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Customer Review

242 of 245 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb mini all-rounder, November 1, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
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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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 11-15 of 15 posts in this discussion
Posted on Mar 26, 2011 10:35:06 AM PDT
Excellent review; thanks for taking the time to do this. I especially appreciated the details about HD clip size maximum,; estimated real battry life span; amout of HD video per 16GB card; the usage of the .MOV file format; the suggestion to use Class 10; and the details (kb/s, etc) of what the .mov file captures. I think i'm gonna get one of these. I wish product manufacturers would include this kind of information. If you have done a review on a Blu-Ray player, I would sure like to read it. Thanks again!

Posted on Jun 6, 2011 10:36:16 AM PDT
J. White says:
Your note of the video capture limit let me know not to buy this, thank you.

Posted on Jan 17, 2012 9:47:54 AM PST
Peter says:
Use lithiums. Dey be lastin' a long time

Posted on Jan 24, 2012 8:05:00 PM PST
R. Morin says:
Who you callin "niggly"?!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2012 1:40:26 PM PST
JesseKnows says:
CHDK for SX130IS is (and will remain) at Beta - all functionality is implemented, but there have been a few reports of camera damage while using earlier builds (details on the Wiki).

The video length limit of 10 minutes is NOT overcome by CHDK.
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