Point and Shoot: Canon PowerShot SX10 IS Review

By Hilary Bullock on September 15th, 2011   |    Posted in:  Camera Gear   |    2 Comments

I once traveled to the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground to see the infamous Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue for the first time. Armed with my faithful Point and Shoot, Alfred, a rather striking Canon PowerShot SX10 IS, I was ready for some good times and amble photo opportunities. Surrounded by friends and complete strangers, we all broke out our cameras to document the Mason jar’s filled to the brim with Sangria and the half hearted attempts to lick the sticky, sweet barbecue sauce from our fingers. While I fiddled with my settings to see if I could get a decent shot in such a low lit dining hall without the use of my flash, one of my friends gave me a quizzical look. Followed by him throwing his head back and letting out an audacious laugh, “That’s your camera” he had exclaimed and most likely with a point of the finger “It’s huge.”

Now I’m well aware of Alfred’s size, he’s a bit bigger in the camera body than most Point and Shoots and while these days most P&S have just an LCD screen, he has this small bump at the top of his body, more commonly known as a viewfinder. Yet, these quirks were not a justified reason to point and laugh at a defenseless camera. However, at that moment I came to the realization that I was stuck in this rather odd limbo of the camera world. My faithful Canon was far too big and slightly more complex to fit in with the random P&S of the world but it was not quite ready to run with the big boys, the DSLR’s.

In all seriousness, the Canon PowerShot SX10 IS is a Point and Shoot on the verge of DSLR-hood. At least to the untrained eye this particular Canon can look daunting and complicated, but besides a fair few differences in look this camera functions like a majority of other P&S’s.

With pre-settings ranging from the simple Auto and Portraits to Fireworks or Foliage and everything in between this Canon has practically every category of settings covered. Yet, this P&S also has several “manual” settings in which the photographer is given the chance to control just the aperture, the shutter speed or both. While these settings were one of the things that originally drew me towards this camera I must admit that I rarely use them, especially at WDW where I’m in constant movement around the parks. They are tricky to work in quick situations especially for someone who has not used a DSLR or even a SLR in quite a long time. Taking the time to figure out which button switches the camera’s focus to which function is tricky and with none of the manual settings labeled to help the photographer make a quick adjustment it can become difficult to master.

While at the parks I tend to stick with only a hand full of the pre settings, focusing my attention more on the compositional aspect of the photographs. In all honesty, I use the Auto setting more than any other preset (I believe I felt a few of you just gasp.) It’s true with Auto I feel that I can concentrate on the look and feel of what I’m trying to capture as opposed to fumbling with settings and completely missing a shot. I do however, switch the ISO to High (Auto) as opposed to Auto ISO. I’m not sure whether this is adjustment is particular to this P&S but I feel with this small switch my photos become crisper with less of a blur from camera and/or subject motion.

Yet, the true draw for me to this Canon was its macro ability. I’m a huge fan of taking flower photos especially with some interesting Disney-esque backgrounds and with this P&S I rarely feel like I’ve fallen flat on those particular captures.With the camera set on Auto with macro selected this Canon provides a sharp focus with a nice shallow depth of field. The drawback is that flipping between macro and another setting with a deeper depth of field, the camera tends to have trouble focusing and I often have to zoom in and out or even turn the camera off and on until it “catches on” to the change of DoF. Along with the great close-up/macro shots, this Canon has no problem shooting across the World Showcase Lagoon with a 20x zoom but without a tripod my shaky hand often causes to much blur regardless of the image stabilization built into the camera.

Now I’m by no means an expert on cameras, not even my own. I do feel like this Canon is one of those Point and Shoots that is a stepping stones towards a more complex camera and possibly more complex captures. However, while my attempts at shooting the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue were less than stellar l did learn a few things. Mainly that no matter the camera, magic can be captured at Disney if you choose to point and shoot for it. (Pun poorly intended.)


  1. laurie schaerer   |   Sep 15, 2011

    Hillary – I love my SX10…wouldn’t trade it for anything. I also have the Canon G11, and while I sometimes carry them both with me, I never go anywhere without my SX10. Like you, I love the super macro capability the SX10 has. I do use the manual settings quite a bit, but it’s nice to have those presets to fall back on. To me, one of the greatest features of this camera, besides the super zoom, the super macro, and the 20x zoom, is the vari-angle lcd. There are so many shots I would have missed without it.

    I’m saving up for a Canon 60D, but I’ll still never give up my SX10.

  2. April   |   Sep 20, 2011

    Thank you for this article! I am going down to Walt Disney World in about a month and planned on taking my Canon SX20 instead of my Canon T1i, just for the sake of enjoying the park for the first time ever (not there strictly JUST for photos), and was trying to find ANY kind of photos or reviews from any Canon SX camera at Disney… maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough. But thank you again, your article couldn’t have come at a better time!



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