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I bought one of these cameras after years of owning compact point-and-shoots, I was after something with a few more features, and dare I say it something which looked a bit fancy as well.
I think it's a great little camera, granted it is plastic but once you have all the batteries in, it's heavy and feels sturdy. I love a number of the features but my favourite is the playing around with the colours using the "program" mode. I can set my camera to make the blues or greens more vivid, this was great fun on a recent trip to NZ. The movie setting is a bit tricky to figure out - my boyfriend couldn't figure out to film anything. The screen is really good, and flips out so you can easily take photos of yourself - fantastic if you're a lone traveller. The photo quality is really good, I find, and I've even had some great photos of Indian dancers in a low light setting. The camera is well designed and easy to hold, even when you're on the move. It takes SD cards, which are cheap and easy to find. All in all I'm very impressed with my purchase.
My only issue with my Canon is that I almost instantly lost the lens cover - it doesn't always click into place very well. I bought a replacement and got a friend to drill a small hole in it so I could attach to the strap with some string, this seems to have done the job very well!
I got this for my birthday and don't regret it at all! The only regret would be I would have bought it on eBay for so much cheaper, ha ha. I like the zoom on it, but I suggest getting a stand of some sort if you don't have steady hands; it can get hard to keep the auto-focus, well... focused. However, you can use the manual focus and I figured it out without even looking in the user manual. The build is very sturdy, I took it to the beach and dropped it in the sand; luckily it wasn't ruined or perhaps it is a sign of how tight a build it is (I was super careful cleaning it up). Would I buy it again? Probably not! I think the price was a bit too high for what I get, but maybe I'm just inexperienced and picky. Another thing I disliked though was the door for the USB port, it's always getting in the way and annoying when trying to connect it to the computer. I would buy it again if they just improved the insides of it a bit; the build as really wonderful.
The canon powershot SX20 is what is known as a bridge camera - they call it this because it is inbetween a compact and an SLR in both size and terms and ability.
In terms of styling this camera is quite old fashioned looking and reminds me of a 90's film camera - it also (unfortunately) has that same low quality plastic feel to it which makes it look cheaper than it is. On the plus side though plastic does make the camera lighter than it would be if it had been made out of metal (not to say that this is lightweight - if you've got it in your bag you'll know about it but it is lighter than an SLR).
- Pop up flash and hot shoe
- The zoom goes from 5 to 100mm which due to the sensor size is the film equivalent of 28 to 560mm or in other words it equates to a 20x zoom
- LCD folds out and rotates a full 360 degrees which means you can have it facing the same way as the lens and use it to take self portraits
- Manual, scene selection and automatic settings
- Takes SD and SDHC cards which are the most common type of memory card
- Image stabalisation (to reduce the effects of camera shake on photos)
The camera takes 4 AA batteries which I'm not a fan of when it comes to cameras - their life span is very poor compared to lithium ion batteries. You can buy rechargable AA's and they now make AA batteries with lithium technology which does improve the life span. The number of photos you can take will entirely depend on the quality of batteries you put in it.
When left of the automatic setting photos that are taken indoors with the lights on come out very yellow which means that the automatic white balance is poor as it's not adjusting itself properly, however you can manually set the white balance yourself which will eradicate this problem (it is good to note at this point that the manual settings are easy to adjust and instinctive to use without having to refer to the manual).
With reference to the ISO you can get useable photos (without too much visible noise) up to 800 which is quite decent, however the cameras ISO settings do go much higher than this if absolutely necessary and there is auto ISO if you prefer the camera to decide what settings it should use. Image quality in general is good - accurate colour representation and good contrast however it doesn't quite match the quality of recent DSLR's.
The camera also has a filming function which is of adequate quality, but not of a professional standard - I would say the quality resembles that of a modern, consumer dedicated camcorder.
The camera has an electronic viewfinder which is poor in quality - the LCD gives a much better representation of the photo you will get although using the viewfinder will save battery life to a certain extent. To turn off the LCD button you simply press the display button twice.
Erasing a photo is quite complicated as the are several different menu's that you have to navigate, however you could also consider this a plus point as this means that you won't be able to accidentally delete photos.
Other points to note are that the on/off button glows when on so you can't forget that you've left it on and drain the battery life and the battery compartment is also difficult to open.
Overall I would recommend this camera - its major failing in my eyes is the AA batteries (I don't understand when AA batteries are still used in cameras) but the image quality and very good zoom length help to make up for this.