Canon Powershot SX520 HS Brief Review



  • 16.0 megapixel, 1/2.3” CMOS sensor
  • 42x optical zoom (35mm equivalent 24-1008mm)
  • Maximum aperture f3.4-f6.0
  • Maximum shutter speed 1/2000
  • ISO 100-3200
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Macro focusing 0.0 inch to 1.6 feet
  • No optical viewfinder
  • 3” LCD screen
  • Manual modes
  • 1.6 fps burst mode at full resolution (High speed burst mode for 10 fps at 3.6 megapixels)
  • 1080p HD video at 30 fps
  • Rechargeable battery rated at 210 shots (290 in ECO mode)
  • Weighs 15.6 ounces
  • Release Date: 2014-07-27
  • Final Grade: 82 4.1 Star Rating: Recommended

Canon Powershot SX520 HS Review: A preview of Canon's 2014 super zoom camera
Canon has updated their beloved super zoom camera--but can the SX520 stand up in such a competitive category?
By Hillary Grigonis, Last updated on: 5/17/2015

Hey! You should know that Canon has released a newer version of this product: the Canon PowerShot SX530.

Bridge-style cameras with the versatility of a macro, wide angle and telephoto lens in one fixed lens camera are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. They're versatile, yet much less expensive than a DSLR, but with the same comfort of gripping a big camera. The Canon Powershot SX520 HS enters the fray with a so-so 42x zoom range but a competative $399 list price.

The current industry leader is a whopping 62x zoom, but the image quality in that camera is significantly degraded at the end of such a long zoom. Translation: a smaller zoom might not actually be a bad thing. A 42x zoom is still a good range, and packing a little less inside that lens will usually mean better image quality at the long end.

The SX520's solid zoom is paired with excellent macro focusing. The specs list a 0.0 foot distance for autofocusing in macro mode, but we expect the camera to need at least a few centimeters of distance from the subject to perform well. Factored in with the camera's wide-angle and telephoto capabilities, and the SX520 looks to be quite versatile.

Speed isn't exactly a plus here, however. While the processor has been updated over the SX510, the SX520 only shoots at 1.6 fps at full resolution. 10 fps is available in high speed burst mode, but at only 3.6 megapixels.

The SX520 is also missing out on a viewfinder, where most competators offer at least an electronic one. It also doesn't offer RAW, but many competing models don't either.

Bottom line--the Canon Powershot SX520 HS is more of a budget model. But while the SX510 was introduced with fewer features at $250, the SX520 sits much higher at almost $400. With many other options, like our favorite long zoom the Fujifilm FinePix S1, going for similar prices, proceed with caution and be sure to compare carefully.

Hillary Grigonis is the Managing Editor at DCHQ. Follow her on Facebook or Google+.

Related Products



Add Comment

Canon Reviews

Top quality optics, dependability, and convenience of use are just some of the reasons that customers choose Canon digital cameras. One of the top makers of digital cameras in the world today, Canon has attained a reputation for creating some of the best digital cameras and digital SLRs available on the market. Canon cameras are inevitably on the camera wish list of any consumer that desires a high quality camera.

Canon is not generally a cheap brand by any means. In spite of this, Canon digital cameras have achieved the best buy status. This proves that you get great value for the extra money. In the past few years, Canon has begun releasing several types that are more inexpensive, without cutting quality.

Canon cameras come in two main types—the smallest is the Powershot line, compact, point-and-shoot cameras that still maintain a reasonable level of image quality. Canon Powershot cameras range from budget point-and-shoots like the ELPH 115 to an advanced compact with a 1.5” sensor, the G1X Mark II. Typically, if you are going to buy a point-and-shoot on nothing but the reputation of the brand, Canon is a pretty safe bet.

The second type of Canon camera is the EOS line—the DSLRs. The EOS line has a solid reputation as well for performance across the board, including video. Canon has a wide range of options available too, from top of the line full frame professional models to small, entry-level DSLRs.

While other manufacturers are concentrating on mirrorless models and packing more power into smaller cameras, Canon doesn't seem to be following that trend exactly. They've released some smaller DSLRs like the SL1, but haven't been putting time into mirrorless models. Whether this is good or bad is a matter of personal opinion, but the models that are out there are, more often than not, solid performers.

We here at Digital Camera HQ offer unbiased, informative reviews and recommendations to guide you to the right camera. We're not an actual store; we're just here to help you find the perfect camera at the best price possible by using our camera grades. Let us know if you have any problems or questions, we're happy to help.