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Customer Review

313 of 330 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Camera Overall, May 11, 2013
This review is from: Canon PowerShot SX280 12.1MP Digital Camera with 20x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom with 3-Inch LCD (Black) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
Hi there

I've replied to a few reviews of this product before choosing to write my own, while keeping in mind everyone's opinions (especially about the battery) thus far.

Out of the way, I too noticed "problems" when shooting video on a not-fully charged battery. I put the word in quotes, because in my experience/view, it's really a software problem that can be fixed with an upcoming firmware update. It just flashes red prematurely, and you can certainly repeat steps to have that happen consistently. Also, you'll only get about 30 minutes or so of 1920/60fps HD video per charge (keep in mind the battery will likely be flashing red most of the time). But keep in mind, its really just a bug. When you power up your camera, the true charge is shown on the indicator.

I took the camera with me today to shoot a typical days worth of exciting things with my kids. I took about 35 photos, and a combined 7 minutes of full HD/1920/60fps video. I also transferred a few images wirelessly to my Android phone. After all that, my battery is still showing as fully charged and does not do the 'premature red battery' even if i take it to video. So that seems like a decent day for me, and it doesn't show a dent (and rightly so). I'll just have to remember to charge the battery fully before I take it out.

In the end, I do recommend the camera because of what I bought it for: excellent, truly best-in-class images from a camera under $400. This camera is my '2nd' camera, for times when I don't feel like dragging my DSLR around. The images aren't as good as a DSLR (no surprise) but they are by far the best images I've taken with a point-and-shoot. The 20x optical zoom is truly incredible, and the true/natural Image Stabilization (*not* digital) is fantastic: you can actually take a 20x zoomed picture without it being blurry! Not only that, the IS during video shooting makes it smooth-as-silk on playback, especially in truly stunning 60fps mode. Shutter-lag isn't as good as a DSLR (because the concept doesnt exist with mirrors), but it's miles ahead of my last 2011 P&S and also faster than my 2013 smartphone camera.

I can see why the video/battery issue is so frustrating: the video from this thing is truly amazing (stereo, Image Stabilization, and did I mention 1920 and 60fps yet??!) and you *want* to shoot a ton with it. It's also in ultra-convenient mp4 format right out-of-the-camera. And it does a superb job of focusing as you zoom on video (my older p&s wouldn't let me zoom in video mode at all). But if video is really your mojo, get a camcorder for the same price and be happy. If you're after stills, or shooting video "shorts", this is your bet. And hopefully the short-ish battery on video will make better videographers out of people by forcing them to cut down on the extra crap they shoot that nobody watches anyways :)

Touching on a few remaining things: I love that the camera has a metal body, love its hefty weight (remember when cameras felt like cameras and not TV remotes?) and dig the wireless. I'm not a GPS guy because the privacy issue freaks me out, so I don't run the GPS. As mentioned by other reviewers, the wireless is a bit tricky to set up if you want to go camera->computer wirelessly - you'll have to run the software on the CD (it retrieves the latest version from the net automatically). The easiest set-up is camera->smartphone; as long as they're on the same network, transfers are easy. If there's no wireless where you're shooting, you can actually use the camera as an access point itself and connect your smartphone/tablet to the *camera's* network. Keep in mind that the wireless transfer is *not* eye-fi: you have to *select* the images you want to send, after they've been shot (photos aren't automatically transferred wirelessly as you shoot). Believe it or not, you can actually tweet from the camera itself. That being said, I think the omission of Flickr is a drag, but perhaps that's because they are pushing their own "Canon Image Gateway" service for photo sharing/storage.

Also, I appreciate the restraint in megapixels... the filesizes and document sizes are realistic and appropriate for people who aren't blowing photos up to large dimensions. Focusing on image quality instead of megapixel count is a much welcomed approach in my opinion, and I hope the ridiculous megapixel race slows down in order to focus on the sensor quality/lenses that can be crammed into a P&S size camera.

Also, coming from DSLR world, I'm actually pretty happy with the amount of customization offered. The manual (on the CD only) is chock full of information, including how to use the self-timer in "wink" mode (wink to take the shot!!). All modes I shoot on (M/AV/TV/P) offer *center only* focus. I haven't seen that mentioned too often, but that is *exactly* what I like - in fact the first thing I do on my DSLRs/new cameras is turn off the 'smart autofocus' to use center-point only). It means you might have to take a moment to frame the shot you want (focus then frame), but to me it cuts down on silly camera "intelligent" errors when it focuses on things with contrast instead of the content that matters.

I don't find the position of the pop-up flash an issue; my finger fits behind it. Also, consider that the pop-up flash reduces red-eye quite significantly by being further away from the lens. Not only that, but this camera is *great* in low-light for a point-and-shoot - ease up on the flash and enjoy the great new processor!

This camera does exactly what I want it to do, and does it *really well*, but if I was planning on a day of really heavy shooting with video, I'd buy a spare battery. And I'm looking forward to a firmware update!
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 11, 2013, 6:48:59 PM PDT
Very well done review...

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2013, 5:52:07 AM PDT
tony says:
Thank you for the review:) Could you make some comparison Canon xs 280 versus sony wx 300:)
I will appreciate your answer:)

Posted on May 13, 2013, 10:37:08 AM PDT
L. Smith says:
Excellent review addressing pertinent details. Thanks!

Posted on May 16, 2013, 3:34:07 AM PDT
Alex says:
great way of thinking in photo making detected in this review ! ;-)

Posted on Jul 27, 2013, 2:23:38 PM PDT
For the "same price", what camcorder does a better job with video?

Posted on Oct 26, 2013, 1:16:37 PM PDT
Mandi says:
Great review!
I am not a pro by any means but if I were to take a nice picture of my kids could I blow it up to an 8 by 10 without messing the image up too badly?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2013, 11:08:08 PM PST
CaliCaliGuy says:
I believe so. I did that with my very old 5 MP camera. With a 12 MP sensor, you have a choice of easily going up to 11 x 14

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2014, 8:17:45 PM PST
Dora J. Crow says:
Mandi, If you were to use an iPhone 4s, you can even have those photos enlarged up to 20"by30" if they are clear enough. I have that version of the phone, so that means it is only an 8MP camera. If you have any digi cam with 8-20MP, you will be able to enlarge from 5x7 up to 20x30. It does not always make that much difference in the MP, as it does in OPTICAL or DIGITAL ZOOM. Photos are clearer when zoomed in with a natural Optical Zoom, where you physically see the lens project out, Digital Zoom is 'assumed' Zoom. It is grainier, noisier, and very pixelated in anything larger than a 4x6 normal size photo. So, that being said, I appreciate a higher number of optical zoom over MP. I have an old 1980 something Sony Mavica (w a floppy disc in it) w 3.1 MP, it takes fab pix, but only can be enlarged to 4x6. My Sony Cybershot has 16MP w 10x Zoom and takes blurrier shots than my stupid iPhone!! I have had iPhone pix published, chosen OVER my Sony photographs! Sorry so long. dora

Posted on Mar 20, 2015, 3:44:51 PM PDT
Excellent review...I have several P&S and Canon is by far my favorite. I was lucky enough to find a Canon PowerShot SX280 HS 12.1 MP just recently at Radio Shack' going out of business sale for $40 and I was soooo excited I have the Canon Powershot SX200IS 12.1MP and even after several years it is my go to in stead of my DSLR.

Posted on Jun 14, 2016, 12:39:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 14, 2016, 12:43:41 PM PDT
Skyhawk says:
>> I'm not a GPS guy because the privacy issue freaks me out <<
Give up. Privacy is dead.
Your iPhone is tracking you, and keeping a record. Your cellular company is tracking you and keeping a permanent record. Use a toll road? They are tracking you. You see all those cameras at traffic lights? They read your license plate and are tracking you. Use Google? They keep a permanent record of your searches. The phone company keeps a permanent record of every call you make and every call received. Have a credit card? They track everything you buy, and where you buy it. Have a Facebook page? All those images are the property of Facebook. You can delete things, but they keep a copy.

Want to be anonymous? Jump in your time machine and go back to 1946.
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