Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Digital Camera Review$349.99
The camera's internal noise reduction software is highly aggressive and this has mixed results. At the lowest ISOs, 100 and 200, shots are largely free of noise, and image quality is in no way degraded. At ISO 400 and 800, noise levels are still pretty low, but smoothing software does affect the shot. Edges start to become pixelated at this point, and some details are lost in translation. At 1600 and above noise becomes noticeable, and although the smoothing software keeps things in check, shots are no longer suitable for cropping and should only be viewed in small sizes. Maximum image noise tops out at 1.51% at ISO 3200. Luminance noise is dominant over chroma. More on how we test noise.
The SX260's sensitivity extends from ISO 100 to 3200 in full resolution, though Auto ISO will only meter up to 1600. Using the Low Light scene mode unlocks ISO 6400, however this locks resolution to only 3 megapixels.
The SX260 performed poorly in our new focus test, particularly in low light. On a few occasions the camera missed focus when it shouldn't have, and once even committed the cardinal sin of missing focus but falsely reporting a lock.
Video: Low Light Sensitivity
This camera is more sensitive than average for low light videography. The sensor requires only 24 lux of ambient illumination to gather 50 IRE of image data. That's no match for a camcorder, but decent for a compact camera.