Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Review
Originally Posted: March 25, 2012
Last Updated: June 6, 2012
The PowerShot SX260 HS ($349) is the latest compact travel zoom from Canon. The SX260 replaces the SX230 (one of my favorite travel zooms from last year) and its biggest feature is its wider, more powerful zoom lens. Other things that have been improved include its image processor, image stabilization system, Smart Auto mode, and burst mode performance. The SX260 retains the same 12.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor, 3-inch LCD, GPS receiver, and Full HD movie mode of its predecessor.
The chart below compares and contrasts the SX230 and SX260:
That's a pretty nice upgrade, if you ask me. Will the PowerShot SX260 HS continue to be a top pick in the compact ultra zoom category? Find out now in our review!
A non-GPS model known as the PowerShot SX240 HS is available in certain countries.
What's in the Box?
The PowerShot SX260 HS has a standard Canon bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
- The 12.1 effective Megapixel PowerShot SX260 HS digital camera
- NB-6L lithium-ion rechargeable battery
- Battery charger
- Wrist strap
- USB cable
- CD-ROM featuring Canon Digital Camera Solution
- 34 page Quick Start Guide (printed) + full manual on CD-ROM
As with all of their recent cameras, Canon neither builds memory into their cameras, nor includes a memory card in the box. So, unless you have one already (which you probably do), you'll need to buy yourself an SD, SDHC, or SDXC card right away. You're going to want a 4GB card at the very least, and larger if you plan on taking a lot of Full HD videos. A high speed (Class 6 or higher) card is recommended for best performance.
Canon uses the NB-6L lithium-ion battery for power. This battery, used on a number of other PowerShots, packs 3.5 Wh of energy, which is on the lower end of the spectrum. Here's how that translates into battery life:
The good news here is that the SX260's battery life is about 10% higher than its predecessor. The bad news is that it's still a bit below the group average. Picking up a spare battery (which will run you around $38) is a good idea, especially if you're using the power hungry GPS (which is not part of the above battery life calculations).
When your 230 shots are up, just pop the NB-6L into the included charger. The charger plugs right into the wall and takes just under 2 hours to fully charge the battery.
There are a couple of accessories available for the PowerShot SX260 HS. They include:
And that's it! Not surprising, though, as compact ultra zooms like this are usually pretty light in the accessory department.
Canon continues to have one of the nicest software bundles out there. You'll first encounter CameraWindow, which will download photos from the camera onto your Mac or PC. The main photo organizing suite is called ZoomBrowser in Windows and ImageBrowser on Macs. The software lets you e-mail or print photos, upload videos to YouTube, and do some editing, as well. Available photo editing features include trimming, redeye removal, level/tone curve adjustment, and color tuning. Movie editing tools in Image/ZoomBrowser include trimming and frame grabs.
Two other products you'll find in the box with the PowerShot SX260 HS are PhotoStitch and Map Utility. PhotoStitch can take photos that you've lined up using the Stitch Assist feature on the camera, and combine them into a single panoramic image. Map Utility will show you where photos with GPS data embedded appear on a Google Map. If you had the logging function turned on, you'll also be able to see the route you travelled.
The documentation for the SX260 is the same as it is for all Canon PowerShot models. Inside the box is a leaflet that'll get you up and running. For more details, you'll need to open up the full manual, which is in PDF format on an included CD-ROM. This manual will answer any question you may have about the SX260, though it's not the most user friendly guide out there. Instructions for the bundled software is installed onto your Mac or PC.