Canon PowerShot SX610 HS Review


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The Bottom Line

While Canon's PowerShot SX610 HS camera has reached the 20 megapixels of resolution threshold -- a level of resolution that seemed unlikely for most point and shoot cameras just a few years ago -- just reaching 20MP isn't enough to guarantee that the SX610 is a great camera. It takes more than inflated pixel counts on an image sensor to give a digital camera the type of power, performance, and speed needed to make it a great model to use.

In part because Canon gave the PowerShot SX610 a small 1/2.3-inch image sensor, the SX610 just doesn't provide the kind of image quality you'd expect with a 20MP camera. Don't expect to make mid-to-large-sized prints with this camera, although its images are good enough to share via social media. And because this model is a very basic point and shoot camera, you won't have the option of improving the image quality via manual controls.

Performance levels are below average with this model too, Burst modes are not fast enough, and the PowerShot SX610 struggles with shutter lag when making use of the flash. At least Canon was able to minimize shutter lag with the SX610 when shooting in good light conditions, which is a nice feature. 

The best feature of this model, though, is the fact that Canon's designers incorporated an 18X optical zoom lens in a thin camera that measures just over an inch in thickness.

But that feature is not nearly enough to justify Canon's $249 starting price for the PowerShot SX610 HS (compare prices at Amazon).


  • Resolution: 20.2 megapixels
  • Optical zoom: 18X (25-450mm equivalent)
  • LCD: 3.0-inch, 922,000 pixels
  • Maximum image size: 4608 x 3456 pixels
  • Battery: Rechargeable Li-Ion
  • Dimensions: 4.15 x 2.4 x 1.05 inches
  • Weight: 6.74 ounces (CIPA standard)
  • Image sensor: 1/2.3-inch CMOS
  • Movie mode: Full HD 1080p


  • 20 megapixels of resolution
  • 18X optical zoom lens, despite thin camera
  • High quality LCD screen
  • Wireless connectivity built into camera
  • Camera is very easy to use and contains many special effect options


  • Small image sensor limits image quality
  • No significant manual control options
  • Battery life needs to be better
  • Camera operates slowly when flash is in use
  • Control buttons on back of camera are too small
  • Noise is a problem in some low light photos


Image Quality

The overall image quality of the Canon SX610 is below average, especially against other models in its price range. Despite having 20MP of resolution, the SX610 cannot create images that can be made into large prints that are sharp and bright. Images shot in low light have a lot of noise, and they look like they've been over-processed.

The SX610's images look adequate when viewed on a computer screen or on a tablet at small sizes, so if you just want a mid-range-zoom lens in a small camera body that you can use to create images to share on social networking sites, this model may meet your needs.

Full HD movie quality is good with this model, although you are limited to shooting at 30 frames per second, unlike the 60fps some cameras allow.


The PowerShot SX610 offers varying levels of performance, some good and some bad, versus others in its price range.

Start-up performance for the SX610 is good at right around 2 seconds from pressing the power button to recording your first image. Pleasingly, the Canon SX610's shutter lag in typical shooting conditions is better than its peers and other point and shoot cameras.

However, this model's performance levels when using the flash are very poor, both in terms of shutter lag and in shot-to-shot delays, where you'll have to wait several seconds between shots when using the flash, which will cause you to miss some spontaneous photos.

Don't expect anything but below average performance when it comes to the SX610's burst mode features as well. While Canon allows this model to record images at a full 20MP of resolution in burst mode, you will be limited to shooting less than two photos per second.


Like many small Canon PowerShot cameras, the SX610's control buttons are too small to be used comfortably, especially the four-way button. Because this model is a very basic point and shoot camera, Canon didn't give it many manual controls, and this camera is very easy to use.

You'll have access to both Wi-Fi and NFC wireless connectivity with this model, which is handy for sharing your photos immediately after you shoot them with social networks. However, the SX610's overall battery performance under normal conditions is poor, and the battery drains even more quickly when using wireless connectivity, which almost makes this feature unusable.

Canon did give this model a high resolution, 3.0-inch LCD screen. But on an easy-to-use camera, I'd have liked to have seen a touchscreen option, which the SX610 does not have.

Ultimately, having an 18X optical zoom lens in a camera that measures just a little more than 1 inch in thickness is probably the best feature of the Canon SX610. You easily can carry this model in a pocket, while still having a mid-range zoom lens, making it a candidate to be a camera for carrying on vacation. And if those images you'll be shooting on vacation will only be shared on social networks, rather than being made into large prints, the SX610 could be a good camera for you, as long as you can find it at a discount to its MSRP of $249.

However, if you're primarily interested in finding a Canon camera that gives you a long zoom lens in a relatively thin camera body, and you don't mind spending a little more money, my thought is the Canon PowerShot SX710 HS gives you a little more value for your dollar than this model, thanks to its 30X optical zoom lens. You will have to pay a little more for the SX710, but the extra telephoto capability is worth it in my eyes.

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