Pros Great features, excellent quality photos. The 720p HD video is very clear. The ability to zoom from a wide angle 28mm to 12X or 336 mm while filming is a great feature. The camera is easy to hold and all controls are very easy to operate.
Cons The low battery indicator starts flashing when the batteries have reached ~45% capacity. A firmware upgrade might fix this.
Don't use alkaline batteries with this camera: ~23 minutes of 720p HD video with alkalines verses 70 minutes with NiMH.
Summary Great features, excellent quality photos. The 720p HD video is very clear. The ability to zoom from a wide angle 28mm to 12X or 336 mm while filming is a great feature. Great for group shots and closeups. For me it replaces my bulky digital SLR and Sony Camcorder that I had to lug around to events. I love this camera.
The only negatives I have are the battery performance with alkaline batteries and the battery life indicator. I found that brand new Duracell or Energizer alkaline batteries only last for an average of 23 minutes of HD 720p video. This is not acceptable. I would highly recommend buying a 4 pack of NiMH AA batteries (they retail for about $16 and often come with a charger). NiMH rechargeables such as Sanyo Eneloops lasted for a very respectable 70 minutes of 720p video - about 3x as long as the alkalines. I used the zoom a lot during the video test too. Lastly, Canon must fix their low battery indicator since it is very premature: the low battery indicator started flashing after only 13 minutes of video with alkalines and 40 minutes with NiMH. I kept shooting until the camera actually died and came to realize that in both cases there was still about 40% capacity left in the batteries. Hopefully Canon will issue a firmware upgrade to fix this.
Points of interest:
- 10 minutes of 720p HD video takes about 1.75GB on your card so an 8GB card will give you maybe 45 or 50 minutes of video at the maximum resolution. I would recommend 8GB and up SDHC cards.
- I should also point out that the camera has an auto shut-off for the video after 10 minutes of continuous shooting. This limits the clip size to 10 minutes max. I actually think this is a good feature since it stops you from accidentally forgetting the video on and either filling up your memory card or running down your battery.
All in all I think this is a terrific camera if you use the NiMH batteries.
Pros Excellent Options. Produces nice sharp images with excellent color and will work for a novice(Many "Automatic" options) as well as more experienced photographers looking for a bit more creative control. Shutter lag performance is excellent.
Cons Slow recharge time when using flash and shot to shot wait times are below average. Hard on alkaline batteries but you can get about 350 shots with NiMH rechargables.
Summary Excellent value for the money. Produces some excellent images, especially in good light. Low light performance is very good for it's class, though it won't make you forget about your DSLR with a fast lens!
Pros Great Photo quality
Video quality is really good and records stereo sound
Fun to use
Nice construction and somewhat smart design
Great user interface
Cons Big and Heavy
Battery life is plain bad
Nice screen but weird aspect ratio and relatively low res
Slow performance, especially when shooting in low light
ISO performance could be better
Summary I got this a few weeks ago and so far so good. The body is solid and it has Canon's excellent user interface which is a pleasure to use. This 12.1 megapixel megazoom offers an awesome value as the pictures it produces are on par with some cheap DSLRs. The zoom is not so fast but when shooting video it is plain slow, which by the way has an awesome quality for so little money even when it doesn't go up to 1080p.
It eats up alkalines in record time, but with NiMH is can last at least twice as with alkalines. I usually carry two pairs of rechargable NiMHs just in case; a con and a pro at the same time. The image effects are nice and some can even be used while recording HD video. It can recognize faces and includes an smile-shutter mode.
If you can live with the bulk but care more about photo quality than about style and size, then this is a must buy. At that price it is a steal.
Pros Full Manual Settings with Flash intensity Control. Big 12x optical zoom ratio, High Resolution 12MP, 720P HD movie, and great overall picture quality.
Cons Low Battery life and slower recycle time with Alkaline Batteries (Recommend rechargeable AA Nicads or AA Lithium Batt). 28mm Wide is OK but it would nice at 18-21mm.
Summary Even though these following features are a big bonus I did not really get this camera for the big 12x optical zoom, or the HD movie mode, or for the 12MP chip. But the main reason was for it's full manual controls with shutter, aperture, focus and flash intensity settings. This is the only pocket camera with these full manual features. I have been waiting 10 years for a pocket that I can control and I highly recommend it to Pros. I am generally a Nikon man for SLRs, DSLRs, and point-&-shoot cameras, but I have to give Canon two thumbs up for the SX 130 IS.In addition, this camera is the bang for your buck under $200 without a doubt.
Updated on Dec 18, 2010
Updated on Jan 1, 2011FINAL CONCLUSION: Now that I have used the SX 130 camera in different shooting situations (low light scenes, daylight landscape, candids, & product shots) I came to the conclusion of returning it. The camera controls worked fine and it's well built but very disappointed in the overall picture performance quality. In addition, if you are someone like me that is constantly changing control settings and frequently using the menu options then you will be lucky to get about 30 shots out of a set of batteries. I just stepped up to the Canon SX 210 and it's a huge difference, it's worth every penny. The refined features of the SX 210 and flexibility of independent custom controls settings in TV, AV, M, P, and MOV is much better than the SX 130. The picture quality is superior, it's more compact, and it's capability of panoramic stitching is impressive. In final, just the lithium ion battery and charger which comes with the SX 210 was worth the extra money.
Pros - Lots of useful and fun features
- Pictures are very clear and vivid
- Flash works very well
- Auto mode takes great pictures, Manual and semi-manual modes take great pics
Cons - Shot-to-shot time is disappointing
- Battery performance with standard Alkaline is around 130 shots optimum.
- Sort-of hard to control with one hand - I might just need more practice with it.
Summary This camera replaces my 6yo Kodak Dx7630. I selected this camera based on its big lens compared to its peers. Camera was on sale at the time and I was sold. Long Shot-to-shot time (up to 6 seconds with flash on) isn't noticeable normally, unless you're trying to take quick pictures, then it's a BIG deal. I have an old 2gb sd card, which might be slowing performance a little. I'll update if I notice a difference.
The on-the-fly color swap is slick, though I haven't figured out an actual use for it :-)
I've had the camera over a month and I'm still figuring out all the features. Tons of flash settings, multiple light sensors and red-eye reducers help create natural-looking photos with the flash on.
Budget for some rechargeable batteries (new NiMH batteries that don't discharge over time seem to be the cheapest/best performing option, often called "pre-charged NiMH". Canon recommends their own brand of rechargeables, though).
Taking photos in poorly-lit field houses for my sister's basketball games lets this camera shine. I can get this camera to produce a passable photo at 1/100 shutter at 400ISO (some distortion, but still overall crisp) at 5-8x zoom.
I'm very happy with the camera and will update as I use it more.