A Digital Camera Review: Canon PowerShot SX260 HS

Front view
Front view
Top down view with lens open
Top down view with lens open

There are probably more cameras available now than ever before. Digital cameras have taken over and they range from simple point and shoot to very expensive SLR. While I would love to have a very expensive SLR I am more in the price range of a point and shoot with some extras. I need to tell you up front I am not a professional photographer and don't know as much as I probably should about digital cameras, however, I love to take pictures and I like simple to use cameras. I've picked the Cannon PowerShot SX260 HS as my newest camera.

Every point and shoot digital camera offers the ease of operation of being able to just pick up the camera and shoot. However, there's more to the point and shoot than that. (I'm going to switch to using the word 'camera' in place of point and shoot camera for brevity's sake.)

I didn't just stumble upon my camera, I was looking for a megazoom. Sometimes referred to as travel zooms, mega zooms have a 20x optical zoom. That means your zoom is magnified by 20x. Optical zoom is the one that zooms in your subject when you are taking pictures. Digital zoom is used inside the camera and doesn't affect your picture taking. So, I knew I wanted a lot of zoom power and 20x was the highest I could get in a reasonably priced camera. Together with its size, it's a really great camera in the $350 price range.

In August of 2012, digitalcamerainfo.com gave this camera a 9.2 rating.

Back of camera; LCD screen and controls
Back of camera; LCD screen and controls | Source

Introduction to The Cannon SX260

I think this is a great little camera for the price. One of my favorite features is that its small and easy to carry around. The lens pops out when shooting and when the camera is turned off it retracts. You can also look at your pictures without turning the camera on, just by clicking on the view button. Did I mention it comes in black, green, red, or blue? I love that because its the first blue camera I've ever had!

I must confess I don't know much about the "angle" part of the lens but in researching I found the Canon SX260 has a newer 20x 25mm ultrawide-angle one.

It's burst feature (allowing you to shoot a quick series of pictures) is now the new Digic 5 image processor, which helps it shoot in bursts up to 10 frames per second. This is an excellent feature when your littlel one is playing soccer and you want to keep shooting, hoping to catch the action.

Photos using macro

Hydrangea starting to bloom
Hydrangea starting to bloom | Source
Hummingbird in flight...notice blurred background
Hummingbird in flight...notice blurred background | Source

The little 'job wheel' located on the back of the camera is the selection dial for picture mode. It goes from Automatic to fish eye, to video with some good selections in between. The Function button takes you to a myriad of options from controlling the white balance to setting the ISO or GPS. Yes, I said GPS. This function allows your camera to mark where the picture was taken for later reference.

If you'd prefer to try your hand at manual selections, the Canon offers lots of choices. The Canon offers semimanual and full manual control in such functions as shutter speed and apertures. It also offers manual focus with a safety for fine-tuning. Other manual options include setting for color saturation, sharpness, and contrast. Another option is flash strength adjustment.

Canon's new Face ID System is not only interesting but useful. You can set your camera to recognize up to 12 faces in one sitting. You probably won't change this setting but I've noticed when taking pictures it automatically adjusts to at least four faces per picture. I can tell becaue the little yellow square shows around the faces I'm point at.

The 'macro focus' that allows you to get those nice close ups, works quite well. It blurrs out the background really nicely. It's easy to select and easier to use. I love this feature for taking pictures of flowers and butterflies. The zoom function on this camera works very well and fairly quickly.

The LCD on this camera is 3 inch which makes it easier to see for those of us who need our glasses tuned up now and again. The built in image stabilization is also helpful when you're really trying to hold the camera still and just don't make it 100%. The image stabilization will certainly help you out.

The flash can be set to automatic, leaving the camera to decide when to use it, or it can be turned off. There is also a control that allows you to turn off the flash and sound of the camera so it won't be intrusive in certain settings, like a play or other performance.

Cons I've Found

It is a bit slow but not so much that you would notice. There is a bit of shutter lag, between the time you press the button and the shutter actually works. Another drawback for the average user is the battery life. It doesn't use AA batteries, but a rechargable battery that has a somewhat shorter life between charges. I remedied that by buying a back up and always having it charged so I'm never without a battery. One is always charged and ready to go when I'm using the other.

My last complaint is the location of the flash on the top left side of the camera. It seems that's where I want to put my fingers which then interferes with the flash. I've learned not to put my fingers there but others do when they take pictures and the flash cannot operate.

My rating for this great little camera

5 stars for Canon SX260


All in all this is really a great little camera that is easy to use. I have used some of the 'semimanual' settings with ease but usually stick to the automatic. When researching on the Internet every site reviewing it gave it a thumbs up, some with a few reservations, some with almost no reservations. I love it and use it very frequently. I think its a great camera for the average photographer.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

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Comments 25 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Within the next year I need to upgrade my digital camera, so this review helped a lot. I will remember this when it is time to begin the search. Thank you Mary, and good luck with the contest.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Bill, I can always count on you! I thought it was time to try out a contest. It really is a nice little camera and was voted the best in 2012 so far....of course something better can still come along, that vote was in August.

bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Great review. Looks like a great little travel camera. Amazing zoom for such a small camera. Great job.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

I think so bdegiulio...when it is off and the lens is in it takes up very little space. Glad you liked my review.

Vellur profile image

Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

Great pointers on this camera, very useful review. Thanks for sharing.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

You are most welcome Vellur. It really is a fun camera to use.

Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 4 years ago from California

Good job reviewing a product that has definitely flooded the market tillsontitan, I can't tell one from the next so all your research gives me some unbiased information! Thank you for sharing!

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Would you believe I don't have a digital camera? Nor, does my cheap cell phone take pics.....I don't know what's happened to me....I've gone to the dogs, I guess. In the past, I was never without a camera, loaded and ready to roll. I took pictures of everyone and everything...all the time. I have a 35mm....yeah, a dinosaur.....and the last time I took it with me to my daughter-in-law's baby shower....went around snapping all over the place.

Wanted to take the film to the pharmacy and when I went to remove it...found there never was any film in it. Good move, Gram!

I don't know Til, the baby is 3 months old and I haven't been asked to babysit yet.......My son's not talking!! What do YOU think?? LOL!!!!

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Catkath....thought it was a subject many could relate to.

As for you Effer, tell your son to hurry up and let you babysit, otherwise, by the time he does you won't be able to put the baby down or you'll forget where it is! You are too funny GF!

ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

It's amazing how much optical zoom is packed in that little camera, plus it takes really nice macro photos. This is a really useful review.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

I know ktrapp, when I was looking for a camera I thought I'd have to get a 10x!

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

What baby?............................ROFLMAO

Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

I have used this camera, it is a great equipment.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Its okay Effer, we'll find the baby when it cries...that's what I tell my kids anyway.

Nice to know you feel the same Vinaya.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

As much as we love our Lumix digital camera, which is about the same size as this Canon one, it lacks the macro features, which we'd very much like to have. We'll investigate buying this camera. Voting this Up and Useful.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

The macro feature is definitely a plus alocsin...getting those butterfly pictures would be impossible without it! Good luck.

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

I agree with everything you said. I just recently bought this camera too. The first thing I ran into is the same thing you mentioned about the flash. My finger was in the way and the flash didn't pop up. I realized all it took was to get used to holding the camera in a different way to keep my finger off the flash, even though I found it awkward. I wonder how they didn't run into that problem when the camera was being designed.

There is one major flaw. You didn't talk about the video capabilities of the SX 260. I discovered that it does not create movies in a format compatible with Windows media player. It creates the .MOV file type, and does not create MPEG files. The .MOV format also is not compatible with the Apple iPad without conversion. So being that I was hoping to use his camera for videos some of the time. I was very disappointed with it.

I did find your hub very useful and accurate however. Anyone who's looking for a camera for point-and-shoot still pictures will be very happy with it, despite the problem with the flash being in an awkward place.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Glenn. I didn't want to get into the video portion but I guess I should have. I stopped using my Flip Video for the same reason, incompatibility. There are programs that will convert those files though.

grandmapearl profile image

grandmapearl 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

This is a great review. I haven't had my Canon very long, so most of the features are new to me yet. However, your explanations have helped me a lot. I'm going to bookmark this and refer to it often, especially this summer when I want to take lots and lots of pictures around my gardens and bird feeders.

In order to save the batteries, I have learned to keep the back open when not in use. It seems to make a huge difference. My Canon uses 2 AA batteries and not the rechargeable ones, though. I agree about the shutter lag, but I have sort of learned to adapt to it. With birds you need to keep snapping pics almost continuously, though. And that is one drawback for sure in my case.

Voted Up, Useful and Interesting. Thanks for the great info!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for stopping by Grandmapearl. I can't wait to see your photos this summer...the ones I've seen so far are beautiful!

Do you use the Lithium AAs? They do seem to last longer (I had them in my older Canon.)

grandmapearl profile image

grandmapearl 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

Hi tillsontitan, thanks for the compliments on my photos. I am very pleased with my camera for sure. It's a 160, where yours is a 260--but I'm saving my pennies for the next upgrade! I appreciate your encouragement; I never thought of myself as a photographer at all before I read your kind words.

I was not aware that I could use anything but regular AA batteries. I'll check into the Lithiums--thanks for the tip. Have a great day!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

The Lithiums are AA, but a new, longer lasting type. They are a bit more expensive but last at least three times longer....that's what I found with my old camera anyway. Good luck, and remember, I'll be watching. (Your photos are great, maybe you should look into nature photography!)

grandmapearl profile image

grandmapearl 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

Thank you tillsontitan! I've learned so much from you already. And thank you for the suggestion about nature photography. You have really given me a lot of confidence. I'm very grateful!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Ah Ha ! I see this is my camera and I hope to get it soon. Thank you so much for this very informative hub, Mary. I particularly like the "Yes, I said GPS. This function allows your camera to mark where the picture was taken for later reference." feature, for I am very forgetful at times. I also really like your idea of the battery backup -- that way I will always be ready to go. Awesome hub and very well-written. Voted up, U/A/I.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Glad you enjoyed Phyllis. I find nothing worse than having the perfect picture in front of you and a dead battery! I appreciate the votes.

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