Canon PowerShot SX20IS 12.1MP Digital Camera

November 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Digital Cameras

Editorial Reviews:

Product Description
With a 20x wide-angle zoom, the 12.1-megapixel PowerShot SX20 IS offers intelligent, versatile shooting power. Switch to Smart Auto mode for

effortlessly great results, or shoot stunning HD movies.

I bought the SX20 because I had good luck with the SX10 September 5, 2009
Kirk Tuck (Austin, Texas)
202 out of 207 found this review helpful

Click image for Best Price

Click image for Best Price

I shoot all kinds of stuff with all kinds of cameras. I am a working photographer who shoots for advertising and corporate client as well as to make images for my own books about photography. Over the last two years I’ve been using small cameras like the Canon G10 and the SX10 for more and more of my work. In the studio, shooting set up shots or small products these cameras shine by dint of their easy to use Live View and increased depth of field. When I bought the SX 10 it was for the long range of the zoom lens which meant I could shoot anything from a construction site to tight shots of the cabins at the top of the construction cranes. I’ve done some portraits with studio lights and an SX10 and they were also very usable. I wish the SX 10 and SX 20 had raw file capability but they don’t. That just means I have to be a bit more careful about WB and exposure. I’ve used the SX10 at outdoor swim meets and found that the lens performs better than expected right out to the end.

So, why the SX 20? Recently I’ve been asked to do more and more little video snippets for clients and for my publisher and while I like the results from the SX10 I wanted real HD video for the times that a medical practice has asked for video clips for both their website AND for power point and other uses. I wanted the extra detail for the times that they use the clips in projected presentations. The price point works.

I’ve spent a couple days testing the SX 10 and the results are very, very good. The front mounted microphones are of very high quality and the sound for most applications is very acceptable. Would I like a mike input? You bet! Does that sour the deal? Not in the least.

The image quality of the stills is just as good as the SX 10 at low ISO’s and about 1/2 a stop better at 200 and 400. I’ll chalk that up to the new digic processor.

All in all the build quality and the easy operation make the camera a winner for me. These days clients are more interested in using images and video in a wide range of multimedia and the SX 20 is a great tool for anything that’s headed to the web. I still own traditional DLSR cameras and use them but left to my own devices I find the smaller sensor cameras to be highly competent and very usable.

With an SX20 and a G10 I feel like I can handle just about anything except shots that call for narrow depth of field. Traditional photographers may not want to hear that video is becoming a required skill but that won’t make it go away. This camera is a cost effective way to get your feet wet, find your way around and get your feet wet. I like it.

5 out of 5 stars SX20 IS Great Hybrid Camera For Video And Stills September 6, 2009
B. Massey (TX United States)
111 out of 112 found this review helpful

Let me start off by saying that I’m not a professional photographer. My decision to purchase the SX20 IS was based on a desire to get an excellent still shot camera, with high capacity zoom, that also had HD Video (720p) capabilities. So, I began my research and spent many hours scouring the web to make an informed decision. I had narrowed my choice to the Canon SX20 IS and the Panasonic DMC-FZ35.

Here are some of the key specs of each camera:

Optical Zoom (Canon: 20, Pana: 18)
Still image files (Canon: Not Raw, Pana: Raw)
Articulating LCD (Canon: Yes, Pana: No)
720p HD video per 2 GB (Canon: 10 min 33 sec, Pana: 15 min)
Video file format (Canon: .mov, Pana: AVCHD Lite)
Battery Type: (Canon: 4 AA, Pana: Li-ion rechargeable)
Stereo Audio (Both)
SD Card Storage (Both)

[…].

In the end I decided to go with Canon for a few key reasons:

#1. The articulating LCD (pull out, tilt/move) was a key factor, as I wanted to be able to shoot from many different angles. It came in handy very soon–the second time I used the camera–I was able to whip out the LCD and get some decent shots at a football game when I had to raise the camera high over my head to shoot over the folks standing in front of me.

#2. The ability to easily share video files. The .mov file format is a more widely accepted format, which can easily be shared (without processing/conversion). The files are accepted on sites such as You Tube. The files can be played with Quicktime and other media players (e.g. VLC). Although the Panasonic camera uses a format which is more compressed and allows more data to be stored on an SD card, the file format is not as wide spread and not as easy to share with others, without converting the file.

#3. Consumer Reports rankings for last year’s model: Canon #1, Pana #5 (SX10 IS & Pana DMC-FZ28). I suspect the SX20 IS will follow the same trend this year when Consumer Reports releases their test results for 2009.

#4. Canon takes AA batteries. This makes the camera slightly heavier, but you’ll always be able to get economical batteries in a pinch, without the need for buying a proprietary lithium ion battery. May I recommend Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries. I bought some new on Amazon. They are excellent. I haven’t charged them yet and I’ve taken 120 pictures and 40 minutes plus of 720p video. I’ve also played back the pictures and movies on my TV/Projector and transferred all files to my computer, using the same batteries, without charging them. And they are “..still going…”

Here are some sample pictures taken with the SX20 IS. Keep in mind that Flickr doesn’t display the full, original picture which was taken in maximum resolution (in auto mode). […].

I’ve taken some great up-close family shots and macro shots. They look great and are very detailed. I took some night/action pics (with the flash) and adjusted the shutter speed and ISO settings and the pictures looked great, given the conditions.

[…].

I apologize for the camera jitter in advance as I didn’t have a tri-pod and I was in a tight area in the Stadium when I took the shots.

I must admit that I am thoroughly impressed with the video quality/resolution. I shot sample video from my 1 year old camcorder (Panasonic SDR-H40, a standard definition hard drive camcorder) and shot the same footage with the SX20 IS. The difference in quality was amazing. Not only was the Canon much sharper, but the richness and vibrance of the colors was so much better. I sold my SDR-H40 on Ebay within two days. I now will have only one camera to shoot stills and 720p HD video–the Canon SX20 IS. The videos from the SX20 IS looked awesome–on both my 32 inch 720p LCD and my 100+ inch screen via a 720p DLP projector. I connected the camera with an HDMI cable and bam, I was ready to watch great video and view still shots “on the big screen.” See the above referenced links for video footage yourself. If I were given the opportunity to watch a football game shot in standard definition by ESPN or an HD version of the same game, shot with the SX20 IS (on a tripod, without my hand jitter), I’d pick the latter in a heart beat.

No buyer’s remorse here! If you are looking for an SLR type camera, that does awesome stills and great 720p HD video (both zoomable at 20x optical), you’d be hard pressed to get more bang for your buck then the SX20 IS on Amazon.

One minor issue I’ve noticed is that when zooming in/out while shooting video, you can here a slight “click” when you initiate the zoom and when you stop the zoom. There is NO noise heard while the lens is zooming/telescoping in/out; the “click” is only heard when the zoom is initiated and when the zoom is stopped. The “click” is not that noticeable. I had to shoot footage in silence, after the kids had gone to bed, in order to distinguish the “click.” In most shooting environments I don’t expect it to be much of an issue.

Best of luck with your purchase decision.

P.S. By the way, the owner manual states that you must use the Canon software to transfer images/movies from the camera to a PC, else movies will not transfer (frames will be dropped) correctly and images shot vertically may be transferred in the horizontal orientation. So, don’t just do a copy/paste of the files them self from the SD card. Keep this in mind as you view sample video on the web.

5 out of 5 stars Use The Foilage Setting For Best Color Pics September 12, 2009
S. Barcomb (New York)
43 out of 45 found this review helpful

I received the camera a few days ago. I wanted a good quality camera for all-around, basic shooting. The main features that attracted me were the wide angle/zoom lens and the video option.

I am not an expert, or even an experienced amateur. I just want to be able to point, shoot, and take decent pics and some occassional vidoe.

In my opinion, the best eye-pleasing pictures are those that show the vibrant colors and color variations – all other things being equal. I’ve experimented with various settings and taken the same shots with those various settings, and compared shots taken with Auto, Landscape, Portrait, etc. against the Foilage setting [SCN/Foilage], and the Foilage setting is by far the best for bringing out the colors (which it is meant to do anyway). Compared to those pics taken using the Foilage setting, the ones taken in the other settings are dull – not that they aren’t decent pictures in the other settings, just compared to the Foilage pictures they are dull(er). So for basic shots, I will probably use the Foilage setting most of the time for all-around shooting – the pictures are beautiful. One problem I expect with this, is to get to the Foilage setting, you must use the top dial set to SCN, then using the free-spinning dial on the back, select foilage. Problem is, after taking shots and letting the camera hang against your body, the free-spinning dial may be prone to be moved to select another setting…

One of the issues I do have, is not being able to choose to set the Auto-Focus frame to the center of the screen for many settings – such as Auto… I’m not crazy about the “smart focus” which chooses which subject(s) that it thinks is the main subject(s) – in my case of shooting mostly non-people so far, this “smart-focus” has been wrong. I think most of us non-pro photographers usually center our subject anyway, and even if we don’t, we should still have the option of keeping the AF frame in the center… One other thing that hasn’t worked for me is connecting it to HDMI on my TV. I’m going to take it to Best Buy and try it there. If it still isn’t working, I hate to send it back because it is a good camera, but I would like the HDMI feature to work to see my videos in true HD.

In summary, the wide-to-zoom feature is great, takes very good pictures (especially in Foilage), takes excellent video. The video option is excellent – you can take pics while filming, and you can simply press the video button in the back to start taking video even if you’re in a picture-taking setting – very nice feature.

If you’re not a pro photographer and want to have a great all-around camera, this is definitely a good buy. I hope I can get my HDMI/TV feature to work so I can keep my camera…

5 out of 5 stars Awesome video September 20, 2009
S. Sanderson (Framingham, Ma)
25 out of 25 found this review helpful

Watch Video Here: http://www.amazon.com/review/RFH688G5N3LYT I take a lot of video for promoting my friends band the Peacheaters and this camera has what it takes to bring HD with such wonderful quality. Often some of the clubs are dark even with stage lights and the drummers don’t often get seen but with this camera the natural adjustments to the surroundings make you able to see them. I will be getting a lot of use out of this for sure. I went ahead and ordered the canon rechargeable batteries and I always buy transcend 16GB SDHC class 6. You get so much more time for video this way. About 84 min or so.

5 out of 5 stars Best out there shy of an SLR September 19, 2009
pax lingua (Kihei, HI)
20 out of 21 found this review helpful

I reviewed the PowerShot SX200 IS a short while ago on Canon’s and Amazon’s website and rated it very highly. Nonetheless, I decided to return it in exchange for the PowerShot SX20 IS.

This camera offers the following additional advantages: a viewfinder; HD video recording with optical zoom throughout the zoom range plus stereo sound; a form factor much more like that of an SLR: it is on the heavy side, but easy to hold and the viewfinder allows you to hold the camera against your body which adds extra stability, and thus better focus, especially when zooming in; diapter adjustability means I don’t have to wear glasses when using the EVF; the LCD display can be closed so it faces the camera – no need to worry about smudging or scratching it.

Those who are considering the purchase of an SLR need to keep in mind that you’ll need at least three different lenses to get a comparable zoom range. You’d be lugging around quite a bit of weight, and faced with the delay in changing lenses depending upon what you want to take a picture of.

Some question the quality of the pictures it takes. Keep in mind that this is not a camera designed for amateurs who insist on fully automatic features. In other words, the best possible pictures may only be obtained when you make needed adjustments ranging from setting the scene yourself to fully manual ones, or else by using a photo editor.

So far, I have taken perhaps one hundred test pictures and ten minutes of video. Unless you intend to print or view the pictures beyond 11″ x 14″, I doubt that you will notice any difference between the results this camera produces and an SLR. I’ve owned the Olympus e-510, and can say that you’d have to magnify or crop to a degree that most users simply don’t in order to notice a difference. The quality of the videos is much better than that of my standard definition Canon DC230 mini-DVD camera. The downside is the weight of this camera, which makes extended filming somewhat difficult (for me, at least).

I highly recommend the camera for those who are looking for the characteristics I have highlighted. It is probably one of the best, if not the best, super-zooms on the market today.

Written by Lifestyle Review Editor - Creative Lifestyle Products

Digital Cameras for Kids ~ the Next Generation Photographers

February 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Articles, Digital Cameras

Kids are learning fast, with the improving technology, how to blog and communicate with distant friends and families through email. Therefore, kids find it easier to upload their pictures to the computer and share memorable times rather than developing their own films and using the paper format- which is difficult and tiresome, unless the kid is extremely interested in photography.

Hence, it can be considered as a blessing, the invention of the digital cameras for kids, as it is easy for kids to use (since all they have to do is press the flash button) and will increase the number of kids interested in photography.

For parents also buying digital cameras for kids will be more financially better as it is rather economical than wasting money for films; because when using a digital camera, the pictures can be easily uploaded to the computer and deleted in the camera. Hence, digital cameras for kids is an essential item for them when going for day trips, vacations or outings at friends’ places.

Digital cameras for kids usually are designed with a colored surface unlike normal digital cameras. Though they are designed to look nice, there are other factors that need to be considered when purchasing digital cameras for kids.

Checking for the availability of expandable memory is important. If the digital cameras for kids have only a small fixed amount of memory without expandable memory, there will not be enough room for kids to take as many pictures as they would possibly want.

It is also important to check for the presence of a flash in digital cameras for kids. This is because, a flash is helpful when taking pictures indoors where it is dark or at night time.

Next, try to get digital cameras that have USB connection instead of serial connection. This is because USB connection is faster when uploading the images to the computer.
Make sure, finally, when buying digital cameras for kids, to buy one with a good number of megapixels. This is because, the lower the number of megapixels, the lesser the quality of the picture- and the picture will appear more blurry.
However, most digital cameras for kids come with lower megapixels than normal digital cameras- so just make sure to not buy one with an extremely low megapixel number.
There is a type of digital cameras for kids which are less expensive and have all the features mentioned above, called beginner digital cameras. The megapixel number of this camera is not as high but if your kid is prone to getting things broken, it is advisable to buy one of these less expensive cameras. This is because you can always buy the kid another camera if he/she accidently gets it broken.

Written by Lifestyle Review Editor - Creative Lifestyle Products

Compare Digital Cameras, the AMAZON has the BEST DEAL!

February 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Articles, Digital Cameras

Globally, picture taking has become a very wide-spread leisure activity. It is not only a pastime of several people, but also a career of a lot of people. From the time creation of the camera, it has been that way. Over time the technology has progressed dramatically with the result of different kinds of cameras being created and manufactured. One such camera type is the digital camera. If you wish to steal a digital camera, you had better do compare digital cameras first.

Internet is full of websites that advertise sales of digital cameras. These websites have virtually all the information concerning them, i.e. service manuals, spec sheets, price comparisons, list of shops where cameras are available, user reviews, digital camera ratings and what not. If you?re not a camera buff, the most prudent thing to do, without any doubt, is to consult these websites for a compare digital cameras exercise before physically buying one.

There are several points to be weighed in advance of buying a digital camera. Among the many qualities that make a digital camera always stand out from the crowd are optical quality, zoom and storage media. If you are in doubt about those features in general, why not compare digital cameras at such a website where reviews from different sources are available. It actually helps to be informed of such technicalities.

It?s been observed that websites that have comparison charts embedded on them have fine tuned the evaluation of different kinds of cameras. All you have to do is to define your criteria and click the ?compare? button. In an instant a comparison table will materialize on your PC screen. Notice how simple it is to compare digital cameras in order to make up your mind to do a better buy.

Once you have carried out an evaluation of digital cameras on a suitable site, you will be surprised at how ingenuous it has become. I observed in one website a listing of approximately 50 items in a digital camera being evaluated. It is almost impossible to do such a comparison without such advanced online technology.. So, having considered the above-noted information, it is most excellent to look for a first-rate website on which you can compare digital cameras so as to avoid post-purchase compunction of your newest digital camera.

Written by Lifestyle Review Editor - Creative Lifestyle Products

World Notable Casio Merchandise is the Editor’s Choice

February 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Articles, Digital Cameras

World notable Casio merchandise are produced by Casio Computers which was formed in 1946 in Tokyo and later incorporated as Casio Computer Co, Ltd in 1957. It makes a broad assortment of electronics that consists of, among others, calculators, mobile phones, watches, TVs,PCs, PDAs and Casio digital cameras too. In 1995, introducing the world’s 1st consumer digital camera with an Liquid Crystal Display monitor, it made ingress into the digital camera market.

On the Internet, there are thousands of websites advertising digital cameras produced by assorted manufacturers. As you can see, every producer does its utmost to convince that its merchandise are the best currently on the market. This is true of Casio digital cameras too with the difference that what they have to offer, indeed, is the best.

It is of interest to note that some websites deal exclusively in Casio digital cameras. They provide you with all the information about Casio’s current digital camera models and types. This saves you the trouble of browsing various sites in search of your preferred camera type. It is no surprise that inside information on products that have been discontinued are also available.

Not everyone is a professional lensman. Hence, a person may have his work cut out finding the most suitable digital camera from countless models advertised on the web. There are some sites to be found on the Net which feature a novel way of making your choice of Casio digital cameras. All you have to do is answer several queries online with multiple answers. The moment you finish that exercise, you will be presented with the most suitable model that suits your replies. For a novice, this is a very new experience of having a simple solution for a complicated issue.

Make it a habit to find every possible detail regarding whatever you’re going to purchase prior to really buying it. Study every recommendation, criticism and all other remarks made by previous users which will come in handy. Websites that publicize Casio digital cameras abound them. They have up to the minute details of their latest products and models such as Exilim compact camera series. These are reputed to be built with Casio’s high-tech technical know-how in high speed digital photography. So, go for a leader in digital photography equipment. Buy Casio digital cameras.

Written by Lifestyle Review Editor - Creative Lifestyle Products