Steve's Conclusion

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Steve's SnapShot
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  • 14-Megapixel CCD Imaging Sensor
  • 35x wide optical zoom lens: 35mm equivalent of 24-840mm
  • 2.7-inch,230,000 pixel vari-angle LCD screen
  • DIGIC 4 Image Processor
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • Face Detection and Tracking
  • 720p HD video capture
  • Smart Auto
  • Intelligent Contrast Correction
  • Blink Detection
  • HDMI Output
  • Li-Ion rechargeable battery
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible

Pros
  • 35x optical zoom is the most versatile lens currently on the market
  • Captures nice 14-megapixel still photos
  • Excellent performance for its class
  • Optical Image Stabilization is easy for handheld shooting and video
  • 720p HD video captures excellent videos with stereo sound
  • 2.7-Inch Swivel Vari-Angle LCD for touch shooting conditions
  • Full zoom available while recording videos
  • Smart auto allows anyone to operate it
  • Plenty of advanced controls, like Full Manual mode for total control
  • Powerful pop-up flash
  • Excellent battery life
Cons
  • Chromatic Aberrations in most images
  • Face detection struggled a little with moving faces
  • No audio input for HD video recording
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 2.4 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused  = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = 5/10 - 8/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 2.52 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 3.26 seconds
  • Burst Mode = 0.69fps
  • Burst Mode w/Flash = 0.54fps
  • All tests were taken using a 2GB Lexar Professional 133x SD memory card, Program Mode, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
As one of the most powerful mega-zoom cameras on the market, The SX30 IS features a 35x wide optical zoom, 14-Megapixel imaging sensor and a 2.7-Inch Vari-Angle LCD. With great image quality and outstanding performance, this is the perfect camera to have in your bag to cover a variety of shooting situations.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for a camera that is capable of shooting in any situation, whether up close or way off in the distance. It's also great if you are in the market for an easy-to-use camera with room to grow in your photography skills.
Leading the way in the world of compact mega-zoom cameras is the new Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, featuring a 35x wide optical zoom lens, the largest available at the time of its release. This 14-Megapixel powerhouse also features a DIGIC 4 processor, 2.7-inch vari-angle LCD, Optical Image Stabilization, Smart Auto and all of the other great features that you have come to expect on a Canon. Movie mode now allows you to shoot with the optical image stabilization and the option of using the entire optical zoom while the camera is recording. It has also been given a rechargeable Li-Ion battery and quick charger to keep you shooting as long as possible.

With the style and shape of dSLR, just much smaller, the SX30 IS fits comfortably into your hand and offers either the LCD or EVF for shooting.  The LCD even swivels and changes angles to help you when shooting in a difficult situation. The camera features a focus assist button which allows you to quickly zoom out to locate your subject while the button is held down, then immediately zooms back in when it is released. There is also a dedicated video recording button, allowing you to start recording at any time, no matter what shooting mode your are in. The 2.7-inch LCD is easy to see in most lighting conditions. If you should have trouble viewing the LCD, you can tilt it to a different angle or shoot with the always easy to see EVF (Electronic View Finder).

Our outdoor images show that the SX30 IS produces a very good overall image. We see excellent exposures and vivid colors that help create a very pleasing photo. When we look closer at the images, you can see that the camera struggled with the bright building and dark shadows in our museum shot. The other noticeable problem that we can see are the chromatic aberrations that can be found throughout our outdoor images. Canon's 35x wide optical zoom lens with optical image stabilization gives you more versatility than any other camera you can find. With a wide end of 24mm, you will be able to capture incredibly vast landscapes while at the same time having the option of zooming in across a large distance to get the extreme close-up of just about any distant object. With the optical image stabilization, we were able to capture a crisp handheld image at the full telephoto zoom without too much trouble.

Looking at our indoor images, you can see a crisp and well exposed image from edge to edge. The images are clear from ISO 80 through ISO 400, allowing you to produce large, clear prints. There is a lot of detail lost when you get to ISO 800, but you will still get nice smaller prints from them. With and without the flash, we can see some slight chromatic aberrations in these images as well. The camera's metering system left our flash image a little darker than the non-flash images, even though our sample was taken well within the camera's 19ft. flash range. The flash is also obstructed by the lens when shooting extremely close macro shots.

Our portrait shot, taken in Portrait mode, shows us an extremely high amount of detail, while keeping the skin tones soft and natural. The camera did have a little difficulty detecting and following a moving face, but it is well worth the effort to let the camera do its job. Shooting with the auto red-eye reduction flash, we did not see any instances of redness in the eyes. To make sure you never miss a portrait shot, Canon has developed several shooting modes to make it easier to capture that perfect moment. Smile Self-Timer, Wink Self-Timer and Face Detection Self-Timer all work for you to automatically capture images when someone smiles, winks or enters the frame after the shutter release has been pressed.

Shooting movies with the SX30 IS is easier and more exciting than ever with the new features and 720p HD video capture capabilities. The camera gathers plenty of light to keep your movies bright, but you will see some noise unless you are recording in good lighting. You are now able to use the entire 35x optical zoom lens while recording and when the zoom is at the wide end, the optical image stabilization is also available. These features add more control and creativity to movies. The built-in mic is very sensitive and will pick up all of the sounds that take place around the camera, so if you are using the telephoto zoom, you are not going to pick up much of the audio unless it is extremely loud.

Powering the SX30 IS is a massive 7.4V, 1050mAh Li-Ion rechargeable battery. While working with the SX30, we were able to complete all of our tests while capturing approx. 150 images and several short videos without even using half of the battery power. This is right in line with Canon's claims that it is capable of providing the camera with up to 400 shots on a single charge with the EVF or 370 with the LCD. To quickly charge your battery or to keep a spare battery charged when not in use, Canon has included a portable quick charger with the camera.

Bottom Line - The Canon PowerShot SX30 IS is one of the most powerful mega-zoom cameras on the market today. Sporting a 14-Megapixel imaging sensor, 35x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilization, a 2.7-inch rotating LCD, HD video capture and more, this unit is loaded with just about any feature you can think of. With a quick AF system and overall great performance, the only minor problem we noticed are the chromatic aberrations that can be found in most of our sample shots. With a MSRP of US $429.99, this is one of the higher priced compact cameras out there, but it does not come up short on features. You may also want to look at the Nikon Coolpix P100, Olympus SP-800UZ or the Panasonic's Lumix DMC-FZ35.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.

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