Just slightly missed the mark

Sep 6, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Helpful Review

Pros:12X optical zoom
Takes decent indoor pictures with the flash
Long battery life

Cons:Slippery body
No viewfinder
Shutter lag
Outdoor shots can be yellowish
Wall mount battery charger

The Bottom Line:

This camera offers many useful features, is easy to operate and takes decent pictures.


I bought this camera in April 2009 and have been using it in a variety of settings for the past 6 months.  Overall, it is a decent camera with tons of features.  I bought this camera to replace one that did not take very good indoor shots.  The Canon Powershot SX200IS has proved itself worthy in this area.  I take pictures indoors of speakers doing presentations, mostly with the lights dimmed.  The flash compensates nicely for the lack of light, and the pictures are always crisp.  Unfortunately, as with all digital cameras, the lag time almost always results in getting a shot of the speaker making an odd face or with their eyes closed.  (Of course, I just take tons of pictures and hope that a few are good enough for the purpose.)  Outdoor pictures vary from outstanding to saturated.  The sky and clouds are dead on, but the vegetation leans toward yellow-green instead of a true green.  Reds are very good, but can also be a bit yellowish depending on the shade of red.  Video is good, but the output is in QuickTime.  Battery life is excellent.  I was able to take almost 300 pictures on each charge.  The charger is not so great, but I guess it depends on what you are used to.  This particular battery charger is a wall mount (not on a wire), so you have to have a pretty large accessible area around an electrical outlet.  It takes up a lot of space.  Charging is quick; about 1.5 hours.  Access to the battery/memory card slot is easy, but the port for the cable to connect the camera to a PC is awkward.  You have to pull and open it at the same time, and it is connected to the camera with a stretchy rubber thing that feels like it is going to snap if you pull too hard.  It just doesn't feel solidly built, as the rest of the camera does. 

Probably the hardest thing for me to get used to with this camera was the lack of a viewfinder.  When you grow up using cameras that you hold up to your eye, it is a hard habit to break!  Also, my last camera had a swiveling LCD screen so I could hold the camera over my head and still see what I was shooting, or even turn it completely around so I could see myself when taking a self-portrait.  This would have been a nice feature to have on this camera, to compensate for the lack of a viewfinder.  The LCD display tends to look grainy when zooming, but this does not affect the photo quality.  I don't mind that the flash pops up every time you turn the camera on, but it reminds me of the pop up headlights on cars.  I'm just waiting for it to get stuck in the up or down position - and then what will I do?

A nice thing about the Canon PowerShot SX200IS is that it comes with a real paper manual.  I get so mad when you have to go online to read a pdf manual and was super happy that I actually got something to hold in my hands and read.

On the downside, the camera body is very slippery.  The placement of the only "grippy" type of area on the camera is not intuitively placed.  I am also constantly turning it on by accident when I pick it up, because all the control buttons are so close together on the back that my thumb slides down and hits the view button.  I have already dropped the camera because of the slickness of the plastic body.  The camera still works fine, but it rattles now and I don't know if it rattled before I dropped it (who thinks to shake a camera when they buy it?).  It comes with a wrist strap, but I traded it out for a neck strap. 

There are still a bunch of features that I have not used yet, but am happy to have on the camera.  I'm sure I will try them all someday.  This was a pretty pricey camera, but with all the features it offers, I'd say Canon packed a lot into it for the money.


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