Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Digital Camera Review$349.99
Ease of Use
- Automatic Features
- Buttons & Dials
- Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
- Instruction Manual
We spent most of our time in Program Auto, however beginners will want to look for the two automatic modes. There's a green "Auto" mode, which detects the scene and adjusts settings accordingly. In this mode, most options are locked out, but it's still possible to specify resolution, flash, focus, and even drive mode. An even simpler mode, called "Easy," locks out almost all shooting options and is suitable for rank novices or children.
Buttons & Dials
Canon's tried and true button layout for compacts is used to great effect here on the SX260. The multifunction directional pad / rotating dial is flanked top and bottom by keys for video recording, playback mode, display options, and the main menu. Inside the circular pad itself are shortcuts for common functions like exposure compensation, flash, focus, and self-timer; plus the Func./Set button in the center opens up a convenient quick menu. Simple and easy.
Above all that, the detailed mode dial is oriented vertically for comfortable operation by the thumb, and also makes a good resting place for it.
Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
Scene modes and picture effects each get their own stops on the mode dial. There are eleven total scene modes, the most useful one has got to be High-speed Burst HQ, which allows full resolution bursts at 10 frames per second. Either that, or Low Light mode, which limits resolution to 3 megapixels, but unlocks ISO levels up to 6400.
Picture effects are a little more goofy than scene modes, and include effects like Fish-eye, Miniature, Toy Camera, Color Accent, and more.
Many of us favor Canon menu systems, and the SX260 is a good example of why we do. Shooting options are at your fingertips thanks to the quick Function menu. This interface is a simple crossbar arrangement that offers easy access to ISO options, white balance, metering, drive mode, etc. The software is fast and responsive, we only wish the LCD had enough resolution to legibly display all the options at once, without scrolling.
The main menu, also available with only a single button press, is a slightly more complicated tab-based interface, and here you'll find more specific preferences like AF frame size, digital zoom options, and image stabilization methods. Again, the interface is responsive and introduces minimal delay into the shooting process.
The SX260 ships with an unhelpful Getting Started guide, but even after loading the proper User Manual from the included CD-ROM, we found important information was spread out across both manuals. To our constant annoyance, we had to swap back and forth between the two documents to find the information we were looking for.