Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot

  • 16-Megapixel HS CMOS Imaging Sensor
  • 3.0-Inch LCD Screen
  • 18x Optical zoom lens: 25-450mm (35mm equivalent)
  • Intelligent I.S.
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • Hybrid Auto mode
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • Built-in WiFi and NFC
  • Canon Camerawindow App
  • Pop-up flash
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
Pros
  • Exposure and Color were accurate in all shooting modes
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button is always ready to record
  • Intelligent I.S. helps steady the camera while shooting on the go or in low-light
  • Good overall image quality
  • 460k dot LCD is great for shooting and viewing images
  • Good shooting performance
  • Great Battery Life
  • Movie Digest gives a new, creative look at a shooting trip
  • ECO mode extends battery life
  • Competitively priced
Cons
  • More noise than expected in at all ISO settings
  • Initial WiFi setup was not the easiest we have used.
  • Slow Flash recharge times
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 1.7 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 2/10 to 4/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 0.88 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 2.86 seconds
  • Continuous Shooting = 2.39fps
  • All tests were taken using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1, 8GB SDHC memory card, Program Mode, ISO auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Canon PowerShot SX600 HS is a very compact and versatile digicam. The HS system provides good performance and image quality, while all the built-in features increase versatility and functionality.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for a compact and capable point-n-shoot camera, loaded with great features, that can get the job done in most shooting situations.
Canon's PowerShot SX600 HS is an incredibly compact and powerful digicam. Canon has loaded this camera with most of their top features, making it as easy and fun to use as any camera you will find. Heading up the list of great features is the 16-Megapixel HS CMOS imaging sensor, DIGIC 4+ image sensor, built-in WiFi, NFC, Intelligent IS, Full 1080p HD video capture and a bright 3-inch LCD screen. The camera features all fully auto shooting modes including Smart Auto, Hybrid Auto and creative shot modes that allow you to point-n-shoot without worrying about the camera. An 18x optical zoom lens and the WiFi top off the camera's versatility with an incredibly large zoom range and the ability to connect and upload images as long as you have an internet connection to your smartphone. The camera is available in three colors to suit anyone's needs: Black, White and Red.

Combining the Image sensor and processor create the "HS" (High Sensitivity) system. This system was designed for low-light performance to reduce the need for a flash. This also increases the flash range and effectiveness when used. This system also increases the burst rates and speed and effectiveness of the AF system for overall increased camera performance. The processor controls the creative shot, auto and movie digest modes as well.

While Canon's built-in WiFi is not the easiest we have seen to set up initially, once you have it set up, it is quick and easy to use. Using the free Canon Camerawindow App, you are able to connect your Android or iOS powered smart device to the SX600 HS in order to view, save, share and even capture images. This gives you an entirely new level of versatility. Group and self images, remote use and sharing your images with your devices internet connection lets you share with anyone, anytime.

The SX600 HS features Canon's ECO mode to lengthen the battery life of the camera. This mode quickly shuts off the LCD and puts the camera to sleep when not in use. It will then awaken quickly and ready to shoot when a button is pressed, so you do not have to worry about missing your shots. This mode increases the number of images that can be captured by almost 50%, up to 430 images, which is great for when you are traveling or any time the battery starts to run low.

Handling the SX600 HS is pretty easy for most. The compact camera is not too small to be held and operated easily, while it is still plenty compact for travel and easy carrying. The body features simple, well placed controls and a thumb grip so you can wield it confidently. Composing and viewing your captured images and videos is accomplished with the 3.0-inch, 461k dot LCD screen. The bright, high-resolution LCD makes it easy to compose on the go and is easy to see in all lighting conditions.

Our outdoor sample images show that the camera produces excellent exposure and color that result in a great overall image. Looking at 100%, we do see a couple little things that we didn't like. First there was a little more noise present in our outdoor images than we thought we would see, but this is common with most 16-Megapixel point-n-shoot models. There were also a few instances of aberrations in some of the high contrast areas. Finally we did notice that the edges of the images were a little soft. Some of this is due to the compact, 18x optical zoom lens. With such a large zoom in a compact package, it is hard to keep the image quality perfect. The lens has a 35mm equivalent of 25-450mm, and this camera's focal range will far surpass the range you will find on most compact cameras and any one lens you will find for a dSLR or ILC. Assisting you with shooting on the move and using the full zoom lens is Canon's Intelligent IS system. This system uses a combination of optical image stabilization and higher ISO settings while detecting the type of movement that is going on with the camera to help you steady it.

Looking at our indoor samples, we see similar results to those from outside. The exposure and color look excellent, but we still see a little more noise that we expected for each of the ISO settings. On the other hand, edge softness and aberrations were much better with our indoor setup. By ISO 800, most of the fine details have disappeared from the image, and by ISO 1600 the overall image has started to become soft. Helping out with your low-light and indoor shooting is the well-hidden pop-up flash unit. This compact flash has a range of up to 11ft, which works well in most up-close situations. It is also great to use as a fill flash in harsh lighting conditions. Just don't expect it to light up a large room.

Capturing portraits was simple with the SX600 HS. Thanks to its face detection software, the camera was able to quickly and accurately detect and follow any faces that were within the frame. The camera does an excellent job of adjusting the AF and exposure for the faces to assure that they are the focal point of the images. With bright lighting our samples came out amazing, while the lower-light sample with the higher ISO setting gives us an overall soft image, which dulls the photo, especially when looking at it closely.

Creative shot mode goes beyond other cameras that just apply random effects to an image by analyzing the current scene or shooting condition and choosing the best fit. The camera can choose from 46 different filter options, so you never know exactly what you will get until you take the picture. The camera takes the scene, subject and exposure into account when it selects its filters. There are a few options for the types of effects that you can choose from, starting with auto, but allowing you to choose single color, bold or natural effects. While using this mode, the camera will capture several images with just one push of the button. This is not a mode that will work well if you need to shoot quickly, since the additional processing does slow it down a bit.

Thanks to the dedicated video recording button, the camera is always ready to record, no matter what shooting mode the camera is in. This means when that occasion pops up where a single image just isn't enough, you won't miss a thing while switching shooting modes. While recording, you have the full 18x optical zoom at your disposal, which is great for moving subjects or creative camera-work. Our sample movies all came out very well, with excellent exposure and focus. The videos play back smoothly on all media types (PC, LCD and HDTV) making them a pleasure to watch. The sound is recorded by a small built-in microphone. This mic is very sensitive and will pick up any noises around the camera. In our sample you will notice the sounds of the wind and traffic in the background. To help reduce this, be careful where you position yourself while recording.

Powering the SX600 HS is a 3.7V, 1060mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. During the completion of our tests, we were able to capture over 100 still images and several videos on a single charge with plenty of power to spare. This falls right in line with Canon's claims of 290 shots on a single charge. We did not shoot with the camera in ECO mode, but it is nice to know that Canon has included a way to prolong the battery life if necessary. Also included with the camera is a portable quick charging unit. Canon is one of the few manufacturers who still includes an external charger with their cameras, making it easier to keep a spare battery charged and on hand at all times.

Bottom Line - Canon's PowerShot SX600 HS is a very compact and extremely versatile point-n-shoot digicam. Sporting the powerful HS system, the powerful processor and huge 18x optical zoom lens allow you to shoot in just about any shooting situation. In addition, Canon has added just about every extra option to this camera, making it fun and easy to use anywhere. Our only concern is the noise and softness within most of our images, which you will likely only notice when enlarging photos for viewing or prints. With a MSRP of US $249.99, this is an excellent option for anyone looking for a compact and versatile camera with WiFi and a large zoom.


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