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
Image: The powerful 35x optical zoom makes the SX30 ideal for wildlife photography
With the same Digic V processing engine as other Canon compact cameras and DSLRs, the PowerShot SX30 IS produces images with the colours you would expect from a Canon model. In its default colour setting, images are bright and punchy but still look realistic. There is, of course, a selection of other colour styles that can be applied, as well as the option to create your own.
Aimed at the casual user, the SX30 IS will spend most of its time in AWB and evaluative metering mode, and both of these produce good results. Should the metering produce a poorly exposed image, there is spot and centreweighted metering available, although I found that a quick ±0.6EV adjustment solves most issues.
Putting 14.1 million photosites on such a small compact-sized sensor was always going to hinder image quality, but the maximum sensitivity is a sensible IS0 1600. Sadly, the sensor is overpopulated and noise is visible at ISO 400. At sensitivities higher than this, image detail is compromised by noise reduction. The dynamic range also seems to have been affected, as the small photosites cause highlights to become easily blown out and there is not much detail in shadow areas.
That said, below ISO 400 the images look good, and given that most users of this camera will rarely print their images larger than A4, they should be more than happy with the picture quality.