on June 29, 2012
For background: we've had a Canon A20, with a magnificent 2 Megapixels (grin), for the last 10 years. One was stolen in airport baggage (my stupidity for packing it). I was thankfully able to buy a replacement A20 on e-Bay. So we have been quite content for about 10 years. This A20 has been bulletproof, you might say. Fast Forward to 2012. My spouse wanted a smaller, lighter camera--No problem...
...But I wanted an optical viewfinder--BIG problem; hardly anyone makes them any more. Thank you Canon, for still providing this feature.
For those of you wondering what is this -- an optical viewfinder? It is simply a camera that you place up against your cheek, and perhaps use the zoom buttons, to compose the picture. This is how you used to do it with film cameras, before LCD screens were even invented. Single-Lens-Reflex (SLR) cameras, that cost vastly more, use this method, although with vastly improved optics. The alternative is to hold your (non-viewfinder) camera out at arm's length. Which results in:
-- Get out your glasses, cuz you can't see enough detail on the toy screen.
-- Then, when you finally see your pix, you realize that your cam is unsupported--this will cause BLUR. So you have to take another...
-- Then, you hit your forehead with your fist (in anguish) as you realize that the sun is shining so strongly that you cannot see anything on the little screen at all.
Then, you retire to the bar and regret not buying a camera with an optical viewfinder. Get 'em while they last. For the price of a bottle of Champagne, you could have bought this camera. Attention: you can still use the LCD screen at arm's length on this camera if you wanna.
The other reviews are great; I wanted to call out great emphasis on the viewfinder. Sports and wildlife photographers rely on such viewfinders, since they can track, zoom, and compose a shot (in a fraction of a second) which would be impossible with an LCD display.
For those of you thinking of using a cellphone or an i-Pad for photography, fuhgettaboudit. Their pix are horribly granulated (few pixels & small sensors), and as with any handheld, the blurring is atrocious. I know; I've tried. Try not to shame yourself by sharing such pictures.
This camera is magnificent. Over the years I have done darkroom film development, printed enlargements from the negatives, carried camera bags full of changeable lenses for my SLR, had slide projectors; now this is all I need. I can't imagine spending money on a more expensive camera, unless you want to move up to a nice SLR, but that will be bulky and heavy. This cam is 6oz, versus 12.5 for my beloved old A20.
I find that most of my relatives and friends take lots of pictures (be it on a cellphone or camera) and then never DO ANYTHING with them. They are not shared with anyone, and mostly just sit on chips or CDs in drawers. So it is worthwhile to point out that this camera includes Canon's album software; the chip pops out for easy unloading (or use the cable connector)--to help us get organized.
If you would like a case for this, consider the "Lowepro - Tahoe 10 Digital Camera Bag - (various colors)" which is a softcase. I've done trial fits at Beste Buye and it works fine. I ended up buying the Kodak "Essentials" hard case. The Case Logic units that I tried were a tad too small.
A final word on chargers and batteries. There is no charger. This cam uses two AA batteries; if you need them they are globally available from Topeka to Taipei to Tuscany. If you buy a charger camera, consider: You have one more charger to carry. You already have phone chargers, GPS chargers, Blackberry/i-Pad/PC chargers. Some have two different cables: one 12-volt for a car, and one 120-volt for the wall. Does your cam charger work on dual-voltage 120/220? If not you will need to buy a second one (220v) at great expense for overseas travel. Not to mention another prong-converter for when you finally travel overseas. Ugh. [But do see notes on rechargeables in the Comments On This Review, below]
Shopping notes: This camera does NOT come with a memory card (but does have batteries). Amazon has a good 4GB SD card for about $6. Add it to your shopping cart. When checking out, do NOT buy either of these things with 1-Click, or you will lose free shipping. Add them to the cart, then go to checkout, then change the shipping method to "free shipping", then complete.
Please comment if you have issues and I will try to address them. Cheers y'all.
xxx ooo xxx
PS. For me the image size is important for some of my software (it probably won't matter to most people) so just be aware: The A1300 can be set to take 640x480, 1600x1200, or any of 3 even larger formats. My old A20 could take 1024x768 format, but that is not available on the A1300.