By now, you have probably come to realize that the best camera is the one you have at hand when all of those exciting and memorable moments happen. You can have the biggest, most powerful camera in the world – with all the latest and most expensive lenses money can buy – but it’s a complete waste of your money if it’s not ready for action when you need it.

For most people, a smaller, pocket-sized camera with powerful features is a much better investment than photography gear that is just too bulky to carry or too difficult to operate. Many of the most iconic photos in the world were taken by cameras that don’t offer nearly the same specs as a simple modern smartphone camera offers.

When it is time to capture those in-the-moment and real-life shots, it all comes down to having something of quality that is portable, fully charged, and easy to use. That’s why the Canon SX610 HS digital camera originally popped up on my radar. So, I bought one.

Check out this review by someone who actually owns and has used this camera below:

The Canon SX610 HS Digital Camera

At just 6.3 x 5.5 x 2.2 inches, this camera can easily fit into the palm of your hand but don’t be fooled by its size. Canon invested a significant amount of time to develop something extremely portable that can capture brilliant quality images and that is packed with great features.

Canon Powershot SX610 HS Features

The Canon Powershot SX610 is a 20.2-megapixel camera with an 18x or 25 – 450mm optical zoom lens that is very quick to zoom in and out while you are trying to capture special moments. This camera can also capture 1080p Full HD videos with the press of its dedicated video button.

All images are processed via the camera's high-sensitivity CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4+Image processor before it is stored onto the camera’s memory card. These images are then displayed on a 3inch LCD screen with 922K dots that offers you a very realistic glimpse at the images you just shot.

This camera is fairly easy to grab and go, since it comes with a WS-800 wrist strap to keep the camera in place while you are in motion. The camera also has an NB-6LH battery pack that is rechargeable via the CB-25LYE charger.

Also included with this camera is an AC cable that enables you to display all of your brilliant shots directly to a monitor or TV set, along with a user manual where you can quickly and easily learn how to operate all the different features that this tiny camera has to offer.

This camera features Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, which enables you to connect it directly to other devices or the Internet so you can upload your photographs directly to your cloud storage drive or access your images from the SD card via a computer or laptop. To top it off, the camera also has an image sync function with your phone, allowing your phone to be used as a remote control to take group photos.

If you need information on drivers and the manual for this compact digital camera, Canon's support page for this PowerShot is available here.

Key Features

  • 20 megapixel camera
  • 18x or 25-450mm optical zoom lens (with auto zoom)
  • 2.2 MP high-sensitivity CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 4+ Image processor
  • Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity
  • Image sync function
  • 1080p Full HD video capture res
  • 3” LCD with 922K dots
  • Wrist strap WS-800 included
  • NB-6LH rechargeable battery pack
  • CB-2LYE battery charger
  • AC cable included

Canon Powershot SX610 HS Handling

Camera handling is by far one of the most important aspects in a camera. Just about everyone who invests in a good camera for their families only ends up using one or two of the features, since the settings can be so challenging to master. But the Canon Powershot SX610 is a breath of fresh air, because it is very easy to handle.

Let’s take a quick look at how to use this interesting little camera.

Outside Features

At the front of the Canon PowerShot SX610 HS, you will notice its 18x zoom lens. This lens allows you to magnify images from 25-450mm. The lens automatically retracts and expands depending on the type of settings you use while capturing images. The Auto-zoom function is quite advanced since it automatically reduces shaking and any changes that affect the background or shooting subject. It automatically selects the optimal settings to ensure that your images come out crisp and clear.

Next, on the top of the camera, you will notice the easy push on/off buttons, and a larger button that is used to capture images or videos. The camera also has a pop-up flash that is ideal for taking images in low light conditions. To turn the flash off, you can simply push it back down using your fingers. It is important to take note that camera flashes are not ideal for capturing images in the dark. Even with your flash on, images can seem pixelated.

At the rear of the Canon PowerShot SX610 HS, you will notice the 3” LCD screen. This screen is ideal for viewing images that you just took, and all images are displayed quite realistically, since this LCD screen offers 922K dots for a very crisp view of the images you just took. The LCD screen can also be used to edit or change some of the images you previously took by using some of the functions included in the camera.

Next, you will probably notice some of its settings such as the play button that enable you to view some of the images or videos stored on the camera or the button with the red dot that can easily be reached by your thumb to quickly catch some videos. There are also various other settings such as flash, Wi-Fi, menu, and mobile sync, and all of these are within easy reach of your right thumb while taking images.

You will also notice a few rubber patches on the camera. These are ideal resting palaces for your fingers and will help remind you to keep your fingers away from buttons and from the lens.

On the side of the camera, you will notice various ports or slots where you can insert the AC cable, charging cable and memory card.

Inside Features

Inside the camera is where the real magic happens. This camera is quite advanced with all the latest tech. The camera is super easy to switch on and you can adjust it to suit your needs. You can set it on its highest quality image setting of 20.2MP or adjust it for lower quality settings so the images won't take up quite as much storage space.

The camera processes images via its DIGIC+ image processor, which includes various functions such as hybrid auto, creative shot, Full HD shooting, and many other processing methods. Even your videos can be captured at 30p and are then converted to MP4 format for easy sharing. This advanced processor results in sharp images and the camera is quite fast to process all images it captures.

The camera flash can be a great asset when capturing images in the dark, but you might want to avoid it as much as possible, since flash images can seem a bit unappealing. Luckily, this camera HS System enhances image quality despite low-light conditions, so you can still get good shots even if the lighting isn’t that good.

One of the most outstanding features of this camera is its various shooting modes. Shooting modes include:

  • Smart Auto
  • Creative Shot
  • Portrait
  • Smart Shutter
  • High-Speed Burst
  • Fisheye Effect
  • Miniature Effect
  • Toy Camera Effect

These and a great many others will instantly transform your images from average to extraordinary in no time at all! With the right setting and a bit of creativity, you can create works of art that are bound to get lots of likes on social media. These settings can be applied before or while capturing photographs, and many of these settings can be applied to images that have already been taken by the camera.

Our Use Case

Here's the main reason why we bought this camera – it's cheap and compact, and it fit the bill nicely for recording and easily publishing YouTube videos. Here's the complete list of reasons why:

  • It's small and compact – it easily fits in backpacks, carry-ons, the mount for the camera is small and easily manipulable. Overall, really is to use, store, and travel with.
  • It's cheap – digital cameras are usually cheap, but for one that has this many features, including shooting in HD, spending a couple hundred dollars is a pretty easy decision. This also helps if the camera is ever lost or stolen during travels or otherwise public use.
  • It's easy to use – the camera is super simple to use. Of course this is no surprise for a digital camera, but we just wanted something we can just jump right into production with.
  • It's great for a temporary studio – we essentially have a makeshift setup where we shoot talking head videos and even some unboxings. Along with all the other positives on why we moved forward with this camera, we bought this camera for an intentional use and haven't been disappointed in the results.

The one thing we bought extra, well besides the mount for the camera, is a ring light. Even thought the camera does pretty well in lower light situations, we found that we needed to give the camera just a little bit of help in our shooting location.

In the future, I'll add a photo of the camera and I may add examples of photos and videos taken by the camera. For now though, I think you have enough information to make a decision if you've made it this far.

Update 10/18: After buying a DSLR camera that's not a whole lot more expensive, captures better photos, and offers double the frame rate of the 1080p video this digital camera records, I still believe digital cameras have their place. For our use case though, we could have skipped this purchase and moved straight to the DSLR setup and would have been fine. Either way, we made use of this PowerShot and don't regret purchasing it, although I'm not sure if we will buy another digital camera like this, at least in the near future.

Final Thoughts

The Canon PowerShot X610 is not for the advanced photographer or journalist (or even the mid-level enthusiast), but this is a terrific little camera to have on hand if you want to capture your adventures or document all of those precious moments in your family’s life as they grow and laugh together. Or to just use as an additional option for a growing business.

This camera is very light and portable, it can take great quality photographs, and its advanced technology makes it an ideal tool to combine with modern tech accessories such as a laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

Hopefully this guide has helped you learn all about this small camera. If I had to do it over again, I would purchase the camera again. However, it's a little tricky to justify purchases for essentially single-use items. For you though, if your purchase is justified by your use case, then you really can't go wrong here.