The Camera for the majority, even the avid photographers!
I took this camera to South Africa and spent 2 weeks in Kruger National Park "shooting" the wild life. I was surrounded by real men with real heavy duty photographic equipment. Nikons, Sonys, Leicas, Canons all with huge telephoto lenses some on massive tripods. When we came to compare he final product (the photos) my PowerShot was right up there. It certainly was the most flexible by a mile, so it caught the most spontaneous moments. The stabilization was incredible, so I had great clarity. I'd guess that up to A4, the PowerShot could compete with the best, and it did!
There are a lot of strange options for taking weird photos which functions few people would use more than once, while Canon left off Photo Stitch/Panorama. Neglecting to include the PhotoStitch function was unforgivable, for that reason it gets 4 stars... and I thought about 3.
Great superzoom camera
I do quite a bit of photography and have several cameras including a DSLR. The Canon SX60 is often compared to the newer Nikon P900 which has a 84x zoom lens as opposed to this Canon's 65x.
I've found the SX60 takes great pics and its zoom is just as good. Review sites often state that the Canon's images are better quality than the Nikon's but to me this is fairly irrelevant. If your purpose is to achieve flawless images even when blown up to the size of a billboard then perhaps one needs to consider a (much) more expensive DSLR. If however you're needing a good basic camera that has all the features you're likely to need and a big zoom in a small package then I would certainly recommend this camera.
If I need to take those much more important images for graphics that I do in my work, then I use my DSLR - but for pretty much everything else I take my SX60 - which saves me having to lug around a 'better' camera and its extra telephoto lenses. The image quality out of the SX60 is very good and far ahead of what such cameras were producing even just a few years ago. And to get a zoom lens anywhere even close to the Canon's 65x I'd just about have to sell my house to afford.
In summary I'd recommend the Canon SX60 because it's reliable, easy-to-use, and takes very good images - and importantly, it's quite small - much smaller (and cheaper) than the bigger-lensed Nikon P900.
Canon SX60 HS
There are many positive features of this camera.
The camera appears to be well-built and takes great photos. Nice and crisp, natural-looking colours.
I like the wide-format photos, because it means that the camera more accurately captures what the eye sees in the scene: that sense of breadth. This is really useful when taking photos of people in scenes: you can get in the whole person from head to toe (or a group of people) and also get the scenery around them. This makes the camera good for indoor shots like birthday parties, as well as outdoor natural scenery.
The AUTO setting also works well, unlike in some of the previous Canon cameras. By which I mean that the camera is much better at taking photos in awkward lighting situations, e.g. sunsets, without manual intervention.
There is a massive big zoom on the camera, of 130x. Some of this is a bit of a have really, because it is measured starting off from a wide-angle base setting. All the same, the zoom is impressive. The camera can even be used as a type of telescope for identifying far-off objects! However I have not found the FULL zoom very useful for my kind of photography (outdoor scenes of the natural environment with or without people, family snaps) because the photos are of poor quality when the camera is hand-held. I guess a tripod would be advantageous, but that is not something I like to carry with me. So in my situation I don’t really use the zoom to its utmost extent. While on the subject of zoom, previous Canon powershot models struggled to find the focus point on a long zoom, to the point of occasionally not finding the focus at all. (The solution was to zoom all the way out and then slowly zoom back in again.) This seems to be somewhat better on this model, though I would not call it perfect. The camera still does quite a bit of backwards and forwards trying to find the focus, but at least it does get there in the end. Again a tripod might be a help as it would give the camera a stable scene to work on. So in summary don’t expect to get good photos at maximum zoom without using a tripod. I guess that’s probably self-evident, but it may be worth being explicit about this.
The size and weight of the powershot cameras have been steadily increasing since the S1, and the SX60 is no exception. It is still OK: the camera is comfortable to carry. But I think Canon have come to the limit of what is practical to carry on say a four hour hike. With its longer lens it needs a deeper carry-bag too.
Negative features, at least compared to my immediate previous camera the Canon SX1.
(1) Reliance on a proprietary Canon battery. This means you can’t use AA batteries. This limits the ability to recharge the camera and use it in isolated locations. Basically this camera needs to be used within a one-charge radius of mains power. Spare batteries are apparently available, but the shop I bought the camera from did not even stock them, nor know where to find them.
(2) No manual: There were no instructions of any sort in the box. I expected at least a waterproof cheat-sheet or description of what all the buttons did, but no such luck. I presume there might be an on-line manual somewhere, but if so the camera did not come with any notice to this effect, nor was there any slip of paper in the box. Not even a QR code. While there are some on-screen explanations, they are neither comprehensive nor consistently available. Canon needs to rethink how it gets operation instructions to its camera users. This is especially relevant considering the next point, which is the proliferation of buttons.
(3) Too many buttons. There are buttons for odd functions located in all sorts of ad-hoc places over three surfaces of the camera. There seems to be no pattern to the placement, no thought to the ergonomics. The buttons are labelled with cryptic symbols, many of which are difficult to interpret. Some I still can’t work out. Several buttons don’t seem to do anything. I am guessing they maybe only work when the camera is in a particular mode. Some functions of the camera are to be found via software selection, and others have a dedicated button, but if there is a logic to the allocation it is hard to fathom.
The power on-off button is badly placed in that it requires a two-stage physical change in grip to activate, and this means the camera is slower to activate in those catch-the-moment situations than say the SX1.
There is a scroll wheel placed on the top surface of the camera. It only functions in a few situations, which seems odd. Also, it seems ideally placed to let in water and dust.
(4) Poor software user interface design. Maybe to describe it as ‘poor’ is a wee bit harsh. But it is still exactly the same interface as the S1 camera from all those years ago. Which means no improvement or innovation in user interface over the decades.
(5) Wifi does not work: Well, more accurately I could not get it to work. The problem here is that the camera’s poor software user interface is not really up to the complex task of leading a user through the set-up of network connections. If you have to go and delve into the details of a user manual to get something to work, then that functionality cannot be called Easy To Implement. Note also that no user manual is provided. So don’t expect the wifi to work out of the box.
(6) No remote control: Previous cameras in this series had a remote control which was handy in some situations. There is none with this camera. I would have thought by now it should be possible to use a smart phone as a remote control via bluetooth, but this does not seem to be the case.
(7) No GPS. OK, maybe it is not reasonable to expect this. Yet again, smart phones and tablets offer this feature, so expectations are building.
(8) Self-timer is harder to initiate. There is still a self-timer, but compared to say the SX1 it no longer has an explicit physical selection or button. Instead you have to dig around in the function settings. This is fiddly work with a complex activation sequence and lots of small text. This is not something you can do with gloves, on the top of a mountain or out in the bush with the camera balancing on a stone or tree.
(9) Irrelevant Features: There are many colour-mutation settings for the camera. Personally I dislike these. I am of the opinion that the purpose of a camera is to capture the moment and take great photos in the first place, and if it is necessary to do colour swaps and convert to grayscale then this can be done in an image-editing software afterwards. I would prefer if Canon had put its design efforts into other things, like an automatic stitch.
(10) No stitch: Unlike previous versions of this family, there is no landscape stitch of any kind on this camera. Personally I feel this is a major failure, especially for outdoor situations. Other cameras like the IPAD stitch automatically and I really do expect a product like the SX60 to do so too.
(11) Manufacturing fault: The selection dial shows a SCN setting, but the only scene is a PORTRAIT mode. Nothing else to choose from. No fireworks, beach, sunset, foliage, etc. Nothing but portrait. Are they using up old stock of selection dials or did they just not co-ordinate the changes in the hardware and the firmware? It is only a small thing, but shows that that Something Slipped in the quality department.
Overall Score. I’ll give it a four and a half as I don’t want to put anyone off a camera that might be ideal for their purposes. And the wide-screen image quality really is great. For some the massive zoom will be a big plus, but I’d have to say half of that zoom is not practical to use in my type of casual photography. On a more personal and subjective level I feel let-down by the SX60. It is OK as a camera, but for me it does not ‘delight the customer’, to use the product-design term. I think Canon has gone backwards in the area of user interface design. I would say the SX1 was a better camera than the SX60.
Questions & Answers
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