Stylish and Competent
Announced worldwide in August 2010, the Canon PowerShot SX130 IS replaces the popular SX120 IS.
The medium-range zoom camera offers impressive intelligent modes and the capability to record HD videos. The camera boasts of 12x optical zoom, a range capable of covering most of our imaging needs.
DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY
The Canon PowerShot SX130 IS is made of tough engineering plastic. The design of the camera has a typical Canon signature—well-contoured body without any sharp edge, smooth curves, recessed switches and dials, and above all, a matte-finished exterior. The hand grip has a projecting strip, which, if rubberised instead of chrome-plated, would have been ideal. The outer cylinder of the lens barrel provides an SLR-like grip. The built-in flash has to be raised manually as per requirement.
The 12.1-megapixel Canon PowerShot SX130 IS uses a 1/2.3-inch Type (6.16 x 4.62 mm) CCD for imaging. This, combined with a DIGIC 4 image processing engine, is slated to deliver superior image quality. The camera features a 28–336mm equivalent f/3.4–5.6 zoom lens, that incorporates optical image stabilization. This is very useful for a camera with such zoom lengths since the effect of camera shake gets magnified with the increase in image magnification. Canon claim a three-stop advantage in terms of the shutter speed while using the image stabilization function. The camera offers three IS modes—Continuous, Shoot Only, and Panning. In Continuous mode, IS is always on, which lets you confirm the effect on the LCD. In Shoot Only mode, IS gets activated the moment you depress the shutter release button. This is useful in conserving power. In the Panning mode, IS corrects only the vertical shakes, without affecting the effect of horizontally sweeping the camera. The lens focuses from 1 to 50 cm in macro mode, while in normal mode, it focuses from 5 cm to infinity. Autofocus can be set to Single, Continuous, or Servo AF. AF frame can be either set to Face Detect or Center. The SX130 IS features the usual metering modes—Evaluative, Center-weighted average, and Spot. Exposure compensation can be set to +/-2 stops in 1/3-stop increments. Sensitivity of the camera ranges from ISO 80 to 1600, and the White Balance options are Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, and Custom. Shutter speeds range from 15 to 1/2500 sec, and f-numbers can be adjusted from f/3.4 to 8.0 (W) and f/5.6 to 8 (T).
Built-in flash of the Canon PowerShot SX130 IS has a range of 50cm to 3.0m (wide) and 1.0 cm to 2.5 m (tele) when sensitivity is set to Auto ISO. Flash exposure can be compensated up to +/-2 EV in 1/3-EV stops. The available flash modes are Auto, On, Slow Synchro, and Off. Shooting modes on the SX130 IS are Auto, P, S, A, M, Easy, Portrait, Landscape, Kids and Pets, SCN (Scene), and Movie. The Scene Modes are Smart Shutter, Low Light, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap, Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Beach, Foliage, Snow, and Fireworks.
The SX130 IS uses a 3.0-inch, 230,000 dot TFT LCD for display. The camera does not have any internal memory, but it accepts an SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC/MMCplus/HC MMCplus memory card for external storage (4GB card supplied). The SX130 IS is powered by two AA Alkaline or NiMH batteries (alkaline supplied, but NiMH recommended).
The Canon PowerShot SX130 IS is comfortable to handle. All controls are available at your finger tips. The 3.0-inch LCD screen enhances the view, though the images in the display appeared grainy. The vertical control dial is easy to operate, though we would have liked slightly more damping to keep it from rotating accidentally. The absense of a flash popup button could feel like a handicap to some users, but some others will find it very helpful since they do not need to disable flash from the menu.
The Canon PowerShot SX130 IS was a pleasure to use. The camera performed well in our tests. AF was fast and precise, and macro range performance was excellent. Darkening of corners was well under control, with only a slight darkening observed at extreme corners with the lens wide-open at the wide-angle end. Flare was observed with high-contrast back-lighting, but not so much to be of concern. The lens produced prominent chromatic aberration. Barrel distortion was observed from 28mm to 80mm, most prominently at 45mm. Slight pincushion was observed at 205mm.
The Canon SX130 IS reproduced colors well and White Balance performed very well, producing negligible color casts that could be easily eliminated in Photoshop. Exposures using built-in flash seemed flat at times. We found a workaround by placing a paper reflector on top of the flashgun, but this does not serve as a permanent solution (Picture 1).
The native print size was 10 x 13.33 inches at 300 ppi. At 16.67 percent screen size, ISO 1600 appeared soft and noisy. At 25 percent screen size, there was no visible difference in the image characteristics. When viewed at 33.33 percent screen size, noise was observed from ISO 800 onwards. ISO 400 also appeared slighly noisy. At 50 percent screen size, slight noise was observed at ISO 200 onwards.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The Canon PowerShot SX130 IS retails at an MRP of Rs.14,995. The price is reasonable for a camera of this stature.
Design and Build Quality 18/20
Key Features 18/20
Value for Money 17/20
+ Very good zoom range
+ Good Image Stabilization
+ Competitive pricing
– Prominent Chromatic Aberration
The Canon PowerShot SX130 IS is a very good buy if you are looking for good overall image quality and great functionality. The zoom range covers almost all photographic needs of a compact camera user. Combined with a very competitive price tag, this camera is certainly a Best Buy.