on April 25, 2013
I've had a number of PowerShot cameras. Really impressed with the picture quality of the camera and the overall speed. Colors and picture quality are quite good and the low-light performance is superior. The previous review focuses nicely on the picture quality, so I wil stick with the human factors.
Manual control and adjustment are simple to master, so you won't need to rely on the automatic settings. My only concern with the camera is hat the wifi settings are difficult to set up. I'm pretty good with wireless technologies and it took me quite awhile to figure it out. Make sure you run the set up disk. Unlike many other consumer wireless gadgets, this one requires that you run the setup software. Couldn't just turn on the camera and connect it to the router. As much as it pains me to say this, I should've read the directions prior to jumping in to try to set it up! :-)
Once it's setup, it works great. I've been transferring files to iphone, ipad, and laptop; and transferring to the Canon Image site. All directly from the camera. Even emailed my wife a link to a photo directly from the camera. Camera IS a bit of a battery hog, but I was expecting it.
Update: Since I concentrated on human factors in my review, I thought I would weigh in on flash location interfering with handhold
position. Personally, I didn't notice it until I read the other reviews. I've had other cameras with pop up flashes, so I think I just automatically adjusted to it. That said, I can see how it would annoy some people. The flash is located in the front left-hand corner of the camera, but there IS sufficient space behind the flash to place your finger. Could be a problem if you have large hands, I suppose.. Motor is also strong enough to remind me to move it when it pops up.
Update 20 May:: There is a glitch that's been widely reported that shows that the battery is drained when in video mode. This is a glitch in the indicator, not the actual battery life. Cannon has acknowledged the problem and is working on a fix. Expect the next firmware update to address the issue.
Update 5 June: New Firmware Released Today!! Details Firmware Version 22.214.171.124 incorporates the following fixes and improvements:
1. Increases the duration of movie shooting by 20% in cases where the optical zoom is used compared to cameras running Firmware Version 126.96.36.199 or Firmware Version 188.8.131.52 through a reduction in the power consumption of the optical zoom.
*Time under default camera settings, when normal operations are performed, such as shooting, pausing, turning the camera on and off, and zooming. (based on conditions established by Canon).
-Under some shooting conditions, the recording time may be shorter than mentioned above.
-Recording time with a fully charged battery.
2. Fixes a phenomenon with cameras running firmware version 184.108.40.206, in which the low battery level warning is prematurely displayed while shooting in movie mode.
Firmware Version 220.127.116.11 is for cameras with firmware Version 18.104.22.168 or Version 22.214.171.124. If the camera's firmware is already Version 126.96.36.199, it is not necessary to update the firmware. Please note that, once the camera is updated to the latest version, it cannot be restored to a previous
I installed it with no problems.
on May 26, 2013
Overall I like this camera. It takes good photos at low ISO/bright light and solid photos as the ISO moves up. Video quality is good. Great zoom range and in a compact "fit in your pocket" camera. I have not seen the battery life issue some have mentioned (but see review).
OK, so I was looking for a camera that I could take to concerts, put in my pocket, be compact. I had previously ignored the superzoom category as they were notorious for bad pic quality. Long slow lens and small sensors. But I just didn't always want to carry my DSLR around, but was going to be in situations where I needed a long lens (I already had a couple decent 3x zoom P&S cameras).
My search landed me on a Fuji, as I like the idea of shooting RAW. But the newest model was more than I wanted to spend. I next settled on the Canon SX260HS for the good reviews. Of course I then saw the SX280HS was out with supposed better low light (something I was interested in) and Wifi (also something I have used on my bigger camera). So I went with it.
I've now taken a couple hundred photos with it including three concerts.
Overall for this type of camera, I'm very, VERY pleased. But lets not get carried away. With the slow lens and smaller sensor it cannot and does not and should not be considered a DSLR (or any larger sensor camera) replacement. However, in low ISO/bright light the pics are very good. Easily good enough to crop, and print to a reasonable size. In lower light the pic quality does drop, but is still good. And very usable.
-The zoom range is fantastic. And while I started with the digital zoom off, even using it, yielded good results. Be aware at that magnification it is hard to hold the camera still. The camera does a good job of helping with image stabilization, but it can only do so much. But I've taken some nice photos even at 30x (that includes the digital zoom(. I also like that the wide angle go to an equivalent of 25mm.
-I've shot one short (about 8 minute) video on it. I'm really not a video shooter, but I gave it a try. It will be something I do more of! It turned out well. The focus didn't seem to react as quickly, but zooming was smooth.
-Size, I mainly bought so I could carry in my back pocket of jeans. OK so it is a little big for that and much bigger than other "back pocket" camera's I have. But it is doable. Worked well in concerts where most no longer allow "professional" cameras. It feels solid in your hands, though a very slightly larger grip would be helpful with such a long zoom.
-The controls are fairly intuitive. I shoot a lot in manual (especially in low light) and it was pretty easy to figure out. I've also shot in some of the auto modes and got good results. I have not tried any of the specialty settings. Focus is quick. Again not DSLR fast, but quick and reliable.
-I have not set up the Wifi yet. I realize there are some complaints with it about not being able to send pic's instantly to an iPad for example. However, I have no intention of doing that. I like the Wifi so if I'm taking pic's of friends or family and they want one, I can send to my iPhone and send it to them. I do this all the time with my larger camera w/an SD card that has the wifi in it.
A special note about the battery. After reading about battery life and figuring it would eat batteries I bought two more. However, I've yet to use them. At one concert I had shot about 50-60 photos and then shot a full song (about 8 minutes) on video. Indeed the battery light came on. However, I thought I'd see how much longer it would last. After turning off video and going back to camera the battery light went off and I bet I shot close to another 100 pic's. I also paused at times to view pic's and delete obvious bad one's. And while I didn't have Wifi on, I did have the GPS thing on. So, so far, it hasn't been as bad as I anticipated. But I'll say more testing is needed.
If you need/want a compact superzoom, this should be on your short list to consider. HOWEVER, if you really don't need a zoom of this length, there are better choices even from Canon. The superzoom category fills an almost unique niche. But don't think there aren't trade off's. You just need to decide what is needed for you. Though with camera prices dropping so much (this is an amazing camera at under $300, just a couple years ago would have been double that), you could buy this and another camera....
So I give it 4-stars. If I was rating simply in the superzoom category, it would be almost a 5. I'd like a slightly bigger grip and to shoot RAW. If rating with all other digital camera's including those with shorter lenses, probably just 3.5 due to slightly lower pic quality. But this is an inherent issue with this category, not a reflection of this particular camera. Its just not possible to pack that much, into such a small package, at that price without giving something up. I think it fair to mention the opposite of a DSLR (or other pro-type camera). If you have only been shooting with a smartphone (any of them) and were looking for something better, this would be night and day better. A huge jump in pic quality. Or if you have never shot with a DSLR and just wanted a "good" camera, this would be a good choice. It is versatile, compact and fun!!
on July 3, 2013
I purchased the camera for my wife last week knowing about the battery issue and also knowing that the firmware update "fixed" the issue. Here's my experience:
1) My wife wanted a simple point and shoot Canon camera. I picked this Canon camera over the Elph or one of the other canon cameras because of the DIGIC 6 processor, the superior zoom and the customer reviews saying they love the pictures from the camera.
2) The picture quality is beautiful which is why we went with this camera. The zoom and the image rendering is nothing short of amazing! Even in dark light when the display seems to pixelate, the flash kicks on and the picture is terrific. We love the momentary review option and like that we can turn that feature off or increase the time. There's almost no lag between taking several pictures in a row unlike other cameras. We couldn't be happier with the photo options on this camera.
3) Video is smooth and excellent. The slow motion feature is ok.
1) The battery issue on our camera identified itself immediately when switching to video mode. Just switching to the video mode, the battery light would blink red and within 3 seconds (not even recording anything) would power off the camera on its own. Follow the instructions on the Canon site to upgrade the firmware to 188.8.131.52.
2) After upgrading I still noticed the battery issue. I read in one of the forums to take out the battery and pull out the memory card and leave them out for at least 20 minutes after upgrading. This hard battery out power off fixed the battery issue and allowed the camera to work correctly.
3) I encountered a number of problems setting up the wifi on the camera. The camera would connect to my WPA2/PSK router, but wouldn't get an IP address. After much trial and error, I manually set the IP information on the camera instead of using the automatic setting and the camera wifi worked correctly and connected to post to facebook, link to our Apple laptop, iPhone or Android phone.
I have a Canon 60d dslr with several lenses, but when walking around town or traveling, it is too much gear to carry. As I result, I sometimes miss photo opportunities. I wanted a small camera that I could easily carry anywhere and be able to take good photos and video when the opportunity arose.
I now have it in the Canon SX280. And at a very modest price.
The camera is compact and pocketable, however, I prefer to carry it on my belt in a Case Logic DCB302 which is the perfect size.
This camera offers a lot:
1. Good built quality. It feels solid, well made in your hand.
2. Excellent image quality. Sometimes when looking at the photos it surprises how clear and sharp they are.
3. Very good color.
4. 20X zoom range gives you lots of flexibility. You can go from macro to a distant image with ease. And no need to change lenses.
5. I prefer a view finder, but I have to say that the screen on this camera is high quality. In sunlight that "erases" the screen on other point and shoot cameras I have tried, this camera still allows you to see the scene or figure you are photographing. Remains visible in all but super bright situations.
6. Fast continuous shooting, up to 14fps. Unfortunately, however, when shooting at 14 fps the screen goes dark so you are shooting blind. But at 3 fps, you continue to see what you are aiming at. 3 fps is pretty fast. My present slr Canon 60d is faster, but the Canon slr T2i I had before it was about the same, and the camera before that was only 1.1 fps. I tested it standing on a street corner and shooting the cars turning the corner and going down the street away from me, watching the scene all the time on the screen. I then replayed these photos very rapidly on my computer and there was so little movement of the cars between photos that it was almost like watching video. With 3 fps you should get pretty action shots if shooting sports events.
7. Good video. There is a dedicated video mode that gives you more options, but you can press the video button when shooting stills and get HD video. I tested this standing on the same street corner. The video was smooth and I was even able to zoom in while shooting without loss of quality. I can't do that with my Canon 60d.
8. Very good stabilization.
I first bought the Canon SX260, but then decided to send it back and get the SX280 instead. This was no problem, which is why I buy from Amazon. I had liked the SX260 very much in the short time I tested it, so worried while waiting for the 280 that I might have made a mistake. But all is well. The SX260 was very good, the photos I am getting with the SX280 are even better.
I wish that I could bracket, take at least 3 stills with different resolutions that I could assemble in my software to make a HD image, but that is not possible with this camera. But I am not taking a star away because I realize that Canon is not going to put everything in a $200 camera that it does in cameras that cost much more.
I am not using the Wifi and GPS and probably never will, so can't comment on them. But for a camera purchased at a modest price the SX280 more than satisfies my desire for a camera that I can carry with me anywhere, including travel, and be able to take stills and video I can be proud of.
I'm a recent purchaser but long time Canon customer and want to add a few points to the reviews here. My primary application is taking candid (non-composed) food shots for my blog at burntmyfinders dot com; I've always liked Canon quick shoot cameras (starting with a very early digital Elph) because of the color balance which is very favorable for food photography. So, many of my comments are in reference to other Canons I've owned.
Overall, I'm happy with the SX280. I really wanted a longer zoom than the 4:1 Elphs (guess they're no longer called that) provide. The weight and somewhat higher price tag are a fair tradeoff. Low light management with this camera is excellent and the anti-shake feature is amazing; I can zero in on a grain of rice and it's in focus without a blur. I had no trouble getting up to speed (other than the new wireless/sharing features) because the buttons and functions are similar to my previous Canon cameras. But there are a few quirks I want to report on.
1. Autofocus doesn't work well with the digital zoom. Solution: turn it off. Why do you need a digital zoom anyway with 20:1 optical?
2. Flash is poorly designed. It should have been a bubble on top of the camera but instead it pops up, unwanted, if autoflash is on and then you have to turn off the camera to make it go down again. Solution: turn it off. With such great low light sensitivity you are unlikely to need flash, plus your photos will be washed out if you use it.
3. Whenever I take a portrait shot, I find myself accidentally pressing the menu button on the bottom of the camera. It's in the same position as on my previous Canon point-and-shoot so I guess the reason is the form factor of the camera that makes you hold it differently. I'll get used to this in time but it's an annoyance.
4. The wireless feature is in my opinion a gimmick and its execution is not ready for prime time. I thought it would be great to post to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc directly from a high resolution camera instead of from my smartphone. But to post from the SX280 you need a wireless connection, which you have to set up in advance. It's difficult entering passwords using the tiny "keyboard" which won't show what you are typing so there has to be a very high error rate. If you are always on the same wireless network this process might be acceptable, but it defeats the purpose of posting quick shots and movies from sporting events, restaurants, farmers' markets etc.
Note: you can also set up a connection to your smartphone, without a wireless network, and transfer movies and stills to the phone and then post from there. But it's a clunky extra step.
A couple of my experiences that might save you time:
1. As others have mentioned, the firmware needs to be updated as soon as you get the camera. You do this by downloading the software (the install CD will guide you in this process) to a blank SD card on your computer, which you then put into the camera. So have this ready and be sure it's a big (32 GB or higher) Series 10 card because that is what you will need to get maximum benefit from the SX280. Order with the camera if you don't have one.
2. To use any of the wireless features you will need to set up an account at the Canon Image Gateway at canon.com/cig . Your email is your user name, and the password must be an alphanumeric combination--all letters or all numbers not permitted. They don't tell you this and don't correct you if you make an error, so you think you have set up your account (especially because you get a welcome email after) but when you go to sign in your account isn't recognized because it doesn't exist.
These quirks keep me from giving the camera five stars, but it is a very solid four stars and I'm happy with my shots.
on November 24, 2013
I bought my SX280HS in Oct. 2013. I now realize that I can't shhot videos! I am planning a trip very soon and that is one reason I bought this camera.
Below is the message that I senr to Canon, I hope I get a quick response that resolves the big problem!!
Yes, after seconds of video shooting, the battery warning comes up and the camera shuts down. An off/on says full battery and I can take stills but no video?
Yes, I have tried all the suggestions that I saw: Battery and card out for 1 minute and then a half hour
I downloaded the upgrade from the Canon site
Help, I really would like to have the camera operating, will I have to return it?
on November 28, 2013
Both know there is a big problem with this camera relating to making a video but both continue to falsely advertize and then sell this camera. I ordered this camera after being very satisfied with an SX230 and wanted the newer model, was I in for a shock. I received the camera at about 2 PM and by 4 PM I had dropped it off at UPS to return it. Camera does NOT take video. While I use the camera primarly as a camera I do want to make some short 1-3 minute videos when a video tells the story better than a still photo. I put in the battery and it shows being fully charged, take several photos and camera appeared faster than the older SX230 which was one reason for wanting the new model. Switch to video mode and the battery shows almost drained, start taking a video and immediately the battery indicator starts flashing, within a couple of seconds the camera shuts off!!! Turn camera back on, switch to auto photo mode and battery shows full. Try a couple more times with same results so log on to my Amazon account to start the return process. Why both of these once fine companies would continue to not only advertize that this camera can take video and then sell the defective cameras is beyond me. If as Canon has stated there is a "fix" by updating the firmware then why don't they make sure any cameras being sold have that fix? Why doesn't Amazon make sure they get rid of any old inventory of cameras that do not work properly? If in fact the firmware updating does not fix the camera then Canon needs to fess up and say camera does not take video. Amazon is a big company and they should make sure that their vendors are honestly advertizing products. If Amazon does not know how to handle this situation perhaps they should talk with one of the companies they recently aquired, Zappos, about how to go about this. Better for Canon and Amazon to get out ahead on this matter before some enterprising attorney starts a class action. Or maybe some state's Attorney General or another governmental agency will take issue with the advertizing claims being made on this camera.
on November 23, 2013
Don't buy this camera!!! The camera "Charge Battery" indicator will come on even when a fully charged battery is placed into the camera. I am lucky if I can take one picture. This camera is completely useless.
on July 6, 2013
A complicated major firmware update is required right out of the box.
To do the update, you must have four things that don't come with the Camera:
1) A 32MB memory card
2) A memory card reader/writer (or an SD card slot on your computer)
3) A four-page pdf from Canon's web site explaining how to do the update
4) The firmware file downloaded from Canon's web site
I hate this kind of crap. If a manufacturer knows a product needs to be fixed, it should stop selling the ones manufactured with the flaw or sell them at a steep discount with a disclosure. This is NOT how great companies do things.
The camera can be used without the update, but it won't be right. If you really want this camera and don't want to mess with the update, you will need to wait.
Update: I did the firmware update and used the camera a bit around the house and on a day hike in the mountains. Here are some observations.
A) The telephoto produces surprisingly good results in bright daylight. I used the telephoto at 20x to take a picture of a distant cliff face and to take a picture of a damselfly resting on a nearby rock. Both turned out better than I would have expected, though the color on the bright blue damselfly washed out significantly.
B) The macro performance is unremarkable. I may need to work at it some more to get the most out of it, but I was disappointed in the results. It's not simple and easy to get great results. In all fairness, though, this is a relatively inexpensive 20x zoom camera with a lens that isn't optimized for low light, so I may be expecting too much.
C) I left the GPS off, and the battery life doesn't seem all that bad so far in normal daylight shooting.
D) Even with the firmware update, the "dying battery notification problem" showed up after accidentally shooting a moment of video.
E) The flash works very well. I shot a night-time interior pic of my kitchen with dim light and the flash produced a thoroughly lit picture.
F) The location of the flash is awkward. On a couple of occasions, the flash popped up unexpectedly in low light conditions, and both times my finger obstructed it. This camera won't win any design awards, that's for sure.
G) The wi-fi function to transfer and view pictures to a smart phone works pretty well, at least on my iPhone. I had to download a Canon app from the iPhone app store. This allows you to move selected pics to the phone and then email them or whatever.
Comparison to my last camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 with 16x zoom:
I wish I could have the Canon's zoom capabilities in my old Panasonic, which is ergonomically superior, more intuitive to use (to me at least)and has superb battery life. Unfortunately, I swore off the Panasonics after two of them in succession got dirt inside their lenses. I'd had good luck with the durability of Canons before, so I went back.
Conclusion: Overall, I would say the SX280 isn't quite ready for prime time, as evidenced by the firmware issues and the continuing problem with the depleted battery warning after shooting video. Canon should have kept it in the R&D shop a few months longer.
UPDATE: I've been using this camera for several months now. I can usually shoot outdoors all day on a single battery, though I do carry an extra. I don't do video. The pop-up flash is an annoyance for its bad location.
The camera doesn't do well in low-light situations like museums or shooting outdoors at dusk. It tends to lighten the pictures too much rather than capturing the scenes as they really appear. This may be the most annoying thing about this camera besides the battery-killing video mode. I liked the low-light abilities of my cheap little Panasonic so much better. I do like the wi-fi. It's easy to move pics to my iPhone in the field.
on May 2, 2013
Updated May 21st......
Ok so the battery life on this is very bad..... Take a few pics, start taking video, the red light flashes and your lucky if you get a few minutes of video before your done for the day. Also I can not get used to the stupid location of this pop up flash. On the good side the picture quality is best in class for this type of camera but what good is picture quality if the battery doesn't last to let you take more then a hand full of pictures and video..... I'm bringing my review down to 2 stars for the battery life issue and pop up flash location....
I have a DSLR and wanted to get a good pocket camera when I didn't want to take the DSLR with me. I'm very pleased by the photos even at ISO 1600. The picture quality blows my ELPH 300 HS out of the water. The auto focus speed is very good for this type of camera and the videos seem fine. A few things that need to be changed. The flash location is horrible it will pop up and push your finger. For some reason it seems like most other high end point and shoots like the Sony RX100, Nikon P330 and Canon S110 have the flash in the same location. All I can say to the manufactures is put an LED flash in the body or something. I also would like to see the dial control for the different shooting modes on top like the old A series, S110 or Sony WX300. Another thing is the battery life is not very good. You may need 2-4 batteries if you are going to be taking pictures and videos all day. One other thing is this camera is missing some fun controls like the color swap and color accent. I don't no why canon took the features out. I always liked playing around with that on my ELPH 300HS. For the image quality I can live with the short comings and maybe Canon will update the software on it to get better battery life and add back some of the creative shooting modes. If Canon does that and takes out that stupid pop up flash on the next version of this camera it will be a perfect pocket zoom camera.