Installing a big lens into a compact camera can have its disadvantages, though.
The Nikon S8000, despite being a wholly capable compact, produced average results in our tests thanks to too much chromatic aberration, so it was with some trepidation that we loaded the SX210 IS's test shots.
Macro mode...See full-res test shot
It's fair to say that there's still a little purple fringing in evidence in some of our shots, but not much, and only in very high-contrast areas. You can induce it, for instance, by deliberately taking pictures of thin branches against an overcast sky, but for the most part it's simple enough to avoid.
Miniature effect...See full-res test shot
The rest of our test images were superb. Considering the lens's jack-of-all-trades specification it was impressively sharp both at wide-angle and telephoto focal lengths. Our test shots were also vibrant and, this being a Canon, there are plenty of ways to jazz up the colour in-camera.
Slow shutter...See full-res test shot
There are other advantages besides. For a camera that costs nearly as much as a DSLR you'd hope for a good measure of manual control, and we're pleased to report that the SX210 IS's mode dial on the back offers shutter and aperture priority modes, as well as a fully manual mode.
Zoomed in...See full-res test shot
The live view on the screen on the back changes to reflect how your picture will expose when you half-push the shutter release.
Wide angle...See full-res test shot
Finally, we're used to dismissing so-called 'creative modes' more or less out of hand, since they rarely offer anything you can't achieve with greater finesse in software after the shot. But the SX210 IS offers some genuinely interesting features.
The first of these is its mock fish-eye effect. Although this (obviously) doesn't change the wide-angle focal length, it does allow you to exaggerate foreground objects.
Fisheye...See full-res test shot
The second is called Miniature Effect. This mimics the effect of a tilt-shift lens, blurring the top and bottom of a shot, making a real-life scene appear as if it had been made in miniature. If you've ever gone to some lengths applying a fake tilt-shift effect to your photos, the ability to shoot it in-camera is useful.