Customer Review

242 of 245 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb mini all-rounder, November 1, 2010
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This review is from: Canon PowerShot SX130IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 12x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom with 3.0-Inch LCD (OLD MODEL) (Camera)
I bought this camera mainly because it was reviewed as having good pic and video quality, it has HD video, and it takes AA batteries. So far it's been superb all round.

The AA batteries bit is a really big deal for me. I so nearly bit the bullet and got a camera that uses a proprietary battery pack -- as, tragically, they almost all do now -- only to discover, when trying to get 2 spare packs, that they're basically unobtainable! This makes such a camera useless for me, as on a long trip (e.g. weekend hike), once the battery is dead, you're stuffed until you find a 110v outlet to charge from.

I understand that AAs are more bulky for a given charge, and presumably that's why the SX130 only takes two. I'd personally take a larger handgrip to make room for two more batteries, but the bottom line is, it doesn't really matter. Just take along spares, and change them out as needed. Use NiMH batteries for best life (conventional batteries like Duracells simply can't handle the loads of a digital camera), but in a pinch, you know that more charge is almost always going to be easily available. And when rechargables wear out, getting new ones is a snap.

So anyhow... I basically love the camera. It's compact and light, and easily fits in a jacket pocket, so it's always handy for a snapshot. It takes great pictures, and superb clear 720p movies. The stereo sound is good, but with built-in mics, wind noise will always be a problem if there is much wind at all. You can zoom while filming, but the noise is quite audible on the soundtrack (though subtle enough not to be really annoying, mostly). I've started using a separate sound recorder for projects where I care about the live sound.

The reason for dinging one star is the one niggly point I've found to date: video capture is limited to 9 mins 59 seconds per clip. This is a hard and consistent limit; I guess it's to avoid the 2GB file size limit. It's never been a problem for me so far, but I could see where it could become an issue for some types of filming.

Battery life isn't great, but like I said, just carry two or three (or ten!) sets of spares, easy. For the record, here's what I got on a single set of Eneloops, taking continuous 10-minute video clips until it died: battery warning came on at 80 minutes; batteries died at 110 minutes. One 16GB memory card stored 85 minutes of video, averaging 186 MB per minute. I'm using a 32GB card now (class 10), and it works great.

In case you're wondering what it records in the .MOV files it captures, ffmpeg tells me that the video format is:

Video: h264, yuv420p, 1280x720, 22301 kb/s, 29.97 fps
Audio: pcm, 48000 Hz, 2 channels, s16, 1536 kb/s

So overall, great. I do wish there was more choice of cameras taking standard batteries; but this one fits the bill nicely.
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Comments

Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 3, 2010 12:01:37 AM PDT
S. Griggs says:
Did your camera get warm during videos? A few have mentioned this. I have the SX120is and was considering an upgrade. I also really like my SX20is. Thanks for the nice review. Very informative.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2010 9:36:59 PM PDT
Clint says:
I ran my battery life test with the camera sitting on a desk, but of course I picked it up to restart it every 10 minutes, and I can't say I really noticed any unusual heat -- though I wasn't looking for that. Glad you found my review helpful.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2010 10:16:33 PM PDT
S. Griggs says:
Thank you very much for the reply. Glad to hear the results were fine. And as you mentioned about the AA's. I agree, with the advantages of using AA cells. I've lived it when in Venice standing in St Mark's Square. I had taken so many pictures, my rechargeable set ran out and needed to find some regular ones ASAP! There was a shop right there and found some lithiums to hold me till I could recharge the others. Now I have two sets of Ansmann rechargeable cells and even carry a set of regulars for extra "back up". I had not had my then, SX10is but just a couple of weeks. Now I have upgraded to an SX20is mainly for the HD video and both cameras served me well. So have the Ansmann batteries. I've had two sets of four, for nearly two years now and they still perform as when they were new, still allow me to take more shots than the manual states the camera can take with rechargeable cells. Getting quality high capacity rechargeable cells like these and Eneloops as you did are the way to go.

Posted on Nov 18, 2010 9:29:45 AM PST
Lee3333 says:
Are there multiple video settings? I had a problem with one of my Canon cameras only taking 10 minute videos, then realized I was on the 'compact' setting. On the standard setting it will take until the memory card is full.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2010 12:18:56 PM PST
Clint says:
My numbers are based on taking 720p video, which is the highest resolution it does.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 22, 2010 8:01:39 AM PST
Lance says:
Awesome review Clint! Very helpful, especially the technical details of the actual HD video file format.

What kind of file size are you getting for the images if set to the highest setting?

Thanks!

Posted on Nov 23, 2010 5:24:53 PM PST
thebeadle says:
Splash out and try Lithium AA camera batteries; I have found that last 4 or 5 times longer than regular alkaline AA in my sx 120is.

Posted on Mar 19, 2011 6:31:04 AM PDT
Ralf G. says:
Concerning your con "10 minute video capture limit" (only for HD videos) you will certainly like to hear that this limit will soon be cracked by the free CHDK software that unlocks several interesting features (also saving photos as RAW files!) on already a lot of Canon camera models. Just check out the Wikipedia description and google it!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2011 7:41:43 AM PDT
Clint says:
I'm a long-time CHDK user for timelapse, but there's no version for the SX130 -- yet.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2011 2:14:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 19, 2011 2:15:53 PM PDT
Ralf G. says:
Well, maybe the version for the SX130IS is not yet official, maybe I misunderstood it as a CHDK greenhorn - I remembered having read in the German Amazon Camera Forum (that's were I come from) about an English thread on its ongoing development ...

Here is its address so that you can follow its status yourself from time to time:
http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php?topic=5691.0
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