"Newest and Best Pocket Camera from Canon, made in Japan"5.0 starson by JimPickrell
Pros: This camera is similar to previous models from Canon (SX210), but a little better. 14 megapixel resolution, 14x zoom, and good manual and automatic controls. It's easy to use and takes nice pictures. Video looks great. Made in Japan, not China.
Cons: The metal case is nice but scratches if you drop it. Since it's made in Japan it costs a little more than competitors made in China, but you get what you pay for. Size is about 30% larger than the smallest cameras.
Summary: If you want a pocket size camera with top resolution (14 megapixels) and a good lens (wide angle and 14x zoom) then this Canon model is a good choice. This camera has a nice zoom, has manual controls, and takes great still and video pictures, but without the clunky large size of SLR format cameras.I was asked if I work for Canon. No, I do not. I teach at Los Angeles City College, and run a local ISP called brandx.net. I just like the camera. You can find more about me by searching for my name on Google. I use a camera for work so I don't mind paying a little bit extra for quality. I bought this camera pretty much the first day it came out, at Frys in Manhattan Beach, about a week before the official launch date. I spent several weeks researching before making my choice. Since then I've used it a bit more, and my initial impressions were confirmed. I just got back from a week in Maui. I took the camera with me everywhere and got really nice pictures. So, thumbs up on this one. It's a really nice camera. There are other really nice cameras on the market. But for those who want the features of an SLR, but need something that will fit in their pocket, this seems to be about the best currently on the market.
If you want a 14x zoom in a small package, this narrows things down to Canon and Panasonic,, which makes a model with virtually identical features. For example they have a ZS7 with 12 mp and 14x zoom. The Panasonic/Lumix seems to be a great camera, with a nice lens and features, but I decided after much agonizing to spend a few extra dollars and buy the Canon. It's been a good choice. It's easy to use and the picture quality is very nice. I probably would have been happy with the Panasonic too.
The size is about 30% larger than the smallest pocket cameras from Canon, Panasonic, Sony etc. That's because it has more in it. Instead of a 4x zoom it has a 14x, and it has a bright 3 inch screen, various control dials and buttons, and it has a hefty solid, metal feel. It's still pretty small.
I also looked at a number of the ultra-small pocket cameras including Canon, Sony, and Panasonic. Resolution of 14 megapixels is the same for any of this latest generation, and they all make very small, attractive cameras or about $200.
For example, the Sony DSC-W330 and DSC-W350 offer nice features in a very small package. If you want 14 megapixles, shoot only automatic, don't need a big zoom (only 4x) and don't mind that the camera is made in China, then that might be a nice choice. I've had good luck with Sony in the past. The Panasonic DHC-FH20 offers virtually identical features and is also very nice. Canon offers the SDI1400is which also looks pretty good.
The downside is that in order to make the cameras very small they have done away with most of the controls and you don't get much of a zoom. The size is really amazing but I wanted to be able to control the lighting and I wanted a better zoom. So I decided to get one of the slightly larger models.
Also, cameras from Sony and Olympus are made in China. I've owned Chinese models from both of these manufacturers and frankly I'm not impressed. Old Olympus cameras made in Japan were finely crafted instruments that took really great pictures. My old Sony (made in Japan) was great. But the new stuff from China is served up in vacuum bubble packs that hang on the racks at the marketing superstores and the quality just isn't there.
It's hard to figure out where cameras are made from the reviews. Some companies make new models in Japan and then move production of older cheaper models to China. So even if you know the model you can't be sure of the country of origin. You pretty much have to go into a store and look. Check the bottom of the camera and it may say. Otherwise, ask the store clerk to get you the box and read the fine print. it's always there. Most manufacturers have some models made in Japan and some in China. The difference in quality is noticeable.
Updated on Apr 7, 2010