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1,008 of 1,028 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
I'm a just a fellow who wants to take nature photos, and my kid at soccer and stuff for eBay and such. I owned a Canon EOS 7D with fancy lenses, the whole works--about $3000 worth of Canon stuff. all I needed was this camera.

The EOS DSLR is heavy, "fixy", and not good for nature walks and plenty of mobility at sporting events. Rarely would I use the 8 frames per second shooting rates. I watched the DVDs on EOS 7D, and played with it and took some pretty artsy photos that I blew up and put in my office. It's a great camera, the pricey EOS DSRL. But it had plenty of drawbacks: price, size, bulk, complex attachments, battery life, compact flash rather than SDR cards, and on and on.

But for what I need, this Canon here is stellar, and I sold all my EOS stuff, and extra lenses on eBay!! I'm totally thrilled with the size, build, and photo quality of this camera. Frankly, it's one of those situation where, to get the highest level of quality you have to pay exponentially more (the EOS 7D), with plenty of limitations (bulk, attachments, multiple lenses, etc.), when for most of us who just want to take quality photos, this is plenty enough. I pop this into a Lowepro camera fannypack and I'm good to shoot and walk and hike all afternoon. I adore the zoom, and as the reviewer below me states, when I zoom, of course there's less light entry into the camera and the images will be "hazy". So, you must select a very bright subject at top zoom. I can easily take my son on the bench across the entire field in soccer, and it's amazing.

I wish the lens wouldn't move in and out whenever you turn the camera on, but rather just when you need zoom. With every "on" cycle, the lens does it's silent grinding in and out like it's adjusting itself, even if I want to just taken a normal photo. Battery drain, unnecessary mechanical movement, in my opinion. I wish it'd do it only when I want zoom.

Other than that, for me, the guy who might submit a photo to my local newspaper photo contest once in a blue moon, but mostly want to take excellent photos at the family barbecue, this camera is the best I have every owned. And I've owned a lot (including SONY HRs, and Fuji hand helds, and on and on). The movie capability, the size, the zoom, the battery life (very good), and the price (I paid more than this for one Sigma lens) makes this camera a winner. I will mention that this particular camera is hard to find: I think Canon may know that it'll hurt the sales of some of the more pricey, entry level interchangeable lens DSLRs they sell because, spec for spec, they are very similar.

Have a wonderful day
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655 of 669 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2010
Verified Purchase
I purchased this camera as a replacement for my Panasonic FZ-35. After having taken a few hundred pictures - including some side-by-side comparisons with the FZ35, here is my impression.

The canon image processor is much better at color balance and overall image capture than the FZ35 - images are brighter and so capture more details otherwise lost in shadow or just a tendency the FZ35 has towards gray-scale processing in order to get the excellent sharpness the FZ35 is known for.

Having said that - I would not recommend using the Auto setting on the Canon. Its choice of focal point within an image tends towards creating images where the background is just as likely to be more in focus than the subject. Typically the camera tries to focus around the edge of the subject rather than the subject itself. Sometimes this can work to improve clarity by improving depth of focus a bit, sometimes it creates an image where nothing is in focus and sometimes it causes the camera to focus on "edgy" subjects that may not really be the subject at all - like a lamp post in the background, tree trunks in the background, etc. In the playback mode you can select a display which shows you the cameras focal point - which can help explain why some of your images look they way they do in Auto. Auto mode will also adjust the color of an entire image when it senses facial recognition to improve skin tones, but honestly the color balance of the Canon is so good anyway this is almost unnecessary and sometimes tends towards overcompensation so your entire image takes on a sickly green/brown hue.

However, if you switch from auto to P - or in fact any other of the SCN or mode selections on the dial, these annoying Auto features are disabled and you can get some really great photos. At this point the camera uses a single center focus frame (the size and position of which can easily be manually adjusted to fit your subject if you like) and you start getting pictures more like you expect. In addition, the customization options of the Canon such as magnifying the focal frame, color options, easy adjustment of just about any shooting function, combined with the superb zoom range still make this camera best in class. My only complaint for SCN settings is I wish they had a "sunset" but that is easily created in the color menu where you can select to emphasize reds.

The canon normally produces very clear images, however Canon generally processes to keep color balance as opposed to edge distinction at higher ISO speeds so sometimes the images become a bit more fuzzy than what those of us used the the FZ35 might like - on the other hand red stays red rather than turning black. You can manually limit the ISO to whatever maximum you prefer with the easy to use ISO button.

If you want to add a lens filter protector, polarizer, etc. you will need to purchase the 67MM adapter to do so (Canon FA-DC67A) - and good luck finding one!

This camera, like all of the others in this class, struggle with poor light conditions due to their small sensor. However unlike the competition, canon allows you to mount an external flash and that pretty much clears up this issue if you're willing to pay the expense. The way I look at it its a cheaper option than a $1,000-$3,000 DSLR which can go up to ISO 6,000 for low light conditions.

Overall the Canon is definitely a step up from anything else that was out there - but it does have its quirks you need to be aware of and work around. The opportunity for creativity on one camera/lens is really unrivaled by anything else out there. The ability to go from 1 cm away macro to 35x superzoom at the pull of a switch just can't be found on any other camera, combined with the scene options such as fisheye not normally found on other such cameras, and wide range of color options also not found on the Canon competitors in this class, you have a great tool for creative photography. So while the SX30 is certainly not perfect and image quality will sometimes be less than your $3,000 DSLR+lens (although for some pictures you'd need large magnification/blow-up to tell the difference) - on the whole it's worth putting up with the limitations for the other factors. One caution - if you're looking for a simple to use point-and-shoot this may not be your best choice due to the often poor intelligence in Auto setting. If not for this it would have gotten 5 stars.
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1,073 of 1,110 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2010
First handheld test of my Canon SX30IS with 35x optical + 4x digital zoom (140x) 3360mm (35mm eqiv) on a windy day at sunset.
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291 of 298 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2010
I scouted the camera's release back in September and have been waiting impatiently for it's arrival in early October! I finally got it last week and couldn't be more pleased! I've taken well over 2000 pics and at least 20 videos so far. Can't seem to put it down (literally- i've yet to use a tripod, even at 35 and 140x zooms)! I have shaky hands, so I was pleasantly surprised at the quality in any shooting situation! The zoom seems to be the most reviewed feature, but this thing is far from done there! It has a million features from fully automated shooting to complete manual functionality! Tons of effects and modes (check Canon's site). I had looked at several DSLR cameras, and even tested a few out, and for beginner to intermediate usage this camera is gonna be tough to beat! Especially with that price tag. Here are some of the features that appealed to me: 14.1 MP, 35x wide angle zoom, 720p HD video, TV, AV , Manual mode (especially this- complete control of aperture, shutter, and focus), all the common photo effects, 4.5 stop Image Stabilization. If you're looking for a professional quality camera, but aren't ready for DSLR pricing this is the camera to own! You won't be disappointed!!

UPDATE 10/26/10:
I have taken well over 4000 pics now. Still loving the overall performance and quality. I don't own previous versions of this camera so I can't compare it to the other models.
I sent about 50 shots in to be printed turned out amazing on 4x6 and 5x7. 8x10's to follow soon!
Anybody interested in lens accessories, i found a link on another review for this site:
[...]
They have some great options for all three versions of this camera (as well as some other brands). I just ordered the 58mm filter adapter and the Hoya HMC Circular Polarizer (6 coats) 58mm. should be here this week. i'll update on those. should help a lot with my landscape shots!
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104 of 106 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2010
This is a head-to-head comparison of the Canon SX30 IS and the Olympus SP-590UZ, which are both competitors in the super-zoom class of compact cameras. I will compare some of the features of these two cameras but mostly talk about the image quality between the two since I consider that the most important reason for choosing a camera.

When the Olympus SP-590UZ came out in 2009 it had the longest zoom range of any compact camera with its 26x zoom equivalent to 26 - 676mm at f/3.5 - 5.0. Olympus has since come out with the SP-800UZ which has an even longer 30x zoom but is inferior in my opinion because it is strictly a point-and-shoot camera with no user control over aperture and shutter speed and no viewfinder.

The Canon SX30 follows the SX20 and currently has the longest zoom range on the compact camera market, a 35x zoom equivalent to 24 - 840mm at f/2.7 - 5.8

I took photos using both cameras of the same subjects using the same lighting and exposure settings. All photos were taken in aperture priority mode (Av). I have uploaded a number of comparison shots to the customer image section so you can follow along.

At the far wide end of the range, both cameras performed about equally, that is to say, adequate but not extremely sharp. These cameras are aimed at birders and other telephoto enthusiasts, and so most of the test shots I took were at the long end of the range. Here the Canon was consistently sharper and was able to resolve finer detail, as in the photo of the evergreen tree tops, the milkweed seed strands, and the detail of the cement wall behind the light post. Both cameras quickly start to exhibit noise above ISO 100, but the Olympus was even showing some color noise at the lowest ISO setting of 64. By ISO 400 the shots are still usable but the noise in the Canon images is finer and better under control while Olympus photos are grainier. Noise reduction in Photoshop can clean up some of the noise with some possible compromise in sharpness.

The one disappointment in the Canon SX30 is the macro mode. The focusing range is "approximately 0 - 50 cm" which sounds great but you literally have to get right on top of the object to fill the frame with the image. The Olympus has a dedicated Super Macro mode which allows you to take macro shots from further away from your subject. This not only allows you not to disturb your subject but also prevents the camera from casting a shadow on it. Macro shots with the Olympus are not only much easier to take but the results are better.

Here's a direct comparison of some of the features of these two Super-Zoom cameras:

Lens: Advantage Canon with a longer zoom and sharper focus. The Canon is faster at the wide end but both lenses are pretty slow in their telephoto ranges. Neither is great for capturing sports action or birds in flight. Neither camera is good for low light conditions without a flash either. Although the Canon lens is sharper it has some chromatic aberration.

LCD screen: Canon has an articulating screen which means you can take shots from unusual angles and still see the screen. Olympus only has a fixed screen.

Picture Modes: Canon has 10 color modes and one customizable mode, Olympus only has Normal and Vivid.

Zoom markings: Canon lens has focal length markings on the lens, Olympus has none. Neither camera has a focal length readout on the screen, which would be nice.

Lens Cap: The Canon lens cap can remain on while the camera is powered up. The Olympus lens cap has to be removed before powering on the camera, or else the protruding lens will push it off.

Menus and buttons: I have no preference here, both cameras have good manual control and it's all about getting used to one or the other.

Focus: The Olympus auto-focus seems to be more accurate at close distances. I saw some back focusing with the Canon at close range. Both cameras do a terrible job with manual focus, it is very hard to use. The Canon has a focus bracketing feature, something which I wanted to have for focus stacking, but I found out it only works in manual focus mode and it's slow. Advantage Olympus.

Image Stabilization: The Canon seems to "lock in" while the Olympus seems to slowly drift. I prefer the "locking" image stabilization of the Canon even though it jumps around at times.

Image Quality: This is where it counts and the Canon is the clear winner, particularly in the telephoto range. The images may need to be sharpened up in PhotoShop but the examples I posted were straight out of the camera. The Olympus would only be a better choice if you were going to be doing a lot of macro work.

Conclusions:
The Canon SX30 IS is the clear winner and appears to be the best super-zoom compact available at the moment. The optics may not be as good as a lens with a shorter focal range and there is some noise apparent even at low ISO values. Unfortunately camera makers insist on cramming more mega-pixels onto these tiny sensors which means more noise. For these reasons and for the disappointing implementation of macro, Canon gets deducted one star.

The image quality will never be as good as a DSLR or a Micro Four Thirds camera such as the Panasonic DMC-GH1 and I would not recommend this camera for professional or fine arts photography, but it would be a convenient and versatile choice under daylight conditions when you want to carry a minimum amount of equipment.
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583 of 626 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2010
I purchased a new SX30is as a replacement and upgrade to my SX20is I had for 8 months. The 24 mm wide angle and 35X optical zoom looked quite appealing to me however reading the fact the megapixels had been bumped up to 14.1 (from the 12.1 in the SX20is) on the same image sensor had me concerned about the picture quality this new Canon SX30is had to offer.
Pitting both cameras in the field (both indoors and outdoors) on various subjects both distant and nearby and set to equal settings on both cameras (in "auto" and in programmable mode with equal exposure compensation, ISO settings, lighting settings) I was surprised and disappointed in the performance of the new SX30is when compared to the SX20is. The image quality from the SX20is consistently outperformed the SX30is. Both in macro and pushed through the digital zoom spectrum. The SX20is consistently produced better detail and color reproduction over the SX30is. Yes, the SX30is did have a farther reach advantage over the SX20is ( theoretically 10X optical increase over the SX20is since the 35X optical zoom starts at a wide angle of 24 mm on the SX30is vs. the SX20is optical zoom of 20X starting at a wide angle of 28 mm) but what was puzzling was the fact I could take the digital zoom photos from the SX20is, crop and enlarge them slightly to match the SX30is zoom photos, and again, consistently have better image detail and color! Again, this fact was prevelant even in the wide angle shots and macro shots! However hard I tried under equal settings I couldn't manage to get a single shot from the SX30is to better anything the SX20is had to offer. What a pity!
After 3 days of deliberation and countless photos, I decided the SX30is was not worth the money. Frankly, no amount of additional zoom could compensate for poorer image quality. Essentially what I was looking at in the SX30is was just a marketing ploy being pushed on the masses of unsuspecting casual phototakers who can simply be sold on a big zoom and so-called greater megapixels. The SX30is was returned to where I purchased it from for a full refund and now I hold a greater appreciation for my SX20is.

SX30is pros: large zoom, stylish DSLR style body, "miniature" setting, slightly larger LCD screen of 2.7" vs. the 2.5" in the SX20is (hardly noticeable), a slightly quieter lens extender motor (I couldn't tell the difference), a hotshoe for external flash, and a tether now comes on the lens cap (thank god!). And really, that's about it.

SX30is cons: greater megapixels crammed onto the same image sensor as it's predecessor, a cheapish feeling lightweight plastic body, poor image quality, a switch to a proprietary battery as opposed to AA's (which you can get anywhere), the relocation of the SDHC card slot in the battery compartment on the bottom side of the camera, no raw file option, no threads to add lens filters, no lens hood cover ( was an included accessory with the SX20is), a hotshoe cover that's almost impossible to take off without breaking, a higher retail sales price than it's predecessor, and finally, if I've mentioned it before then let me mention it again, POORER PICTURE QUALITY!

What it boils down to it folks is Canon has given you a greater zoom and a "greater" megapixel designation all at the expense of poorer image quality.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."

Don't be fooled.
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180 of 190 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2010
Verified Purchase
I sold my Panasonic DMC-FZ18 to a birder in India last spring, thinking that I would simply order one of the next generation of ultra-zooms. Thanks to Amazons 30 day return policy I tried the Fujifilm HS10, Nikon P100, Panasonic FZ100 and now the Canon SX30IS. Its my first day...but it looks like the Canon is a keeper (finally). From a birders perspective....focusing was a constant struggle for the Nikon & Fuji...they only took good pictures in ideal conditions...and even then images were soft (blurry detail). The Panasonic did a great job of staying in focus...but is shots were too soft for my eye. This Canon is doing an amazing job of focusing, it ignored the foliage in the way & picked out a crow perched in a tree enjoying an apple, more than a 1000 feet distant at 35X. My 35X shot of a Golden crowned sparrow ...in mediocre light... was really detailed and the 35X shot of a Black Phoebe in late afternoon light was tops as well. The image stabilization is excellent!...and it feels so much lighter than the Fuji...comparable with the Panasonic FZ100. To be continued...
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105 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2010
This video was taken when I was trying out the zoom capability of the camera in recording mode. I was in the boat ride to Statue of Liberty, the boat was moving with waves. That is why,I couldn't keep the face of the statue in the view in last part of the video. But that is also an excellent demonstration on how well the camera focus is working when our hand is not stable.
I upgraded to this camera from Canon Powershot S3 IS. For me it is big upgrade from 12X to 35X zoom. I found image stabilization and picture quality much better compared to S3IS to my amateur eyes.
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78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2010
About a year and a half ago I purchased the Canon SX10IS, but even before that I was an owner of the S3IS--in many ways the predecessor to the SX Superzoom line. The SX10IS produced some amazing shots of my trip to Italy, New York City's Halloween Parade, and just general scenery I shot in my spare time. Having been pleased with Canon's superzoom and realizing my SX10IS was nearing the end of its lifecycle (mostly thanks to some serious mishandling by a friend), I jumped on the SX30IS after its release this past October. Immediately after purchase I headed down to the park to test it out, and noticed the colors and overall picture quality to be "off". Everything looks extra drab with this camera, even with the vibrant setting switched on, and the the Manual mode seems particularly less responsive than previous iterations of the camera. Even worse, images look fuzzy and have a significantly limited focal point--while the SX10IS was capable of capturing images that looked entirely crisp and clear, this camera leaves you with only a small portion of the image focused. This is at least partially because Canon decided to up the superzoom to a whopping 14.1 MP, but DIDN'T UPGRADE THE LIGHT SENSOR. What you're essentially getting is a numbers game meant to leave ignorant users with a false belief that they're getting better images, when in reality they're getting larger, more poorly defined images. Bigger is not always better.

Further--and I hope this is just my camera in particular--but the SX30IS responds horribly to sunlight. The viewfinder essentially "blacks out" at the weakest smattering of sunbeams, leaving you to blindly wonder what kind of photo you're getting.

This camera isn't worth $420, and it certainly doesn't feature enough upgrades to justify the $120 price hike from the SX10IS MSRP. Sure there's a 35X zoom, and the Image Stabilization functions surprisingly well while fully extended, but who really needs a zoom that long aside from stalkers, bird watchers, and policemen on stake-out? Image Quality should always come first, and when my aging, obsolete version of this camera is taking better photos than this brand new, freshly manufactured model, it doesn't bode well for Canon's superzoom line. Roll back the zoom and focus on the Image Canon.

Don't pay $420 for this. It's not worth it.
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66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2010
I used a Nikon E8800 (8mp, 10x zoom) for 5 years as my primary digital P&S. It was satisfactory in every way, although newer cameras with large LCD displays, longer zoom, faster shutter response and lots of additional electronic features did tempt me to switch. But the images produced by the 8800 were so consistent and noticeably better than what my buddies produced with a range of other P&S cameras that the temptation to 'upgrade' was easy to suppress. Sadly a few months ago the 8800 became unusable because of Nikon's dreaded "System Error" which has defied repair; so a replacement became unavoidable.

My style of photography demands a good zoom and I tried several cameras (Lumix FZ-28, Pentax X-90, Finepix S-1800, etc) and found the quality of images were well below the clarity of the 8800. Basically it comes down to the size of the sensor, which is a much under-rated factor as all manufacturers and sellers try to convince us that the mega-pixel count is the ultimate metric for resolution - WRONG. For instance the 8800 has a 8mp CCD 1/1.5" sensor (which translates to an area of 0.58sq cm and a pixel density of approx 12mp/sqcm ). All the cameras mentioned above use a sensor size 1/2.33" (0.28 sq cm), ie less than half the size of the E8800 and, due to the increase in megapixel count, with a 400% increase in pixel density ! No wonder the images aren't as sharp, especially when enlarged to full size on a computer screen. The Canon G-11 has a larger sensor but its optical zoom tops out at 5x, hence it did not appeal to me.

The SX30IS also has the small 1/2.33" sensor and, as expected, I noticed a lot of image noise even when the light conditions were good. To overcome this problem I changed the ISO setting to 80 (instead of the default AUTO) and reduced the resolution to 7M. This has improved the clarity of the pictures and reduced the unwanted image `noise' considerably. It is now my 'standard' setting.

The SX30IS is a delight to use. In particular the wide angle is really wide and the zoom is WOW! The digital zoom does not produce unacceptable graininess in the image. The in-built flash does a commendable job even at the fixed ISO 80 setting. The camera has a comfortable size & balance and a good feel to it. Being about 100 gms lighter than my E8800 makes it easier to carry around and, if necessary, to hold & operate with one hand. The articulated screen is very useful. The auto-focus is fairly accurate though at large zoom settings the best focus is obtained on the 2nd or 3rd attempt. It does take a bit of time getting used to the different menus and features, but that's to be expected where so many features are crammed into such a small package.

The cons : I would suggest two improvements. Firstly, the `Frame Assist' button needs to be relocated. At present it is positioned exactly where the average user would place the thumb of the right hand. Pressing this button is intended to cycle the zoom lens back to a wider angle; a very useful feature. However, despite my conscious efforts to place my thumb in the groove meant for it, this button often gets pressed unintentionally. At best it forces the user to miss the shot while the zoom gets back to the correct setting, but it certainly confuses users who can't figure out why the zoom sometimes operates without activation! The second point of improvement is the need to have a self-activated pop-up flash.
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