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. 😀

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! 😀
  • 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.

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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:

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Fish Eye: Distortion extraordinaire

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HD Video Samples

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

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. 🙁

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! 😀 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.

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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. 😉

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!