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on September 20, 2010
I can't write an in depth review of this camera because I simply don't have the knowledge of either cameras or photography. But I can tell you what I, as a rank amateur, like about it and why I chose it.

This is the second Canon digital camera I've owned. Last year, I bought the Canon PowerShot SX120IS 10MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Images Stabilized Zoom and 3-inch LCD (and wrote an Amazon review of it with the same opening sentence as this review as well as some other similar bits). I did a fair amount of research into brands and models before purchasing that camera and ended up loving it. It was very easy to use and met all of my relatively simple needs - right up to the moment I dropped it in the Strait of Juan de Fuca when I was ferrying back from Vancouver Island a few weeks ago. (Don't ask.)

Because I'd been so happy with that camera, my first impulse was to pick up the same model as a replacement. But knowing how quickly technology seems to change, I decided to check out the new models before making a purchase. That's when I came across the SD4500IS . Admittedly, I was kind of seduced by its design - all sleek and shiny, just lying there tempting me (and I, for one, love the color). But I knew I wouldn't be happy with it unless, like the SX120IS, it met my criteria which is:

1. Must be very simple to use. And I mean simple for ME - the aforementioned rank amateur.
2. Must take decent pictures even for casual operators with very little experience (again, that would be me).
3. Must have a fast shutter speed because grandkids and dogs can move really, REALLY fast.
4. Must fit into my purse. (The new purse, with the zipper that I am counting on to pevent things from falling into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, or any other body of water, for that matter.)
5. Most importantly, must have Canon's Optical Image Stabilizer.

Canon's Optical Image Stabilizer is a feature I discovered in my search for cameras last year and which quickly became my new best friend. I have a tremor condition that causes fine shaking in my hands. It doesn't bother me and doesn't always affect close work, but it can make holding something steady - say, for instance, a camera - almost impossible. As you can guess, the result of that shakiness when snapping photos is, most often, lousy photos.

The Optical Image Stabilizer is like a miracle for me. With it, I can take close ups that are startlingly clear - not every time, of course, but MOST times. And, in combination with a fast shutter speed, the Image Stabilizer really helps me to get some great shots - even action shots - of my grandkids and my dog. I love this feature and would never consider purchasing another camera without it. (Note: I uploaded a photo to the costumer image section for this camera, showing a picture of a Shooting Star flower - Dodecatheon - that I think demonstrates the detail I've been able to capture with the Optical Image Stabilizer.)

I had a great salesman, Jeremy, who didn't mind taking some time with me. (Luckily for me, he spoke English in addition to Camera-Techy.) Cleverly picking up on the way I kept gazing longingly at the SD4500IS, Jeremy was able to persuade me that it would meet my needs just as well as the SX120IS had. Like the SX120IS, it's genuinely easy to to operate (even for me! I know! I was shocked, too!) and has the necessary fast shutter speed as well as the Image Stabilizer. It fits into my new purse. Jeremy assured me that if I was happy with the shots I was getting with the SX120IS, I would be equally or even more satisfied with those I would get with the SD4500IS. And, now that I've had a chance to use it, I can confirm that he was right - I'm getting shots that I consider terrific. Yeah!

The following features on the SC4500IS also factored into my decision to buy it:

1. The HD video capability. I've only used the video mode a couple of times to date (full disclosure: though Jeremy had shown me this feature, my son did have to help me "remember" how to both shoot and view videos), but the quality was truly wonderful. Even with my shaky hands, I was pretty impressed with the end product (and kind of amazed that I had done the filming). I don't have a separate video camera and I'm excited to have the option to shoot some videos on occasion, particularly when visiting the grandkids that live 2,000 miles from me.
2. The high speed burst mode. I tried this out by taking some shots of my granddaughter playing frisbee with my dog. I really love the `stop-action shots' look and I think this feature is going to be a lot of fun. I enjoy messing around in Photoshop and I already have some ideas for how I can use pictures shot in this manner creatively.
3. The low light performance system. I hadn't given this feature much thought until Jeremy was telling me about it. But because my house doesn't get a lot of natural light, particularly in the winter, I believe this will come to be a feature I really appreciate.

Of course, its still very new but, so far, I'm loving the new camera and recommend it. While it cost more than the SX120IS, I'm satisfied with my purchase and don't regret spending the extra money. (I'll admit, it helped that I had a gift card.) However, if you're looking for something with a lower price tag, I still highly recommend the SX120IS as well, which is currently selling for nearly $100 less here on Amazon.
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1818 comments316 of 326 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 8, 2010
We bought this camera to replace our Canon SD790is (which took unbelievably great photos).
However, we were disappointed at the image quality of the pictures taken with this. We took pictures with similar composition to ones we had taken with out old camera, and compared them side-by-side. The pictures with the SD4500is were noticeably softer in focus. Details weren't as crisp and sharp and colors seemed washed out.
Our biggest problem, however, was with the battery life. Our old camera could take hundreds of pictures between charges. This one didn't even last through one day of taking pictures. It died halfway through my baby shower. I was very disappointed to miss out on a fun and important event for us.
The features were fun to play with, like the miniature effect and the ability to shoot high-speed, but they weren't enough to make up for poor image quality and worse battery life.
As a result we returned this camera and went with a Canon SD 1400 instead, which so far has been great.

Pros:
Fun Features
Good Size
Long Optical Zoom

Cons:
Battery Life
Image Quality
Videos didn't play in Windows 7 (we tried on 3 different systems and it crashed them every time)

With a good zoom and a ton of features, the image quality and battery life weren't what we expected from a Canon.
22 comments91 of 96 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 1, 2010
I had an SD700 before this, but it was stolen. I loved that camera. So solid, so small, such a high picture quality! I would have kept it a long time. This camera, though, is a great package. Though larger than the SD700, it still fits comfortably in a shirt pocket. It's easy to use. It has a surprising number of options for ways to shoot. It takes high quality HD video. It has an amazing burst capability that produces sharp photos even with the lens at 10X. And, yes, that's a sharp 10X optical zoom, nearly miraculous in a camera of this size. This makes it much more versatile than the SD700. The macro capability is also astounding. I don't follow the reviews that complain of image quality. In my experience, this is as good as a shirt pocket point and shoot gets. I also do not buy the comparisons with quality SLRs. Quality SLRs will produce noticeably superior images that can be enlarged beyond what this camera's images will be capable of. (However, some of the macros I've shot have been surprising.) The only camera I compared that seemed to me to shoot obviously higher quality images was the Panasonic Lumix LX-3. I loved that camera. Great images and a great grip. Alas, it is not a shirt packet camera.

I thought that the battery issue would not be a problem for me. I understood that the Canon designers were making tradeoffs and that they had come up with a package for which one would have to pay a price. I love that zoom. I love the size. I thought that I would just buy a second battery and keep it charged. Actually, the logistics of this turned out to be a little harder than I expected. I bought the camera before the batteries were widely available, and I ended up traveling with only the one battery that came with the camera. The way I was using the camera, it was good for just over 100 shots. I was plugging the charger in every opportunity I found. It was not a good situation. Unfortunately, the worst happened. I left one country for another--and left the charger plugged into the wall in my hotel. My own stupid fault, sure, but it's the only time I've ever done that in my life (a long time!). I ended up taking photos for the rest of my trip with my phone. With the SD4500, they would have been great photos.

The reasonably priced Chinese manufactured batteries have now become available, and I've ordered two, along with a new charger. I'm prepared for a second life with the SD4500. I recommend this camera, but I also recommend thinking carefully about how you will deal with the battery issue. I missed a lot of shots in one country, and I missed some other countries altogether. Learn from my mistakes.
44 comments108 of 115 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 15, 2010
We bought our Canon PowerShot SD4500IS this week. It functions above and beyond what we expected. Very easy for a grandmother to operate and very engaging for my husband to play with.

The Automatic feature is wonderful for most shots, even detecting the type of shot and making settings to match.

The special additional features make the camera fun. A few of them are:

1. Set it to take 5 rapid shots and the camera picks the best one.
2. Set it to for smiles and it will wait until it detects a smile before taking the photo.
3. Set it for wink and it will take the shot after detecting the wink - this lets you get in the photo and signal when the camera takes the photo.
4. Taking photos at night, the camera combines 5 photos to create a great nighttime shot.
5. The movie feature lets you take up to 2 hours of video, if you get a 32 GB card.

All this plus Consumer Reports rates its predecessor as one of the top 2 digital cameras, and this one is even better.
66 comments120 of 132 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 15, 2010
I had this camera for a week, took about 300 pictures and lots of HD video and returned it.
I would be surprised if people that gave this camera a 4 or star rating had canon powershot camera's in the past.
If they did, they would be disappointed with this one. Previous models had much quicker startup times, a much faster lens, and a better autofocus setting. I was also disappointed with the low light pictures, despite using the nightshot mode and trying my best to keep the camera as still as possible. Many times in auto mode, the flash would not fire when it should have and even after putting it in manual mode and turning the flash on, it would not fire. The battery life, as mentioned in other reviews, is a joke, ESPECIALLY when filming HD video - that sucks the battery very quickly. I wasnt concerned when I read this in other reviews, as I figured I was just get an extra battery, but I have to say that it is pretty ridiculous. I was also somewhat disappointed with the picture quality. The pictures did not "pop" like my 5 year old SD 550. I was also very frustrated with the layout of menu's and trying to access macro mode, iso settings and the night mode. You have to access them electronically, which took me longer than just turning the "dial" which my sd 550 had. Perhaps this is because I still was not used to this new camera, but to me if it still feels cumbersome after a full 6 days of back to back shooting, thats telling me something.

The selling point on the camera for me were the impressive list of features. The 10x optical zoom is fantastic and took great pictures even at the full 10x zoom. The HD videos (in 1080p) were also great and I loved the one touch movie button. Other positive points were the high burst picture mode that was great for filming wildlife photography and was one of the most impressive and best features of the camera, besides the 1080p video.

Overall though, the great zoom and excellent movie fuction were not enough for me to justify spending $320 on a pocket camera that frustrated me. What's the use of having a great feature set, if the camera isnt quick enough (lens, startup time) or does not have the battery life, to capture that one moment that you wanted to photograph ?
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on November 4, 2010
This camera has a large feature set and no shortage of bells and whistles. I tried it for two weeks. But I had to return it. I'm an advanced amateur; I own (and shoot!) a Canon EOS 40D SLR, Canon PowerShot S3-IS, Casio EX-F1, and Fujifilm HS10. (I've been shooting digital since 2000.) I wanted something pocketable, so I thought I'd be safe with Canon's latest in this line. I was mistaken.

Here are the problems.

1. Images run the gamut from soft to out of focus, especially in low light. Even when the camera thinks it's got a focus lock.
2. Tendency to hunt for focus during video (even when shooting a fairly static scene--one handled effortlessly by the much older S3-IS).
3. The low-capacity battery.

I took a lot of pics, but couldn't get any that were truly sharp. I found the camera frustrating to use. And the battery went from full charge to dead much too fast. I was pulled in by the long feature list and compact size. But the real-world performance was a let down.

I'm switching to the Casio FH100. It did very well in DPReviews' Travel Zoom Shoot-out.
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on December 23, 2010
Let me preface this review by saying I have a Canon SD750 which both my fiancee and I LOVE and have owned for about 4 years now. However it has been dropped many times and doesn't quite work the same anymore, although in proper lighting it still takes amazing pictures. Having said all that, there are a few flaws that really nagged me about the camera which the SD4500is fixed.

Now for a few thoughts on the Canon SD4500is.

1) Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, use this camera in the AUTO mode. I'm not quite sure how they ever let this camera get released with the AUTO setting the way it is. It literally takes at least 5 seconds or more for it to decide how and when it wants to take a picture. And when it does the pictures come out terrible. When I first opened up the box and took out the camera, I tried taking a picture of my Christmas tree from about 4-6 feet away. Well the camera came out of the box with the AUTO mode on. I pressed the button to take the picture... and waited... and waited... the camera tried its hardest to focus, then the picture went all blurry until it was just huge blobs of lights and tree, and then it finally snapped the picture. The picture was just horrible. I later realized that for some reason the camera was trying to take the picture in the "macro" mode, which doesn't make sense at all and is probably the reason the picture was big blobs of lights. Anyway to make a long story short, when shooting almost anything, the AUTO mode seems to take way too long and screws up most of the time anyway. Don't use it, just use the middle mode, the picture of the camera on the switch on the top of the camera. The regular mode works perfectly fine.

2) I read a few complaints about the start-up time for this camera on the reviews here. Let me compare some times for you. I did a quick search online and found an online stopwatch and timed the startup times for my old SD750 and for the new SD4500is. The startup time for the SD750 was 1.5 seconds. The startup time for the new SD4500is was 3 seconds. So its about double the time. It seems fairly quick when you are starting it up but the fact is its about double the time than my old camera. Right now I don't see it as such a big deal but maybe when I miss that once in a lifetime shot b/c of the extra 1.5 seconds I'll think differently about it.

3) One of my problems with my old SD750 was the lack of Image Stabilization (it usually took great pictures anyway but it would have helped in several different picture-taking scenarios). Well the new SD4500is has it and it seems to work great, all the pictures in well-lit areas or with flash come out very clear. Big plus for the new SD4500is.

4) Now for the money feature, the feature you SHOULD be buying this camera for or else you might as well just get the $100 Canon powershot. The 10x optical zoom. Yes, its real, and its fantastic. The 10x optical zoom takes really nice pictures and the zoom is usually more than enough. My old SD750 only had a 3x optical zoom I believe. So basically anything after that it was hit-or-miss on whether it'd take a clear picture or not. With the SD4500is you don't have to worry about that, with the zoom your pictures will be clear.

5) Size DOES matter. Our old SD750 was nice and small, lightweight, you could fit it in your pocket and just go. When I ordered the new SD4500is, I was afraid it'd be a lot bigger. Well it is bigger, but not as much as you'd think. Its still small enough to fit in your pocket. I was pleasantly surprised, to the eye it almost looks to be about the same size as our old camera. The punch this camera gives you for its size is simply amazing. Pleasantly surprised in this area.

6) Look and Feel. The new SD4500is does feel a bit heavier than the older SD750, but its not going to be a problem. It sort of makes it feel more solid and expensive if anything. The SD4500is looks great. We bought the brown color because it was the cheapest ($270 on amazon at the time), and my fiancee was worried it would look stupid. But when it came we were both pleasantly surprised, it looks better than it does in the picture in the product description. Its a nice deep brown color, the back is lighter. The whole camera looks nice though. The back of the camera has what looks like a 3" widescreen lcd display.

7) Button layout. The layout is similar to my old SD750 but with some improvements. The separate video record button is a welcome addition. The button for just viewing your pictures is also great (I've seen other cameras where you have to turn a dial just to see your pictures and it gets really annoying). I also love having the option to either press the dial button or turn/rotate the button. Pressing the button can get annoying after a while, especially when viewing photos you've just taken. Turning the dial is much easier and intuitive.

8) Features. There are a ton of photo-settings on the camera, you will probably use less than 10% of them. One feature I love is the ability to control the flash. With my old SD750, I could only choose for it to be on AUTO or OFF. It was so annoying not to be able to put it to ON. Well with the new 4500is you can choose AUTO, ON, OFF, or some other low-light option.

9) Low-light Pictures. I've seen some reviews on here and blast the low-light pictures this camera takes. I tried the low-light picture-taking setting (with the flash OFF) and the reviews are correct, the photos come out grainy and not quite in focus. Or maybe just grainy. Either way they're not that good. Forget using the low-light option. Either take the picture like normal with the flash off (which come out a little better), or turn the adjustable ISO to 800 or 1600. This lets a bit more light in but is quick enough to take a nice picture. The pictures don't come out perfect but they seem to be about the same or better than my old SD750 would take with the flash off in low-light conditions (with the "high iso" setting). About as good as you can get from a pocket-digital camera in my opinion. If you put the ISO any higher you will need a tripod or set it on a table or something to get a clear picture. So in summation this camera CAN take pretty good pictures in low-light conditions, you just can't use the low-light setting because then the pictures come out terrible.

Let me add this. With the flash ON in low-light conditions, it takes great pictures. Flash is amazing.

10) Macro Mode is great. Just like with my older Canon, this camera takes great pictures of things really really close up.

11) Battery meter. Even though I've heard the battery life is pretty bad (I haven't drained it fully yet as I keep stopping for the night and throw it back on the charger), this camera has a BATTERY LIFE METER!!! Thank god! My old Canon sd750 did NOT have this feature and it drove me crazy. With my old camera, all of a sudden it'd say "low bat" and then turn off a few pictures later. There was no warning! With this camera you can at least see the battery life going down and adjust accordingly. Great feature I wished my old camera had.

12) Video. I have only shot about 15 seconds of 1080p video, I hooked it up to my LED tv for playback and the picture is great. I took the video inside, the area was lit but not well-lit. Sound is really good and I didn't have those focus issues other people were talking about (although I only took 15 seconds of video so...). I have a feeling their issues came from either having it in AUTO mode or using the optical zoom in video mode. I will take more longer videos and get back to you guys on this issue...

13) Pictures. Overall the pictures seem to come out very good. I've only used the camera inside so far, I will use it outside and update my review. The pictures seem to have good color and come out clear. Many reviewers talk about it not being "crisp" enough. Honestly I am undecided on the whole thing. They don't really seem to come out "soft" to me, but I also haven't taken many pictures with the camera either. I will take more over the weekend and update my review. As of now the picture quality seems just as good as my old SD750. One thing I did notice is that the pictures on the lcd screen, the color is slightly off. For example, I took a picture of myself against a white background with the flash off. The white background looked a bit yellow-ish on the lcd screen, but when I viewed it on my tv it looked white. So I'm not really sure whats going on here, I think the color on the lcd is slightly off which people may have noticed and figured the camera took poor pictures, but as long as they are correct when printed or transferred to your CPU, then who cares? Like I said I will take a ton more pictures and update my findings.

Summary:
Bottom line is that you are spending the money on this camera for the 10x optical zoom and ability to shoot full HD video. If that's not why you are buying this camera then I suggest you get a cheaper one. Having said that, its well worth the money for the extra zoom and HD video if that's what you are into. Some of the features (such as AUTO mode and low-light setting) simply do not work. But you don't need them anyway. I will take many more pictures and videos over Christmas and update my review. I just had to write this now because I see all the bad reviews about the picture-quality and I felt I needed to write this to clear some things up.

UPDATE 12/26/10

If this is your first camera and you didn't know any better you'd be very very happy with this camera. But most of the negative reviews are from previous Canon owners that have been spoiled by great quality pictures, and honestly I'm not sure if this newer and more expensive camera gives you as good a picture as my 4 year old Canon SD750 that has been dropped on rocks and had sand in the lens and the lens-cover has been broken off and it STILL takes great pictures. Although after having that 10x optical zoom of the SD4500 in my hands, its hard to let go... really hard lol... but its all about trade-offs i suppose.

One of the most important factors was my Fiancee was just not sold on this camera and that was basically one of the more important reasons in returning it. But other than that, we use the camera 95% of the time for taking regular pictures, no zoom, no video, just pictures. And so I'm strongly considering just paying the extra $100 and getting the Canon S95 as I haven't seen anyone complain about the pictures that camera takes. We end up taking a lot of self-pictures (where I stick my arm out with the camera and take a picture of the both of us) and supposedly the S95 has a wider lens which is better for those type of shots. Not to say the SD4500is doesn't take good pictures, but for the money we're spending we want to have piece of mind that its taking as good or better pictures than our previous camera, we don't want to downgrade in the one area we are mainly going to use the camera for. Also the battery life factors into it as well, by the time you spend the money on extra batteries and the hassle that comes with making sure you bring an extra battery everywhere that just piles on you know?

So I guess that would be my final answer. If you are in love with the 10x optical zoom and 1080p video, get this camera because despite other reviewers it DOES take good pictures as long as you don't have it on the stupid AUTO setting. The SD4500is doesn't take the best low-light pictures but I geuss you could call them passable. Also the slow-mo video is pretty cool and funny. But if you're like me and you've been spoiled by a previous camera that took great pictures, and you're not that concerned about all the bells and whistles of this camera, either spend the extra $100 and get the Canon S95, or if you're not as concerned about low-light picture quality then save yourself some money and get the $100 canon P&S's.
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on November 4, 2010
I have an old SD600 that has worked beautifully for the past three years. I've gotten a lot of amazing shots off that camera - of kids, vacations, macro botanicals, etc. I was hoping for a few more features and looking forward to the HD video on the the 4500. I had it for a month and took about 500 pictures with it, using it and testing it like I did with my old SD600. Almost every single shot, no matter what the setting or conditions, were milky and grainy. The auto focus would go blurry just before the shutter release, so I ended up with colorful blobs that should have been my children. I messed with all of the setting multiple times, hoping to fix my problems, but in the end I gave up and sent it back. I don't know if mine was a lemon, or if this is really the way the camera is supposed to perform. The HD video seemed OK, but not worth the disappointment over all of the pictures that I can't retake - of my daughters first day of school, my son's first birthday - all grainy, milky, blurry. A month of bad pictures. I'm back using my old camera until I can find a suitable, consistent replacement.
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on December 6, 2010
Only had this camera 2 weeks when for no apparent reason the lens would not retract. Its now back at Canon for a warranty repair. The saddest thing was that this fatal error occured whilst in South America and I was left with a brand new but totally unuseable camera. Subsequent web searching tells me the E18 lens error issue has been an ongoing problem for Canon across all models of Ixus. clearly its still a problem with the new models.

Hopefully other users got more than 2 weeks use out of their IXUS. I am a DSLR user and have been a brand loyal customer of canon cameras and lenses for many year so I was totally shocked and disappointed to have this experience with my first Canon compact.

Right now I have my fingers and toes crossed that canon recognise this fault and replace my camera promptly before I travel to Australia for christmas.
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on November 17, 2010
Not for me. The first week I had it, I had to charge the battery twice-something I'm not used to. I need a grab and go camera. Not one where you get it out and "OH NO, my battery's dead!" Also when taking video, I was upset when I played it back and it kept focusing in and out. Sound was good, but the focusing was a problem, therefore making it an issue for me. This is a camera that needs time to take quality photos. You need to stand still, take your time, choose the proper setting, let the camera focus and then snap. Images where I did this, turned out beautifully. I just can't have a battery getting sucked dry when I need my camera most. I think this camera has the capability, it just doesn't suit my lifestyle.
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