Canon PowerShot SX20IS 12.1MP Digital Camera with 20x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.5-Inch Articulating LCD (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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- High-powered 20x wide-angle optical zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer
- Capture 720p HD movies with stereo sound; HDMI output connector for easy playback on your HDTV
- 2.5-inch Vari-Angle System LCD; improved Smart AUTO intelligently selects from 22 predefined shooting situations
- DIGIC 4 Image Processor; 12.1-megapixel resolution for poster-size, photo-quality prints
- Powered by AA batteries (included); capture images to SD/SDHC memory cards (not included)
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|Auto Focus Technology|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||0.7 fps|
|Display Fixture Type||Fully-articulated|
|Display Resolution Maximum||230,000|
|Display Size||2.5 inches|
|Effective Still Resolution||12.1 MP|
|Expanded ISO Maximum||1,600|
|Expanded ISO Minimum||80|
|External Memory Included||No|
|Flash Memory Type||SD / SDHC / MMC / MMC Plus / HC MMC Plus|
|Flash Modes Description||Slow synchronization|
|Flash Type||Built-in Flash, Hot-shoe|
|Focus Description||AiAF TTL|
|Focus Type||Autofocus & Manual|
|Form Factor||SLR-like (bridge)|
|ISO Range||Auto, 80 ,100, 200, 400, 800, 1600|
|Image Aspect Ratio||4:3, 16:9|
|Item Dimensions||3.46 x 3.43 x 5.04 inches|
|Item Weight||1.32 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Weight||4 ounces|
|Macro Focus Range||0 cm|
|Maximum Aperture Range||F2.8 - F5.7|
|Maximum Focal Length||560 mm|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/3200 of a second|
|Maximum horizontal resolution||4,000|
|Metering||Multi, Center-weighted, Spot|
|Minimum Focal Length||28 mm|
|Minimum Shutter Speed||15 seconds|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||12.1 MP|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CCD|
|Photo Sensor Technology||CCD|
|Processor Description||Digic 4|
|Sensor Cleaning Method||No|
|Shipping Weight||2.4 pounds|
|Supported Battery Types||4 x AA batteries (Alkaline or NiMH)|
|Video Capture Format||H.264|
|Video Capture Resolution||1280 x 720 (30 fps) 640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30, 15 fps)|
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|Shipping||—||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||Available from these sellers||DIRECTDEALS4LESS||Smith & Cao Fulfillments||Dream Deal||Amazon.com||DIGITALUNIVERSE|
|Screen Size||2.5 in||3 in||2.7 in||3 in||3 in||3 in|
|Item Dimensions||3.43 x 5.04 x 3.46 in||3.35 x 4.09 x 2.72 in||4.8 x 4.2 x 3.7 in||3.15 x 4.09 x 2.72 in||4.1 x 3.4 x 2.7 in||3.62 x 4.72 x 3.23 in|
|Item Weight||1.32 lbs||0.72 lb||1.32 lbs||0.69 lb||0.72 lb||0.97 lb|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||12.1 megapixels||20 megapixels||14.1 megapixels||16 megapixels||12 megapixels||16 megapixels|
|Video Capture Resolution||1280 x 720 (30 fps) 640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30, 15 fps)||1280 x 720 (25p), 640 x 480 (30p)||1280 x 720 (30 fps) 640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30, 15 fps)||1280 x 720 (25 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)||1280 x 720, 640 x 480||1920 x 1080 (30 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)|
Discover the HD difference. With the classically stylish PowerShot SX20 IS, you can produce magnificent HD movies and dazzling photos. Loaded with features, it’s got a high-powered 20x wide-angle optical zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer, 12.1 megapixels, a big 2.5-inch Vari-Angle LCD, Blink Detection and more.The PowerShot SX20 IS is equipped with many of the same features as a higher-end camera: an ultra-powerful zoom, eye-popping resolution and advanced picture-improving technology. 12.1 megapixels of resolution gives your photography incomparable depth and ensures that any section of any shot can be enlarged and cropped with no loss in quality when you edit the image even if you choose to print the image. It can create crisp, clear 13 x 19-inch posters.
From the Manufacturer
Discover the HD difference. With the classically stylish PowerShot SX20 IS, you can produce magnificent HD movies and dazzling photos. Loaded with features, it’s got a high-powered 20x wide-angle optical zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer, 12.1 megapixels, a big 2.5-inch Vari-Angle LCD, Blink Detection and more.
The PowerShot SX20 IS is equipped with many of the same features as a higher-end camera: an ultra-powerful zoom, eye-popping resolution and advanced picture-improving technology. 12.1 megapixels of resolution gives your photography incomparable depth and ensures that any section of any shot can be enlarged and cropped with no loss in quality when you edit the image even if you choose to print the image. It can create crisp, clear 13 x 19-inch posters.
PowerShot SX20 IS Highlights
The PowerShot SX20 IS is equipped with a 20x Optical Zoom lens with a focal length of 5.0-100mm (35mm equivalent: 28-560mm) that allows you to shoot any scene from wide-angle to telephoto. The camera uses a VCM (Voice Coil Motor) for high-speed, quiet, energy-efficient lens movement with precise control. Focal length is conveniently indicated on the lens barrel.
The SX20 IS is equipped with Canon’s acclaimed Optical Image Stabilizer Technology that automatically detects and corrects camera shake--one of the leading causes of fuzzy or blurred shots. Even when zoomed in, you can get the steady, crisp, brilliant images you’ll be proud to shoot and share. And Canon’s Optical Image Stabilizer Technology is convenient to use. It functions perfectly with or without a flash.
Use the optical zoom while shooting superb 720p HD movies with stereo sound
Improved Smart AUTO intelligently selects the proper settings
Just set the Canon PowerShot SX20 IS to Smart AUTO and you're ready for maximum enjoyment from your picture taking every time. It's a relaxing and satisfying way to shoot because you can completely concentrate on your subject knowing that the camera has the technical details covered. Advanced Canon technology intelligently analyzes your situation and shooting conditions. Then it automatically selects an appropriate setting from 22 specially defined settings. So whether you're photographing flowers, a captivating sunset, or your friends at the park, you can be confident that you're getting dramatic, memorable images.
Advanced presets for the best possible photos under certain conditions. With 24 Shooting Modes, you're ready for whatever shot comes your way.
DIGIC 4 Image Processor
Canon’s proprietary DIGIC Image Processors have long set its cameras apart from the competition, and the new DIGIC 4 sets the bar even higher. Faster, more accurate noise reduction delivers better image quality, even at high ISO speeds.
iSAPS Technology is an entirely original scene-recognition technology developed for digital cameras by Canon. Using an internal database of thousands of different photos, iSAPS works with the advanced DIGIC 4 Image Processor to improve focus speed and accuracy, as well as exposure and white balance.
The camera’s 2.5-inch LCD screen gives you the big picture, whether you’re shooting, reviewing or showing off your images. This high-resolution screen offers a crisp, clear picture to make shooting, playback and using the camera’s menu functions especially convenient. Clear and bright, it also features Night Display for easy viewing in low light. It also has an electronic viewfinder that provides sharp images when you shoot close-up with Super Macro shooting mode.
This AA battery powered camera enables you to easily power up
Conveniently, you don’t need to worry about running out of batteries or having to recharging them. Since AA-size batteries can be purchased at any store, simply get new ones locally wherever you go--no special power adapters or chargers are needed.
What's in the Box
- PowerShot SX20 IS Body
- AA-size Alkaline Battery (x4)
- Neck Strap NS-DC4
- Lens Hood LH-DC50
- Lens Cap
- Digital Camera Solution CD-ROM
- USB Interface Cable IFC-400PCU
- Stereo Video Cable STV-250N
Read about our customers' top-rated cameras on our review page: Point-and-Shoot Cameras
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Here are some of the key specs of each camera:
Optical Zoom (Canon: 20, Pana: 18)
Still image files (Canon: Not Raw, Pana: Raw)
Articulating LCD (Canon: Yes, Pana: No)
720p HD video per 2 GB (Canon: 10 min 33 sec, Pana: 15 min)
Video file format (Canon: .mov, Pana: AVCHD Lite)
Battery Type: (Canon: 4 AA, Pana: Li-ion rechargeable)
Stereo Audio (Both)
SD Card Storage (Both)
In the end I decided to go with Canon for a few key reasons:
#1. The articulating LCD (pull out, tilt/move) was a key factor, as I wanted to be able to shoot from many different angles. It came in handy very soon--the second time I used the camera--I was able to whip out the LCD and get some decent shots at a football game when I had to raise the camera high over my head to shoot over the folks standing in front of me.
#2. The ability to easily share video files. The .mov file format is a more widely accepted format, which can easily be shared (without processing/conversion). The files are accepted on sites such as You Tube. The files can be played with Quicktime and other media players (e.g. VLC). Although the Panasonic camera uses a format which is more compressed and allows more data to be stored on an SD card, the file format is not as wide spread and not as easy to share with others, without converting the file.
#3. Consumer Reports rankings for last year's model: Canon #1, Pana #5 (SX10 IS & Pana DMC-FZ28). I suspect the SX20 IS will follow the same trend this year when Consumer Reports releases their test results for 2009.
#4. Canon takes AA batteries. This makes the camera slightly heavier, but you'll always be able to get economical batteries in a pinch, without the need for buying a proprietary lithium ion battery. May I recommend Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries. I bought some new on Amazon. They are excellent. I haven't charged them yet and I've taken 120 pictures and 40 minutes plus of 720p video. I've also played back the pictures and movies on my TV/Projector and transferred all files to my computer, using the same batteries, without charging them. And they are "..still going..."
Here are some sample pictures taken with the SX20 IS. Keep in mind that Flickr doesn't display the full, original picture which was taken in maximum resolution (in auto mode). [...].
I've taken some great up-close family shots and macro shots. They look great and are very detailed. I took some night/action pics (with the flash) and adjusted the shutter speed and ISO settings and the pictures looked great, given the conditions.
I apologize for the camera jitter in advance as I didn't have a tri-pod and I was in a tight area in the Stadium when I took the shots.
I must admit that I am thoroughly impressed with the video quality/resolution. I shot sample video from my 1 year old camcorder (Panasonic SDR-H40, a standard definition hard drive camcorder) and shot the same footage with the SX20 IS. The difference in quality was amazing. Not only was the Canon much sharper, but the richness and vibrance of the colors was so much better. I sold my SDR-H40 on Ebay within two days. I now will have only one camera to shoot stills and 720p HD video--the Canon SX20 IS. The videos from the SX20 IS looked awesome--on both my 32 inch 720p LCD and my 100+ inch screen via a 720p DLP projector. I connected the camera with an HDMI cable and bam, I was ready to watch great video and view still shots "on the big screen." See the above referenced links for video footage yourself. If I were given the opportunity to watch a football game shot in standard definition by ESPN or an HD version of the same game, shot with the SX20 IS (on a tripod, without my hand jitter), I'd pick the latter in a heart beat.
No buyer's remorse here! If you are looking for an SLR type camera, that does awesome stills and great 720p HD video (both zoomable at 20x optical), you'd be hard pressed to get more bang for your buck then the SX20 IS on Amazon.
One minor issue I've noticed is that when zooming in/out while shooting video, you can here a slight "click" when you initiate the zoom and when you stop the zoom. There is NO noise heard while the lens is zooming/telescoping in/out; the "click" is only heard when the zoom is initiated and when the zoom is stopped. The "click" is not that noticeable. I had to shoot footage in silence, after the kids had gone to bed, in order to distinguish the "click." In most shooting environments I don't expect it to be much of an issue.
Best of luck with your purchase decision.
P.S. By the way, the owner manual states that you must use the Canon software to transfer images/movies from the camera to a PC, else movies will not transfer (frames will be dropped) correctly and images shot vertically may be transferred in the horizontal orientation. So, don't just do a copy/paste of the files them self from the SD card. Keep this in mind as you view sample video on the web.
As time went on, I needed HD video for a client. It was a clear choice for me to purchase the SX20is for the purpose. Why learn yet another camera? And wow, a even better SX10? Well, not quite.
I won't rehash all that Kirk Tuck and others have said before me. I will say though ... don't upgrade from the SX10is for the 2 megapixels. If you are interested in mainly still images, STICK WITH THE SX10. The rest of the camera is very similar. The new menus are more colorful, controls are marginally different in the menus and all else is pretty much the same. Most of the changes are "fluff". If you don't NEED the HD video I would NOT switch. To me, the SX10 delivers a noticeably snappier still image.
What I like about the SX camera series:
1. That fabulous zoom lens! To have all that zoom in such a small package. Sweet!
2. Uses AA batteries. You'll never run out of power. Available everywhere.
3. Thoughtful design & shape and feeling of solid quality.
4. Excellent eyepiece diopter adjustment (at least for me)
5. SD card access door is separate from all other access panels. Real easy to get to,
even while on a tripod.
5. Metal tripod mount
6. Reasonable price for all the features included.
7. Oh yeah .. the swiveling LCD screen too. Very useful!
8. The fact you also get nice HD video in one package is a bonus.
What I'm not so crazy about:
1. Buttons or right rear a bit crowded. Sometimes I press something I don't want.
2. No filter threads ...geez Canon, come on ....
3. Battery indicator is not on all the time
4. Wish I could "customize" the "AUTO" function
5. Manual as PDF (what a pain). I'll take mine paper, thank you.
You might as well print it out right away. You're gonna need it!
6. Selection of "spot" meter defaults back to "center" at power down.
7. Electronic ViewFinder (Not just this one either. They all leave me wanting.)
8. Somewhat less crisp still images compared to the SX10 that I also own.
A fine RGB file at 4000 x 3000 yields a 34 MB file in Photoshop! Oddly, more pixels don't translate into better image quality. SX20is images don't have quite the "snap" to my eye as the SX10.
Is it perfect? Heck no. Are any of them? Even the $5,000 ones?
Perhaps if Canon changed the firmware to include "Superfine" compression, this camera could then become a stellar performer??
Do I miss RAW mode? Not really. If you need it buy a DSLR.
What do I miss most when switching from my NIKON? That bright, super clear viewfinder.
Will it clip highlights? Sure, if you don't set it up right. So does the SX10is (and my Nikon). High dynamic range is not usually a feature on most consumer cameras.
Pros take note... I was on the fence as to whether this cameras image quality is good enough to satisfy my professional needs. If you are obsessed with tack sharp images, pass on this one. You probably won't be happy. If "good" is good enough, go for it.
After shooting and experimenting for 10 days I wasn't happy. The still images were just too darn soft. What a pity. This potentially GREAT camera hamstrung by a mediocre sensor. It appears to me the the sensor size was adjusted to accommodate the Hi Def video at the sacrifice of still image quality. I expected more from 12 megapixels and didn't get it. I had to return it.
Don't get me wrong, it's a very good still camera ... just not a great one. If video is your main interest and your still picture needs are secondary, you'll probably like it.
Note that YouTube Reduces file size to increase playability over the internet so what you see is only fraction of the video detail
Newbies purchasing this ... make no mistake, this is a complex little piece of gear. Sure, you can use it on AUTO if you want, but what a waste. You have to LEARN this camera to get the most out of it. And don't expect to learn it in a day or even a week. Used properly it will yield beautiful ( if not super sharp) images. Buy it and shoot, shoot, shoot and you'll get the hang of it. Why not? The "film" is cheap!
By the way, purchase a Class 6 SD card right away. That way if you want to play with the HD movie function you can. Some cheap SD cards can't write fast enough for HD video use. If you have a hi def TV you'll love it.
Beware though, HD video files get HUGE fast! Uploads to YouTube (or anywhere else) can take quite awhile. A 1 minute, 36 sec. clip equals 491 MB and over 4 hrs to upload via DSL.
If you get serious about HD video, or enjoy doing critical focus photography, PLEASE, buy a decent tripod and USE it.