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Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Review Roundup



criteria 1
4/ 5


Get this for...

Travelers who love geo-tagging and want a long zoom in a pocket-sized camera.

Don't get this for...

Travelers who prefer videos to photos and hate carrying extra batteries.

Bottom Line

For many travelers, this compact camera’s long zoom, built-in GPS, and other travel-friendly features will more than outweigh its few drawbacks.

Posted January 10, 2014 by

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Full Article

Check out the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS at Amazon.

Tired of missing shots because of distance or blurring?  Hoping to find a camera that has fun features — like a super zoom, Wi-Fi and GPS — without the fancy price tag?  The Canon PowerShot SX280 HS (currently $305.10 at Amazon) may be your best pick for a travel camera.  Scroll down to check out summaries of each Canon PowerShot SX280 HS review on four authoritative websites, a glance through Amazon’s customer reviews, and my take on this compact megazoom camera as a photographic travel gift.


Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Review Roundup

Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Review at CNET

The Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Review over at CNET, written by Joshua Goldman, rates this compact camera at 4/5 stars.  Goldman compares the SX280 HS to the camera’s previous incarnation, the Canon SX260 HS (click here to see it at Amazon), which had the same zoom lens and 12-megapixel sensor.  The newer SX280, though, has a new image processor that offers better shooting performance alongside feature upgrades like built-in GPS and Wi-Fi.

Goldman offers lots of positive feedback on the camera’s lightweight design, while noting that the flash is awkwardly positioned on the camera body.  He also goes over the camera’s shooting options, which include everything from automatic shooting to full manual controls.  While the SX280 HS doesn’t offer easy options for shooting HDR images or panoramas, it does have a full selection of Creative Filters for fun in-camera editing.

The gist of this Canon Powershot SX280 HS review seems to be: While it offers great shooting performance, GPS, Wi-Fi, burst shooting, and of course a megazoom lens, you’ll need to invest in some extra batteries if you take full advantage of these many features.


Check out the Canon PowerShot SX80 HS at Amazon


Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Review at PCMag

Jim Fisher at PCMag also gave 4/5 stars to the Canon SX280 HS.  Despite the not-quite-perfect rating, he also names it the PCMag Editors’ Choice for compact superzooms.  Why is that?  Because the zoom, image quality, and features outweigh the negatives.

Fisher starts by praising the camera’s compact size; unlike the CNET review, this one makes no mention of any design issues with the location of the flash.  He mentions that the GPS feature can be a drain on the battery, so it’s best to turn that off while you’re not using it.  Finally, he goes through tests for image sharpness, concluding that the camera offers excellent noise control for a compact.  He mentions that the compact Canon PowerShot Elph 330 HS (click here to see it at Amazon) offers slightly better quality at comparable ISO ranges (which might make a better low-light option), but the Elph 330 HS lacks this camera’s zoom range and geo-tagging features.

The final word in this Canon PowerShot SX280 HS review?  This camera beats out most others in its category of compact superzooms.  With sharp images and a long zoom, this travel-friendly camera pulls together great quality and travel-friendly features in one pocket-sized package.


Check out the Canon PowerShot SX80 HS at Amazon


Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Review at Camera Labs

At the retro-styled camera site Camera Labs, Gordon Laing gives the Canon Powershot SX280 HS a grade of 83%.  This in-depth review includes detailed walkthroughs that explore the menus and features of the camera’s shooting modes, movie mode, Wi-Fi, and GPS.  He also offers sample images and movies that demonstrate the capabilities of the SX280 HS.

Laing’s comments are mostly positive, and he specifically mentions that the image quality on the Canon outperforms its superzoom rivals, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS30 (click here to see it at Amazon) and the Sony Cybershot DSC-WX300 (click here to see it at Amazon). Unlike the competition, though, the Canon lacks a panorama mode (present on the Sony) and a touch-screen with selectable auto-focus areas (present on the Lumix).  He finishes by praising the camera’s image quality, 20x optical zoom, image stabilization (an essential for any camera with such a huge zoom range), and the fast continuous shooting.

Check out the Canon PowerShot SX80 HS at Amazon


Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Review at Pocket Lint

Of all our authoritative reviewers, Mike Lowe at Pocket-lint is the most generous in his Canon Powershot SX280 HS review, giving the compact camera an almost-perfect rating of 4.5/5 stars.  He mentions that the feature set is solid, though it would be nice if the camera had a full-feature touchscreen similar to the screen on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS30 (click here to see it at Amazon).

Lowe isn’t crazy about the Wi-Fi implementation, and is especially critical of the social sharing options.  Since images are shared via the Canon Image Gateway, that means they don’t just go up directly on social sharing sites.  He moves from that critique, though, to praising the camera’s processor and 12.1-megapixel sensor.  He also mentions the excellent image quality, calling it the “best in class throughout the ISO sensitivity range.”


Check out the Canon PowerShot SX80 HS at Amazon


Canon PowerShot SX280 HS reviews by customers at Amazon

Amazon’s customer reviews, always an interesting source of product feedback, give the Canon Powershot SX280 HS a 3.7/5 average rating (at the time of posting).  This means they’ve actually been a bit less generous than the expert reviewers above.  What are their main complaints?  Many were unhappy about an early fault with the battery indicator, though reviews indicate that Canon quickly produced firmware updates to fix the problem.  (It’s likely that early reviews criticizing the camera on these grounds haven’t been changed since the firmware upgrade.  Those could be pulling down the Canon PowerShot Sx280 HS review score.)

Some reviewers join the experts above in critiquing the SX280’s battery life.  Others complained about design issues, like how the pop-up flash is located right where many of us would rest the left index finger.

The average Amazon Canon PowerShot Sx280 HS review, though, indicates that the pros of the Canon PowerShot SX280 outweigh the cons.  For every reviewer unhappy with the firmware, there’s another who’s thrilled with the quality of the photos and the capabilities of the 20x optical zoom lens.  More than one Amazon Canon Powershot SX280 HS review also praised the Wi-Fi capabilities, GPS, and excellent low-light performance.


Check out the Canon PowerShot SX80 HS at Amazon


My Summary: An Excellent Travel Camera with a Few Flaws (4-Stars)

This pocket-sized camera is bursting with travel-friendly features.  The Wi-Fi will help you stay connected on the road: upload new photos to your travel album every time you reach an internet-equipped hotel.  The GPS is another handy feature — after all, what traveler wouldn’t want to geo-tag their photos, putting a virtual pin on the map to keep track of travel memories?  At $305.10, this camera also falls within a reasonable price range for many travelers.

This camera’s battery is not its strong point, especially if you spend a lot of time shooting video.  Also, reviewers do note that zoom noise is audible in video recordings.  That means the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS probably isn’t the best choice for a dedicated videographer.  For many travelers, though, a pocket-sized camera that offers great features and sharp images all along its massive zoom range could make a fantastic photographic travel gift.


Check out the Canon PowerShot SX280 at Amazon


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Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Review Roundup
This Canon Powershot SX280 HS Review Roundup goes over the features and flaws of this travel-friendly camera based on expert opinions from 5 review sites.


I'm a travel addict and shopping lover with six years abroad and seventeen countries under my belt. Now that I've settled down in Cambridge, MA for a couple years, TravelGiftList helps me keep up with the world of fun, quirky, and practical travel gifts!


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