Canon PowerShot SX220 HS: Build quality and handling

Superzoom cameras are often designed with their extensive focal ranges in mind, typically with a decent grip and thumb space to aid their handling, but the SX220HS goes against convention.

The minimal styling of the camera's metal front plate is bordered by a grey-finish around the top-plate and sides, while the widescreen LCD on the back not only necessitates a fairly wide body for such a model, but also leaves little room for controls and no dedicated space for the thumb.

This means that the thumb needs to sit between the edge of the LCD and the mode dial, although as images in their standard aspect ratio only occupy around three-quarters of the display this isn't too great a problem.

Canon has, however, gone to the trouble of rectifying some of the issues which afflicted the preceding SX 210IS model. The awkward lever on the top-plate for adjusting the lens's zoom has now been replaced by a far more comfortable collar which encircles the shutter release button, while the power control, whose previous position on the slightly concave top plate made it equally annoying to operate, has also been relocated to a more sensible position on the rear.

Otherwise the basic template hasn't changed, with four large buttons on the back for movie recording, playback, menu and display options, and a small, freely-rotating menu pad dial around a central Func button which is used for the majority of image settings.

Once you get into the swing of the menu system changing options becomes effortless, and the menu-pad dial can be used to quickly zip through a series of images, movies or menu options.