Bridge-style cameras with the versatility of a macro, wide angle and telephoto lens in one fixed lens camera are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. They're versatile, yet much less expensive than a DSLR, but with the same comfort of gripping a big camera. The Canon Powershot SX520 HS enters the fray with a so-so 42x zoom range but a competative $399 list price.
The current industry leader is a whopping 62x zoom, but the image quality in that camera is significantly degraded at the end of such a long zoom. Translation: a smaller zoom might not actually be a bad thing. A 42x zoom is still a good range, and packing a little less inside that lens will usually mean better image quality at the long end.
The SX520's solid zoom is paired with excellent macro focusing. The specs list a 0.0 foot distance for autofocusing in macro mode, but we expect the camera to need at least a few centimeters of distance from the subject to perform well. Factored in with the camera's wide-angle and telephoto capabilities, and the SX520 looks to be quite versatile.
Speed isn't exactly a plus here, however. While the processor has been updated over the SX510, the SX520 only shoots at 1.6 fps at full resolution. 10 fps is available in high speed burst mode, but at only 3.6 megapixels.
The SX520 is also missing out on a viewfinder, where most competators offer at least an electronic one. It also doesn't offer RAW, but many competing models don't either.
Bottom line--the Canon Powershot SX520 HS is more of a budget model. But while the SX510 was introduced with fewer features at $250, the SX520 sits much higher at almost $400. With many other options, like our favorite long zoom the Fujifilm FinePix S1, going for similar prices, proceed with caution and be sure to compare carefully.