Canon started the new year with the launch of the PowerShot SX530 HS compact camera. The new device features a 50x zoom. With an equivalency of 24mm to 1200mm, it can deliver a zoom range bigger than most other cameras on the market. The extended zoom range comes at a price to performance though. The first issue is the size. All superzooms are a bit larger, and this one is no exception. You can’t have both a huge zoom range and a small lens. The pocketablilty of this camera has gone out the window, unless your jacket has extremely large pockets. To be fair, compared to any DSLR it will be smaller. Don’t expect it to be thinner than a mirrorless camera though.
The second thing that will suffer is the light transmission. The f/3.4 to f/6.5 is less than ideal for anything than well lit situations. In plain daylight, under the sun and even cloudy skies, the Canon SX530 HS will have no issues whatsoever. In evening twilight and morning light, it might be more difficult to focus and get a bright image. As cameras and their AF systems progress, we don’t expect it to be unusable, in no way, just not as fast as competitors with, let’s say, a f/2.8 lens. The biggest disadvantage in this kind of f-stop rendering is that you get the least amount of light at the far end (the more zoomed in you are, the lower the light). The far end is where you need AF to be most accurate, due to shallower depth of field. But if you plan on using this camera indoors, the AF assist light will help a lot, and you won’t have any serious issues. It’s with longer distances, where the lamp doesn’t reach that you’ll have some struggles.
The Digic 4+ Processor will render smooth images at high ISO settings (which you will use, due to the dark lens). There’s no upgrade in processing and megapixels compared to the Canon SX520 HS though. Even the maximum aperture of f/3.4 is the same. The aperture at the far end is f/6.5 – darker on the new Canon SX530HS, but this is understandable due to it’s longer range. The previous model only had 42x zoom. The wide angle is the same – 24mm equivalent – but the reach is higher (1200mm equivalent on the Canon SX530 HS, compared to 1008mm equivalent on the older camera).
It’s a bit disappointing that the company just borrowed from the old model to put on the new Canon SX530 HS. It’s basically the same camera with a longer far end and the 2 in the name replaced with a 3. We do recommend you get it if you don’t already have the older Canon SX520 HS, but an upgrade is a waste of money. If you’re looking for a bargain in the superzoom range, instead of forking out $430, look for the older model in the dioscount bins, you’ll basically get the same features for less.