A Day with Canon PowerShot SX210 IS at Universal Studios Singapore

March 9, 2011 Update: A lot of you have asked about accessing color swap, color accent and other scene modes on your Canon PowerShot and IXUS cameras. I’ve written a step-by-step guide here.

Lately, I’ve taken a serious liking to photography. So I’ve been thinking about upgrading to either an advanced point and shoot or an entry-level dSLR. I really can’t decide! I’m in such a dilemma since I’m afraid I may outgrow a prosumer point and shoot, yet I cannot foresee myself carrying a huge, unglamorous bag full of lenses all in the name of artistic photography.

In the midst of my dilemma, Glenn from Ogilvy invited me to a blogger event to check out Canon’s latest line-up of cameras. Despite my hectic work schedule, I knew I just had to go. I mean, this event could potentially solve the dilemma of a lifetime!

So on Thursday, I found myself at the newly-opened Universal Studios Singapore. Canon introduced us to the zoom monster PowerShot SX210 IS, the sleek touchscreen-ed IXUS 210 and the pocket-sized IXUS 130. We were each given 5 hours with one of these to shoot around the theme park. The cameras were randomly given out. As a PowerShot fan, I was vying to test out the PowerShot SX210 IS. Thanks to Clauds, who offered to switched cameras with me, my wish was granted. πŸ˜€

Before I start, here’s a few disclaimers:

  • This is a very long entry. If you don’t like text, scroll down for pretty pictures and HD videos! πŸ˜€
  • To showcase photo quality, no photos or videos were edited.
  • Click on the thumbnail for the full photo to appear in a lightbox.
  • For more photos, visit my Picasa gallery.
  • 3 bloggers with the most creative photos will each win one of the latest line-up of Canon cameras.

The Features

Here’s a first look at the features shared amongst the PowerShot SX 210 IS, Digital IXUS 210 and Digital IXUS 130.

Color Swap: Painting the town pink!

Color swap switches one color for another. Here’s how it works: point the camera on a color from your viewfinder, select it, then select a color you’d like to swap the first with. It’s like a real life eyedropper tool. (You photoshopaholics know what I’m talking about!) For these shots, I swapped brown for bright pink to paint Universal Studios pink! I had a blast shooting in this mode. I had to chase down this little girl with a pink bag (who was quite far away) to get the shade of pink I wanted. I was glad I had the zoom monster or I’d have to physically chase her for it.


Color Accent: Gold highlights

Color accent highlights a particular color, while the rest of the photo is in monochrome. I’m not very good with this effect but I liked how my golden Shrek castle turned out.

Medieval feel with the accent on brownIMG_0012.JPGIMG_0018.JPGIMG_0041.JPGIMG_0069.JPGIMG_0194.JPGIMG_0195.JPGIMG_0070.JPG

Miniature Effect: Toy world

This is my favorite photo effect! The whole world looks like a giant toy wonderland! There are more at my Picasa but here are my favorites:


Fish Eye: Distortion extraordinaire


HD Video Samples

The new line-up of cameras also shoots high definition videos. Select 720p to watch in HD. πŸ™‚

HD video of Universal Studios Singapore

Here’s a 360 degree view of USS.

HD video of one of the rides

I was trying to keep this shot steady but it started raining heavily all of a sudden so I had to run for cover. πŸ™

HD video with PowerShot SX210 IS’ 14x zoom

Zooming in on the fountain. It gets shaky in the middle; I was zoomed in so close that every slight movement had a big impact on the camera.

HD video with Color Swap

Painting Universal Studios Pink – The Movie! πŸ˜€ Yes, I’m 24 years old and I still ride carousels.

HD video with Color Accent

You’re gonna have to tilt your head to watch this. I shot this in portrait mode thinking it would auto-rotate like photos. Oops!

Sample Photos

Here’s a few more shots in various shooting modes. Read the description in the full photos for more details.


My Thoughts on the Canon PowerShot SX 210 IS

This is a great camera for those who need zoom power and want to have the flexibility to switch between a very smart auto mode and full manual controls. I can’t give this a proper review since I only spent 5 hours with it but here are my general first impressions.

What I Like

  • Fast shooting speed and amazing image stabilization: I shot while walking and no photo ever came out blur — even in poor lighting!
  • Long battery life: I’m not sure of the industry benchmark but compared to my PowerShot A590 IS (which runs on lithium ion rechargeable AA batteries) the PowerShot SX 210 IS is so much better! I took 180+ photos and 8 movies. I barely turned off my camera over the 5 hours and the battery was still going strong.
  • One button movie mode: It was a breeze to shoot movies thanks to the dedicated movie button!

What I Didn’t

  • Stiff mode dial: The mode dial is a little stiffer than I’m used too. I guess it’s more dSLR like?
  • No indication for arrow buttons: This is minor, but unlike my A590 IS, the SX 210 IS didn’t come with pictures to describe each arrow keys’ function. So I had to struggle to find the manual focus, the delete key and the toggle between aperture and shutter speed. I guess this is only frustrating when you only have 5 hours with a camera that’s full of functions. I don’t suppose it’ll be a problem if you own one though. πŸ˜‰

So, I thought this event would help solve my dilemma between upgrading to an advanced point and shoot or an entry level dSLR. Unfortunately, it’s just made my life more difficult since I’ve grown quite fond of the PowerShot SX 210 IS. Sigh, what a geeky predicament to be in!

Dilemma aside, I had a splendid time thanks to Canon and Ogilvy!

  • Oh wow, the pictures looks awesome, and I REALLY love that minature effect! That sucks that my camera doesn’t have that!! Wow, and the video looks nicer than mine’s! =( I’m jealous. Haha. I also have a PowerShot, but it’s a little over a year old.

    • Ivy

      Thanks babe! I love the miniature effect!! It was so fun to shoot with it! I Every time I took a shot, I was like “omg! it really looks like a toy!!!”

      Which PowerShot are you using? My current PowerShot is pretty old too. It’s the A590 IS.

    • I have the PowerShot SD1100 IS.

    • Ram

      Seriously Nice pics. Check out mine.

  • Sy

    Wow. Cool awesome chance on Canon Cameras !

    Quite a few awesome photos and features , that i hope i can try on ! πŸ™‚

  • Fantastic pictures. I like all the different effects. Fortunately for me, a simple digital camera is all that’s required! Looks like you had fun!

  • Just bought this camera and it IS awesome, but I haven’t gotten around to exploring all the options yet – I’m struggling with all the buttons since I’m not familiar with Canon (used to be a Lumix user). Question: what battery did you use with the Canon though? My current battery runs out real quick and it doesn’t last through the day, since it’s a normal nb-5l. I was wondering if there’s a lithium-ion battery pack for this particular camera when I stumbled on your blog. Anyway your photos look great and have given me inspiration on how to use my camera, thanks! πŸ™‚

    • Ivy

      Yes, this camera sure has lots of features!

      I used the battery that came with the camera. For me, it’s more than enough to last 200 shots and 7 HD movies (average length: 15 seconds each). I used flash twice and the zoom less than 10 times. Do you use a lot of flash and zoom? That and cold weather tend to consume a lot of power.

      Also, my standards for battery life may be quite low, since I’m comparing it to my current camera, Canon PowerShot A590 IS, which runs on AA batteries. With lithium ion AA batteries, the A590 IS lasts about 100 shots (no flash, barely any zoom). With the display turned off (it has an optical viewfinder), it lasts about 150+ shots. So, a camera that can take 200+ photos and a couple videos is good by my standards. πŸ™‚

      Glad you got some inspiration! You have to play with the miniature effect! It was a lot of fun to play with!

    • Haha I found out why my battery ran out so fast…turns out it wasn’t fully charged. You’re right, when it’s fully charged, it lasts a whole day of photo taking + movies, although just barely for me, as I’m very fond of playing around with the features, using the zoom and playing back photos, which takes up a lot of battery life. Used this camera when I went to Japan for a holiday, and I got great photos, exactly what I wanted. This is, so far, the best advanced p&s I’ve seen on the market haha. Gotta say though, this camera does better at cold colours ie blues and greens than warm colours like reds and oranges.

  • The additional features like the Miniature World, the Colour Emphasis, Colour Swap and the Fish Eyes (I especially enjoy the last two!) are really brilliant. It makes that camera a really exciting gadget.

    I assume you have made up your mind regarding cameras? =)

    • Ivy

      You like the fish eye? Cool! You can do it with your dSLR too! (You just need to fork out the $$ to get a fish eye lens!)

      Well, I haven’t decided yet but I’m leaning towards the advanced points & shoots for now. I really cannot see myself carry all those lenses!!

  • Adeela

    i really liked the pictures. Since quite some time i was debating b/w canon sx 210 n sony hx5. Was much confused from the difference of opinion from professionals reviews. But now i think i’ll definitely go for this canon sx 210. just waiting impatiently for it to launch in karachi pakistan .

    • Ivy

      Thanks, Adeela! I’ve never tried Sony cameras, so I’m not sure what to say about them but just checked out the HX5! It looks really interesting! I heard they are also coming out with micro 4/3rds called the NEX3 and NEX5.

    • Ram

      If you are really interested in a photography, buy a camera that gives you a lot of control. Actually that is what makes DSLR much more interesting. I have the SX210. It gives me a lot of control over my shots and tends me to be more experimental. If you plan on buying a NEX-5, I will suggest you to get a real DSLR instead. All the after effects will come nigh with photoshop.

  • Hi Ivy, I’m Janna from Olive Group Consulting and I’m collecting some info about blogs in singapore. Can you email me at the address provided so that I can contact you? Thanks a lot!

  • Peter

    This is a great review ivy, i have been looking for a camera to take with on my holiday this september, i have a nice fuji finepix s5800 camera that takes some nice shots but want something smaller to carry around, i was consurned about the battery life of this canon sx210 but from your review i dont think i’ll need to worry.

    the picture quality looks great from your gallery it looks like you had a fun five hours with the camera.

    • Ivy

      Thanks, Peter! I’m happy with the photo quality. Wished I had a chance to try it out in low light though. For a more compact size, you should have a look at S90 too. There shouldn’t be a major price difference. I only played with it briefly so there’s not much I can say, especially with regards to batt life, but I was very impressed with image quality. πŸ™‚

  • Morris

    Hi Ivy, Wow!! Great review! I’ve been looking for reviews online with feature sample shots and found just a few. Photo quality is great! Thanks for this. You just helped me made up my mind. πŸ™‚

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  • ike

    very good blog thanks!

  • ike

    anyway how come some pics bit dark, isit afternoon/flash off. but generally its very good

  • Steve

    I have already ordered one of these camera’s should get it in the next couple of day’s .after seeing what you can do with it in a small space of time.it reassures me, that I have done the right thing. very good blog keep up the good work.

  • Ike

    Very good blog tht convinced me to buy. I bought already 2 days ago.

  • nad

    i wanna know how to setting miniature mode

  • Sam

    nice photos!

  • Aisha

    Thank you for this informational entry πŸ™‚ Wondering how much is this model going for?

  • sms

    i am using this camera for last 1 month.
    i got problem with nite shot.
    seems normal mode(auto) is better in the dark.
    anyone can share about nite mode? thanks
    @nad: use scn mode..fish eye, miniature, swap color all there

    • Ram

      It depends what you are trying to focus. Are you trying to focus people in close range or objects in distance. If it is people in close range you are trying to cover it should work cool with the night mode.

  • Leslie

    I just got the SX210is! But how, and where do you find out how to find these features on the camera? I’m interested in the Color Swap, Color Accent and Fish Eye… and for the life of me can’t find it on the camera or instruction book!

    • ashl

      took me a while to figure it out. but go to program mode. then press the funct settings. then find color and use the dial to press. its there. i had got worried 4 a sec myself. now im tryung to find out how to make things in focus up close and focus and the background outta focus not sure if thats a camera feat. or do i need to depend on photoshop 4 that.l keep playing wit it till u get it

  • Sarah

    Hi! Thanks so much for reviewing this camera! I have a PS A590is & am upgrading in a few weeks (after I save up the money, LOL). I was agonizing between the SX210 & the SX20, but seeing the miniature effect has totally made up my mind. THAT IS SO COOL!

  • moon

    you can download a useful manual at the following website:

    (chose :Description: PowerShot SX210 IS PowerShot SX210 IS Camera User Guide
    File: PSSX210IS_CUG_EN.pdf)

    on page 58 of this manual you will find the instructions of how to use the fisheye lens.

    • Jorge

      can you tell me how to turn on the fisheye effect to take a picture? I don’t have the manual. Don’t wanna download a whole manual just to do this. It’s probably easy I just need to know where or how to find it. Thank you

  • Ranjit

    Hi! & nice photos! I recently bought this canon powershot SX210IS & I am satisfied with its results. I could capture good quality images in night mode. Now, I am trying t ouse it in all possible modes & I am happy with it’s results. Its really fun to shoot with this camera. Thanks.

  • dfm

    I’m thinking to buy myself my first camera ever. I don’t know anything about photography at this point so I tought to ask here that are these powershot sx210 is and ixus 210 basically the same camera? Which one should I buy of these two if they are much different? Thanks in advance.

    • Ivy

      Nope they aren’t the same camera. The SX210 is more advanced with manual controls. The ixus 210 is a basic camera with a touchscreen. Since it’s your first camera, i would suggest going for a basic camera so you won’t get overwhelmed by the features and buttons. The ixus 210 should be cheaper too. Alternatively, you can also look at the ixus 130. It’s smaller than the 210 but it doesn’t have touchscreen. Hope that helps!

  • kartikasari03

    hey..thanks a lot for the reviews.. it really helps me out to make a decision now.. πŸ˜€

  • julie

    thanks for the review! its one thing reading specs and seeing pictures but i love that you posted your findings too otherwise i never wouldv thought twice about the colour swap ad looking into it i thought it was just some extra internal feauture you’d never see

    – not something i thought you could apply to video either!

  • K

    Great blog!
    I just got a Canon PowerShot SX210 IS and i’m currently testing its features. After capturing images the after shot reviewer seems to work only in the “automatic” mode. I tried going in the cameras menu and apart from the “automatic” mode, the option of review is disable in all modes. I went through the user manual but did not find any further information Does anyone can confirm this whether this is how the camera works? or is the camera faulty?
    Many Thanks

  • Anon

    Your shots are beautiful! I was on the fence between the canon sx210 and the Panasonic ZS7 until your pictures convinced me to go with the Canon!

  • hi..great pictures..inspired by this i bought the same camera sx210 is..but i m not able to see the color swap option..could u please tel me how to activate the option..many thanks..

  • matthijs

    Hello there, great review! I’m assuming that you are living in singapore?

    I was wondering how mucht the canon powershots sx 210 is now cost at Singapore. In the Netherlands Europe it cost 210 euro (thats approximate 385 singapore dollars). Is it cheaper now at Singapore? I’m traveling to Singapore next month so I was thinking of buying it perhaps there.

    If you are not living in singapore you can forget it, otherwise I would love to hear it.Thank you in advance.

  • matthijs

    And another reply because I forgot to check the box for notify me about upcomming comments πŸ™‚

  • Remlepics

    nice pictures.. I also have an IXUS 210. I just want to ask on how you were able toggle the aperture manually. thank you. πŸ™‚

    • Ivy

      The Ixus 210 does not have manual controls. This review is for the Powershot SX210. πŸ™‚

  • sms

    hi pls remove me (sms/ike) from the comments.
    my office email keep getting update.
    im suppose to use private email instead of office email. Sorry

  • sms

    ow i can remove by myself.. hmm..thx.. nice camera anyway manage to buy bcoz of ur blog. but bit dissapointed for the nite mode only

    • Ivy

      Night modes on point and shoots are usually not very good. The best point and shoot for night mode I’ve come across is the S90/S95. The other way to take good night shots is to use a tripod. That’ll work for any point and shoot. Hope that helps!

  • sheri

    thank you for informations; it was very useful.
    I recommend you to make a video and learn us the the various options canon sx210 has, if it is possible. I promise all the visitors will enjoy watching it and we learn how to use it step by step.then users may also upload nice photos which they take with this camera.

  • Farah

    Nice pics!
    IΒ΄d like to know how to activate the fisheye effect and the miniature effect, iΒ΄ve just bought an sx210 is, but iΒ΄m not that experienced…itΒ΄s my first camera!!!
    IΒ΄ll really appreciate your help very much!
    Thanks =)

    • Meagan

      I am an experienced digital camera-ite, and I can’t even figure out how to turn on those cool functions like fish eye, mininature mode, and color swap. Can anyone help??? This is such a great camera (just got mine this week), but seems difficult to use!

  • KQiu

    Just go to SCN on the mode wheel. Then press func. set. The fish eye, color swap, and other stuff should be there.
    I just got this camera today πŸ˜€ its amazing, but i wish that it could record with a flash on :/
    Anyways great Review IVY and yes! its definitely a great camera!

    • ashl

      i was wondering that myself. but no luck there. its like that big ol flash 4 nuthing. cuz when i want to record in the club i want it on. that suckz a mill

    • Jacara

      Oh yay! You answered my question as to where to find those cool features, but I can’t figure out how to make them work. How do I use the color swap and color accent???

  • Elise

    I just got this camera for christmas last night… and i’m loving it so far!
    i have a question… dont know if you or anyone here reads this can help. i’m not able to film more than 15 seconds on the camera.. it says i have space for 6 minutes worth, so i know its not the space i dont have.

    Please help!

    • Ivy

      I’ve not experienced that. You might want to check out the Canon SX210 support site here.

  • Vera

    hiii there,
    i have a few questions regarding this camera…if you could answer them thatd be GREAT cuz im thinking about buying this camera soon so…first question: how many GB was the memory card you were using? and was the flash good in dark rooms? like for example im going to a concert and i wanna be able to take good pictures…im also planning on gettng a 16GB memory card because i want to record videos at the concert.

    Id appreciate it if you replied.
    Thank you

    • Ivy

      1) 8GB
      2) Flash was fine. Didn’t seem any different from other point and shoots. You wouldn’t use flash to film concerts though because most concerts will not allow you to use flash and your flash would not reach your subject (ie the performers) if you’re not in the pit. So I would suggest a camera that can handle low-light environments better like Canon PowerShot S95, PowerShot G12 or Panasonic LX3. You can read my review on the S95 here.

  • Ginger

    Thanks for the review. The question I have is how does it take night shots, skylines mostly. I’d like to find a camera that does a nice true color (like what we see) at taking pictures of pretty lights at night. Thanks in advance

    • Ivy

      For night shots, I suggest getting the Canon PowerShot S95 instead. See my review here. It’s designed for night shots. To take good night shots (that aren’t blur), your shutter speed needs to be quite slow so you should consider buying a tripod as well. And never, never use flash.

    • Ginger

      Thanks so much Ivy for your reviews, and your pictures are great.

  • Ginger

    whoops other thing. In reading other reviews, they said it seemed to take a long time between shots. Is there a big lag in it?

    • Ivy

      Hmm, when I played with it, I didn’t get much of a lag. There will always be a lag if you use flash though.

  • Gertrude

    I bought this camera last month and still have not learnt its functionalities!! Glad I found this page though cause it gave me an insight of some features I could use πŸ˜€

  • Jacara

    I just purchased the Canon SX210 because of your review. This is my first Canon camera, I’ve always only had Sony in the past. I can’t find ANY of these cool features you mention. It doesn’t come with a detailed manual either, which I find very odd. Please, please, please tell me where to look. I want to try color swap, color accent, miniature effect, fish eye, ALL OF IT. 😎 If you could please point me in the right direction, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance. 😎

  • Nagham

    Hi Ivy! Thanks. This Review is Great! I’m still deciding on whether to get this camera or another camera. I’m going to a concert in a few months and I’m puzzled on whether this camera is worth it. I need a camera that is small ad can fit into a small pocket or a bra or so. [Sorry] I had to mention that because you can’t bring cameras into the concert so I wanted to sneak one in. I don’t want to carry my DSLR and get it confiscated :(. Do you think this camera would get by and take great pictures if I’m in the front or middle? Thanks!

  • Nagham

    Hi Ivy! Thanks. This Review is Great! I’m going to a concert in a few months and I’m puzzled on whether this camera is worth it. I need a camera that is small ad can fit into a small pocket or a bra. [Sorry] I had to mention that because you can’t bring cameras into the concert so I wanted to sneak one in. I don’t want to carry my DSLR and get it confiscated :(. Do you think this camera would get by and take great pictures if I’m in the front or middle? Thanks!

  • Great review Ivy, I had purchased this camera as an xmas pressie for my other half. I found this review looking for a solution to why we had some out of focus pics from a children’s party yesterday.
    I know movement is still a problem with digital, although it was a young children’s party the movement was minimal and as the camera was set to auto (no function playing as yet) the results were disappointing πŸ™
    I am sure our previous camera (power shot A620) would of coped a little better, maybe we missed something fundamental on the settings although as mentioned it was auto in a well lighted hall.
    I know it’s hard to judge without seeing the problem, but any tips would be well received:-)

    • Ivy

      Have you tried the kids and sports mode? I’d recommend shooting with that first. If it doesn’t work as well as you’d like it to and you don’t mind playing with the settings you can use shutter speed priority mode. Set the shutter speed to as fast as possible and shoot from there. (Shutter speed is counted in fractions of seconds so the higher the denominator, the faster it is i.e. 1/40 is faster than 1/4).

    • Tony

      Thanks for this Ivy, I will try it out and test the results. I did look at the manual, but didn’t open it. I left it as a last resort – kind of a man thing I suppose πŸ™‚

      Thanks again.

  • JIll

    Just bought this camera and CANNOT find any of the settings. I cannot find the fish eye, miniture or fireworks settings and I know they are on the camera.. Can you PLEASE help me.

    • Ivy

      Switch the mode dial to “P”

  • Angela

    Thanks so much for posting all these pictures and videos! They’re so good πŸ™‚ I seem to be having the same problem as Jill.. I recently got this camera and I have all the basics down, but I can’t seem to find any of the special features either! I’ve tried everythinggg! I switched to P like you said, and found where I could take the pictures while in black and white mode, vivid, etc, ISO speeds, lighting, and so much more, but I cannot find the fish eye, miniature, or anything else! If you could please give me atleast some basic instructions on how to find them, I would be so grateful! Thank you! <3

  • Angela

    Ok, so you can completely forget about my last post…. I found the settings ^_^ Wow, am i gonna have fun with this!! lol the miniature effect is just crazyyy!!! Thanks anyways πŸ™‚ Bye!

  • Jessica

    Hey i just bought the PowerShot SX210IS and the lady the store i bought it from showed me some really neat things to do with the camera and i guess i didnt pay attention to what she was doing and now i cant figure out how to do the color swap and all that fun stuff! Help pls!

    • Jill

      Turn the dial to scene mode, press func. set button and all the setttings are in there. Hopefully that helps ya!!! Enjoy the camera!! I know I sure do!!!!!

  • Sofia

    Hi =)
    I have just bought a Canon PowerShot SX210 ice and I was wondering how to enter the programming mode.

  • Reinette

    I have a Powershot SX210 IS as well – the gold one, and I love using it!! =D
    Your photos are very nice by the way. I really am having fun using the cool effects this camera can do. My fave is the miniature effect, panorama and color swap. <3

  • Wow! Thank you for posting this page. Last week I bought a Canon A3300, I really liked it but taking action shots was tricky as the speed is only 1/1600 so I returned it and got the Canon SX230HS it doesn’t look like much different than yours plus yours has higher Megapixels but so far I am happy with it. It will really be fun exploring with the special effects. I love the color with the monochrome effect! thanks again!

    • Ivy

      Ooh, good buy! It’s the 2011 version of the SX210. Good choice! The Canon SX230HS also has geo-tagging so it remembers where take your photos.

  • Thanks for the excellent review. The SX 210 is a great little camera, light weight, and takes really nice pics. Keith

  • Darn, I’m really annoyed now as I just bought the new Panasonic digital camera with the tiny screen on the front…but I really like the SX 210 now. Hmm. A really cool detailed review. John

  • Ata Haghighi

    Hi,,,I have this camera and satisfy….it is excellent in its class.huge lens with compact structure…..canon always should show its history

  • Rahul

    I have also same camera but i don’t know where is the setting for taking a single color in a picture.I tried but could not get this setting.
    Can help me on this??

    • Hey Rahul, the setting you are looking for is Color Accent.
      To go to the setting you to go to SCN>Press Function Key>Press right key> there you will see different camera features and just below “color swap” is Color Accent. Just select color accent, come out to display screen and select the button display, chose the color you want to highlight and you are good to go.!

  • Rahul

    Thanks Gaurav ,Its nice i have taken so many interesting photos.

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