With a huge 35x optical zoom lens and 14.1-million-pixel sensor, the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS could be the most exciting bridge camera we’ve ever seen. Richard Sibley finds out just how good it really is
Canon PowerShot SX30 IS review – Introduction
Bridge cameras provide the perfect compromise between size, cost and functionality. Although cheaper DSLRs have reduced their popularity, bridge cameras still have a lot to offer, particularly because of their huge zoom lenses.
Canon PowerShot SX30 IS review – Features
The Canon PowerShot SX30 IS has a 35x optical zoom, the equivalent of a 24-840mm lens (in 35mm format), so it is ideal for a range of photographic subjects from landscapes to wildlife. That such a huge magnification is possible is partly down to the fact that the SX30 IS uses a small compact camera sensor, in this case a 14.1-million-pixel, 1/2.3in CCD sensor.
In real terms, the sensor in the SX30 IS measures around 6.16×4.62mm, which is staggering when you consider it has 14.1 million photosites. Of course, there is always the risk that using a sensor with such a high resolution could lead to significant image noise and a low dynamic range, but more on this later.
With such a large magnification, the lens also features optical image stabilisation, with Canon claiming that it offers as much as a 4.5EV increase in the usable shutter speed. I have to say that the stabilisation system is superb and keeps the image very steady, making the 840mm focal length usable even at slow speeds such as 1/125sec.
The SX30 IS also features a full complement of manual-exposure modes and a built-in flash with a hotshoe to allow external flashguns to be used. Composing images is achieved using a 2.7in vari-angle LCD screen, with a resolution of 230,000 dots, or a 202,000-dot electronic viewfinder. One major omission from the SX30 IS is the ability to save images as raw files.