Canon SX260 HS Review

| Published Date
27 - May - 2012
| Last Updated
28 - Sep - 2016

Where to buy

Canon SX260 HS

Canon SX260 HS Rating 0100100

Our Verdict

Every bit of the Canon SX260 HS is so beautiful, that we have a ridiculously hard time putting it down. The camera is extremely slim, sturdy (thanks to the metal frame) and the curved edges make it extremely comfortable in the hands. Performance wise, the camera managed to keep up with practically everything we threw at it. The price tag of Rs 22,995 seems a little steep, however the performance coupled up with the form factor of the camera justify the price.


  • Slim and sturdy
  • Great performance even at ISO 3200
  • Intuitive interface and ergonomics


  • Trifle expensive
  • Poor audio recording
  • Mediocre video recording in low light

Canon SX260 HS: Detailed Review

When a company has unlocked a successful formula for their product, they seldom deviate from it. Canon’s history with camera making is a testament of that very fact. They have churned out great cameras in every segment and the travel zoom is no exception.

The SX260 HS is Canon’s top-end travel zoom camera that promises to be an excellent companion on every trip you make. Well, we’re not that easily convinced to we put this little hunk of gorgeous metal to the test.

Build and Ergonomics:
The first thing you notice about the SX260 HS is its svelte matte finish which lends it a brushed metal feel. The unit we received was slate grey with slight color variations being used for the buttons and text. The metal ring around the zoom lens is brushed metal and blends rather well into the body’s color scheme. On the front, there is a nice, smooth rubber slab that juts out of the body, serving as a means of enhancing the grip of your shooting hand on the camera.
The back of the camera features the standard jog dial that also functions as a controller for various options (flash exposure, exposure compensation, focus modes and delete). Interestingly, Canon has moved the mode dial from the top onto the back (in a move to slim down the camera as a whole). The buttons on the back feel like they’re made from the same material as the body itself and there is no wobbling or wiggling, giving them a very well finished look and feel. The mode dial is well constructed, with just enough resistance to not move in case you accidentally knock into it. We liked how it makes a clicking sound when it switches modes, as a confirmation that the dial is in the correct position.
The bottom of the camera is pretty straightforward with a battery flap that covers the battery and SD card slots, a standard 1/4” tripod mount. The battery door on the SX260 HS is quite something to talk of. IT’s nothing special in terms of the engineering, but the quality is excellent. It locks into place quite well, and requires more than average effort to open, effectively eliminating any accidental openings of the door.

The top of the camera just features a standard shutter button with the zoom mechanism on the right edge and the mechanical pop-up flash on the far left edge. Lately, most camera makers have been switching the position of the on camera flash to the far left (from the original center) and we’ve got some beef with it. We often noticed that every time the camera had to pop the flash up for a shot, our finger would obstruct it, causing an uncomfortable sound. OF course, this is a problem only for those who are used to holding their cameras with both hands (which is like 98% of the camera user population according to a survey we just made up for this review). However, as we used the SX260 HS more and more, we noticed how comfortable and ergonomic it was for one handed use. Besides, we don’t like using flash anyway, so we kept it turned off for the most part.

Now onto the juicy bits! The Canon SX260 HS packs a modest 12.2 megapixel sensor, which in our opinion is a good decision, but more on that later. Canon also flaunts the “HS” nametag on this one, the technology simply being a combination of a back illuminated sensor along with a Digic processor (in this case, Digic 5). The “HS” system allegedly reduces noise up to 75% in high ISO conditions and we’re definitely going to be putting that to the test.
Operationally, the Canon SX260 HS is no different from any of the Canon cameras before it. The menus work the same way, the buttons do the same things. Canon has pretty much locked down on a very successful formula for the user experience.

We took the camera outdoors for a little spin to see how it would fair under the mid-day sun and well, we weren’t disappointed. First off, the camera went from switched off to ready to shoot in under 2 seconds. That’s BLAZING fast!

However, if the flash was required to get the shot, then the startup time increased to about 4 seconds as the flash does take some time to recharge.

We shot various scenes in various conditions (all on Program mode), starting with shooting a bright scene at the wide end of the lens. We then proceeded to zoom in all the way to 20x and shot the same scene, without moving the camera. We shot macro, walls, architecture and everything under the sun (literally!) and while the camera does well when shooting evenly lit scenes, we found the camera to struggle a bit with maintaining details in the shadows. We also found that the camera has a stronger tendency to expose for highlights over shadows, so if you’re shooting a scene with a large dynamic range, you might not be very thrilled with the exposure.

Heading over back to the studio for some controlled tests, we set the camera of Program mode just to see how it would work out the white balance. We shot our target scene at various ISOs to see how the HS system holds up. The ISO on the SX260 HS tops out at ISO 3200 which might seem low given how some cameras can go up to 6400 and 12800, but in our opinion, Canon has drawn the line at a very reasonable range. In our test shots, we got clean and crisp shots all the range. The noise is practically non-existent as is any signs of noise suppression. The center and edge sharpness is commendable, especially at higher ISOs. Even ISO 3200 left us quite impressed, with a total lack of noise, although there were some mild signs of noise suppression and loss in sharpness. Low light samples showed noise creeping in around ISO 1600, with a lowered dynamic range.

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

Base Shot

The video mode on the SX260 HS offers a slew of resolutions (and frame rates) you can record at, ranging from full 1080p to 640x480. The video mode can be accessed straight from the dedicated recording button at the back, without having to fiddle with the mode dial on the back. We found that the video quality on the camera is great, however, the focus seems to stumble a bit when you start zooming in while recording, a problem we didn’t experience any such problems with the Sony HX20V. The audio quality is clear, thanks to the stereo mics on the camera. Sadly, the video quality seemed to dip when shooting indoors in low light, with the shadow areas laden with noise. Our indoors environment lends acoustics an echo, and we noticed that the mics were not able to cancel out the echo, causing the audio to be of poor quality.

The camera also features a selection of creative filters such as fisheye, sepia, effects which are applied in camera. Personally, we’d stay clear of such effects, being quality Nazis, but if you like getting funky with your images without having to deal with the hassle of image editing software, then you might actually enjoy the feature.

In one word; AWESOME. We love the SX260 HS. The camera is built around Canon’s tried and tested formula of a very intuitive user interface and ergonomics, along with stellar image quality. Keeping the pixel count relatively low (12megapixels) along with a realistic ISO range allows the camera to deliver great image quality within its operational parameters.

The 20x zoom works well, the body is built solid and the battery lasts long enough to get you through a party or two. Our only gripe with the camera is its less than stellar video performance. Despite this one minor drawback, the Canon SX260 HS is worth every bit of that Rs. 22,995 you’re going to shell out for it. The built-in GPS chip adds value to the package, as does the bundled 4GB Class 4 SD card.


Latest Forum discussions on Canon SX260 HS

  • Canon powershot sx260 hs - best price in india

    I have checked on the net and its price is ranging from 13-20k. Where can I find the best deal? I have found an old thread where it was sold at around 11k. Is it still available at that price?

    1. Quagmire25/07/2013
      ^Please provide links for all the things you've mentioned. Buying advice - [url][/url] SX260 is almost a year old. Wait for SX270/280 to release in India.
    2. Sujoyp25/07/2013
      It seems the minimum is 14.5 around ....if u get some coupens u can get it for lesser [url=]Canon Powershot SX260 HS Price in India on Jul 25, 2013 | PriceDekho India[/url]
    3. Nac26/07/2013
      Is it? I don't remember it was selling @ 11k. The best I could remember is around 14k.
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    Hello All, I have purchased Canon SX260, got 4Gb memory card free. My question to experts is can you use some bigger size memory card into my camera. If yes then how much bigger size , 32Gb, or 64Gb ? Does it hits performance of camera, such as speed ?

    1. Sujoyp17/04/2013
      I am sure the cam will support a 32GB SDHC card support SDXC cards soo that means it will support a 64GB SDXC card too
    2. Sirfamol8520/04/2013
      [QUOTE=sujoyp;1885762]I am sure the cam will support a 32GB SDHC card support SDXC cards soo that means it will support a 64GB SDXC card too[/QUOTE] Ok. Related to same , What type of class (class 6/4/10) I should buy for my camera? I know class 4 is slow, but it will also slow my camera while taking HD pics ? or the slowness will be...
    3. Nac20/04/2013
      I think Canon recommends Class 6 and above. For image, I am sure Class 6 would suffice.
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    i'm an enthusiastic photographer and im gonna buy my first DLSR this Christmas..!! so shall i go for Canon [B]EOS 1100D[/B] or Canon [B]EOS 550D[/B]...?? or any [B]Nikon [/B] you can suggest..?? Regards...!!

    1. Sujoyp01/12/2011
      Go for Canon 550D...u will not be disappointed... In nikon I would say get D90 ...even if its old but its not an entry level DSLR...its one level higher
    2. Toofan01/12/2011
      depends upon your budget and what you would like to shoot. If you have interest in birding then investing in a canon would be benificial. Look for 550D or 60D or 7D as per your budget. If you don't wish to shoot birds canon 550D, Nikon D7000 as per your budget. If interested in Macros. NikonD90 or D7000 or D300s, canon 60D...
    3. Sujoyp01/12/2011
      yes I forgot to ask for the budget and shooting preferences :D please mention them so that we can help properly
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    hello everyone, my friend is giving a brand new [B]Canon-Pixma MP180 [/B]inkjet printer at very low cost to me. is it a good one and what is the current price of this printer ?? any cons or pros of this ?? rahul

    1. Acewin22/02/2009
      [URL=""]CNET Review[/URL] seems to say it good but this is very old printer. dont think we get them now. So cant come on for price, what price your friend giving in. maybe around 6K. Old price for this on compareindia is 8K that is 2 years back, as this...
    2. Rahuljin23/02/2009
      it is 3000rs for a brand new( or may be a week old).
    3. Acewin23/02/2009
      good buy, I will say because this printer is good
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    Hello , I am planning to buy my first point and shoot camera, while searching come to know these Canon PowerShot SX160 IS and Canon PowerShot SX150 IS are the best among features and many Digitian's recommends SX160. I can see the price difference between SX150 and SX160 is aroung 4-5K, is it worth? I know the basic two difference that...

    1. Nac10/04/2013
      Better zoom, battery life, little smaller than SX150. As far as IQ is concern, you will get a similar quality from both the cameras. With coupons you may get it for 10.5k, I think. TZ25 may come close to 12k. Check it's price.
    2. Sirfamol8510/04/2013
      [QUOTE=nac;1881598]Better zoom, battery life, little smaller than SX150. As far as IQ is concern, you will get a similar quality from both the cameras. With coupons you may get it for 10.5k, I think. TZ25 may come close to 12k. Check it's price.[/QUOTE] Is any specific reason you suggested me TZ25, other than budget ? any specific advantage...
    3. Nac11/04/2013
      IS IT WORTH? It's subjective. Improved battery life, focus speed, size, zoom matters to you, you can pay the extra and get SX160. TZ25 Lots of reasons, Speed, Lion battery, better video, IQ, battery life, sensor and in-camera "extra frills"... As far as learning curve is concern, it's will take the same time for all the cameras. You just have...
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