Top critical review
43 people found this helpful
on 19 May 2011
I bought the Canon Powershot SX130 IS after reading the review in Which Magazine where it was described as 'one of the best compact cameras we have ever tested'.
Initial impressions on unboxing the camera were very favourable. I bought the silver version, and rather than being the 'ugly duckling' I was expecting, was taken by the excellent build quality and overall feel of the product. It certainly wasn't as big as I was expecting, and would just about fit into a shirt pocket with a shove. You wouldn't really want to though as the camera is surprisingly heavy, despite being made of good quality solid plastic rather than metal, which you wouldn't really expect at this price point anyway.
I had a couple of re-chargable AA batteries standing by as I knew from previous cameras that the Ni-cads supplied would only be good for a few test shots. By now expectations were running high as I was really beginning to love this camera, unfortunately it wasn't too long before the love affair was over.
After taking several test shots both indoors and out at both ends of the zoom range, I settled down to look at the results. I limited the ISO to 400 for the indoor shots and was really pleased that noise levels were kept very low, while the pictures retained a lot of detail. The outdoor shots at the telephoto end of the zoom lens were better than I had dared hope for. The image stabilization worked miracles in producing clear sharp pictures, even with a fair amount of camera shake. Zooming in again on the picture enabled me to read the writing on a burgler alarm that I couldn't even see with the naked eye!!! Pictures taken at the telephoto end of the zoom lens were superb, unfortunately I wish I could say the same for pictures taken at the widest angle. Images were so bad I checked all the auto focus settings in the camera and then took them again. Second and third time around they were just as bad. At first glance they looked ok, but as soon as you started to zoom in on the picture it was obvious that images were decidedly soft, lacking detail and generally looked out of focus. I couldn't believe that a camera could be so good at the telephoto end of the zoom but so poor at the widest setting.
After running more checks just to make sure it wasn't me overlooking something obvious, I reluctantly boxed it back up and returned it. It was SO disappointing because everything else about the camera was so good, it was hard to believe that images that should have been blurred due to camera shake at the telephoto setting were excellent, but just the opposite at the widest setting.
Maybe I was expecting too much, but I have had superb wide angle pictures from my old 8mp Vivitar camera which cost half the price of the Canon, so there really is no excuse. At the end of the day you have to accept that this is a budget camera and you get what you pay for, and I would urge anyone who is considering buying the SX130 IS to re-consider and look at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 instead. It's approximately the same price and has virtually an identical specification as the Canon BUT only because Panasonic have bought out the TZ18 to replace it. Far from being a budget model, the Panasonic TZ8 is really a top of the range model at a budget price, and does produce superb results as I found out when testing it. It does lose out to the Canon in only having a smaller 2.7 inch screen, but in every other aspect it is most definately IMO a far better camera.