September has always been jolly for the world of photo industry, so it’s no wonder that, over the time, Canon picked the middle of that month for announcing its ultra-zoom favorites. To tell the truth, if we paid attention to tradition even more, then, according to logic, the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS should be a last year’s model. However, absolutely nothing took place in 2013 concerning the SX series, so we had to wait till 2014 to meet the successor of the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS. Frankly, we cannot but notice that the improvements are more significant than it was the case with the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS in relation to the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS. Alright, the improvements are not revolutionary, but none of the rivals features 65x zoom, even if it had a greater digit at the telephoto end of the zoom range. Yes, the Nikon P600 offers as much as 1440mm, but it starts at ‘only’ 24mm, which gives 60x zoom. Yet, the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS features 24-1365mm focal length. Do these 60, 65x zoom multiplication and comparisons give you goosebumps?
Joking aside, never underestimate such cameras. We are here talking about the dream of the majority of tourists. Ultra-zoom cameras such as the Canon SX60 HS have a special category of buyers as a target group who need a wide range… from more than appropriate wide to impressive ultra-zoom range.
Canon PowerShot SX60 HS – table of specifications
DESIGN AND ERGONOMICS
Both its design and ergonomics not only remind one of an entry-level DSLR camera, but they also offer an almost identical feeling as such a camera. A rubber grip slightly smaller than on DSLRs provides comfortable holding and handling of the camera. Its dimensions are 127.6 x 92.6 x 114.3 mm, with the weight of 650g. Quite appropriate, we may say, but the photos of it will tell you everything.
UNDER THE ‘HOOD’
Like most of its rivals in the ultra-zoom segment, Canon also decided to offer 16MP. The sensor is a CMOS sensor, with the size 6.17 x 4.55 mm, labeled 1/2.3”, combined with a DIGIC 6 processor. The continuous drive is around 6.4 fps, while the ISO range is 100-3200, which is a little surprising, bearing in mind that the SX50 HS featured ISO 6400 as the final value. The maximum shutter speed is 15 – 1/2000 s. The AF is CDAF, and at the wide end of the zoom range, the focus speed is 0.1 seconds, while at the telephoto end of the zoom range, it reaches 0.6 seconds. The Manual AF point selection is achieved with the help of the FlexiZone AF/AE option. The manual focus is enabled, while the focus peaking is also at one’s disposal. In general, the AF system is quite solid in real work.
From the constructional point of view, the SX60 features a USM lens with 15 elements in 11 groups (1 dual-sided aspherical and 3 UD-glass elements). The focal length is 3.8-247mm (35mm equivalent: 21-1365mm), which is really impressive in any aspect. The maximum aperture ranges from f/3.4 to f/6.5. For example, the Panasonic FZ70 exhibits the aperture of desirable f/2.8-5.9. On the other hand, the FZ70 is characterized by ‘only’ 60x zoom.
The first thing that owners of ultrazoom cameras inevitably realize after some time is the fact that the greatest enemy of this lens is, in fact, the transparency of the air. The stabilization is more than impressive, which is a trend that continues all the way from the SX40 HS, but you must be very cautious since at maximum focal lengths and without holding the camera properly, you are always on the edge of getting a photo affected by vibration. But like I said, the stabilization does its job exceptionally, so with a little bit of practice, you’ll have almost no trouble making good photographs at the maximum range at the speed of 1/200s.
At the wide end of the zoom range – equivalent 21mm
Zoom at the maximum equivalent 1365mm
Somehow I tend to think that the SX40 HS was only a workable or optimal solution concerning the aperture, focal length and sharpness. But that’s just my impression... and it generally refers to all ultrazoom camera, regardless of the brand. However, ultrazoom cameras are such a sort of camera that is designed for exceeding the limits concerning the capabilities of a lens. Chromatic aberrations are present, but with the ACR and the RAW file, this hasn’t been much of a problem for quite a while.
Advanced users have always run away from the pop-up flash, so this time again they’ll be glad to find out that the external flash comes in the form of a hot-shoe. The maximum slow synchronization with the built-in flash is 1/2000s, whereas with the external flash, it can be 1/250 or 1/2000s when it comes to the fast synchronization. The exposure compensation is +/- 2 EV in the steps of 1/3. There are three levels of the built-in flash strength, and as many as 19 levels with the external compatible EX Speedlite flashes 270EX II, 320EX, and 430EX II. The flashes such as the 580EX II, 600EX, and 600EX-RT offer 22 levels of the flash strength.
Despite the fact the electronic viewfinder has been improved in relation to the predecessor, personally, I’m not thrilled about what I see. At a slight change of the camera direction, the preview lags, and on top of that, it suffers from too much contrast. Let’s get this straight: external viewfinders for some mirrorless cameras suffer from the same disease, even though they cost more than $150 on their own. The ratio of the width and the height of this viewfinder is 4:3, with approximately 922,000 dots, which is a considerable advancement in comparison to the 202,000 dots offered by the SX50 HS. Closing the LCD screen towards the inside activates the EVF, but what also can be noticed is a flaw of the sensor, which should detect the human eye on the viewfinder and immediately switch the preview to it, at the same time turning off the LCD. The frame coverage is 100%, and the ability to change the diopter is included. In any case, there is enough room for improvement here… especially if we take into account the fact that the stability when shooting is much greater when the viewfinder is used, than with your arms extended and framing by means of the LCD screen.
In contrast to the viewfinder, the 3” 922,000-dot PureColor II VA (TFT) LCD screen provides a much more realistic preview. Its illumination can be adjusted on five levels, which makes it pretty usable in all light conditions. The screen is vari-angle, which only supports the statement given at the end of the previous sentence.
The autonomy of solid 340 shots is provided by a rechargeable Li-Ion battery NB-10L, which comes packaged with a corresponding charger. In comparison to its rivals, this is quite decent and comparable, and in case of a lengthier tour, we definitely recommend a reserve battery, which is generally the case for all such situations, regardless of the model and brand.
The video mode has also been improved, and it offers the following options: (Full HD) 1920 x 1080, 60 or 30 fps, (HD) 1280 x 720, 30 fps, (L) 640 x 480, 30 or 120 fps… and you can see the whole list in the specifications table. The video format is MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, and the whole package is rounded up with the stereo sound MPEG-4 AAC-LC.
In relation to its predecessor, the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS has been improved considerably. If we draw the line, we simply mustn’t fail to commend the focal length, and at the same time express our regrets about the fact that the aperture could’ve been wider. Improving the electronic viewfinder deserves nothing but praise, but we must point out that there’s still plenty of room for improvement here. Let’s get this straight: the electronic viewfinder is far from being unusable, but in comparison to optical ones on DSLRs or electronic ones on some better MILCs, we’ve got no other option but to wish for improvement in that aspect, nonetheless. As we are talking about the viewfinder, it’s obvious that something is missing – a sensor that would automatically switch the preview from the viewfinder to the LCD in case of removing the camera from one’s face, and the other way around. The LCD screen is exceptional, it offers a quite realistic view of the scene, and its mobility makes it possible for us to eliminate reflection in almost any situation. Perhaps it would be wise to think about a touch screen in the future. The setting menus are classical, easily recognizable Canon menus, which I consider the most intuitive in comparison to their rivals, regardless of the camera class.
Talking about the optics, the lens is solid, and in combination with the sensor, it gives results that are more than enough for the target group of buyers. The stabilization deserves praise, too, since without it, this focal length would be pointless. The ergonomics is also one of the pluses, and praiseworthy is the trend of not being preoccupied with making a camera belonging to this class smaller. In fact, the ergonomics results in the lenses not looking grotesque, but makes them bring stability and comfort to a photographer when he/she is doing his/her job.
Video aficionados will not be disappointed, and the possibility to attach an external mic just another plus in a row.
On the whole, we’ve had a chance to meet the camera from the very peak of the ultrazoom offer, and it’s hard to remain indifferent to it, provided that you’ve got a propensity for this class of cameras.
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