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Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman
Similar shape to Canon’s EOS Rebel DSLR camera
Very portable and lightweight
Powerful 50x zoom lens
Plastic body feels cheap
Not great for low-light shooting
No articulating/touchscreen display
Low 210 shot battery life
The Canon PowerShot SX530 offers a 50x zoom lens in a very compact body, and delivers better image quality than a smartphone, especially in low-light. It has a comfortable grip, handles well, and shoots solid photos.
The Canon PowerShot SX530 is a small, 16 megapixel digital camera with a very powerful zoom lens. Its small, lightweight, DSLR-like body makes it suitable for things like travel, hiking, and vacations. With a similar resolution to many newer mobile phones, we explored whether or not this camera is really worth keeping in your travel bag.
At 15.59 oz, the Canon PowerShot SX530 weighs in at just under a pound and measures 4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 inches. This makes it remarkably light for a DSLR-like camera in this class. The SX530 isn’t a true DSLR but borrows design elements from Canon’s other DSLR cameras. Its shape and user interface layout are very similar to Canon’s EOS Rebel series.
On the top of the camera you will find Canon’s traditional mode selection dial but with fewer options than a DSLR like the EOS Rebel T7. The SX530 includes modes like Auto, Scene, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program, Manual, and even a Fish-Eye. Instead of a power switch, there is a power button right next to the mode dial.
On the left are two framing assist buttons used for the seek and lock functions. With these you can easily reacquire subjects and compose shots after manual zooming.
Several other function buttons are located to the right of the 3-inch LCD screen on the back of the camera. They are big enough to easily use but unlike EOS Rebel cameras, the SX530 has a center function and set button surrounded by a circular four-way button. Without the space between the center button and the outer controls we found ourselves accidentally hitting multiple buttons at once.
At 16 megapixels it’s similar to flagship mobile phones like the Samsung Note10.
The DSLR-like body is nice because it has an extremely comfortable grip. Being so compact also means that controls on the right side are really easy to reach with one hand. Though the lightweight plastic body doesn’t feel very sturdy, the camera feels really good in our hands and would be great on a longer trip when you don’t want a lot of weight in your travel bag or around your shoulders.
Overall, we loved the way this camera feels and found the design well suited to easy and intuitive use. The grip was even more comfortable than the Canon EOS Rebel T7 and the extremely powerful zoom lens let us take photos we couldn’t with the other lenses we have kicking around. Canon did a good job designing a compact, lightweight camera that looks more expensive than it actually is.
We found the setup process for the Canon PowerShot SX530 incredibly intuitive and easy. We popped the battery in, powered it up, set the date and time, and were ready to go in minutes. The SX530 is designed to be friendly to beginners and novices. This is the kind of camera that would make a great gift for mom or dad.
We played around with the options on the mode selection dial and found they all worked well. Auto mode will probably be most people’s go-to because this camera isn’t marketed to professionals who like delve deep into settings and image manipulation, but there is a manual mode. This is really a point and shoot camera at heart, and it does a great job being as comfortable as possible for new or casual photographers.
Canon’s user manual is great and we found everything was laid out in simple-to-understand terms, with plenty of diagrams so you can identify what all the buttons do. The camera has some handy settings that aren’t on by default, and we chose to add a grid layout to the LCD display to make photo composition easier. We also found the LCD’s default brightness to be a little dark, so we turned it up a bit and were happy with the results.
The Canon PowerShot SX530 doesn’t have a very powerful image processor and sensor. At 16 megapixels it’s similar to flagship mobile phones like the Samsung Note10. We weren’t super impressed by the SX530’s image quality but it does perform better in low-light situations, and no smartphone is going to have the powerful zoom capabilities that the SX530 has.
The SX530 shoots Full HD 1080p video at 30 frames per second, falling behind some of its competitors that can go up to 60 fps. We only noticed minor stuttering while we were panning across a scene, though, and when stationary the image was smooth and colorful.
Where the camera really shines is it’s 24-1200mm equivalent zoom range, placing it in the “superzoom” category. The lens is very wide, so you can get big landscape shots, and it’s powerful enough to capture detail from far away. The image stabilization was pretty good, making the super up close photos possible by helping to steady the shot. At the maximum edge of the zoom, however, you really need a tripod to get reliable quality.
The aperture ranges from f/3.4 to f/6.5, which is pretty limited but similar to a lot of other superzoom cameras. This makes it difficult to set a shallow depth of field and does limit some low-light situations. The built-in flash was surprisingly good though and didn’t overpower the photos we took. We found indoor photos of our friends and family came out well.
Besides its powerful 50x optical zoom lens, the Canon PowerShot SX530 has Intelligent IS optical image stabilization technology. The camera analyzes the image and its own movement and then applies the best correction method for whatever you are shooting. When taking still images the camera offers Normal, Panning, Macro (Hybrid), and Tripod stabilization modes. When recording video the Dynamic, Powered, Macro (Hyrbid), and Active Tripod modes help to steady whatever you are shooting.
The SX530 also offers both Wi-Fi and NFC sharing features. With Wi-Fi you can get your images off the camera and onto your Android or iOS device using Canon’s mobile app called Camera Connect. You can also use your mobile device as a remote control for the camera. You can change settings and trigger both photos and video recording. The NFC radio capabilities allow Android users to connect to the camera quickly and easily by tapping the two devices together. The camera has a dedicated button used to connect to your compatible devices with just one touch, which we found to be a really nice feature.
The Canon PowerShot SX530 runs on Canon’s own software and although it’s not very feature rich, it’s easy to navigate and has everything a casual user would need. It’s worth reading through the manual to become familiar with all the modes and image stabilization options the camera has. Just looking through the menu options didn’t give us enough information to understand what everything did without the manual.
Canon itself has some alternatives in that price range with very similar specs, and even some that outperform the SX530.
The software allows for Hybrid Auto capture that records up to four seconds of video every time you shoot a photo. Smart Auto detects the type of photo you are shooting, analyzing both your subject and the background, then automatically chooses the best settings. There are many additional shooting modes for situations ranging from simple portraits to more creative filters like fisheye, toy camera, and monochrome effects. It even has settings for shooting snow scenes and fireworks.
The Canon PowerShot SX530 is $300 (MSRP) and has a common street price around $250. This puts it into a lower price range than many other compact DSLR-like alternatives. Canon itself has some alternatives in that price range with very similar specs, and even some that outperform the SX530.
The SX530 was a great value for the price but the technology is dated. Unfortunately, Canon’s newest model the PowerShot SX70 is currently around $550, which is a big jump in price. Modern superzoom cameras like the Panasonic Lumix FZ80, on the other hand, boast significantly better specs at nearly the same price as the SX530. Sony and Nikon both have several options worth looking at as well. Although the SX530 is a good camera at a decent value, it’s age is showing and definitely leaves it lagging behind current competitors.
While the Panasonic Lumix FZ80 has a MSRP of $400, it generally runs around $300, the MSRP of the Canon PowerShot SX530’s and only $50 more than its street value.
The Lumix FZ80 is an 18.1 megapixel camera that shoots 4K photos with a 60x optical zoom. The camera has a f/2.8 - f/5.9 aperture range, a touch enabled LCD, Wi-Fi, and is even capable of shooting 4K video. It’s DC VARIO 20-1220mm lens is more powerful than the SX530 and has better low light performance. All of that is packed into a similar compact DSLR-like body.
The Lumix Fz80 is a clear winner here, a great value for the money and several steps above the Canon PowerShot SX530.
A great but outdated camera.
The Canon PowerShot SX530 was a great little camera in its heyday, but in the contemporary market it’s not the best option for the price. The Panasonic Lumix FZ80 is a much better option and we know there’s plenty of other competition out there. If you can score the SX530 used for a great price go ahead and pull the trigger. At its current street price though, do yourself a favor and get something newer and more powerful.