Canon zooms in on bridge cameras with new models
By Simon Crisp
July 30, 2014
Canon has revealed a pair of new PowerShot bridge cameras for people who want big zooms, on a budget. The DSLR-styled SX520 HS boasts a massive 24-1,008-mm equivalent zoom lens, and the SX400 IS isn't far behind with its 30x 24-720-mm equivalent. Both cameras also feature optical image stabilization to help tame those monster zooms.
PowerShot SX520 HS
The headline attraction of the SX520 HS is undoubtedly its 24-1,008-mm equivalent F3.4-F6 lens, which zooms considerably more than its SX510 HS predecessor (24-720-mm). This makes the camera more versatile, but because it's paired with a relatively small 1/2.3" 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, image quality is still going to be limited. Even with Canon's DIGIC 4+ image processor on hand, the camera has an ISO range of just 100-3,200.
The autofocus of the SX520 HS is said to be speedy for this category of camera thanks to Canon's High Speed AF, and it can shoot bursts of 4-megapixel images at 10 fps. Full resolution continuous shooting is only possible at 1.6 fps. The camera can also record Full HD 1080p video at 30 fps and has a dedicated movie button. There's no viewfinder, but there is a 3-inch TFT LCD with 461K dots on the rear of the camera, along with easy access to key manual controls.
The SX520 HS lacks features we take for granted in higher-end models, such as RAW files, but it does have a few modes worth noting. Intelligent image stabilization aims to reduce blurred images by analyzing camera movement and applying the best of eight shake correction methods, while Zoom Framing Assist Auto can automatically zoom to keep subjects at a pre-set size within the frame. Hybrid Auto records a snippet of video every time you shoot a still image and combines them into a "highlight reel" from a period of time.
Looking like a small DSLR, complete with an ergonomic grip, the Canon PowerShot SX520 HS measures 120 x 82 x 912 mm (4.7 x 3.22 x 3.62 inches) and weighs 441 g (15.5 oz). It will be available in September for US$400
PowerShot SX400 IS
The SX400 IS sits in under the SX520 HS in the PowerShot line-up. As such, it's not surprising that its zoom is a less impressive, but still versatile, 24-720-mm equivalent F3.4-F5.8. This is again paired with a 1/2.3-inch 16-megapixel sensor, but this time it's of the CCD variety, resulting in an even more limited ISO range of just 100-1,600.
Autofocus has been upgraded from previous models and has a reduced lag time for shooting more keepers. The camera also uses Canon's DIGIC 4+ image processor. However, this time continuous shooting peaks at 0.8 fps, and video recording maxes out at 720p HD 25 fps. While there's still built-in optical image stabilization, this is again an inferior version to that in the more expensive SX520 HS. The 3-inch TFT LCD monitor on the rear of the SX400 IS has just 230K dots.
The PowerShot SX400 IS measures 104.4 x 69.1 x 80.1 mm (4.1 x 2.7 x 3.2 inches) and weighs 313 g (11 oz). It is due to arrive in stores in August for a price of $250.