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I was purchased this camera as a gift and I am delighted with its performance. Despite being over a year old this camera is still at the forefront for those seeking a mid-range priced product. The combination of 4x optical zoom and 12.1 mexapixel makes for an excellent photo, so far I have not been dissapointed with the quality.
The video taking aspect is perhaps not as good, particularly in very loud situations such as music events, however for everyday filming the function is adequate. There is an array of functions to be chosen, however I tend to use to auto function which has never failed to produce the photo that I want. The self-timer function has a number of options to suit the occasion and I tend to use this a lot, particularly to capture family moments.
The battery life of the camera is excellent, with the charger being compact and easy to travel with.
All round I would say this is an excellent buy!
I was bought this camera as a birthday present and I absolutely love it. I have the pink version, which is very nice as it is not garish or tacky, just a nice pale pink which looks girlie but stylish. The camera itself has takes a very good quality of photo and the zoom is also quite good. I have not used all of the features on the camera yet as there are too many to choose from. I have found that the video quality which the camera takes is better than any other video facilities I have found on digital cameras. I personally find the subject finder a very nice option as it makes it easier to get the subject in the middle of the shot, or wherever else you may want it. I have found that I have never had a problem with red eyes whilst using this camera and even in sunlight I can still see the view finding screen well enough to take the photo. The camera is small and light and so easy to carry around and in its basic form it is very easy to use.
I purchased this camera because it has an optical veiwfinder. The camera which this one replaces had an LCD display only, and I simply could not see the image on bright sunny days.
Easy to use. Automatic exposure adjustment for many different lighting conditions was excellent - much better than my older Nikon Coolpix camera.
Clarity and sharpness of the pictures is very good and the color is strong and realistic (I have had cameras where the color always looks a little faded or washed out - the Canon A1100 had no such problems).
The supplied SD card is a little mean in my view - just 128Mb. Not much capacity for pictures and if you want to do any videos you will certainly need a bigger card - 4GB will be plenty for most users and these are only about £5-6 now.
It isn't the smallest camera in the world but unless having a super slim camera is important I do not think the slightly larger size should put you off.
The software that comes with it is easy to use and install. This included a neat tool that allows you to join 'stitch' together multiple shots eg 5 shots across a panorama or 4 shots rising up a tall building. Very cool
All in all a good 12mp camera.
As I am sure most of the members on here will now know, I am a professional photographer but as well as taking pictures I also hold photography seminars at my local camera club and over the last few years I have become somewhat of a target for sales persons asking me to try out their latest digital cameras and give talks and written reviews on them.
I figured a couple of years back if I was going to be testing out all these cameras and doing reviews anyway then I may as well be posting them on Ciao and Dooyoo and making some money for charity which a lot of members know is what I do now.
Many of the cameras that are given to me to test or that are used around my camera club are DSLR`s but not all, and the review I bring to you today is one of a compact camera with a big name, the camera in question has a big name in two ways, one it is a canon and names in photography do not come much bigger than Canon but also it has the long title of the Canon PowerShot A1100 IS.
This compact camera is taking compacts to a new level or at least trying to, with its 12.1 megapixel sensor and its optical viewfinder, trouble is the lens lets the sensor down and the viewfinder is a bit small for my liking so it is perhaps not so impressive after all, or is it?
The first thing I noticed with this Canon in my hand was that it felt very robust and even a bit chunky, not good for a compact in some peoples opinion but for me a camera should feel like a camera and not like a credit card, and the better it feels in hand the easier it is to use.
The buttons and controls on this unit were very easy to get to grips with and will not be too fiddly for those of you with larger fingers like myself, I found it very easy to get to grips with everything the camera had to offer but then as a pro photographer I guess you would expect that, I also feel however that Canon have gone about making this camera very easy for anyone to use regardless of previous knowledge and the instruction manula with it is very easy to understand.
As I mentioned earlier, Canon have given this a 12.1 megapixel CCD sensor and when you are using this in daylight or as I tried with studio lights, you get the full benefit of this sensor, however in poorer light or with the built in flash you lose a fair bit of the giant sensors worth as the lens is not of a high enough standard to deal with bad light situations. Don't get me wrong you do still get great images; you just do not get the crystal clear noise free images that you might expect from a 12.1 megapixel sensor.
Like all compacts this camera has a series of built in shooting modes so that if the user is not familiar enough with apertures and shutter speeds then they can choose what the camera feels will be right for certain shooting circumstances. The settings in this camera are; Program, portrait, landscape, night snapshot, kids & pets, indoor, sunset, night scene, fireworks, long shutter, beach, aquarium, foliage and snow.
They do not all work perfectly but you do get good results from the night scene, fireworks and long shutter settings, the rest of them are ok but not quite up to the standard that I got from setting them manually.
The good thing with this compact that is not always guaranteed with others is that you can fully set this compact up manually if you have the knowhow, so if you are a confident photographer then this gives you the option to add your own touch to the photos you take.
As well as setting the aperture and shutter speed, you can also choose the white balance and ISO yourself, with the ISO you can choose from 80 for good light right through to 3200 for poor light but be warned this is no DSLR so once you get past 800 ISO you have a lot of digital noise to deal with but then you get that with most compacts as the lenses just cannot let in enough light.
The unit has TTL (through the lens) auto focus which does an efficient and fast job but again nowhere near as fast as a DSLR. The zoom is relatively noise free and even when used fully zoomed this little unit can give you blur free pictures as long as you use the image stabilizer setting to reduce hand shake which becomes much more evident when zooming.
The built in flash is like any other built in flash on any other compact camera, in that it is adequate for what it is needed for but it will always leave hot spots in photos and the darker it is when you take the photo, the worse the hot spot will be and the same goes for red eye, if you are photographing people in the dark or close to dark then the red eye is really bad but this can easily be removed in photo shop or other photo enhancement software.
Although this unit does have an optical viewfinder you can of course still use the screen on the back to compose your shot and the screen has all the usual reviewing functions too. The unit is powered by the dreaded AA batteries unfortunately and would have benefited greatly from a rechargeable battery pack as the sensor; zoom and screen are so demanding and if you use the zoom and regularly review your images taken then you can get as little as 100 shots to a pair of AA batteries.
This unit uses an SD card to record the images taken to and it can take up to an 8GB card, I recommend you get at least a 2GB card as the image files are huge when on highest quality setting and you will only get around 100 images on a 1GB card.
I suppose I should mention the fact that this camera can take video footage even though it pains me to do so. As I have said in many previous camera reviews, digital cameras should stick to taking still images as none of them have lenses good enough to give enough light for videoing, this unit will take ok video footage in perfect light but as soon as the light is anything other than perfect then the video becomes very grainy and so much so in bad light it is unwatchable.
The final image quality is the most important thing with any camera or at least it should be, this camera does ok with most of the images taken being of good standard but I feel I should be able to expect more than just good standard from a Canon camera with 12.1 megapixels so over all I felt a bit let down.
There is some signs of purple fringing in many of the images and the noise level in images taken even at 400 ISO is not really acceptable and needs a lot of digital enhancement to print even as big as 8 X 10. I also found the definition in the corners of most of the shots taken was very poor compared to the definition of the rest of the image, this again is down to the smallish lens trying to give enough light to a large CCD sensor and honestly Canon should know better.
Before I sum this unit up I will give you the specs of the camera itself so you can at least make sure it has all that you want from a compact should you decide this is the one for you.
Form factor Compact
Size (W x H x D) 95 x 62 x 31 mm
Weight 155 g
Body material Plastic
Battery type AA
Batteries included 2
Included cables USB, AV
Included accessories Wrist strap, 128MB SD card, software CD
Sensor resolution 12.1 megapixels
Optical sensor type CCD
Optical sensor size 1/2.3 in.
Light sensitivity ISO 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Digital zoom 4 x
Shooting programs Program, portrait, landscape, night snapshot, kids & pets, indoor, sunset, night scene, fireworks, long shutter, beach, aquarium, foliage, snow
Special effects Vivid, neutral, sepia, B&W, custom colour
Analog video format NTSC, PAL
Max shutter speed 1/1600 s
Min shutter speed 15 s
Continuous shooting speed 1.1 fps
Exposure metering Multi-segment, centre-weighted, spot
Exposure compensation ±2 EV in 1/3EV steps
White balance Automatic, presets, manual
White balance presets Daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent (2)
Still image format JPEG
Digital video format AVI
Auto focus TTL autofocus
Lens type Zoom
Focal length 6.2-24.8 mm
Equivalent 35mm focal length 35-140 mm
Interchangeable lens No
Focus adjustment Automatic, Focus Free
Min focus range 500 mm
Macro focus range 30-500 mm
Lens aperture F/2.7-5.6
Optical zoom 4 x
Zoom adjustment Motorised
Flash type Built-in
External flash terminal None
Flash modes Auto, fill-in, flash off, red-eye reduction, slow sync
Red-eye reduction Yes
Effective flash range 0.3-4.0 m
Viewfinder type Optical
Display type TFT
Display mounting Fixed
Display size 64 mm
Display resolution 115,000 pixels
TO SUM UP:
I am finding summing this camera up to be a bit difficult, It is an ok camera and I would not deliberately urge people not to buy one but then again it has such a big sensor it really should be so much better and at £135.00 it is not exactly a bargain.
I feel this unit will suit perhaps an outdoor photographer, someone who is regularly shooting in nice crisp daylight, if you are one for taking a camera down the pub or club and most of your photos are taken using flash then this is going to let you down more often than not. I have problems with the use of AA batteries too, in a unit like this there should definitely have been a Lithium Ion rechargeable battery.
So the long and the short of it is, where it says would you recommend this to a friend I will have to say no but then again I would never tell anyone not to buy it either and if you have read all this review you will understand what I mean by that.
It is not the worst camera by a long shot but I feel you could have a camera with everything this has to offer except the 12 megapixels and still have twenty quid or so in your pocket and remember megapixels are not everything!
It might also be worth noting that many of the new gimmicks that come with digital compacts such as smile shutter technology and the likes are missing from this so if you go in for all that then you will have to look elsewhere.
LOOKS - 6/10
BUILD QUALITY - 8/10
EASE OF USE - 8/10
IMAGE QUALITY - 6/10
FUNCTIONS AND FEATURES - 6/10
VALUE FOR MONEY - 5/10
OVERALL - 6/10
Thanks for reading.