The Canon PowerShot SX60 HS ($549.99) is one of the more expensive superzoom cameras on the market, but it manages to put all of the pieces together to earn Editors’ Choice accolades for superzooms that crack the 50x barrier. Its 65x lens covers an incredible zoom range, the 16-megapixel sensor is capable of capturing images in Raw format as well as 1080p60 video, and it’s got integrated Wi-Fi. If you’re set on a lens that enters überzoom territory, it’s the one to get.
Design and Features
Like all cameras in this class, the SX60 HS$353.07 at Walmart looks a lot like an SLR. It’s only available in black, there’s a hot shoe and viewfinder, and when its zoom lens is retracted, it isn’t that much smaller than the kit lens included with entry-level SLRs. The SX60 measures 3.6 by 4.5 by 5 inches (HWD) and weighs 1.4 pounds.
The SX60’s lens boasts a 65x zoom ratio, the biggest ratio we’ve seen in this class. The 21-1,365mm (equivalent) f/3.4-6.5 zoom covers one of the widest angles of any fixed lens camera, and it can zoom in to capture distant objects thanks to its extreme telephoto reach. You can see the breadth of the zoom for yourself; the image of Madison Square Garden above was captured at the widest angle and the shot of the goalie below is zoomed all the way in.
Saying that it’s difficult to keep track of a moving subject when zoomed to a 1,365mm angle of view is an understatement. Canon includes a framing assist function, activated via The Framing Assist Seek button on the lens barrel, to alleviate this issue. If you’re trying to focus on a bird or other object that’s moving about you can hold the button down, which backs the lens out and displays a box on the Live View feed that indicates the zoomed in frame. Releasing the button returns the lens to its zoomed in position. There’s another button below this one on the lens barrel, Framing Assist Lock; holding that down when tracking a subject leverages the optical stabilization system to help keep the object in frame, even if your camera movement isn’t quite perfect. Using these two functions together makes framing and tracking distant subjects a bit of an easier task than it is with other superzoom cameras.
The Framing Assist Seek button has a secondary function that can be configured via the menu. It works with face detection to automatically zoom in for portraits. It can be set to frame just the face, the upper body, the whole body, or a custom size which you define. The function works well; it had no issues tracking the face of my test subject. The practical applications of this function may not be vast, but if you’re a parent attempting to take photos of your offspring in the school play, it could make your job a bit easier.
Canon places additional physical controls on the top and rear. The top plate houses the zoom rocker and shutter release, the programmable Shortcut button, the power button, and a mode dial. The rear houses the standard playback, Wi-Fi, and delete controls, a Record button, a button that allows you to adjust the active focus point, and physical controls to adjust exposure compensation, the drive mode, the flash output, and the macro focusing mode. It’s a strong control layout, and I especially liked the placement of the focus point adjustment button, right next to the rear thumb rest.
Additional shooting adjustments can be made via an on-screen overlay menu, accessible via the rear Func./Set button. A column of control options runs along the left of the screen, with options for each displayed as a row on the bottom. Various setting can be adjusted from this menu, including the ISO, white balance, metering pattern, self-timer, dynamic range and shadow correction, and image quality and video resolution.
The rear display is mounted on a hinge, so it can tilt out to be viewed from the side, front, above, or below, and can sit flush against the rear facing either in or out. The 3-inch LCD is very bright and quite sharp thanks to a 922k-dot resolution, so there are no complaints there. The eye-level EVF, which can be activated via the Display button or simply by closing the rear display so that the LCD isn’t visible, is also quite sharp.
As you’d expect from a camera at this price point, Wi-Fi is built in. You can use Canon’s free CameraWindow app for iOS or Android to transfer JPG images and video clips to your smartphone or tablet; Raw transfer is not supported. Setting up the connection between an iPhone and the camera is pretty simple. There’s a button with the outline of a phone on the rear of the SX60, after you press that, it’s a simple matter of connecting the phone to a network broadcast by the camera. If you have an Android phone that supports NFC, you can connect by tapping the two devices together; the NFC sensor is on the left side.
You can also upload images directly to popular Web services, including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. You’ll need to connect the SX60 HS to a network and set up a Canon Image Gateway account to do so, but once that’s done you can post directly from the camera whenever it’s connected to a network. There’s no in-camera GPS, but if you enable the CameraWindow location logger, you can add location metadata to photos over Wi-Fi—just be sure that the time on your phone and camera are synchronized.
Finally, remote control from your phone or tablet is possible. Controls are limited—you can zoom the lens, set the self-timer, control the flash ouput, and fire the shutter, but that’s it. There’s no way to select a focus point, or to control other settings. For a camera that has full manual control available, that’s a disappointment.
Amazon $429: https://www.amazon.com/Canon-Powershot-16-1MP-Digital-Optical/dp/B00NEWZ8EY/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1528284186&sr=1-3&keywords=Canon+PowerShot+SX60+HS&dpID=51huTKDGkZL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch