Review: Canon PowerShot Zoom

vissersboot
100mm

The Canon PowerShot Zoom can best be described as digital monocular binoculars.

At the same time, it is a digital camera with a (converted) zoom range of no less than 100-400 mm. And all this in a device that fits in your palm and can be operated with one hand.

Click on the lens for specifications, prices and test results.

TEST RESULTS Canon PowerShot Zoom:

PROS

CONS

  • very compact
  • Nuce gadget to have
  • there has to be enough light
  • shooting quality is not that good with digital zoom

Small but powerful

When you unpack the Canon PowerShot Zoom, you will be amazed at the compactness of the binoculars/camera, because it is very small for a telephoto zoom of 400 mm (converted to full-frame). It measures a little over ten centimeters in length. Due to the low weight of 145 grams, it is manageable for everyone. The built-in Li-Ion battery of 800 mAh is charged via the USB-C connection. With a fully charged battery, you can easily go out for a day, provided you don’t use the Zoom as binoculars for hours. It is not weatherproof, but a few splashes aren’t immediately disastrous. The photos and videos are stored on a microSDHC card. The PowerShot is equipped with optical image stabilization. The CMOS sensor measures 1/3” or 4.8 x 3.6 mm, has 12 megapixels (4,000 x 3,000 pixels) and captures the photos as jpeg.

Two photos of the Telstar tug in the port of IJmuiden, one with 100mm and 400mm zoomed in on the Telstar logo. RAW SHOTS DIRECTLY FROM THE CAMERA | 1/500S, F5.6, ISO 160

In video mode, it records in Full-HD (mpeg-4/H.264). You film at 25 fps when using the European PAL system, with NTSC that is 29.97 fps or for a ‘cinematic’ effect 23.98 fps. The camera is equipped with a stereo microphone to record sound with the moving images. There is no connection for an external microphone, and a speaker is also missing. On the left side is a flap that hides the USB-C connection and the slot for the memory card. You can then export the photo and video files via the USB-C connection (480 Mb/s). You can also share images via WiFi and Bluetooth to your smartphone.

OPERATION

On the top, the Canon PowerShot Zoom has three buttons: an on/off button, a menu button and a zoom button. The term “zoom” is actually not right, because in fact you can only choose from focal lengths of 100mm and 400mm. Optionally, by pressing the zoom button again, you can go to a focal length of 800 mm converted, but then it is a digital “zoom” option.

On the bottom you will also find three buttons: a dial for the diopter setting (-3 to +3), a shutter release button for photos (with the text Photo) and a shutter release button for video (with red dot). These last two buttons also function as up and down buttons in the menu, while the zoom button on top functions as a set button for menu commands. The buttons are close together, and it takes some dexterity and getting used to in order to operate them smoothly. The OLED viewfinder with 2.36 million pixels is equipped with an eye sensor that switches it on when you hold the PowerShot Zoom in front of your eye.

Een A kestrel on a pole. Crop to 800mm angle of view from a 400mm image, preferentially edited  in Adobe Photoshop | 1/500s, F6.3, ISO 160

FEATURES

Via the menu, you can control things such as underexposure and overexposure, the AF settings (face detection or central point), the transport mode (single-frame or continuous, max. 10 fps) and the film mode (see above). The menu also gives you the option to review your images via the electronic viewfinder.
You connect the Canon PowerShot Zoom to your smartphone via WiFi and Bluetooth (and the CameraConnect app), after which you can also link the GPS information from that smartphone to your shots.

In praCTICE

Due to the small size of the Canon PowerShot Zoom, there is really no reason not to take it with you on your outdoor activities. Whether during the daily jogging round or walking the dog, you can always capture unique events. Nature lovers in particular always have plenty of millimeters at hand to take a picture of the interesting species they encounter. In the 400mm position, the shortest setting distance is approx. 5 m, in the 100 mm mode, it is about 1 m, so that you can also properly capture butterflies and flowers. When the focus is successful, the focus frame is green; when it is blurred (too close), it turns yellow. You can still get a blurry photo sometimes…

THe resultS

The Canon PowerShot Zoom produces photos of a quality comparable to that of a simple compact camera. The shots at 100 mm are of high quality and, thanks to the optical image stabilization, the images made with a focal length of 400 mm are also good. The pictures are sharp and have beautiful color, provided there is enough light available. The digital zoom to 800mm does ensure that the subject appears larger in the picture, but the picture quality does suffer. It is better to use this mode only for observation and to limit yourself to 400mm when taking photos. You can then crop the image later to make the subject larger in the frame. The 12-megapixel images offer plenty of space for this.

 Camera Canon PowerShot Zoom
 specifications
  
focal lengthconverted 100 and 400mm (800mm)
field of viewphotography: 24.5°/6.2° (3.1°)
video: 22.6°/5.7° (2.8°)
binoculars: 28.6° (visible)
image fieldbinoculars: 434 m/108 m
(54 m) (at 1.000 m)
apertureF5.6 and F6.3
optical zoom4x
shutter speeds1/8,000-1/30 s
resolution12.1 mp
min. setting distanceca. 1 and 5 m
image stabilizationyes, four-axis
storage mediamicroSDHC UHS-I
batterybuilt in
length103 mm
weight (incl. battery)x g
list price€ 339.99
importercanon.nl/.be
  
 rating
image quality8.5
focus9
light metering8
white balance8
screen/viewfinder8
price-to-quality8
bonus10
  
final score8.5

ConclusiON: REVIEW Canon PowerShot Zoom

Even if you already have a telephoto lens, this is a nice gadget to have. 

In fact, anyone who walks around in nature but doesn’t want to drag along binoculars should have the Canon PowerShot Zoom with them. You can view birds, mammals and other natural phenomena in more detail than with the naked eye or with a regular compact camera. And you can get nice shots with decent quality. Even if you already have a telephoto lens, this is a nice gadget to have, for example when you are using a different lens and a unique bird suddenly appears.