‘Compact’ camera with 14-megapixel resolution and a massive 35x zoom lens
Allowing detailed shots to be taken from afar, ultra-zoom cameras can give your photography a new lease of life.
The Powershot SX30 IS from Canon is one such model, and comes with a massive 35x optical zoom.
When taking photos with such a powerful zoom lens, camera shake becomes a potential problem. However, Canon has sensibly fitted the SX30 IS with an image stabiliser, which mechanically shifts part of the lens to compensate for camera shake and reduce blur. It worked very well in our tests, producing sharp photos at the full extent of the 35x zoom lens.
As with most modern cameras, the camera is packed full of shooting modes that most people will probably never use. The face-detection tool is one of the more useful, though, and helps to ensure your subjects remain in focus.
A movie mode is also included, which can record high-definition video in the resolution of 720p. Unlike on many cameras, the zoom can be used while recording – it slows the lens’s motor down so that the noise of the zoom extending doesn’t blight the audio of your clips.
We noticed a fair amount of purple fringing when taking outdoor photos – this occurs between areas of high contrast, such as a bright blue sky behind a dark building, and results in purple-coloured edges. It’s not a hugely big deal and you might not even notice it at all, but if you plan to crop in on detail it’s more likely to become visible.
Other than this, we were very impressed with the quality of photos produced by the SX30. Compression artefacts were kept to a minimum, and close-up shots looked particularly impressive with a good amount of fine detail. More adventurous photographers will be pleased with the variety of advanced controls, such as manual white balance and focus, along with shutter- and aperture-priority modes.
Thanks to the 14.1-megapixel sensor, prints can be produced in sizes up to A2 or even a bit larger without problems. Even if you don’t plan on printing at this size, the high resolution means it’s possible to crop in on areas and still print decent standard-sized photos.
Anyone looking to take a quick series of photos will be disappointed, though, since the camera is only able to capture 1.3 shots per second.
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A great camera with a powerful zoom lens, although outdoor shots are susceptible to problems Good points Extra-long zoom; easy to use; good range of manual settings; HD video mode Bad points Outdoor shots suffered from purple fringing; slow continuous shooting mode
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