Compact digital cameras lost their relevance once smartphones took over their role. Now camera companies are trying to fight back with specialist vlogging cameras, riding on the better imaging capabilities of large sensors. Canon’s PowerShot V10 attempts the same with one of the largest sensors in a compact point-and-shoot camera currently on the market.
Canon PowerShot V10 review
Design and Handling
The PowerShot V10 has a rather unconventional design with the camera’s natural position being vertical, which ensures better grip just like a smartphone. The matte-finished surface, lightweight design and optimal thickness make it extremely convenient to hold. But in this vertical position, the sensor is horizontally oriented. So for those who are accustomed to normal camera and smartphone logic, this takes some training to get used to. The 5.08 mm touch-responsive display swivels 180 degrees but doesn’t rotate. A built-in stand makes it easy to place it on any flat surface without a tripod. The stand swivels both ways, which helps in precisely positioning the camera. However, this doesn’t allow vertical orientation if you want to shoot reels or shorts. For vertical framing, you can mount the camera on a tripod with the help of the standard tripod thread provided.
At 211g, the PowerShot V10 is light and with dimensions of 63.4 x 90.0 x 34.3 mm, it is comfortable to carry around and shoot with a single hand. The matte-finished exterior enhances grip. A wrist strap ensures safety while you attempt low-angle single-hand videos, while the record/shutter release button’s position below the lens makes it as convenient as a smartphone. The device offers stereo microphones for sound recording.
A few physical buttons and a four-way controller make controls easier especially with a small touch interface. The camera accepts a microSD card for storage and uses a USB-C port for charging. A micro HDMI port handles wired data transfer and there’s a 3.5mm jack for external microphone.
The PowerShot V10 is primarily a vlogging camera made for extreme portability and handheld shooting. The primary feature is the large 25.4mm CMOS sensor. This is not the first in the industry since Sony experimented with a massive Full Frame sensor on its Cyber-shot RX1 series compacts a decade ago, but failed to make a dent in the market due to its price. To bring some perspective, this sensor is larger than a Four Thirds sensor that powers some interchangeable lens cameras from Olympus and Panasonic. The device offers 15.2-megapixel resolution for stills.
Like the Sony RX1, the Canon V10 sports a fixed focal length lens. The 19mm equivalent f/2.8 lens (18mm equivalent in still mode) is optimal for vlogging with its wide field-of-view and large maximum aperture. The device doesn’t offer optical image stabilisation, but videos are stabilised with Digital IS. However, Auto, Smooth Skin, Movie IS and Manual Exposure are separate modes and hence you cannot use these features together in a single footage. The Manual Exposure mode allows you to control shutter speed, aperture and sensitivity in addition to exposure compensation. The device can capture up to 4K 30 fps videos in MP4 format. Touch AF is available with 31 AF points. The camera lacks a zoom lever and digital zoom is offered on 0.5x steps up to 3x. But you cannot change the zoom setting in the middle of capture, which defeats the purpose of zoom in a video camera.
The device allows 15.2MP still image capture, but there’s only a point-and-shoot option without manual overrides. The camera uses scene recognition to fix the settings for you. The only adjustment possible while shooting is via an exposure slider with -9 to +9 exposure steps. You don’t get a zoom option in still photography mode, and neither do you get RAW format option.
The Canon Camera Connect app lets you pair the V10 with your smartphone. This allows you to download images and provides remote shooting, live streaming and other options.
The PowerShot V10 is an attempt at a compact vlogging camera with a large sensor. And any such attempt needs to combine the portability and convenience of a smartphone with the superior imaging capabilities of a dedicated digital camera. Does the V10 perform? Well, yes if you consider the limitations of this camera, which are quite a few.
If your content is only for consumption on a PC, Mac or tablet, i.e., landscape format, and you don’t need to use detailed product images, this camera is a convenient option with the built-in stand and swivelling display. The device can also function as a high-quality plug-and-play webcam without additional drivers.
Though the PowerShot V10 doesn’t offer many features of a smartphone camera, it captures cleaner, less noisy images in low light, thanks to the light-capturing capabilities of the large sensor. The lens seemed surprisingly flawless optically, without any barrel or pincushion distortion even at reasonably close distances with the focal plane parallel to the subject. The colours appeared a bit warm, but this is easily correctible in post-processing. The lack of zoom in still mode is certainly a drawback with an ultra-wide-angle lens. This is especially true if you need to capture some product shot or isolate small subjects since at close proximity, the camera can cause shadows or block some part of the light even with an additional fill light.
The omnidirectional microphone picks up sound quite well but includes wind and background noise as well. However, the option for an external wired mic solves this problem.
It is not easy for a point-and-shoot camera to match the utility of a smartphone, simply because a smartphone is a necessity, but a camera is an additional gadget to carry around. And if the camera doesn’t offer significant advantages over the phone for the target customers, it is not likely to rouse much interest. As far as the PowerShot V10 is concerned, it won't be easy for Canon to explain why a vlogger should consider this camera in addition to their smartphone, especially at this selling price. The least they could have done is utilise the large sensor to its full potential without limiting the resolution to 15.2MP. This would have given enough room for a tight crop of images. Additionally, video content has predominantly shifted from the traditional horizontal format to vertical, and Canon doesn’t seem to have considered the vertical format while designing this device. However, if you prefer a compact and ultra-portable wide-angle lens camera that offers point-and-shoot simplicity for your simple vlogs, you could consider this camera.
A cute little vlog camera that attempts to better smartphones in image quality, but falls short in practical utility.
|13.1 (Movie recording) / 15.2 (Stills)
|Stills: One-Shot AF / Movie: Servo AF
|AF Point Selection:
|Closest Focusing Distance:
|1.5x / 2.0x / 3.0x
|Focal Length (35mm Equivalent):
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