The SX260 dropped the resolution to 12.1 MP (from 14 for the SX210). This is good, I still think 10 would be better (look at the old review to get an understanding of why, but in short it would reduce noise). Obviously the quality of the pocket camera does not compare to the DSLR, but as it is around me more often, it gets points for that.
So instead of posting lots of pictures showing the comparison (as I did last time) and boring most people, lets just get to the point. For that, I only need 2 pictures (remember to click them to get full size pictures). My biggest complaint with the SX210 (and SX240) was noise. So does the SX260 help that. Lets use the picture of my book shelf as a guide.
As my office is not the brightest, both pictures were taken at an ISO of 800 with no flash (remember this is a noise test, not so much real world). The upper picture is from the SX210.
The picture below is from the SX260.
If you compare the images on a pixel by pixel looking for noise you would get this:
The SX210 is on the left, and the SX260 is on the right. Though neither image is really great (go back to see how the DSLR did with this image in the first comparison), there is less noise in the SX260. So it is making strides in its weakest area.
However, was that enough to justify buying a new camera. I am not sure, it is definitely an improvement in what I considered the chief weakness, but fortunately, I did not need to use this as the sole decision maker. The SX260 also has some nice new features. One being live mode. Below are two pictures taken one right after the other outside in real world conditions (sun set over a hill).
The first is from the SX210. Note, I have taken lots of sunsets with this camera (again see some of the past posts), so I know how to configure the camera to get the best of the situation. Even with all of that, below is the best I could do.
Note, I could most likely enhance this in photo shop, but that adds another step. Below is what I was able to get out of the SX260 just using the live view sliders.
The SX260 matched the actual colors much better. Using the live controls it was easy to get the camera to match what I was seeing. This is something that the SX210 does not have.
The other feature that made the SX260 nice was the slow motion video. Both do regular video fairly well, but the SX260 adds a feature to do a reduced resolution slow motion video (again, something the SX210 does not do). Take a look at the example below.
Note, that this was ball 4, he was not hit, nor is he rushing the pitcher (though I thought it skimmed his helmet at first).
Though the resolution is really low (I would like to see future cameras increase the resolution in slow mode), it is still something I have lots of fun with the kids. We have taken videos of all kinds of things, and it is always fun to watch them play back in slow motion.
So to conclude this, the quality out of the SX260 is better than the SX210, and that alone is most likely worth the purchase. Additionally with some nice creative and fun modes, the camera really stands out. So I kept the camera, and am using it regularly.
Note, my next update will be soon. I have been using this as an infra red cam already (and the reduced noise again helps here as well). I have posted one of the pictures on Google+, but will go through it all here a bit more.