"Excellent value for price - a keeper"4.0 starson by horselover104
Pros: excellent ability to handle sun/shade/dappling
Cons: LCD screen in sun, too easy to change movie resolution by mistake
Summary: This is my 6th digital camera – had 2 Olympus, a Sony and a Fuji before finally upgrading to Canon. Switched to Canon because my friend with a lower resolution Canon was consistently getting better photos in tough lighting than I was. I use my cameras often, but they are most important to me when I am camping with my horses. Since I often ride in a forest, I want a camera that can handle light to dark, dark to light, and sundappled shots… and the Canon is FAR superior to any of the other cameras I’ve owned. The unexpected bonuses of this camera are how much better it handles color that my other cameras did, and also how great the continuous shoot is for motion shots. Might not do too well for something really fast, but it is great for anything at trail riding speeds… no blurring to the shots at all, and each shot is at a substantial resolution, so cropping is viable. Shutter lag is virtually gone in most situations.
I also appreciate the higher resolution movies, but switching between still and motion could be better for my needs…that said, the stiff (for one handed operation) action of the rotary dial, and the loud clicking (which sounds alarmingly like an electric fence) shouldn’t bother anyone else.
The two things I am not thrilled with are the LCD screen that becomes virtually useless in sun, and the fact that in movie mode it is very easy to switch resolution by mistake. Imagine my surprise when after selecting the highest resolution, I filmed in the lowest because in order to have a secure one-handed grip, my palm hit the 4-way button that changes resolution. It can be avoided once you are aware of it, but not easily if you want a firm grip on the camera while riding, and need the other hand for reins. Again, not a big deal to someone who can use both hands to film.
This camera isn’t one of the really tiny ones, but it fits nicely in a small hip case. I looked at the 7.1 A700 as well, but liked the smaller A540 for carrying in my hip pack, and also liked the fact that I didn’t have to rotate a screen to use it. Again, it is that need to have one hand for the horse.
The only accessory I bought was a 2 GB ultra high speed SD card for quicker processing. The camera’s zoom is excellent with minimal shake/blur.
I like the camera’s willingness to give up control – sometimes I can see potential aperture issues I’d like to avoid. But all the gimmick features – my colors, color switch, etc. – leave me cold. I want it like I see it, and in my opinion, Canon does that better than the rest. If one handed operation isn’t a big deal for you, and the LCD screen sun problems (common with many cameras) aren’t a concern, I can highly recommend this camera. Great value for its price.