this is the Canon PowerShot SX410 IS. It’s called a “bridge” camera, which means that it offers better image quality than a compact and yet it’s smaller than a DSLR. But it sure looks like one! And it has two major features. The first one is its 20 megapixel photos, and the second is its 40 times optical zoom. More on those later. Now the unboxing experience was really quite unremarkable. Inside, you’ll find a wrist strap, a wall charger for the bundled 800 milliamp hour lithium ion battery, a lens cap, an instruction manual and the camera itself. So the camera comes nicely bubble-wrapped, as you can see, and the first thing you’ll notice about it is that it’s the perfect size and weight. It weighs 325 grams, and its footprint is only a little bit larger than a typical 5-inch smartphone, so it’s very easy to take with you. Taking a look at the controls, you’ll find a power button, a shutter button, and a zoom ring on the top, plus a small flash. On the side, there’s a single port that can be used for both AV out and USB connection to a PC. And on the back, of course, you get the usual range of compact camera controls, including video record, image playback and shooting mode selector. Now, if you’re looking for a full manual mode, then you will be disappointed.
By pressing the “Auto” button, you can get access to some creative shooting modes like portrait, low light and miniature, but the most control you can possibly have is in the “Program” mode, which gives you a choice of exposure compensation and ISO. So you’ve set your mode and now you want to look at the scene that you’re about to photograph. How are you going to do that? With the display. But unfortunately, the one in this camera is not very good at all. For starters, it’s not articulating, so it can’t tilt, it’s just fixed in the one position. Also, the resolution is pretty terrible, it’s only 230 thousand pixels, which gives it a very grainy appearance. But the screen is only one part of the camera – mainly, you’re going to be looking at the photos that it produces. So just how good are they? Well, here is a sample photo, and I’m sure you can agree that it’s looking pretty nice. Now the camera has a 1/2.3 inch CCD sensor, which, let’s face it, is not the largest sensor in the world, so don’t expect the photos to come out DSLR quality. But they are a lot better than you’d get out of a typical smartphone. That lens is really awesome: it ranges from 4.3 to 172mm with f/3.5 to 6.3 aperture. This means, on the lower end of the zoom range, you’re going to be getting really nice out-of-focus backgrounds on macro shots. And landscape shots look fantastic as well – in fact, anything taken with an ISO of 200 or below is really professional quality. However, the limitations of the small sensor do start to show themselves when you ramp up the ISO.
Comparing a shot at 200 versus 400 shows you just how much colour and contrast is lost. By 1600, you won’t really like the results at all. But if you’re shooting in good light then you have nothing to worry about. Now, how about videos? Well, they’re another matter entirely. The SX410 IS shoots a maximum of 720p video at 25fps, or VGA at 30fps, so that’s not a good start already. This macro video, which was shot without a tripod, shows you that the Image Stabilization that’s built into the lens is doing a great job of keeping everything steady. Unfortunately though, the video is very grainy and the colours aren’t very good. I suppose it would be semi-acceptable if you had nothing else which was capable of taking video, but honestly, most modern smartphones can do a far better job than this, and at a higher resolution. So where does that leave the SX410? Well, it’s both a fantastic and inexpensive still camera. No smartphone will EVER be able to match its 40x optical zoom, and this feature alone means that you can get some really creative shots out of it. Anyway, I’m HandyAndy and thank you very much for watching this review. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below, and, as always.