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Canon PowerShot SX510 HS review:

Canon PowerShot SX510 HS

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The Good Lightweight and compact, despite housing 30x zoom. Wi-Fi is built-in to the camera.

The Bad JPEG-only capture. Low-resolution screen is hard to see in direct sunlight.

The Bottom Line The SX510 HS is a decent superzoom camera targeted towards the budget market.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.2 Overall

Design and features

As smartphones continue to encroach on the territory once occupied by the poor old compact camera, there is still one last hope left. Behold, the power of zoom!

Superzoom cameras generally look and feel a little bit like a traditional SLR, except without the option to change lenses. Canon's PowerShot SX510 HS certainly packs a punch in the zoom department, with a 30x optical f/3.4-5.8 lens inside a camera no bigger than a game controller. At 349g, it's certainly light enough to be carried along for most photographic occasions. By the way, that zoom equivalent is 24-720mm in 35mm format.

Behind the lens is a different sensor to last year's SX500 HS. This time it's a 12.1-megapixel backlit CMOS sensor that should theoretically deliver better photos in low light compared to the older model.

A 3-inch LCD screen at the back is the only way to compose and view images. Unlike more expensive superzooms, there is no electronic viewfinder here. It's not a particularly high-resolution screen, however, at 461,000 dots. In bright sunlight and glare-filled viewing conditions, the screen can be difficult to see.

Most of the camera's controls can be found on the top mode dial, including full auto, manual controls (program, aperture, shutter and full manual mode) and scene modes. There is a pop-up flash available, but it needs to be manually lifted into place rather than automatically popping up when needed. The SX510 HS takes JPEG photos only.

The creative options available to photographers are somewhat limited by the scene mode menu. There are options such as portrait, low-light and face self-timer, but these are not extensive by any stretch of the imagination.

More extensive options present themselves in the creative menu, denoted with two interlocking circles on the mode dial. From here, users can choose from fish-eye, toy camera, miniature, poster effect, super vivid and black-and-white filters.

The Live mode can be used to produce some interesting effects by playing around with white balance, saturation and exposure.
(Credit: CBSi)

The CameraWindow app is basic but functional. (Screenshot by CBSi)

Live View control, found on the mode dial under the aptly titled "Live", lets photographers adjust parameters from dark to light, neutral to vivid and cool to warm and then preview the effect in real time on the screen.

The camera comes with a few connectivity options, the most notable being Wi-Fi. The Canon CameraWindow app (iOS and Android) is simple, giving users the option to view and transfer images on the camera or add location information to photos on the camera. Wi-Fi can be turned on when in playback mode. Press up on the control wheel to start the connection, and choose an option from the camera screen (smartphone, PC, print, camera to camera, cloud). In our tests, the Wi-Fi connection proved stable, if a little slow. Images can be transferred over as full-resolution files or at a reduced resolution.

For tethered options, the SX510 HS offers connectivity via mini USB and HDMI out.


General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Start-up to first shot
  • JPEG shot to shot
  • Shutter lag
    Canon PowerShot SX510 HS

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Continuous shooting speed (in frames per second)

  • 3.5
    Canon PowerShot SX510 HS

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

The SX510 HS has two different continuous shooting modes. The first can take 3.5fps with focus fixed from the first shot. The second mode focuses for each photo, which reduces the burst rate to 1fps.

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