Sam Kacey

Sam is a hobbyist photographer. He loves taking pictures of everything he finds interesting especially landscapes and sporting photos.

Canon’s Powershot SX540 is a 20MP camera with a small sensor superzoom and a ½ inch sized BSI CMOS sensor, as well as 50x zoom with a 24-1200mm F3 4-6.5 lens.

Canon has a wonderful range of bridge and point-and-shoot cameras in its proprietary PowerShot range. This range consists of simple models such as the Canon PowerShot SX620 HS all the way up to the most cutting-edge PowerShots, such as the G7 X MKIII. However, despite all of these extremes, the Canon PowerShot SX540 is an often-overlooked camera.

Since this particular model has an impressive set of features and allows photographers to capture high-quality videos and images, we were deadset on reviewing it for our readers. In the following review, we’re about to have a look at everything the Canon PowerShot SX540 has to offer in terms of design, features, performance, and usability.

What’s So Good About the Canon PowerShot SX540?

The SX540 can be placed anywhere between the entire PowerShot range based solely on its features. For instance, this camera definitely offers better features and quality as compared to the PowerShot SX620. However, we’re positive it will not do as well when it is compared against models such as PowerShot SX740.

If you aren’t accustomed to the rest of the PowerShot series, here are some of the technical specifications of the PowerShot SX540 model:

Size120 x 81.7 x 91.9 mm
Sensor20.3MP CMOS
Weight442g
Image ProcessorDIGIC 6
Max Video Resolution1080p HD Video at 60p
Max FPS5.9 fps
TouchscreenUnavailable
ConnectivityNFC, Wi-Fi
Image StabilizationAvailable

Video Review on The Canon PowerShot SX540

Important Feature #1: Image Stabilization and Zoom

Let’s first start with Canon’s image stabilization feature. This feature is especially useful when you’re using this model as a handheld camera. Shaky photographs are corrected for as many as 3 stops. What’s more, the lens of this camera offers up to 50x optical zoom, and if this wasn’t enough, it also has a 100x ZoomPlus feature.

This particular feature gives the SX540 its effective focal length that ranges from 4.3 to 215mm. As a result, you will be able to shoot every subject using everything that ranges from wide-angle all the way to telephoto. Also, the ZoomPlus feature we spoke about earlier allows photographers to capture their subjects at super far distances (also known as telephotos). However, the image quality will be much less crisp as compared to the standard optical zoom.

Finally, this particular model has an ISO range that stands between 100 and 3200, which is pretty good. But, it will not quite cut it if you’re making an investment in low-light photography.

Important Feature #2: Design

Let’s get one thing straight. The Canon PowerShot SX540 looks fantastic. This camera has a very stylish design that imitates the traditional body of a DSLR camera. This also includes a large and textured grip on the body’s right-hand side. Because of this grip, you will find it very comfortable to hold on for long periods of time while easily supporting its lens.

On the other hand, this camera doesn’t really have an EVF. Therefore, you will have to use its LCD screen to be able to change your settings or to browse through photos. The camera’s LCD screen is 3 inches wide, but the only downside here is that it doesn’t have any touchscreen capabilities. This also means that you will have to get used to the buttons and dials to be able to toggle through the menu and the camera’s settings.

We did particularly appreciate the well-thought-out button layout on the top and rear panels. It will be hard to decide at first glance, but the layout is actually an uncluttered setup once you get used to it. On the very top of the camera, like all its sister models, the SX540 has the standard program dial, which allows you to easily shift between various shooting styles. You will also be able to control your zoon by rotating the dial around the shutter button.

At just 442 grams, this camera can still be considered quite lightweight, even though it seems a little bulkier than its competitor point-and-shoot cameras, such as the PowerShot SX730.

Important Feature #3: Usability

Now here’s the lowdown about who the PowerShot SX540 is perfect for. Since the camera has been made super easy to use, beginners should have no problem getting over the learning curve of this model. With the help of the program dial right under your nose, you can quickly and easily switch between shooting models. However, one thing we really appreciated what that the camera also automatically picks the perfect shooting mode for your needs in the ‘Auto Shooting Mode’.

If you’re looking for a little more control, there are plenty of other shooting modes to choose from. We’re talking about aperture priority, shutter priority, and even the full manual shooting mode. In other words, you will be able to steadily teach yourself how to use all those advanced photography techniques and functions.

As we may have mentioned earlier, this camera does not have an EVF feature. As unfortunate as that may sound, this shouldn’t really be an issue for you. Learning about all the necessary controls of the camera is super easy, and you will find that the LCD is convenient as well. Also, like all Canon cameras, the menu is user-friendly, and you wouldn’t find yourself doing a double-take on all the technical photography language.

Using the easy-to-understand language, you will be able to easily switch the camera’s settings to your advantage, such as correcting the image resolution for your own purposes. Moreover, the PowerShot SX540 has built-in NFC and Wi-Fi capabilities. This also means that you will be able to download videos and photos onto external devices such as your tablet or smartphone.

The Pros and Cons

Now, it’s time for us to dive into some more details about the Canon SX540 after having analyzed its best features and specifications. Here, we’re going to be discussing the pros and cons of this camera by comparing it to its competitors in the same class:

Pros

  • Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity
  • NFC connectivity
  • Face detection focus
  • Full HD Video
  • 461k Pixels LCD Resolution
  • 20MP
  • High-Resolution Sensor
  • 5.9fps shooting with mechanical shutter
  • Manual Exposure
  • Manual Focusing
  • 50x Optical Zoom
  • 24mm Wide Angle Lens
  • Remote control link with a smartphone
  • Fast 0.00 Wide Lens

Cons

  • Image stabilization unavailable
  • Screen stabilization feature unavailable
  • External Flash Show unavailable
  • Touchscreen unavailable
  • Built-in viewfinder

How Do You Use the Canon PowerShot SX540?

Just in case you’re using this camera for the first time, we highly recommend starting with the Smart Auto mode. In doing so, this camera will automatically choose which settings will apply to your situation to capture the best images and videos.

To start using the Smart Auto mode, move the dial situated right at the top of the camera and at the upper right corner. Once you have toggled to the right function, point your camera towards the subject of your picture, and click on the capture button.

Once you click on this button, you will hear a ticking sound emanating from the camera. This means that you have appropriately placed the camera to capture the subject. You will also notice some icons and symbols around your screen, and most of them are quite self-explanatory.

What Do the Reviews Say?

Based on all the reviews we have come across on Amazon (note over 1000) and other review websites, we were quite sold that our overall review should be dedicated to the SX540.

Most of the testimonials we read on the internet were about people posting landscape images that they captured besides endless praises of the camera’s image quality. However, most professional photographers caught on to the fact that the size of the sensor in these cameras will not be able to capture high-quality images in low light.

Besides this, even beginners seemed to be appreciating the camera’s result and performance and were absolutely satisfied with their investment.

How Does the PowerShot SX540 Compare?

Since we wouldn’t take anyone’s word for it, we’ve also decided to compare the SX540 with some other cameras that belong to the same brand and are more towards the point-and-shoot type of cameras.

Canon Powershot SX540 vs Canon PowerShot SX620

Weight and size are very important factors when it comes to searching for the perfect camera for your needs. The Canon PowerShot SX620 measures up to 97 x 57 x 28mm and weighs around 182g (when it is loaded with batteries). The SX540, in comparison, measures up to a larger 120 x 82 x 92mm and weighs more at 442g. Without having discussed its features, the SX620 is a point-and-shoot camera, like the SX540.

We considered weight as an important factor because, for instance, if you’re planning on capturing photos in the outdoors, you will have to live with carrying a heavier camera all day if you’re looking for more quality. Sure, the SX620 may weigh a little lighter, but if you’re in for some long walking trips, you will really appreciate the SX540’s image quality and convenient grip.

Moving on, both the SX540 and SX620 are sold with 20MP resolution sensors, and both their sensors measure up to a ½ inch. However, the SX540 has larger areas for its senor that have the same resolution. In other words, you will have more flexibility given its larger pixel area and, therefore, better capacity for lights as compared to the SX620 HS.

To put things in perspective, the SX540 is the perfect camera for on-the-go photography such as street photography, sports photography, and whatever else you may be into. In contrast, the SX620 is a great camera for daily photography and street photography but wouldn’t do so well in sports or landscapes.

Canon Powershot SX540 vs Canon PowerShot ELPH 360

Now here, we have a comparison between 2 cameras that have more or less the same features apart from their zoom lens, screen, and continuous shooting, among others. It isn’t very difficult to differentiate between the two cameras. However, most of what we said about the SX620 is true for the Canon Powershot ELPH 360 too.

More importantly, the SX540 comes with a 24 to 1200mm F3.4-6,5 50x zoom lens, which is just a tad bit higher than Canon ELPH 360s 25-300mm F3.6-7 12x zoom lens. To put it simply, the SX540 offers a wider coverage as opposed to its alternative by just 1mm. Of course, both of these cameras have a max aperture of 0.00 for the wider end, but the ELPH 360 telephoto zoom lens reach is 1mm higher than the SX540 HS.

It seems as if both of these cameras balance each other out, and your decision should depend on what you intend to do with this camera. While both of them don’t really qualify as an effective camera for portraits or landscape photography, but they are both good for street photography, whereas the SX540 will do a greater job in sports photography. If you’re in it for daily photography, we’d suggest you stick to Canon’s ELPH 360 HS.

Conclusion: Is the Canon Powershot SX540 Worth It?

If you were searching for a camera that is easy to understand and use and has all the advanced features you need for great image quality, then get the Canon’s PowerShot SX540 is definitely the way to go.

Beginners will really appreciate the camera’s super convenient automatic shooting mode so they can take amazing pictures without ever breaking a sweat. Also, beginner photographers could slowly progress with time by starting to use some advanced features and techniques such as semi-manual or manual shooting models.

To top it all off, this camera isn’t even that expensive, which makes it a solid competitor if you’re looking for a budget camera that has great features.

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