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Canon PowerShot SX220 HS Digital Camera - Grey (12.1MP, 14x Optical Zoom)  3.0 inch LCD
Canon PowerShot SX220 HS Digital Camera - Grey (12.1MP, 14x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD

355 of 358 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning camera, 27 Aug. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I adore this camera. Why? Because I get a higher percentage of good shots out of it than from any other camera I have, and that includes a few DSLRs, and the video is ridiculously good. Is the image quality as good as a DSLR or even a micro 4/3 system camera? No, but it's not far off, and a shot that's perfectly exposed and focused and free of camera shake on a smaller sensor like this beats not getting a picture at all by a long way. The SX220HS is my constant companion and lives in a pouch on my belt.

I've spent 30 years in photography, since buying my first Russian Zenit E around 1979, including being a semi-pro at one point. I know all about aperture/shutter speed/ISO ratios, exposure values, incident light metering, parallax error, Hurter & Driffield scales, flash guide numbers, the difference between depth of field and depth of focus, Ansel Adams's zone system, blah blah blah. When I'm taking a photo, I don't want to think about any of that stuff, I want to be enchanted by a scene and have a decent reproduction of it when I get home. With this camera, I get that. When I pull it out, I know I'm almost certain to get the picture I want. Canon have done an amazing job with it.

The video is astounding. When I upload it, I view it on a large screen, not a little laptop, so any flaws would be immediately apparent. I uploaded a few to Youtube for a friend to see, and she emailed me back, 'They are so clear!'

Many other cameras don't even let you zoom while filming, this one does and regains focus acceptably quickly when you do. I'm fairly picky about sound quality too, and the SX220HS produces good, clear, rich sound. Yes, if you zoom while filming, there's a little bit of zoom noise, but if you're shooting outside, there'll be plenty of other noise on the soundtrack too. If you care that much, buy a video camera and an external microphone. Otherwise you'll love the full HD video on this. The quality is incredible, especially surprising in a camera as small as this.

As has been mentioned, this camera is excellent in low light (very important in the UK), which is unusual for a camera with a long zoom, it has a pretty decent lens, colours are rich and glorious and the image stabilisation is also very good. Noise is virtually never an issue. If it were broken or stolen, would I buy another one? As fast as I could get on the internet.

I am absolutely delighted with this camera. Canon are usually not the cheapest of companies, but I chose this over their S95 (one and a half times the price) and Powershot G12 (double the price) after doing a lot of internet research, and I'm so glad I did. Those cameras have more manual functions, but a few weeks ago I spent 10 minutes in a camera shop comparing my SX220HS with a secondhand G12, and if someone had offered me a swap, I'd have laughed. I moved my SD card from one to the other, and took a few shots in low light, and the SX220HS focused quicker and more accurately and took better photos, despite having a slower lens. (Not to mention that neither of those other cameras do full HD video, only 720, and have a much smaller zoom range.) If you're that bothered, you can use manual focus on this camera, but I've never needed to yet.

We're lucky in the UK because this version doesn't exist in the US, there you can only get the more expensive SX230HS with built-in GPS, presumably on the basis that if you go on holiday and spend most of the time completely off your head and can't remember much about it, at least your camera will tell you where you were at the time. Don't really get it myself, but I guess that matters to some people.

The SX220HS is squat and ugly and drab, has a fairly short battery life, and the flash pops up every time you turn it on. Calamity!!!! Apparently this is a disaster. For goodness sake, so what? Nobody else has mentioned the looks, lots of people have mentioned the other two factors and marked the camera down as a result. To them I say: grow up. Buy a spare battery or two, they're cheap and small. I actually quite enjoy pushing the flash down each time I turn it on, strange as it may sound, it's like saying hello to the camera. I assume Canon did it this way because a bigger battery would have increased the size of the camera, and they had the flash pop up instantly on switch on so that you could guarantee some kind of picture in an emergency. I hardly ever use the flash, but that's the kind of thinking I like. The SX220HS (even the name is ugly) is the ugly baby you love even more. A camera that doesn't draw attention to itself is less likely to get stolen and makes it much easier to get natural shots of people.

If you know nothing about photography, this camera will lead you by the hand and give you great photos, and you won't even realise how lucky you are and how good it is compared to much of what's out there. If you know a lot about photography, you will continually marvel at the consistency and quality of this camera and the value for money it represents. It's a truly great camera at the price. I couldn't be happier with it.

UPDATE 10th May 2012
Yesterday, an apparent disaster. Saw a photo I wanted to take, reached down to my belt, pressed the familiar buttons, lens only half opened. I took a closer look and realised that there was a dent in the lens assembly, so that the shutter blades couldn't open fully. It must have got damaged a couple of days ago when it fell off my belt. I had visions of £100 repairs and checking to see whether Canon had come out with a newer model, but decided not to do anything until today. With the aid of a penknife and some needle-nose pliers, I managed to straighten the metal sufficiently so that there is only a tiny dent visible, and it's no longer fouling the blades. This does bring me to an important point, though. The physical weak point of this camera is around the lens. When I was looking around for one, I saw one advertised on Gumtree and went to have a look. It turned out to be damaged, probably beyond economical repair, so a wasted journey, but had evidently been bashed around the lens, only to a far worse extent than mine. I ended up buying a new one on Amazon.

I will still take the risk with my neoprene belt pouch and being more careful in future, but I would say preferably get a harder case if possible. I still carry the camera on my belt nearly every day and use it more than any other.

UPDATE 24th July 2012
This camera has now been superseded by the SX240HS and SX260HS (which has a GPS). The zoom on the new cameras is 20x as opposed to 14x on the SX220HS, but the lens aperture is slightly smaller. Battery life on the new ones is a bit better, and apparently the stabilisation is better too. Sensor size is the same, and for that reason I won't be upgrading. If I hadn't already got this camera, I would get the SX240HS, but I'll hang on for a year or two until there's a dramatic improvement over my SX220HS.
Comment Comments (19) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 13, 2012 10:21 PM GMT

Logitech OEM S150 2.0 Speaker System - Black
Logitech OEM S150 2.0 Speaker System - Black
Price: £9.84

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing, 25 Feb. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've been a musician for 25 years. If you want bass, forget these. If you have cloth ears, forget these. If you just want speakers that thump and hiss, forget these. if you want speakers for an incredibly low price that bring out the emotion in the music, don't even read to the end of this review, order them. When they arrived, I was immediately disappointed. The cardboard box from the postman was too light. "These can't be the speakers. I hope they're not the speakers", I thought. They were. Opened the box. Too small. Too light. Damn. Will have to send them back. What the hell, might as well listen to them. Got all the polythene off them eventually, plugged them in. Set the audio options so that the ugly 'USB AUDIO' was selected. Opened iTunes. Hit play. Hey, these aren't bad! They're pretty musical. Within 30 seconds I heard things in a tracks I've listened to dozens of times that I'd never heard before. Wow! Put on something with a lot of bass. There wasn't a lot there, but what there was seemed pretty accurate. Played through bits of 20 or 30 tracks I know very well. I'd have been perfectly happy listening to them all the way through. The wire between the speakers is about a metre in length The only reason these cost a tenner is that they're light and plastic and cheap to manufacture. Otherwise they ooze class. I'm going to buy another pair to carry around with me and keep these for my bedroom. Biggest bargain I've seen for a long time. Just wondering if I can find a sneaky way to add a subwoofer to add in the bass...

The Clinical Manual of Chinese Herbal Patent Medicines: a Guide to Ethical and Pure Patent Medicines
The Clinical Manual of Chinese Herbal Patent Medicines: a Guide to Ethical and Pure Patent Medicines
by Will Maclean
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Useful, 24 Dec. 2010
I find this book far more helpful than some of the dry, formal ones.
There are cartoons of quite a few of the symptom pictures, which are
surprisingly useful when you're in a hurry, and enable quick comparison.
I have the Jake Fratkin book as well, which I hardly ever open.
This is the book I refer to for Chinese herbs more than all the others.
Very good not just for prescribing and learning, but also when going through
a herbal company's catalogue, in order to understand some of the formulae in more detail.
Great book, and very practical.

Keynotes of the Materia Medica: Commentary and Group Discussion
Keynotes of the Materia Medica: Commentary and Group Discussion
by Robin Murphy
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 24 Dec. 2010
This is a transcription of lectures to students by Robin Murphy, and brings the remedies to life.
I originally bought the spiral-bound edition, which is too heavy and big to carry around. This version
is in five slim volumes, which obviously do not provide the same problem. I have got dozens of books on homeopathy, but when I want to get the essence and feeling of a remedy this is the one I turn to first of all, along with Vermeulen's Synoptic Materia Medica. Very useful for students (if you have the time to read it), practitioners, and anyone interested in homeopathy.

How to Get Lucky: 13 techniques for discovering and taking advantage of life's good breaks
How to Get Lucky: 13 techniques for discovering and taking advantage of life's good breaks
Price: £2.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book, 24 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Max Gunther is one of my favourite authors. His style is terse, dry, ironic and hugely enjoyable to read.
His books are all about risk, luck, and chance, not just in the stock markets or casinos but in life in general. He made a lifelong study of the subjects. This book is a particular favourite of mine, along with The Zurich Axioms, which everyone ought to read. I read this on the Kindle, and whizzed through it.

Compared to The Secret, and such products which tell you that wishing and visualising is enough, or Richard Wiseman's The Luck Factor, which quotes a few scientific studies, this is in a different league, and deserves to be much better known. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

No Title Available

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely product, 24 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This pen is superb value for money.
Comes with a blue ink cartridge, so it may be
worth ordering a cartridge converter at the same time
if you want to use your own ink. I recommend Noodlers Ink.

Writes very smoothly. Also ordered a Lamy Al-Star which
is not bad at all but doesn't have the same quality feel.

Liked this so much I ordered a couple more with fine nibs.
All of them arrived from France around Christmas much quicker than
some of my orders from the UK. It's a delight to use.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 9, 2011 3:37 PM BST

Selling Skills for Complete Amateurs
Selling Skills for Complete Amateurs
by Bob Etherington
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 24 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've read a few books on sales over the years,
and don't remember that much from any of them.
What this one lays out is a strategy and the
reasons behind it. I'm about a third of the way
through, and I've already learned more from it
than the rest of them put together. Really
delighted I found this. The title is the worst
thing about it.

How to Worship the Goddess
How to Worship the Goddess
by David Bruce Leonard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 6 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Sort of David Deida with heart, only better, and not so damn precious.
This is written by a mature man, who has experience of life
and practises Chinese medicine so knows about all the energetic
aspects of what he's talking about. I bought it on a whim, as I read a copy
of a free acupuncture ebook he co-authored, which I liked a lot.
Very glad I did.

by Gary Leboff
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 1 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Dare (Paperback)
Unlike many books of this kind, "Dare"is written by someone who has actually achieved measurable and substantial results with top sports people, and with coaching people for a TV series ("The Challenge") with remarkable success. Working in a similar field myself and possessing many books covering similar topics, I have still found many of the ideas useful and the exercises worthwhile, and the book in general inspiring and a clear cut above the average. Some of the examples and so on I've come across before, almost inevitably, but that's not Gary Leboff's fault. He comes across as funny, honest and interesting, not just another bland, fast-talking bigmouth.

To the person who gave the one-star review, I would say this: "The Voice of Doom" and "I Believe I Can Fly" are chapter headings; not once does the author mention believing you can fly apart from that. However, what he does say is that if you just read the book and don't do the exercises you will get nothing out of it and be wasting your time, and in your case he was dead right. If you're not prepared to help yourself, why did you read a self-help book? And if you actually read it, why didn't you do anything about it? (Apart from bothering to go onto the Amazon website and moaning).
You could have spent the time doing one of the exercises.

I particularly liked the chapter on decision-making which was original and very useful. What persuaded me to buy the book (I spent several hours in a large bookshop that day going through dozens of books and emerged with four) was his examples of Madonna and Jose Mourinho as people who started out with nothing but sheer determination and self-belief. Plus page 2 left me with a big smile on my face. More to the point, I feel differently having read the book, will definitely refer to it from time to time, and have already taken some decisions and actions I wouldn't have done without it. Change your life for the price of a pizza. Well worth it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 30, 2012 2:30 PM GMT

Do-it-yourself Eye Movement Technique for Emotional Healing
Do-it-yourself Eye Movement Technique for Emotional Healing
by Matthew McKay
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.94

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent!, 24 Oct. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This simple, cheap book has changed my life profoundly. The simple tapping technique briefly mentioned within has proved to work sensationally for myself and my clients, friends and relatives. I also use the eye movement techniques but less frequently. I shall be forever grateful to the author.

The review by a Chartered Psychologist is, frankly, insulting to Amazon, the author, and readers. This is a bookstore and you are supposed to be reviewing the book, which you probably haven't even seen. Just because you've got a degree or two and are paid to work in this field doesn't give you any right to interfere in other people's lives and their ability to empower themselves. Would you prefer they turned to smoking, drinking, drugs, self-harming, bulimia and then came to see you instead?

The techniques work superbly and rapidly, unlike much of the dross out there, the book is inexpensive and accessible to everyone. I doubt I'll ever read it again but it was worth thousands of times the purchase price.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 1, 2012 7:04 PM BST

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