Canon PowerShot SX210 IS is said to have 9 focus points. I haven't seen any setting which shows all those points on the screen or anywhere.

How and what are those remaining 8 focus points used for?

EDIT 1: http://www.dpreview.com/products/canon/compacts/canon_sx210is


2 Answers 2


Matt Grum is correct, your camera uses contrast detect and can focus anywhere in frame.

According to user manual (page 82), your camera has two auto-focus modes - Face Detect and Center. So you can choose only one point, but in Face Detect mode, your camera will detect and show a selection of up to 9 faces, which is probably what the number refers to.

Those up to 9 points will appear when shutter is pressed halfway as green boxes drawn around faces.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, indeed the official doc doesn't mention anything regarding the 9 focus points. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 23, 2011 at 12:50

I think you might be getting mixed up with a Canon DSLR spec.

The Canon PowerShot range in common with other compact cameras uses the imaging sensor to focus by maximising contrast. It can therefore focus on any part of the image.

DSLRs use a separate AF sensor to which light is directed to by a mirror. This sensor has a limited number of AF points (typically 9) but can focus much faster as it records a distance directly, instead of having to move the lens around to maximise contrast. The nine points are overlaid in the viewfinder.

  • \$\begingroup\$ See the following link, it is mentioned there Number of focus points 9. dpreview.com/products/canon/compacts/canon_sx210is \$\endgroup\$ Jun 23, 2011 at 8:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Anisha There is no mention of focus points in the official specification—compare to e.g. EOS T2i/550D which is clearly stated to have 9 AF points. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 23, 2011 at 9:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ As far as I'm concerned the information on dpreview is incorrect, though as Imre points out they're probably referring to the maximum number of faces that can be tracked. That's clearly not the same as a camera having 9 focus points. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Jun 23, 2011 at 11:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ My only fault was, that I trusted dpreview blindly. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 23, 2011 at 12:29

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