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Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Digital Camera Review$349.99
Lens & Sensor
The SX260's huge lens is almost the whole point of the camera. Tiny body with a huge zoom, that's why models like this exist. We find the barrel itself to be relatively sturdy, while movement action is smooth, fast, and sufficiently precise. The lens collapses down pretty far, but still protrudes from the rest of the body by a far millimeters when not in use. Minimum focus distance can be a frustrating limitation, it's closer at smaller focal lengths and changes unpredictably as zoom increases.
A 3-inch LCD of good quality is fixed to the rear panel and, in the absence of a viewfinder, is the only way to frame and review photos. Brightness is sufficient for daytime photography and the viewing angle, while not the best we've seen, is decent at this price range. The onscreen image is delayed by a fraction of a second and, while framing at long zoom, the vibrations of our hands were enough to cause a noticeable rolling shutter effect, even with maximum image stabilization. The entire panel is covered by a hard plastic coating, which resists scratches or smudging, and wipes clean.
The skinny flash arm extends from or retracts into the left side of the top plate, and does so automatically based on user settings. It is not possible to push the arm back down into its enclosure without forcing it. The bulb is weak, with a maximum range of only 11 feet, and can be slow to recycle. However an extensive list of advanced options make flash photography relatively versatile with this camera, including slow synchro, red-eye reduction, and even flash metering out to +/- 2 stops. Flash power can even be manually configured (in Manual mode), and this can be used to improve recycle time.
Underneath a flimsy rubber stopper on the right side, Canon has conveniently included a standard miniUSB / AV port for connectivity with a PC or standard definition monitor (although AV cables do not ship with the SX260). A miniHDMI port is also found here, useful for streaming content directly to an HDTV.
The removable NB-6L battery pack is rated to 230 consecutive shots when used with this camera, making these two a below-average pair. We've seen worse, but for $350 we would've preferred 300 shots.
SD, SDHC, and fast SDXC memory cards are supported, along with Eye-Fi cards for WiFi data transfer. No internal memory is included, so you'll need at least one card to operate the camera.