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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 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 or Firmware Version 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, in which the low battery level warning is prematurely displayed while shooting in movie mode.

Firmware Version is for cameras with firmware Version or Version If the camera's firmware is already Version, 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.
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on April 26, 2014
Some people have had battery problems with this camera. I bought 2 extra Vivitar batteries with higher mA-h ratings than the stock Canon batteries. If you do the math, this camera can put a huge load on the microprocessor when you ask it to take high-rate, high-resolution videos, or multiple shots. Zoom a lot at the same time, and these little batteries aren't going to hack it. In addition, Canon has something wrong (I suspect) with the battery life sensor/indicator. (My guess is the firmware update that's available from Canon is to help that.) On the good side, that's depressed the price of this camera. Since I don't intend to take a lot of videos with this camera, I'm OK with that. :)

I may have also gotten a good one. Over 2 days of playing with it, I've yet to change the battery. It's showing 2/3 charge. It has however, flashed "charge the battery" warnings a
couple of times.

For calibration, this is replacing a Canon A1100IS we bought about 4 years ago as a second camera.

Pro (for me):
Really good, clear pictures
Good image stabilization (hand-holding at 1/15th of a second or slower!)
Low noise, as low as ISO 1600
Large zoom range
Manual focus
DIGIC 6 processor (latest generation)
Very nice screen
P, Av, Tv & M exposure modes
Canon's basically good control layout
Small and light; carrying around a DSLR can be wearying
Wi-Fi is handy
Fits in the same case as my A1100, which was originally bought for a tiny 35 mm Vivitar I carried as a 2nd camera for years. It's marked "Samsonite World Sport, Model #20" if that helps.

Not as good a macro capability as the A1100 (which is sterling at that one thing. I'll be keeping it for that.)
No viewfinder (unlike the A1100. It's not needed all the time, but it is handy)
Slow GPS lock in (my Nexus shows 18 or so satellites in view, and took maybe 30 sec. to lock in. The camera took several times that)
GPS power hog. (It appears to suck up a lot of power, turning it on and off a few times did seem to affect battery charge indication)
No auto bracket (To be fair, that's not common on cameras, but it should be. Canon puts it on the similar S110.)
No hyperfocal distance setting (You can do it manually, of course, but, Canon, why not add another click on the focus bar? There's a computer in there, you know)
Lithium batteries (I prefer the A1100's NiMH AAs so you can get a new set at any Staples for cheap or use alkaline AAs in a pinch)

So, with all of 2 days of experience under my belt:
1) Nice easily-portable camera at a low-ish price
2) Power hog, due to inefficient GPS, big zoom, and powerful microprocessor being pushed by video, etc.
I'll update this review someday when I have some durability information.

Update: 4/27/2014 Took a nice long walk, shot 6 min. of 720p x 30fps video and took 101 L-superfine .jpg (4k x 3k pixel) photos. This used up most of a fully-charged Vivitar 1700 mA-h battery. I got a battery warn and shutdown after my walk while reviewing the video at home. The 1000 mA-h stock Canon battery would give proportionately less life. Canon says that the stock battery is good for 210 photos. A 1700 mA-h Vivitar battery should be good for 147 more than that, or 357 photos. That means that 6 min. of 720p video is worth 256 photos! I don't think anyone will be shooting at 1080p x 60fps much.

Another way to look at it is the number of pixels processed per second by any of the 11 modes of the camera. The normal L .jpg picture takes 12.0E+6 pixels/sec (12 megapixels/sec). The least hungry mode S, takes only 0.307E+6 pixels per second. The hungriest mode is the 14 frames per second L multiple shot mode, which takes 168.E+6 pixels/sec. Since this is only in use for a few frames, it's not bad on battery life. The second worst mode 1080p x 60fps takes 124.E+6 pixels per second, 1037% of the normal L photo processing power! The 720p x 30fps mode I used is only 230% of the normal L mode. Remember, though, the single shot modes are on now and then, maybe a second out of every minute at most. The video modes are on continuously.

NB: Good cameras with a lot of features have historically eaten batteries. I carry around a handful for the A1100.

Misc.: I'm sorry to see the little A1100 get superseded; it was a trouper. Its biggest problem was auto-focusing at long zoom, which isn't a problem if you're taking snapshots in your yard, but it can be a problem if you see a magnificent vista before you. The SX280 shouldn't have a problem with that (manual zoom). YMMV

Update 7/13/2014: My one significant complaint with the SX280 was the macro focusing. As I've gotten more experience with it, some of that has gone away. The SX280's autofocus seems to work differently from the A1100's. I tend to use the macro setting less, and let the normal mode carry the freight, except in extreme cases. In many cases, that's plenty good enough. It's still not as good as the A1100, though. In all other ways, this is an amazing still camera. It also still has too small a battery. Canon seems to be phasing this one out. If you need a still camera and can find one of these cheap, you might consider it.
August, 2017 Update: 3 & a bit years after purchase, the camera is becoming unreliable, throwing E32 (lens) errors more & more frequently. That's not a bad lifespan for a point & shoot, especially with a wide-range zoom lens. The error appears to be focus related.
Sept. 2018 Update: I replaced this with a 720. Much better. I actually cured the lens error with some strong blasts into the lens gaps from canned air. That's risky, blowing dust into the camera, but in this case, it worked. The 280 is now my office camera.
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on January 18, 2014
I have had this only a week and I am returning it and replacing it with a Canon SX260 HS. I took the camera to Disney and went through 3 batteries and could only get 15 minutes max of video time on a fresh battery. Still images were not a problem. According to the Canon website if the camera has the sixth digit of 3 or higher in the serial number, the camera should not have the battery issue. I did the Firmware update prior to using the camera. The camera said the firmware was up to date and the Serial number is 3 in the sixth digit. From my recent experience the battery issue with this camera is not corrected. As soon as I zoomed the battery indicator went from full to red empty.
I will say the the 1080p video that I was able to get is excellent when I viewed it on my 55" TV and the stills are great along with the long zoom it is in function a great camera. But the battery problem ruins the entire package. This is why I am moving to the Canon SX260HS. No battery problem. And the SX260 HS has the same zoom and other features but no Wi-Fi, which is no loss to me as.
I have owned Canon cameras for 40+ years and am very disappointed that that Canon allowed a major flaw in a camera into the market. I have read reviews recently that there is an opinion that it is a hardware conflict problem not truly a software issue (I do not know this to be a fact). If it is truly a hardware conflict no amount of firmware updates will correct the battery problem.
In conclusion, buy the Canon SX260 HS not the SX280 HS.
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on January 19, 2014
I read all the reviews here and on the website, then figured it was worth the fantastic price to me even knowing the battery life would be short if shooting movies (esp w/zooming), and that the battery warning and battery capacity icons would also be pretty useless when shooting movie clips. Since I shoot mainly stills, I decided that I would simply get a pair of extra batteries (not Canon brand)and not worry about it, assuming battery life turned out to be satisfactory.
So far, I've shot about 700 pictures and 30 min of movie clips since Christmas, and it's working just as expected, getting many beautiful, sharp pictures. During the first week I had the camera, I took a succession of sets of 6 stills, 4 stills w/flash, followed by 2 min of 1920/30fps movie with one zoom. I made it nearly to the end of the 10th set (zooming during the movie clip) before the camera shut down. Just last week, I repeated the test, and the camera shut down it in the movie clip of the 9th set. I'm happy with that, so I decided to keep it.
My camera (bought about Dec 1) came with the new firmware (it had "3" in the sixth digit of the S/N, instead of a lower number) so I didn't have to do the firmware upgrade from the canon website.
Overall, the performance is amazing compared to my 4 year old less capable point and shoot. The low light performance without flash is impressive (considering the small aperture and small sensor size in this compact camera) - it is surprising how many low light shots I take in AUTO now and the camera doesn't even want to turn on the flash. Very often indoors, I can get sharp photos without harsh glare from the flash that just wasn't possible before - just have to learn to hold it steady and squeeze off the shot. The anti-shake technology and low noise levels at fairly high ISO are really something in this camera.
The sharp 20x zoom is also coming into far more use than I thought - I had a 5x in the old camera that was good for prints up to maybe 5x7 - again, to get sharp enough pics at 20x full zoom, I needed to learn to keep the camera steady, brace the camera or my arm against something, or use a monopod or tripod, and squeeze off the shot without moving the camera. Once I used a nearby broom as a monopod and that was all the help I needed to make a soft shot fairly sharp (in playback, you can blow the image all the way up to the equiv size of a 16x20 print with 9 clicks, if you want, to examine for blur).
I gave the camera 4 stars for 1) the inaccurate battery warning indicator esp when doing a movie clip, and 2)having to learn not to rest my left forefinger right on top of the pop-up flash where it naturally wants to go - I am happy to report it has finally learned to rest on the back edge of the top so it no longer stops the flash from coming up when the camera decides it wants it (and thus requiring a power off/power back on).
It would have been 3 stars but I'm really impressed with the compact size, picture quality and the price - I would have happily plunked down over $300 for this camera if it weren't for the above mentioned problems.
One nit: I haven't found a panorama assist mode in the SX280 like my older Canon has. I'm not into making huge half circle or full circle panoramas some cameras can do automatically, but I often want to stitch 2 landscape pictures together, and the assist feature would lock the exposure and focus and also help me keep the pictures lined up vertically with each other so as to not lose any more picture height than necessary during the stitching process. I'm doing panos OK with this camera - I turn the gridlines on to help keep the shots vertically aligned but I have to go thru some extra steps to make sure the focus and exposure don't change from the values set during the first shot. By the way, the included Canon stitching software produces fine hand held panos as long as the camera was held level (I'm a novice at panos - I wonder if there is any stitching software than can correct for the camera looking down or up or being out of level side to side - by the way, you don't need a level, but you do have to be careful).
Conclusion: It is obvious some users have had unusable short battery life when shooting video, even after making a firmware update, while others like myself are finding it satisfactory as it came out of the box. I don't know if my battery experience is the new "normal" for more recently made SX280's, or just the luck of the draw. If you decide to keep it, definitely get a few extra batteries esp if you might do any video (I got 2 Wasabi batteries with AC/12VDC charger on Amazon, and plan on popping in a fresh battery when we go to take a video of our great grandchildren), and also the Case Logic DCB-302 case (the 2 spare batts and an extra memory card fit in the side pocket perfectly), and your good to go. I put the camera bag on my belt and hardly notice it is there. NOTE: For me, the Canon battery doesn't seem to charge completely when charged with the Wasabi charger, so I use the Canon charger at home and take the Wasabi charger on trips - then, after using up the stock battery, I will switch to the Wasabi batteries and keep using and recharging those with their own charger until I return home.
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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?

Thank you.
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on April 16, 2014
I just got purchased this camera January 2014. I read some review on a battery problem, but it was said the latest firmware fixed this issue. IT DID NOT. I got the camera, charged a new battery and put it in. On still shots, all worked fine, but as soon as I hit the movie button, the battery light started to flash, and the camera turned off. I turned that camera back on in still mode, and it showed full battery. All worked fine until you use the movie mode. I contacted canon, and they had me send my brand new camera back. What a pain for a brand new camera..
I just got the camera back. they said it was a faulty board of some kind and they replaced it. Put my battery back in and. FLASHING BATTERY light. I power cycled it, and full battery symbol till i go movie again.
Canon's have been great for me, but this one is VERY disappointing.. this was a know problem last year, and yet they still keep shipping cameras.. They must have read the GM book about known problems!
I charged the battery and the problem has stopped. Not sure if it just means as soon as my battery is slightly used it will have the error again or what..
POOR SHOW canon.
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on May 11, 2014
AMAZON DO THE RIGHT THING - dont allow any more sales of this camera!!

Pictures are amazingly sharp, video playback was excellent, but this camera has a notorious battery issue that Canon has yet to address which makes the camera useless. There is a firmware update that claims to fix but its only for cameras where the 6th digit is a 0, 1 or 2. On mine its a 3, which is a newer camera revision but the same issue plagues this camera. The battery on a full charge I took around 50 pictures and already it showed battery low. I tried taking video, same thing. Canon knows about this obviously but is choosing to ignore wide spread customer complaints and should issue a recall. Canon needs to admit this is not a firmware issue but a hardware issue. Whats the sense of a battery that lasts less than an hour of use? Google this camera 'canon powersot sx280 camera issue' and you will see. We are taking Canon off of our camera purchase list. We had better luck with Sony.

This camera is also a bit of bad design. The popup flash is in a bad place when holding and the lens has no lens cap/cover. This lens has those metal looking iris type covers that hide the lens but they are easily moved out of the way and can be damaged just by putting in your pocket.

Id like to say sorry for sending it back but the only thing I'm sorry for is the personal time I have wasted on this camera. We got it Saturday and its going back ASAP. We will just go to Best Buy or something where we can put our hands on something while at the same time loook the unit up for reviews before purchasing.
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on July 10, 2014
Save your time and money. This camera was brand new when I received it and upon first use the low battery indicator was showing. This happened after I had fully charged the battery. It appears that I am not the only one that encountered this issue. This along with several other issues are plaguing this camera. Canon doesn't seem to want to acknowledge these problems. At this rate Canon will lose most if not all of their loyal customers if they do not fix this issue. This camera shouldn't even be offered for sale knowing all the problems that come with it. There is a reason why the price for this product is lower than the previous iteration of this camera. Unlike this model the previous model didn't have these problems. Seeing as how Canon is treating their loyal customers I strongly suggest that anyone looking to purchase a digital camera should Invest in a better camera and brand that stands behind their products like Sony or Nikon.
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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.
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on August 1, 2015
(I just downgraded my review to one star, after the camera failed AGAIN to power up during a trip, with perfectly good batteries. Sad that a camera which is really nice in so many ways, has had this many battery issues since day one. I'm happy to say I've replaced this lemon of a camera, and glad I won't have to worry about a non-functioning camera again. And I'll never buy a product with the assumption that a promised firmware upgrade will solve a reported issues.)

This camera would be a 4-5 start camera, if not for the well-known battery issues filming video. I felt a bit tricked by Canon, as I purchased mine just when a Firmware update was announced that would apparently fix the batter issue that was already being reported. It's otherwise a very solid camera for still and video. I think the layout and ergonomics are really coon on Canons in general.

Here are some tips based on how I get by with the battery problems.

1) I have no clue if there's a hazard to this, but use a thin strip of tape to cover the middle connection of the battery. It pretty much solves problem of the camera shutting down way before the camera batter is actually low. The middle contact seems to be what indicates the charge state of the battery to the camera. The downside is, the camera will simply stop functioning when the battery gets too low to continue. If you're in the middle of recording a video, it will probably be lost. You'll have to remove the tape to expose all 3 battery contacts to charge it.

2) Buy plenty of batteries. They're cheap. Carry them with you, with narrow pieces of tape already covering the middle contact.

3) If problems persist, clean the battery contacts inside the camera. I have no what the best way to do this is, I just use ear swabs and rubbing alcohol, and it really helps when even taped batteries don't seem to work

I almost retired this camera when it failed to work with any batteries I had charged. I realized I hadn't cleaned the contacts (#3) in awhile, and now it's back to working pretty well. It's a hassle to play games with taping and untaping batteries, and remembering to clean the contacts once in awhile, but at least it saves the cost of a new camera.
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