3.5 – 6.8 lens featuring Optical Image Stabilisation. The lens focusses from 5cm to infinity at the wide-angle end, and from 1m to infinity at the telephoto end. Focus modes are Continuous AF, Servo AF, and Manual Focus. The AF frame options are Face AiAF, Tracking, and Centre. The metering modes featured are Evaluative, Centre-weighted average, and Spot. Exposure can be compensated by +/-2 EV in 1/3-stop increments. Shutter speed ranges from 15 to 1/3200 sec, whereas the f/number varies from f/3.5 to 8 at the wide-angle end and from f/6.8 to 8 at the telephoto end. ISO sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 3200. White Balance options are Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, and Custom.
The built-in flash has a range of 50cm to 3.5m at the wide-angle end, and from 90cm to 2.0m at the telephoto end, but this time also, Canon has not mentioned the ISO setting at which the flash achieves this range. The flash modes are Auto, On, Slow Synchro, and Off. Shooting modes of the camera are M, Av, Tv, P, Live View Control, Auto, Easy, Movie Digest, SCN, Creative Filters, Discreet, and Movie. Available scene modes are Portrait, Smooth Skin, Smart Shutter, High-speed burst HQ, Handheld Night Scene, Low Light, Underwater, Snow, Fireworks, and Stitch Assist. The creative filter options are Fish-eye, Miniature, Toy Camera, Monochrome, Soft Focus, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Colour Accent, and Colour Swap. The Discreet mode provide options of Standard, iFrame Movie, and Super Slow Motion Movie. Smart Shutter include Smile, Wink Self-timer, and Face Self-timer.
The SX240 HS uses a 3.0-inch, approximately 461,000-dot TFT colour wide viewing angle LCD for display. The camera uses an SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card for external storage. Still images are recorded in JPEG format at a maximum recording pixels of 4000 x 3000, while movies are recorded in MOV format at the best quality of 1280 x 720 pixels at 30 fps. The camera features a Hi-Speed USB and HDMI output. The device is powered by an NB-6L Li-ion battery pack. The camera has dimensions of 106.3 x 61.0 x 32.7mm and weighs approximately 224g including the battery and memory card.
The SX240 HS is comfortable to operate with the mode dial acting as a thumb rest. The interface is standard Canon compact type with familiar colour scheme and controls. The mode dial being on the back panel (the camera has a vertical mode dial) facilitates quick adjustments. The command dial/multi-controller has been provided enough damping for comfortable operation. The images on the LCD are crisp and the screen has a multi-angle view.
The Canon SX240 HS autofocussed fast and precisely. Darkening of corners was controlled very well, confined only to extreme corners. Images were tack sharp out of the box. Distortion was well controlled except for mild barrel distortion up to 70mm equivalent, which would be very difficult to observe by untrained eyes. We observed prominent flare and ghosting in strong against-the-light shots at the wide-angle end at the widest aperture along with slight purple fringing. Metering was accurate with all modes working well.
The camera reproduced colours well. Auto White Balance performed well in most situations, providing good results. An exception was incandescent light source, under which, pre-set Incandescent White Balance provided better results. Native print size was 10 x 13.33 inches at 300 ppi. At 25 percent screen size, images were free of noise right up to ISO 1600. Images at ISO 3200 appeared soft, probably due to the noise reduction algorithm. Viewed at 50 percent, images were noise-free up to ISO 800. At 100 percent screen size, very slight noise appeared from ISO 200 onwards, but it can be easily missed. This is very good control over noise, considering that the camera uses a very small sensor for imaging.
Value for Money
The Canon SX240 HS retails at an MRP of Rs.19,995. At this price, it is good value for money.
+ 20x zoom range
+ Excellent noise control
+ Good value for money
+ Priority modes
– White Balance, for incandescent light could have been better
– Not enough aperture options at tele end
Design and Build Quality 16/20
Key Features 17/20
Noise Control 5/5
Value for Money 7/10
Grand Total 83/100
The Canon SX240 HS is a budget option for people looking for a compact camera that can provide good results over a wide range of situations. This is ideal for casual photographers planning to buy a camera to capture family vacations and trips including landscapes, portraits, and wildlife.