Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Review

4.0
October 11, 2010 | Mark Goldstein |

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#101 Gordon

Matt…  I agree that The HS10 and SX30IS probably have more in common than any other camera comparison based upon performance.  This is shocking since the HS10 uses the new BMI-CMOS light sensor instead of the traditional super CCD sensor.

Although that may give the HS10 some better performance in terms of processing speed relative to video (which you are not really interested in) and still image burst mode… the HS10 user interface is still not as intuitive and user friendly as the Canon, relative to menues and dedicated buttons.  This will be very important to you in actual use in terms of your learning curve with your new purchase.

Both the HS10 and the SX30IS are somewhat soft in terms of image sharpness and clarity.  Although the HS10 appears to have better image quality, that may be a function of its 10.3 mega pixel imaging sensor as compared with the SX30Is 14.1 mega pixel imaging sensor.  In truth, the SX30IS should only have a 12.1 mega pixel sensor for its 35x zoom lense.

Although the 14.1 adds some more detail, it adds just as much noise at full resolution. The size of the sensor simply can’t process any more detail without including a corresponding amount of noise and fuzz, so it doesn’t add much.

Here is what can be deceiving in terms of viewing image quality between these two cameras.  The SX30IS image at full resolution is 27% larger than the HS10.  However, that 27% increase in size includes about 20% more noise and softness.

If you load an SX30IS full size 14.1 mp image into Windows Photo Gallery and use the mouse wheel to condense the image down by 27%, to be the same physical pixel size as an HS10 image at 10.3 mp, the image results are about the same.  Noise and image softness tone down to about the same level.

The SX30IS full resolution images are Goliath in terms of what is really useful.  As long as your photos do not need much cropping, they will fill a computer screen or 8x10 print without any noticable noise, softness, or visible purple fringing.

As long as you have a super telephoto lens, you can use that to zoom up to about a 300-500mm frame setting and still have a reasonably sharp undistorted image that can be digitally saved as an image of great clarity and sharpness when viewed at less than full resolution.

Full zoom at 840mm results in too much distortion and fuzziness for really clear images.  It is there if you need it but you should not use it’s full range unless you are photographing something like the moon.

What I am saying is that rather than using a 14.1 mp image croped at full resolution, where there may be softness and noise, use some of the telephoto lens to frame the scene you want. In this way you will not need to crop a portion of the image at full resolution.

The idea is that you want to keep your image, whether cropped or uncropped, as large as possible so that your viewed image will always be reduced down to the size you wish to view on full screen or in print.  As long as you never have to view or print at full resolution, you will never actually see the image noise, softness, or purple fringing that sometimes exist at full resolution.

It is all about using some of the 35x lens to get the image framed the way you want it at full resolution so that you never need to view or reproduce (print) the image at full resolution.

SX30IS full resolution images can be ok but usually they tend to be somewhat soft with noise at over 100 ISO.  The SX30IS lens gives you some wiggle room to avoid most of the down side of the lens at full resolution.

People will have to work with this camera to find out how to overcome its shortcomings.  What is its greatest weaknesses is also its greatest strenght.  The zoom lens causes the issue but the zoom lens can be used in part to avoid the issue providing there are enough mega pixels to work with.  14.1 mp was overkill.  It should only have been 12.1 or even 10.3 mp.

Because you are using a tripod, you should be able to totally control any amount of blur from the camera end.  I hope this discussion helps.

4:28 am - Monday, November 22, 2010

#102 Becca

Gordon (and anyone else of course! :D):
I’m really into concert photography and such. I know that a bridge camera won’t do amazingly but it’s all I can really afford right now. In addition, to concert photography I will be using it for taking peoples of people, events, animals, nature, macro, etc. Pretty much I like to dabble in everything, but concert photography is on the top of the list.

I’ve been going back and forth between many cameras. The three main ones right now though are the Canon SX30 IS, Fujifilm HS10, and the Panasonic FZ100.

You seem to be pretty knowledgable about all this so - which one would you (or anyone else) suggest and why? What would I find as the main pro/cons for them all?

5:06 am - Monday, November 22, 2010

#103 Jan

As I said earlier: The FFZ100 is NOT suitable for low light conditions… from 400ASA onwards, the grain is too much!

I did practice a lot with the FZ100
My FZ50 is better in those conditions.

So…

8:29 am - Monday, November 22, 2010

#104 Matt

Wow Gordon, thank you very much for your advices!
I was thinking the same thing about the zoom : I don’t want to use it at full power cause it reduces the quality of the image.
So if I need to shoot at 20x I can buy a 30x or 35x camera, and it should be perfect.
I think I will go for the sx30is : whitout using more than 25x zoom, avoiding cropping and the full resolution I should be able to get the images that I want.
Thank you once again!

1:41 pm - Monday, November 22, 2010

#105 Gordon

Becca,

Like Jan said, the FZ100 is not suitable for low light conditions as is the SX30IS, which only leaves you with the Fugifilm HS10.  If it wasn’t for the fact you were shooting indoors (concert photography), I would might have said the SX30IS because it is most intuitive to work with.  Also, shooting indoors means you don’t need as much zoom.  A 25-30x should be sufficient.

2:27 pm - Monday, November 22, 2010

#106 Gordon

Matt,

You could also get away with a 25x and achieve most of what you want.  As the telephoto lens decreases, the noise, purple fringing, and distortion is also reduced.

In the case of the SX30IS, it seems foolish for Canon to have increased the pixel density to 14.1 mp.  All that did was exacerbate the high telephoto issues making it harder instead of easier to get what you want.

Canon’s next offering in a SX40IS will likely use the BMI-CMOS image sensor technology and back off the pixel density to either 10.3 or 12.1 mp while eleminating the low light issues.  That would make for a much more perfect ‘do-everything well’ camera.

Just remember, you will likely sell your SX30IS when these issues are addressed in later models.  The choice is, do you need the basic camera now or do you wait another year for the next model to come out?  This is the same dilemma I am faced with.

If the next SX Canon model gets it all right, how hard, if not impossible, will it be to sell you SX30IS?  Generally, older models that do what they do well, have some resale value.  If the basic image quality was at least as good as the HS10, then the SX30IS would retain more value.

The people who have returned their SX30IS have done so to protect their camera investment.  Those who can afford it don’t really care that much.  The SX30IS is definately usable but will likely be eclipsed within the next year.  Any camera that has really good image quality is likely to retain a good protion of its resale value out to about two years.

Those who have returned their SX30IS have already been that way before and have learned.  IF… Canon quickly addresses the issues with the SX30IS with a new SX40IS within say six to nine months, those who invested in the SX30IS might be able to quickly unload their camera at 2/3 to 1/2 of what they paid.

None of these super telephoto cameras have gotten it right so far and everyone who is ready to buy one (including myslef) wants to know which poison will work better for them.

If you have to have a telephoto today then the HS10 in lower light or SX30IS for outdoors will do the job.  That is probably the best honest advice anyone can give.

3:01 pm - Monday, November 22, 2010

#107 Gordon

Matt,

There is something else about the 14.1 mp sensors that is not yet fully understood.  Of all the sample photos available for the SX30IS, a couple are actually very sharp and not soft at all.  It may be that they were taken using a tripod.  When going to 14.1 mp resolution, even the slightest movement by the camera (or suject) could magnify that into a general softness that may not necessarily appear at 10.3 or 12.1 mp.

Image stabilization is good but may not be that good at 14.1 mp.  The only way to determine that is through experimentation with and without a tripod at various ISO speeds.  This should have been done in the professional reviews of this camera. However, that may have been overlooked in order to get the review out the door.

If that is the case, then this phenomena will be generally true of all 14.1 mp cameras.  What that means is that users of such cameras need to be instructed in the use of hand held techniques and practice them in order to get the most out of this camera.

3:11 pm - Wednesday, November 24, 2010

#108 Gordon

I did check out the comparison between the 14.1 mp Panasonic Lumix FZ45/FZ40 and FX100 and they were all soft as well.  The SX30IS was the least soft of them all. This may be due to Canon’s better image stabilization, which points back to the 14.1 mp resolution magnifying even the slightest movement at full 14.1 mp resolution.  A tripod test should be able to prove or disprove this theory.

Should this be the case, then opting to have intermediate resolutions of 10 and 12 mp would be a great help for casual hand held users.  The only option now is a 7 mp shift, 50% down from 14.1 mp.  That may not have been good foresight by Canon IMO.

4:08 pm - Wednesday, November 24, 2010

#109 Allan

I also question the softness issue.  Think about it…for example if the image you are taking a picture of represents 30 degrees of the 360 degrees around you then one horizontal pixel represents just 0.009 degrees! At 30 ft focal distance that would be 0.056 inches!  Bottom line you need a tripod not to get blur.  So I put it on a tripod and turned off the image stabilization (recommended in the manual).  At full zoom I took a picture of a crab apple on a tree through a window and could count the nits on the apple.  Stunning!

10:54 pm - Wednesday, December 1, 2010

#110 Gordon

Thanks Allan.  You seem to have confirmed the theory that the softness issue is simply camera movement when not mounted on a tripod.  Any amount of optical zoom will magnify even the slightest movement.  Hand held non-blur quality with faster shutter speeds may be possible at wide angle, but not at zoom.

I don’t think that most of the ‘so called’ camera experts reviewing the new superzoom imaging equipment have really que’d into this very real aspect of camera movement vs soft image quality.

Some cameras can take good quality pictures without noise at faster shutter speeds.  The faster shutter speeds will also eliminate image softness from slight camera movement.  Those cameras should rate better for hand held use.  However, that should not necessarily berate other cameras that will take excellent quality images when camera movement is isolated on a tripod.

High quality digital imaging is going more and more toward HDR image processing, which requires a tripod.  As you have seen, the image quality becomes stunning when there is no softness.

Incidentally, carrying a tripod around isn’t as bad I thought.  Before I go out for a shoot, I screw the base of my camera tightly to the pan head of the tripod, extend the legs of the tripod and lock in place, and simply rest the assembly over my shoulder like a fishing pool.  Tripods and cameras are so light anymore that it is not tiring or anoying to carry them in this way.  In fact, opening the tripod legs and positioning the assembly now takes less time than taking my camera out of my bag.

2:53 am - Thursday, December 2, 2010

#111 Jeffrey Morgan

Greetings!

For over thirty five years I’ve gotten great use out of my trusty 1974 Pentax SLR but the high cost of film and processing tells me that it’s now time to upgrade!

Having read a number of expert reviews and informed comments both here and elsewhere, I believe that I’ve narrowed my choice down to getting either the Pentax Optio X90 or the Canon Powershot SX30 IS, with my instincts telling me that I should go with the Pentax.

Opinions?

Thanks!

2:55 am - Friday, December 3, 2010

#112 Gordon

Jeffrey,

The Pentax X90 is a good camera for the money.  It is just as good as the SX30IS, dollar for dollar.  The X90 might have a tad better image quality but what it lacks in features it makes up for in price.

The two cameras have two different approaches to zoom performance.  The SX30IS gives more optical zoom where as the X90 has more digital zoom.  However, the X90, with only a 12.1 mega pixel density, starts running out of resolution at 100% crop, at full digital zoom.  So the X90’s 6.5x digital zoom is somewhat meaningless past the usefull 4x range.

Even at a 14.1 mega pixel density, the SX30IS only went with a 4x digital zoom for that very reason.  However, in delivering long reach zoom performance with a 35x optical zoom, the SX30IS compromized with a bit more chromatic aberration.  The theory being that you can get rid of some excess chromatic aberration with a good software program, like Photoshop CS5, but you can’t adjust for high zoom resolution that is not there to begin with.

One of the biggest disappointments with the X90 is its lack of optical zoom in video mode.  Also, the X90 does does not offer a dedicated video button for instant on video.  You must change the mode selector knob to video.  Alternatly, the SX30IS not only has full zoom range in video mode but it can also shoot still images simultaneously while taking a video using the dedicated video button.  Really great features you may not want to forfeit.

If you don’t need all the features and don’t want to spend the extra $94, then buy the Pentax.  Otherwise get the Canon since it is well worth the extra money just in features alone IMO.

5:44 am - Friday, December 3, 2010

#113 james

hey gordon,
are you from cameralabs.com?

3:13 pm - Friday, December 3, 2010

#114 Gordon

Hi James,

No, I am just a photo enthusiast like yourself.  I have tried to do my homework in order to get past some of the bias against full featured imaging equipment that sacrifice a degree of image quality in order to offer more or better features.

Here is the deal.  Some photo enthusiasts are purists and only see photography in terms of what can be done with imaging equipment relative to print development.  That is old school thinking.  What was once done within the limitations of a darkroom is now done in ‘pre’ and ‘post’ digital processing.  Actually, darkroom techniques were very limiting.  Most old school results came from great camera work.

That has all changed with digital processing.  Today, even some poorly taken photos can be processed using HDR (High Dynamic Range) techniques (merging over and underexposed images of the same scene) in order to get lighting, contrast, hue, saturation, and detail into the image that is not possible with just the imaging equipment alone.

Today the emphasis in great photography is less on the imaging equipment and more on digital processing.  What may be lacking in minute discrepancies in image quality is now overcome with good digital image processing software.  Even the latest digital cameras include built-in image preprocessing software in order to remove extreme noise and chromatic aberration, necessary to sell their equipment.

The bottom line is this.  If you just want a good point and shoot camera, then the mid to lower end is all you really need anymore.  If you are enthusiastic about great photos then you will need to buy imaging equipment based upon the camera features with descent imaging quality.  You will also need to invest in good digital imaging software such as Photomatix HDR Pro, Photoshop CS5, and Topaz Photoshop plugins.

That investment, at about $1,000, is about 8 to 10 times more than what you actually need in terms of imaging equipment.  However, if you want the added features for specialty work, like a 35x telephoto zoom, then your imaging equipment will be another three to four times more.

What was once only accomplished through high end DSLR equipment and lenses can now be achieved in software.  Even the best DSLR equipment still requires post processing software to get the level of results and performance anticipated.  The only exception is durable and waterproof DSLR equipment designed to keep out all moisture and dust under extreme environmental conditions.  This is generally only for the professional photographer and ultra enthusiast with money to burn.

If you do much traveling, then go for durability as well as features in a camera.  And always take a backup camera with you in case of equipment failure, even if it is only a $150 good quality cheapy.

I am sharing this detail for the other readers as well.  Go for the features you want in a camera and don’t be terribly concerned about slight differences in image quality since that gets handled in post processing.  If you don’t post process you will not even see these slight differences in quality unless you crop your images at 100% resulution.  And if you do that then you are post processing anyway.

However, be prepared to use a tripod or support your camera in some way when taking zoom shots, otherwise images will tend to look soft. Some point and shoot cameras do better than others at capturing crisp images depending upon the shutter speed they automatically select.  However, shutter speed isn’t the real issue… camera movement is.

These blogs banter back and forth about details in equipment imaging issues when the real issues are descent camera handing and good post processing.

4:23 pm - Friday, December 3, 2010

#115 zebarnabe

Jeffrey Morgan,

If you came from pentax SLR, you may want to check digital SLR cameras instead of bridges and compacts…

Pentax K-x it’s quite a bargain (specially with some lens kit - not the best quality in those lens, but not that bad for the price)... if you have KAF3, KAF, KA lens around there you can use them (but there are some restrictions on some - might want to check them before buying) :]

If you want to spend less money it all depends on what you’re looking for…

A bridge, or a compact may fit your needs ... in bridge segment SX30 looks quite nice, you have Panasonic F100, Nikon P100 (good in macro, but not so in other aspects), etc. as well…

In more compact (and cheaper) cameras you have stuff like Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 / ZS7, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5, Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5, some Canon models etc.

I the premium segment, but still on compact cameras (some are not so compact) you have Canon PowerShot S95, Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5, Canon PowerShot G12… etc…

If you want quality, without size/weight, you have Sony NEX System and Micro Four Thirds System (you can check Samsung NX System as well, but i wouldn’t recommend it), they are a bit more expensive thou…

Compare the samples of those cameras I pointed to their rivals and see what looks nice to you… some new cameras have GPS, touch-screen and video features that old SLR couldn’t dream off, so check the feature set as well…

So ... balance your needs with your wallet and choose wisely… if possible try the camera before buying it… ergonomics and interface is always a point to check…

You may also thing in play a bit with imaging software to treat your images ... I suggest you start with something free and simple like Paint.Net, and later, if you see the need for it, get something more complex like GIMP, Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro (there are lots of other stuff you can use)

Well .... good luck :]

5:47 pm - Friday, December 3, 2010

#116 Jeffrey Morgan

Gentlemen, I sincerely thank you for taking the time to type your very thoughful and insightful comments which, I assure you, are greatly appreciated!

7:24 pm - Friday, December 3, 2010

#117 Mez

Need some advice on a camera don’t know much something that has Good Image Quality, Auto function, not heavy, optical zoom, taking photo’s usually indoors (low light), not interested in video and basic to use. Thanks would be greatly appreciated.

1:39 pm - Saturday, December 4, 2010

#118 zebarnabe

Mez,
All compact cameras (except for mobile phone cameras) have optical zoom, is a matter of how much you want…

Low light behavior in compacts is usually bad…

Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, and how low that low-light is, you may want to check Canon S95… (or Canon G12) ... panasonic LX5 is not too shabby either…

In low light, f-stop value (lower means more light hitting the sensor) and ISO (the higher the value, less light needs to hit the sensor to expose properly) the stuff to look for….

If you don’t have a low budget, I recomend NEX cameras from Sony, but be advised that ergonomics are not the strong point… (and you may want to look at lens with small aperture values (big aperture sizes) ... something like f/2.8 or lower

If NEX cameras are just ergonomically wrong for you or a bit out of budget, a micro four thirds camera with 20mm f/1.7 lens might be a nice combination, GF1+20mm f/1.7 lens costs 580$ so it’s a bit on expensive side, and it doesn’t have the optical zoom you want… you can always change lens if needed… but lens price are enough to buy a compact camera alone!

So ... resuming, by price order:
- Check Canon S95, Canon G12 or Panasonic LX5
- Check Panasonic Lumix GF1, GF2 and Olympus E-PL1
- Check Sony NEX3/5

If Canon S95 and their family are just too expensive… then check:
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 / ZS7
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5
- Canon Digital IXUS 130
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8 / ZS5

You have to make compromises between quality, price and size… check image samples available online, specially at ISO 400~800 or more since you’ll go shoot in low light, and judge them yourself…

Check feature set, Sony cameras are known for having auto-stitch for panoramas that works fairly well ... others have GPS, HDR, etc…

If possible try the camera you’re looking for before buying… ergonomics and interface might turn you away from some cameras…

3:38 pm - Saturday, December 4, 2010

#119 Gordon

At the higher end, consider the Canon G12 or S95.  And at the lower end, the Canon SX210 IS, IXUS 130, or A3100 IS.  These cameras all have a 4.5 (on the higher end) and 4.0 (on the lower end) out of a total of 5, on this blog.  The higher end cameras will likely be more than what you need and you can save money and still be completely satisfied with the lower end.

Canon makes some of the best lower end cameras on the market.  Their lower end image quality is virtually the same as their higher end in compact digitals, but without as many features.  You pay allot more for those extra features.  But if you need those features then spend the extra bucks.

3:49 pm - Saturday, December 4, 2010

#120 Natalie Also

I got my Canon Sx30IS yesterday…and I am sending it back today. There is no user manual available, just a starter pamphlet for one. The picture quality is AWFUL!! I got the super zoom option to shoot birds. They look like I took them through a coke bottle. I get a better result from my 20 dollar flea market find, a Sony Super Steady Shot with 12x zoom. DSC-H2 model!!!! I do recommend the Rebel T1i for those looking for great pic quality and easy use!!! I just need to buy a telephoto lens for mine and be done. Hope this helps!!

10:27 pm - Saturday, December 4, 2010

#121 zebarnabe

Natalie,

At full zoom SX30 IS image quality for the segment of ultra zoom bridges it’s not awful and in sharpness it’s one of the best actually - but chromatic aberrations and light dispersion…

However if you shot without a tripod, even with image stabilization, steady hands and good light some blur might appear…

At wider ranges that the travel zoom compacts have, image quality is a bit sub-par on SX30 IS… yes… something like DSC-H2 might give better image…

Indeed a Rebel T1i / 500D provides a lot more quality, if video is of interest i would recommend Canon T2i / 550D to anyone checking DSLR’s

Those cameras are a lot more expensive than the bridges when you buy lens to better complete the telephoto range… i recommend 70-200mm lens on these Canon… quite sharp… that (camera and lens) would cost 1200~1500€ :/

A cheaper camera (albeit not so powerful) would be Pentax K-x with dual kit lens ... it covers 28 to 450mm with a nice sharpness for ‘only’ 700$ ...

By the way, PB keeps stating my comments are spam… thankfully Gordon gives answers similar to mine (even if i differ my opinion on some points, his opinions seem quite valid to me) ... if this gets ‘eaten’ again I’ll simply abandon PB ...

11:38 pm - Saturday, December 4, 2010

#122 Gordon

Natalie,

I agree with Zebarnabe.  The SX30IS will shoot very sharp pictures when using a tripod.  Using the camera handheld with the image stabilizaton turned on also works well if you are careful to hold it reasonably steady without turning up too much zoom.

Also, you must remember to allow the autofocus time to adjust by pressing the shutter release halfway down for about a second.  All digitals function that way.  However, some models have a very sensitive touch and it is very easy to squeeze off a shot without giving the auto focus time to focus.  That will almost certainly guarantee a blurred exposure with any camera.

Another common error with the SX30IS is putting your right thumb over the Frame Assist button instead of in the specially designed thumb grove.  When that happens and you press off a shot, the exposure will likely be blurred as a result.

I believe Canon made a strategic error in billing the SX30IS as a Point and Shoot model.  It is much more of a bridge camera between the compact point and shoot and the DSLR models.  However, it has features of both point and shoot as well as the telephoto range of DSLR’s, without all the lenses.

Nevertheless, the built in 35x optical zoom range of the SX30IS will create more chromatic aberration.  That much refractive zoom really stretches the ability of lense performance.  It is a trade off between feature convenience against some loss in native image quality.

For those into post processing, much of these chromatic and light dispersion aberrations can be dealt with.  What I find interesting is that most all of the professionals and avid photo enthusiasts do post processing, regardless of the quality of the imaging equipment used.  Cameras like the SX30IS offer a level of convenience vs compromise for both the professional and the enthusiast.

Canon had to have looked at the market and determined that there was a place for this combination of convenience vs compromise based upon a post processing solution.  However, as soon as they billed the model as a point and shoot solution, they opened themselves up for a whole bunch of product returns by disillusioned semi enthusiasts and novices.

If you want quick point and shoot convenience with the best native image quality, then stay away from superzoom cameras, or at least hold off on zooming too much when hand held.  Of course, this is easier said than done since the zoom lever feature on the SX30IS is fairly quick.  That is why some people like a manual zoom option.

However, if you are really interested in shooting birds at a distance, without spooking them, then plan on getting a light weight tripod together with a camera that has a good zoom range of at least 25x.

All Canon cameras have their complete user manuals on line for downloading. Hope this helps.

Gordon

2:12 am - Sunday, December 5, 2010

#123 zebarnabe

Gordon,

You should not refer to the ‘reach’ of the camara by stating the times it can zoom… with 25x it will, most likely have the range needed, but 25x only means how much times the widest range can be magnified… imagine a super-wide zoom, as far as i know there is none, that starts at 12mm ... 25x means it would reach 300mm - not bad for shooting bigger birds, but not exactly the ideal for smaller one….

I would instead, state a focal length, like something above 300mm (400mm or more, if the birds are small) on 35mm (also known as Full Frame or FF for short) equivalent…

But yes, in a bridge camera, like SX30, FZ100, P100, SP800Z or HS10 their 24x - or above - zoom capabilities easily reach the 400mm equivalent (some go over 800mm) more than enough in range department… ...the major issue on those it’s low light behavior (noisy images) and lens imperfections (chromatic aberrations, soft focus, light dispersion, etc).

If those perks are acceptable then a bridge it’s a good choice… for me, well, i went to micro four thirds…

I just point this out because i’m thinking in a 100-300mm lens for my camera (200-600mm equivalent) and that has only 3x zoom ...

2:52 pm - Sunday, December 5, 2010

#124 Gordon

Yes, Zebarnabe, you are correct.  I thought about referencing the mm length and equivalent, but then decided to keep it simple for the non technical readers.

You are also very correct about the low light noise and lens imperfections in these bridge cameras.  They are a compromise at best.  Perhaps the worst offender is the SX30IS and I attribute that mostly to the extreme 4.3 - 150.5 mm lens.

I plan on ordering an SX30IS and then put it through my own barrage of testing both with and without a tripod at various zoom ranges in order to investigate what the limitations really are.  Low light is already a known shortcoming that needs no further examination IMO.  This is basically an outdoor imaging system.

However, I want to find out how bad the chromatic aberration is throughout the zoom range.  I have seen sample photos with high contrast using the SX30IS that did not seem to have anymore chromatic aberration and light dispersion than most other digital cameras.  However, I have also seen sample photos where it was the worst.  So this seems a function of the amount of zoom being used.

If there is any image softness while on a tripod, is it throughout the telephoto range or just at the extreme wideangle and telephoto.  We know that there is lens distortion at these extremes and that noise starts becoming noticable at ISO 400.

I will also use Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro editing to see how much correction can be achieved in post processing.

Until there is a more discrete analysis of this camera’s capabilities, we really don’t know what outdoor usage it is good for and what outdoor usage it isn’t good for.  It may be that I will return it if I can not determine a broad enough range of usefullness.

4:25 pm - Sunday, December 5, 2010

#125 Gordon

This morning I was prompted to prove something that I had earlier suspected.  When moving up from a 10.3 mega pixel density to a 14.1 mega pixel density, the chromatic aberration at 14.1 mp is virtually the same as at 10.3 mp, except that it is magnified 27%.  The result is that a 100% crop of a 14.1 mp image only looks much worse than a 100% crop of a 10.3 mp image.

In order to prove this I loaded a 14.1 mp image, taken with a Canon SX30IS camera, into Paintshop Pro and viewed the chromatic aberration at 100% crop.  Then I reduced the size of the image by 27% by applying a 73% reduction (the difference between 10.3 mp and 14.1 mp) and then looked at the same chromatic aberration at 100% crop.

Toward the center of the image the very slight amount of chromatic aberration appeared the same as supposedly better imaging devices (G12 or S95 with larger ccd sensors)taking full size images at only 10.3 mp.  Only toward the far sides of the image did the chromatic aberration seem like it might be a tad more than these other two cameras.

To reprove this I downloaded a G12 image at full resolution.  I then loaded it into Paintshop Pro and increased its size by 27% by applying a 127% enlargement factor to make it the same resolution as a 14.1 mp image.  Upon viewing the chromatic aberration, the visible amount looked about the same as the 14.1 mp SX30IS at 100% crop at full resolution.

Of equal interest was the low light noise also looked the same as the SX30IS.  Naturally, when you enlarge an image past its native resolution you will always get noise.  However, the low light noise looked just like the same low light noise of the SX30IS.

It made me think that the SX30IS CCD at 1/2.3” really only had an effective 10.3 or 12.1 mp and that the actual physical pixel density was not really 14.1 as reported.  It may only be enlarged and processed internally to be 14.1 mp.  Of course, I can say that for certain but that is what it looks like.

Regardless of whether that is true or not is not really an issue for me.  But what is an issue for me is the effective picture quality is really about the same as a 1/2.3”  10.3 mp or 12.1 mp ccd sensor.

Based upon that observation, I believe that the SX30IS may have had its image quality effectively underated in this and other review blogs.  When these review professionals study the image results they are not taking into consideration that at 14.1 mp, the same chromatic aberration and light dispersion flaws are actually normal at 10.3 mp while being magnified by 27% at 14.1 mp.

What does this mean to the potential buyer?  What it means is that you can reduce the size of your SX30IS images under post processing by 27%, from 14.1 mp to 10.3 mp, and have virtually the same quality results as a reportedly better imaging device recording at a native 10.3 mp.  That is the native size of most DSLR’s.  Haven’t you ever wondered why they tend to limit ccd size to 10.3 mp in most lower and mid end DSLR’s?

The advantage of the SX30IS may be, providing the 1/2.3” ccd is indeed offering a true physical and not theoretical 14.1 mp density, that you have the option of taking higher resolution images if you really need them. Providing there is no low light or high contrast edges to contend with, there is more quality (zoom) resolution to work with when taking a native 14.1 mp image.

Given the extended telephoto range of this camera, the design criteria may have been to offer as much reach as possible, both optically and digitally, with some trade offs under certain situations.  The bottom line is the user can always reduce the SX30IS image size and limit the magnification of normal aberration and dispersion while not giving up the additional native resolution.

There will be some professionals and enthusiasts who will know how to work with this camera in order to make the SX30IS system versatility and convenience useful to them within the limits of it’s capabilities.  This also points to why there are so many professional manual setting options on this camera that are not necessarily seen on other high end compact Canon models.

That is why I believe this blog and others give the SX30IS top marks for design.  You can use this camera like a DSLR but with all the lenses built into one for a very cost effective price.  In the few instances where there is excess low light noise, light dispersion, or high contrast chromatic aberration, a post process in Photoshop CS5 can size the image down to 10.3 mp and run correction filters such that the image is just what is required.

As good as the image stabilization is, it is still no substitute for a tripod.  Again, this camera has point and shoot features, but that is really not its best application. The bad rap regarding image blur, low light noise, dispersion, and aberration can mostly be accounted for by improper camera handling and application.

To accuse the camera of taking terribly focused photos when the user may not be familiar enough to know when Auto focus and image stabilization are turned on or not, is not the camera’s fault.

This is not a camera for beginners.  It is a device with allot of versatility for those who will know how to use it or who are willing to learn.

6:25 pm - Monday, December 6, 2010

#126 zebarnabe

For someone that has a 10MP camera, upgrading to SX30 IS makes only sense if you need the massive zoom or some of the other features, the 14MP of SX30 IS are good for marketing but not for large prints (or crops in PP)... but i doubt anyone buying it intends to print stuff above A4 sizes or will heavily crop the shots with all that focal range… (cropping is equivalent to digital zoom in case anyone misses that point)

If i had to point the ‘bads’ of SX30 IS:

CA is very dependent on what one is shooting, I’ve seen 800x600 pictures from this camera where CA is noticeable, but as long as high contrast areas are not present it wouldn’t be that visible.

Light dispersion occurs at two levels, the lens, where light inside them disperses causing washed looking photos (this is not that on the camera), and atmospheric, by shooting things far aways - that tele focal length allows it - some light gets dispersed and refracted by the air itself, when this happens there isn’t anything you can do but walk to get close to your subject.

Soft focus is not that bad on SX30 IS (specially at full telephoto), but it prevents those 14MP to be used at its best :/

Noise can be divided in luminance noise and chroma noise… since chroma noise starts to go very wrong after ISO 800, i suggest to make the pictures at that or above ISO black and white shots… they will look a lot better if they are crammed with color patches…

Dynamic Range (DR), light dispersion reduces recorded dynamic range, but the camera is not that bad when compared with the rivals (just don’t compare it to a Fujifilm S200EXR)

That said and considered, user error will be perhaps the biggest issue with this camera… people expect that camera does all the job :]

Well… i think everything is said about this camera…

8:40 pm - Monday, December 6, 2010

#127 Gordon

“For someone that has a 10MP camera, upgrading to SX30 IS makes only sense if you need the massive zoom or some of the other features, the 14MP of SX30 IS are good for marketing but not for large prints (or crops in PP)... “

Yes, point point exactly.

The only time I have seen CA (chromatic aberration) at smaller resolutions from the SX30IS is when there are lots of leaves toward the sides of the image against a bright white sky.  Sometimes the CA overlaps between the leaves resulting in a visible breadth of purple tinge.  Otherwise the purple tinge tends to thin out and disappear completely at lower resolutions.

I totally agree with you comment on telephoto induced CA.  Very good description Zebarnabe.  Thanks for sharing that.

“Soft focus is not that bad on SX30 IS (specially at full telephoto), but it prevents those 14MP to be used at its best :/”

Yes, again… exactly my thoughts as well.  That is also why I question whether the 1/2.3” ccd is really physically a 14.1 mp system or whether it is only programed to function that way.  What ever is at issue gets magnified at 14.1 mp resolution at 100% crop.

Fortunately this issue can be easily addressed during post processing so that a reduced 100% crop does not magnify the issue.

The Auto ISO mode may not be set up correctly on the SX30IS, meaning that Auto ISO does not select a low enough ISO setting in many instances allowing for too much chroma noise.  That is my only real complaint and fault that I find with the SX30IS.  However, that can be remedied with Custom registered settings under C1 or C2.  Perhaps Canon will offer a firmware update that addresses that issue.

For someone who has not chosen this camera for themself, I think you have been very fair in your assessment. I persnally like the diversity the SX30IS offers as well as the user interface, which I am also familiar with from my other Canon Power Shot.

Besides the Auto ISO issue, the dispersion effect of the long telephoto lens at full zoom, compounded with the larger 14.1 mp resolution ccd are what seem to make this camera less that what it really is.  If the user doesn’t always use full telephoto zoom for every shot, most of the complaints will tend to go away without even considering any post processing correction.

Of course, one must remember to turn on the image stabilization after tripod use otherwise they will be in for a surprise!:)

Yes, enough said about the SX300IS.  I believe it has been covered.

Gordon

9:28 pm - Monday, December 6, 2010

#128 Gordon

Zebarnabe,

One last comment.  Even though I have ordered this camera (to be received this Friday for testing and final determination), I am still researching it.  Here is what else I have found.

Photomatix HDR removes about 50% of all chromatic aberration (CA).  I believe Photoshop CS5 can remove most of the rest.

However, what is more interesting is that chromatic aberration becomes more evident the softer the image is.  Yes, CA is there where it might not be in other camers because of the SX30’s extreme lens. Nevertheless, the last little bit of normal movement that image Stabilization does not remove, actually blurs the CA into being wider and more noticable than it would otherwise be.

I will be interested to see how much control over this I have with a tripod with both IS on and IS off.  The thinner I can keep the fringing from being blurred the easier it will be for Photomatix and Photoshop to remove.

In one of the test SX30 sample photos I downloaded from a review blog, the image at 100% crop was rather sharp and there was almost no noticable CA fringing in areas of high contrast. After applying Photomatix’s filter there was virtually no noticable CA in the result at 100% crop.

I have the feeling that the otherwise minimal CA produced by this lens may be exacerbated by minute hand held/IS compensated camera movement.  Alternately, the IS function itself may be what is causing this level of visible CA on this particular lens.  After all, the IS system is a lens compesation approach.  There may be a mismatch between this mega zoom lens and the IS system used.

The only way to determine this is to test images as various distances and zoom ranges, both hand held and tripod mounted, with IS on and off for each distance and range combination based upon both full Auto and a constant set of P mode settings.  That is allot of testing but it is the only way to isolate the factors contributing to this condition.

One of the telltale signs that I noticed in the sample SX30 images I observed was the lateral and longitudinal occurance of CA fringe.  In some images all the CA fringe was lateral and in others it was all longitudinal.  In some cases it was both.

However, when looking at the instance of both, I went to the very end of an aberration to where it broke off to see which direction it was blurring in.  In the case of both lateral and longitudinal CA fringe, there appeared to be a diagonal rather than a north south/east west blur trace.

That is when I realized that the amount of observable CA fringe in this camera was more a function of image softness in terms of uncompensated camera movement.  That tells a whole other story about the why and wherefore of this camera’s performance.

The good news is that isolation of all camera movement is the one stop answer to compensating for this issue.  I strongly suspect that part of the image softness, and thus blurred CA fringing, is due to the performance of the IS ‘in lens system’.

I also noticed that where there was more CA fringing, there was also more visible noise throughout the image (not just shaded areas).  I suspect that this camera may prove yet to be an excellent imaging device once the real source of the CA problem is understood and compensated for.  Again, it may all comes back to proper camera handling and setup, as you mentioned earlier.

I will let you know the results of my tests when I have finished.

Gordon

8:03 pm - Wednesday, December 8, 2010

#129 Gordon

Yet, one more last comment.  I am not at all happy with the way these so called equipment evaluators are doing their job.  I have been to many photography blog evaluations and they are almost all the same… spiffy but lackluster with regard to real critical content.

In my opinion, they need to get out of their own heads and into a more discrete analysis of the image quality issues.  They do a good job of reviewing the function and options available in the equipment but a terrible job of isolating image quality criteria.

They really need to get professional and determine a set of industry accepted criteria for evaluating image quality and then go out into the field and perform the tests required to complete and publish a score card of performance.  Only then can the technical issues be properly evaluated and apples can be compared with apples and oranges with oranges.  Otherwise they are just pumping hype, advertising, and blog traffic while not being particularly useful.

8:18 pm - Wednesday, December 8, 2010

#130 m

i got one of sx30 3 days before, hope it will deliver an sharp image. it is totally different from my expectation.
Picture quality is not as per expectation.. Indeed zoom is excellent with stabilization, night soot is one more excellent option to be looked into. But it does not satisfy me when I see the photos.
Macro feature is not comparable to SH10 at all. The basic feature that is picture sharpness needs to be addressed to.
I am planning to return it ASAP.

7:19 am - Saturday, December 18, 2010

#131 Gordon

Yes, I returned mine as well.  The images are too soft and noisy in low (overcast) light for post processing.  I was surprised because I have a cheap $125 compact Canon A1100IS with the same DIGIC4 processor and 1/2.3” image sensor that performs admirably compared to the SX30IS.

The only real difference is the lens and number of pixels.  This would seem to indicate that the DIGIC4 processor is not programmed to perform out of the the SX30IS.  The long telephoto zoom lens would account for the excess green and purple fringing but not the low light noise and image softness.

Even on a sunny day, if you try to sharpen these images or use them for HDR work in a post processing program, it only brings out the noise that lies just under the surface.  Canon really shot themselves in the foot with this offering.  It seems everyone is returning their purchase.

Having checked out all the so called ‘bridge’ cameras, they all fall short.  I believe the term bridge is something that the manufacturers may have coined.  Why?  Because bridge cameras do not satisfy the buyer’s move up from small compact digital quality… thus forcing or bridging them over to the DSLR market.  That is the only basis I can see for using that term.

If you go over to Photozone and check out the laboratory results for DSLR EOS lenses, the longer telephoto zoom lenses do not rate very well either.  The Tamron AF 18-270mm f-3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical IF Macro Zoom lens for around $500 is not too bad ‘all in one’ lens for the price.  Still, it really does not deliver the kind of quality expected from a good DSLR for image post processing work.

The Canon EOS Rebel T1i (500D) SLR 18-55mm lens kit is still one of the best EOS DSLR values out there.  You get very close to professional quality for an EOS cropped frame sensor at a fraction of the cost.

The Rebel also has all the automatic point and shoot capabilities together with all the manual high end DSLR features.  It is a true user bridge camera, IMO.  In addition, it has many semi manual setting features to help the novice learn how to work with manual settings for the best low light results.

I didn’t mention the newer Rebel T2i because the battery in that setup doesn’t last as long on a full charge as the T1i.  The number of pixels in both the sensor and LCD screen are increased without an increase in the size of the lith-ion battery.  Plus, 18 mp seems to be over kill for an EOS cropped sensor. You can get the T1i for several hundred dollars less with everything you would want for semi-professional work.

3:46 pm - Saturday, December 18, 2010

#132 avishek datta

the picture quality is not excellent but it is sufficient for amateur photographer like me.best for wildlife photography .I am really satisfied with my new canon sx30is.

check my images

http://www.flickr.com/photos/avishek_datta/

8:08 am - Saturday, December 25, 2010

#133 Gordon

I am glad you are satisfied.  I did check out some of your images and noted that your download size was about 1/3 the size of full resolution at 4,000 x 3,000 pixels.  If you keep your images smaller, as you have, that will hide the softness and noise that is there at full resolution.

1:27 pm - Saturday, December 25, 2010

#134 avishek datta

@Gordon
that is true.

6:07 pm - Saturday, December 25, 2010

#135 Ana

I want to buy a new camera, that takes clear photos, even if I shake it a little bit or the light is not so good. I also want to be good for macro photos and for high speed moves (Like when you throw something in the water and you want to capture the water droplets). Someone told me I should choose between Canon PowerShot SX30 IS and Fujifilm FinePix HS10. I don’t know what to do. Please help? :D

6:41 pm - Monday, December 27, 2010

#136 Gordon

Ana,

None of the bridge (superzoom) cameras do a very good job for what you are asking.  They all tend to be soft with poor low light capability.  If you want a more compact point and shoot, go with a Canon G12 or G11 or cross over into a DSLR Canon EOS T1i Rebel with the 18-55mm kit lens.

You are asking for more specialized performance in terms of catching fast action exposures without the blur.  This requires a higher skill level with equipent that you can set up manually to compensate for existing light conditions.

I recommend the Canon Rebel T1i.  It will everythimg you require and much more for just 30% more cost over the Canon G12.  Hope that helps.

7:23 pm - Monday, December 27, 2010

#137 zebarnabe

Adding to Gordon suggestion, Canon Rebel T2i (also known as 550D) is a very good choice if you’re thinking in making some videos with it… but will be inevitably more expensive…

8:20 pm - Monday, December 27, 2010

#138 Gordon

Hi Zebarnabe,

I would have suggested the Rebel T2i, but the battery does not last long enough on a full charge.  Probably because Canon increased the resolution of both the electronic view finder and the LCD/LED screen by almost twice the size.  That is the only reason for why the battery doesn’t last as long.

Also, with the introduction of the T2i, the T1i is being sold at a real bargain.  You can get a T1i with a 18-55mm kit lens for just under $650.  That is an exceptional value.  The optical quality of the kit lens is rated very highly when mounted the Rebel cropped sensor DSLR.

The Canon Rebel T1i/T2i with 18-55mm kit lens delivers near professional quality at a fraction of the cost.  The only thing considered negative about the kit lens is the plastic receiver ring.  However, the plastic ring does have some advantages… it can’t get bent, only broken.  A slightly dinged metal ring can throw off lens alignment and image quality without you being sure of why.  I would rather see the broken plastic ring and get it replaced under repair than work with a bad metal ring.

In addition, the Rebel has all the convenience of auto point and shoot together with full manual control.  The main drawback with the T1i compared with T2i is that the T2i offers higher video resultion at a faster frame rate.  For some people that may be worth the extra money.

I did check out the Tamron 18-270mm telephoto lens for the Canon EOS body and saw that the issue with CA and softness at the corners is there.  For some people it won’t make that much difference but for semiprofessional post processing at full resolution, it will start causing problems in image quality.

There doesn’t seem to be any way around a multi lens DSLR setup if you want near professional image quality.  I have learned that the hard way.

Gordon

9:58 pm - Monday, December 27, 2010

#139 zebarnabe

The best is always check samples online and see what pleases, take in consideration limitations, features and price.

Pentax K-x is another bargain (specially with a dual kit lens), but most of people prefer Canon lens…

If you’re looking for a general purpose lens for a Canon EF-S system without hurting quality too much (this is kinda important if you choose T2i, because those MPs will request better glass), the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM is an awesome lens (5.6x zoom, 24-136mm equivalent) .... the only issue is the 800$ that will come from your wallet just for one lens and you must be aware that some of the lens come with quality issues ... get a good sample and will be a lens that will stay on the body for a long time

Oh… a must have lens for a canon (if you’re on a budget) is the EF 50mm f/1.8 Mark II prime ... all plastic, not that sharp wide open ... but it’s a small f/1.8 with AF at around 100$ (I’m not entirely sure if it’s still in production) ... can’t ask for better at that price :]

Anyone, choosing what camera/system (being a compact, bridge or a DSLR) is best for you is up to yourself, check all reviews, forums and samples you find online, check the camera (and if possible try it before buying) on store…

Interface and ergonomics are many times a let down on some camera (you don’t want a camera that is uncomfortable to use, you would avoid using it)

The bottom end is, that no one can choose for you, you may follow tips online but not consider everything you read online as a true statement…

11:49 pm - Monday, December 27, 2010

#140 Gordon

Very good comments.  Like you said, Canon and Pentax seem to have the best price to performance values based upon specific model and lens combinations.

I found that I had to actually get my hands on an SX30IS before I was satisfied that is was not at all right for me.  One photo shoot on an overcast day was enough to tell the me whole story.  The sample images on line were all taken on bright sunny days.

When they said poor low light quality, I was under the impression that they were talking shady outdoor and/or indoor conditions… not overcast.  Even the overcast sky had noise just under the surface at full resolution.  Any post process sharpening of the image brought out all the noise.  The image quality was ridiculous.

I just don’t know how Canon expects to sell that camera.  I relished returning it.  I have a $125 utility Canon A1100IS that produces relatively little noise in comparison and has the same 1/2.3” CCD sensor and DIGIC4 processor.  The only possible reason for the SX30IS having that much low light noise is that it was preprogrammed into the edition of the DIGIC4 processor to only perform to that level.

There is absolutely no excuse for charging $360 for a camera that gives less low light quality than a $125 camera with the same processor and sensor.  It is just plain dishonest IMO and these blogs only help to cover up the lie because they sell these producers advertising.  I could rant on but I won’t.

When it comes to cameras, you can’t take anything at face value… you must search, search, and re-search, do some ordering, and then some returning, even after re-searching, in order to prove or disprove the truth about your own expectations.  Lots and lots of rabbit trails to go down because of the broad learning curve.

After spending hours researching laboratory DSLR lens specifications and rankings, I gave up on the idea of a general purpose lens.  If a person is serious about maintaining digital image quality for post processing, they need to buy the individual lens for the focal ranges desired that maintain the level of image quality required.

There are no shortcuts, no bridge cameras, and no image quality compromises that will satisfy when you begin stretching HDR chromatic range levels at full resolution.  You absolutely must have top digital image quality or you are wasting your time.

Two lenses will do virtually all that may be required.  Much can be accomplished with a good wide angle lens.  A good full frame sonsor gives a better wide angle than a cropped frame sensor with correspondingly less zoom angle.  It is more flexible but comes with a cost of about $1200 more. It is nice, but not absolutely necessary.

USM lenses are better for windy days and hand held use, but most professional quality comes from the diligent use of a good tripod. USM lenses are not necessarily required for that.  However, extreme weather shots, sports, or actions shots will benefit from an expensive USM lens.

I totally agree with your summary analysis for the benefit of other readers.  Unfortunately, they won’t really know the truth of what you shared until they jump through all the hoops for themselves.

In general, I think referrals are a great way of buying.  However, with cameras it is too personal.  There are too many options and people’s taste and education on the subject change faster than they are able to keep up.

For instance.  You buy a camera to take nice pictures.  As you begin using the camera you find that your computer or printer already has some nice digital imaging software bundled in.  You begin working with that and find out that although the camera takes very nice digital snaps, the quality doesn’t stand up to the post processing you now require.  What seemed perfect two weeks ago has become a waste of time and money.

Things can change very quickly because of the extreme learning curve potential that digital imagery offers.  People don’t know that going into it.  All they thought they wanted was an inexpensive digital camera that they could use to get images on their computer.  Once on their computer they find that they can work with them and then everything changes.

We tend to purchase based upon our impressions but our impressions change with more eduction and information.  Sometimes we simply can’t take others impressions to heart since they are somewhere along their own learning curve.  The only way is for each of us to do our own research, form our own opinions, and reinvent the wheel for ourselves.

Blogs can be some of the best places for good information as well as some of the worst places for good information.  Trust the blogs that back up their findings with detailed lab reports, otherwise their impressions are usually far to subjective to be very useful.

Nobody can make up the mind of someone else.  If a person can’t make up their mind on what is best for them, it is because they don’t have enough information to base a decision.  Some of the information that is lacking will be about ones own expectations that have not yet even been formed.

A person needs to find out what they want from their photography interests.  They need to know what kind of photography they are even interested to begin to know what kind of equipment will do the job.  Even if a person has money to burn, they should buy a nice inexpensive point and shoot camera and work with that for a while.

Later, as their expectations grow, they can completely bypass the bridge camera scam and go directly to the correct investment to meet their needs.

Gordon

4:00 am - Tuesday, December 28, 2010

#141 zebarnabe

“USM lenses are better for windy days and hand held use, but most
professional quality comes from the diligent use of a good tripod. USM
lenses are not necessarily required for that. However, extreme weather
shots, sports, or actions shots will benefit from an expensive USM lens.”

USM stands for Ultra Sonic Motor (if I’m not mistaken) and defines the quality and speed of auto focus drive motor (usually very good), as far as I can tell, you are referring to IS or OIS, the so called optical image stabilizer.

Truth is that bridge cameras are not that bad if the purpose is family shots… Image will be less than perfect, noise and softness often hit the overall quality, the trade is that unbeatable versatility (however I truly think they are overdoing it with 30x or more zoom), but if the guy using the camera know what he/she is doing, can achieve very nice results, albeit not DLSR in image quality.

Quality is nice to have and ensures the best results for any situation, but who’s taking the photo must know what he’s doing (and sometimes quality of the image is not the main point as it is proven by lens like Lensbaby or ‘toy’ cameras of Lomography)...

10:38 am - Tuesday, December 28, 2010

#142 Gordon

You may be correct regarding USM.  I was aware that it meant ‘Ultrasonic Motor’ and assumed it was referring to Image Stabilization.  However, I believe you are correct that it is referring to the AF drive motor, which I know is quieter and probably faster.

You are correct, bridge cameras are ok for family shots.  The thing is, you don’t need all those higher end options and price tag for taking family shots.  The basic compact point and shoot does that just fine.  In the case of the SX30IS, because the CCD image sensor and DIGIC4 processor are the same as in my compact Canon S1100IS @ $125, the basic wide angle image quality should be at least the same.  It isn’t, by a ‘long’ shot.

I am not talking about the chromatic aberrations of the telephoto lens.  I am talking about the low light noise and overall image softness. My S1100IS does a much better job at basic image quality at a third of the price.  If you don’t have that basic image quality to begin with, all those options become almost meaningless, especially the 14.1 mega pixel sensor and 35x telephoto lens.

Crops at 100% resolution, even for family photos, are not good enough and people who use that camera have to view the their snaps at around 60% resolution in order to hide all the noise and softness.  The telephoto lens only magnifies the condition.

I am all for considering trade offs, as you know from my previous discussions, provided that there is enough basic image quality to work with.  The SX30IS does not offer enough basic image quality to even consider any of the higher end options included IMO.  You have to actually get one of these cameras and spend a few hours working with it. After transferring the images to your computer and viewing them at full res and trying some very basic sharpening procedures, the real truth comes out.

My beef is two fold.  First off, I believe Canon could have programmed the DIGIC4 processor in this unit to give sharper images with less noise and higher ISO capability, but they didn’t… plain and simple.  They chose not to because it appears that they wanted people to trade up and bridge to a better DSLR, spending twice the money again.

However, they released such poor basic image quality that people are not keeping the units long enough to trade up. Instead, they are returning the camera in droves.  The question is, who is getting stuck with the unwanted hardware… Canon or their distribution network?

Secondly, I don’t appreciate blogs like this one who give the SX30IS a 4 out of 5 rating when they only give the Rebel T1i (EOS 500D) a 4.5 out of 5 rating.  Those figures are completely skewed IMO, giving a very wrong impression to the uninformed buyer.  The SX30IS does not deserve more than a 2.5 out of 5 rating since it can’t even deliver the same basic image quality as the cheap point and shoot compacts, at one third the cost.  These ratings are for the purpose of indicating relative dollar-to-performance value to the consumer.

The reason is simple… G R E E D!  Canon and others advertise on this blog site and Mark will not bite the hand that feeds him IMO.  I have no respect for what these people are doing since they apparently expect people to just waste their money on what has been coined a bridge camera.

All the other bridge cameras have the same basic faults, so what am I to think.  It is time that someone say something so that people can recover their investment before the 30-45 grace period lapses and they are stuck and disappointed and $360 poorer.  JMO.

3:47 pm - Tuesday, December 28, 2010

#143 tim777jet

I completely agree with JMO. I dont own this camera, but have the Olypus SP800SZ 30X bridge, I did check it out when it first came out, but after taking comparison shots with it and the Olympus, I found the Olympus had the edge. The image quality could I am sure, be improved by these manufacturers, but I am sure the reason for not doing so, is so you upgrade again to full spec DSLR, spending a fortune on lenses which still wont get you the reach, of these 30X or 35X cameras. I would be willing to pay 3 or 4 times the price, for a really decent sensor and improved low light capability. Put it this way, i want to buy a camera once, I am not looking at changing every few years. I love the massive optical zoom, without carrying lots of extra lenses, it is so convinient. I bought the Olympus for a Safari trip and got some great shots, which I would never have got, I needed the massive zoom. Hand held without a tripod, i was very pleased with the images. For general wide angle shots, the image quality is acceptable, but could be improved a great deal. I do not print most of my pictures, so the saving on printing costs, would offset the price of a really decent sensor, simple.
I also think that these manufacturers should be stepping up a gear and moving into the next challenge, which is 3D imaging. With only fuji offering this, I cant believe others havnt kick started their developent teams to catch up.
Cheers tim

9:44 pm - Tuesday, December 28, 2010

#144 zebarnabe

I tried SP800SZ, i keep saying i must have gotten a bad sample, because at full tele (on a tripod or handheld, didn’t matter) the softness of the image was just plain bad (like it couldn’t focus)...

From the samples I’ve seen online SX30 resolves (easily) more detail than SP800SZ at full tele (or any other bridge)... at other focal ranges it’s hard to evaluate which one is better…

A bridge with wide 15x zoom and bright wide aperture lens, a 1/1.7” BSI 10MP sensor behind them (that would mean usable 1600 ISO), good drive and manual modes and RAW ... that would make a perfect backup for me (but I’m not entirely sure how would they make it smaller than my EVIL camera with the 10x lens)... but not everyone is equal…

3D .... no ... there is no (ok, very few and very expensive options) 3D output medium to view 3D imaging/video ... maybe the major issue is that 3D technology is not quite good right now…

Just a curiosity:
Take a T2i/550D with its 18MP sensor, grab a 300mm lens with good center sharpness (don’t need to spend much), take a shot, crop the center 12MP ... congrats you just got a 720mm equivalent shot :]

Repeating myself: when choosing a camera the person choosing it should get information by himself and not get blindly guide by other people, that’s the only way to find the proper camera…

One thing that i found suspicious about camera makers, it’s their ability to just fail at a couple of stuff, to correct iteratively on the next versions ... if they know the bunch of stuff that was wrong why to make the next camera with a couple of stuff still wrong… my guess… to sell the next version without spending much on research department…

Other thing is the marketing/capitalism force that drives big companies ... oh well :/

PS: The ‘JMO’ Gordon said at the end, sounds like JMO as Just My Opinion… but i could be wrong…

10:33 pm - Tuesday, December 28, 2010

#145 Rich

Agree that T1i is bargain priced vs the T2i. But I am waiting to get my hands on the Sony A55. The reviews vs T2i seem comparable; but the auto zoom focus in movie mode and the panoramic stitch are deal breakers for me.

3:29 am - Wednesday, December 29, 2010

#146 Gordon

Yup, the softness is still there, especially in low overcast flat light.  And I believe the softness and noise is a restriction that is programmed right into the DIGIC4 processor in order to retard camera performance.  That is just (in) my opinion (IMO or JMO).

Zebarnabe, I hate to say this but some of the online image examples of the SX30 may not be from an SX30.  Some definitely are but some I am sure are not.  The better examples are not at all consistant with the noise and image softness I found with my own hands on experience.  The reader just can not assume that the images submitted are coming from the subject camera.  That is the horrible truth, expecially when image quality is too far off the mark on a name brand camera.  One can not serve two masters.

It should be possible to crop out a 12 mp center from an 18 mp composite and come out with an acceptable 720mm equivalent shot.  However, you must first see if the center of an 18 mp composite at full zoom with a 300mm lens has the image quality to begin with.  I haven’t tested any so I don’t know… but I like your theory.

I completely agree with you on your advice to the person choosing a new camera.  It is a very personal matter based upon the knowledge and experience of the person.  I also share your suspicions with regard to camera manufacturers’ planned failures as part of their marketing plan.  I don’t like it either.

Yes, JMO is Just My Opinion.

5:14 am - Wednesday, December 29, 2010

#147 Gordon

Rich,

The auto zoom focus in movie mode is very important if you plan on using the camera as your primary videocam.  Otherwise, you will need to do allot more video editing in order to get good transitions.  Great point.

Regarding ‘in-camera’ panoramic stitch.  That is not such a big deal since there is usually a good stitch program included on the CD that comes with the camera.  Having it in camera is somewhat of a convenience.

However, real life photography is usually not that simple.  Taking panned exposures over a wide span can often result in changed exposure settings. An ‘in-camera’ stitch result can be less than desirable without first preprocessing the exposures.  This becomes necessary to even out the color histogram levels so that the parts look like the whole.

‘In-camera’ solutions may not adequately address that issue.  Sometimes it works fine but that all depends upon the light.  Simple two or three shot ‘in-camera’ panoramas can work with the right light.  I would not let the ‘in-camera’ stitch be a deal breaker for you.  JMO.

5:37 am - Wednesday, December 29, 2010

#148 Gordon

Tim,

A better buy would have been the Canon Rebel T1i (500D) body together with the Tamron 18-270mm Aspherical IS lens for about $1,075.  Some online sources sell the combo as a kit for about that price.  It has close to the same reach and is about three times more than a superzoom bridge but the image quality is more than three times better.  The lens is compact and light weight.

However, you will still get some aberration, softness, and some noise at the perimeter corners but a very sharp clean center that can easily be cropped with 15 mp.  It really is the only practicle answer to the need for a descent super zoom.

4:04 pm - Wednesday, December 29, 2010

#149 zebarnabe

The kits, Canon EOS 500D + EF-S 18-55mm IS + EF-S 55-250mm IS costs the same as Pentax K-x Black + DAL 18-55 mm + DAL 55-300 mm ... less 200€ than Canon EOS 500D + Tamron 18-270mm (I checked prices on my contry only)... the only major drawback is the 2 lens instead of 1 ...

Pointing some highlights of the body:

Pentax K-x has 720p HD video at 24fps, 30s to 1/6000s shutter speed, 4.7fps and stabilized sensor (and other gimmicks like in-camera HDR)

Canon 500D has 15Mp (vs 12MP, quite important if you’re cropping), 1080p @ 20fps and 720p @ 30fps video modes, 30s to 1/4000s shutter speed, 3.4 fps, HDMI Type C interface.

Dynamic range is better on Pentax at low ISO, but a bit worse at ISO 800 or greater, color sensitivity is better on Pentax for all ISOs, also, at ISO 3200 or 6400 RAW output on Pentax is ‘cooked’ (meaning that true RAW at those ISOs is not attainable).

Noise is virtually identical in both cameras (if you’re printing for the same size).

Pentax Auto-Focus is more powerful (but that doesn’t mean it is better), Canon’s light metering is more powerful…

One thing catched my eye, a store is selling Nikon D3100 + Tamron 18-270mm for 980€ (and I think it’s possible to find it cheaper) ... The sensor has 14MP and behaves similarly to both 500D and K-x (some stuff better some stuff worse, but impressive non the less), since it’s kinda new, it’s hard to say if it’s really worth it a try ... well ... Nikon does great cameras ... but they update their body line in very wide lengths of time :/

6:36 pm - Wednesday, December 29, 2010

#150 Gordon

Very nice review Zebarnabe.  I appreciate your input.

Yes, if you want the better image quality for the same price or less, the Canon EOS 500D + EF-S 18-55mm IS + EF-S 55-250mm IS is a better deal.  I checked it out myself when I reviewed the differences in image quality.

My conclusion was that a DSLR two lens setup is the only answer without giving up image quality throughout the zoom range.  If you must have a one lens resolutuon then the Tamron 18-270mm option does a pretty good job for about the same price.

All super zooms, both DSLR or bridge cameras, come with a loss of image quality throughout most of the zoom range.  The image quality loss in all bridge cameras is simply too high to make any sense for me.  I see it as an industry ploy for my money that I can easily bypass.

The Pentax K-x is the another viable alternative as is the Nikon D3100 with trade offs as you pointed out.

Personally, I like the Canon EOS 500D Rebel T1i because the two kit lenses in the 18-55mm IS and 55-250mm IS that both offer excellent image quality for the price.  Also, the Canon unit has both auto point and shoot as well as full manual control with CA (Camera Assist) for learning to work with the nuiances of manual exposures in that camera.  It also has great ISO performance from 100 to 1600 range.  I also like the Canon menuing system, which I am already familiar with.

7:11 pm - Wednesday, December 29, 2010

#151 Ron Daugherty

Sorry to disagree with you Larry but there is a perfect camera the, Nikon F3… I shot with one for years and still do, but that is photography and not digital imaging. I guess you have to decide what you are looking for easy or perfection.

3:22 am - Thursday, December 30, 2010

#152 Gordon

BuyDig recently put the Canon EOS 500D Rebel T1i with 18-55mm IS AND 55-250mm IS together as a kit with additional accessories for $799 including free shipping.  That appears to be the best value out there.

12:15 pm - Thursday, December 30, 2010

#153 Gordon

The Canon EOS 500D Rebel T1i with EF-S 18-55mm IS and EF-S 55-250mm IS lenses recently went on sale as a kit with accessories for $799.  That seems to be the best value around.

12:22 pm - Thursday, December 30, 2010

#154 Gordon

Zebarnabe

The Canon EOS 500D Rebel T1i with EF-S 18-55mm IS and EF-S 55-250mm IS lenses recently went on sale as a kit with accessories for under eight hundred.  That now seems to be the best value around.  Thought you would be interested in comparing post holiday prices here in the US.

Gordon

3:17 pm - Thursday, December 30, 2010

#155 Alex

Can it use class 10 SDHC memory card?

7:59 am - Thursday, January 6, 2011

#156 zebarnabe

Alex,

Any SDHC device can use a memory card class 10… but it may or not use the entire capabilities of it.

In a camera like SX30 I really doubt that something above class 6 is needed (and most likely a class 4 would work just fine)...

10:30 am - Thursday, January 6, 2011

#157 Gordon

Alex,

If you were referring to the Canon Rebel T1i ESO 500D, it uses the SDHC memory card.  The manual doesn’t say what class which is dumb and Canon’s online specs don’t say either.  My guess is that it does on account of its almost 4fps burst speed.

4:57 pm - Thursday, January 6, 2011

#158 woravich

good review
http://canon-sx30is-review.blogspot.com

12:49 pm - Monday, January 17, 2011

#159 Graham Emberson

Hello,

My wife has a P80 and I have a P90, we are both keen woodland bird photographers. My wife covets my P90 because of the 24x zoom, so she will probably get it. I will need a new camera and would like one with an improved zoom, but not at the expense of light because many of our subjects sit deep in dark bushes.

I have read with interest your helpful comments and would like to know your recommendations. Should I (a)get a HS 100 or (b)get a SX30 or (c) wait until Nikon produce a 30x camera or (d) perhaps you can recommend something else.

I know the technicaly correct answer is “get an SLR”, however I think bridge cameras are wonderful and I am not going back to humping camera bags around.

3:39 pm - Monday, January 17, 2011

#160 Gordon

Graham,

As far as a 30x+ zoom bridge goes, many seem to agree that the SX30IS is about the best.  However, I can not recommend it for low light and shadow images since it is far too noisy for any kind of quality image under zoom.  If you must buy it, then do not use the digital zoom (turn it off)... just use the 35x optical.

I thought I could live with it until I actually purchased one and looked at the low light results.  Then I returned it because my cheap Canon S1100IS was much better, even if it didn’t have the zoom.  Hope that helps.

My personal opinion is get a Canon Rebel T1i SLR with a Tamron 18-270mm zoom lense.  It is one lens that does it all much better than the SX30, without having to pack different lenses.  You will be glad that you did.

3:57 pm - Monday, January 17, 2011

#161 Matt

Hi…Gordon…or anyone…I recently got the SX30 IS…and am having a hell of a time getting sharply focused shots of night cityscapes.

I set my older Lumix DMC-ZR1 along side my SX30 IS on the balcony of my 22nd floor Hong Kong unit. I try to shoot the bank of buildings in the distance…but just cannot get a good result with the SX30.

I’ve tried all manner of suggestions. Here’s a list:

1. turned off IS
2. use a tripod
3. use 10sec timer
4. All manner of aperture and shutter speed combos
5. Keep ISO to 80 or 100
6. Manually focus (I mean I try to manually focus on these buildings that are 500 meters away at least.
7. Using M mode
8. Focus to infinity, then back off a touch

Here’s an example of my target/ shot:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v704/frankgrimes/TaiTam230111202.jpg

Here’s an example of what the Lumix does with the same scene:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v704/frankgrimes/P1010640.jpg

(The Lumix shot isn’t great…but it beats the hell out of the Canon shot in terms of sharpness and overall aesthetics.

The only thing I can think of is the smog that is huge in HK right now….but the Lumix produced sharp shots in the SAME smog…so what’s up with the Canon for long distance night shots?

I can take reasonably good nearfield night shots with the Canon…but so far it has been really poor for long distance…my Lumix does it well…I would have thought the more expensive Canon would have done a great job.

I’ve read several times here that the SX30 IS is quite poor in low light situations….;low light’? Does that mean ‘night’?

I thought it was referring to indoor low light…which hundreds of cameras are bad at. I would have been happy to accept that…but if ‘poor low light’ performance extends to night photography then I’m pretty disappointed about that!

Any tips!!??

3:43 am - Wednesday, January 26, 2011

#162 Jan

Hi Matt,

In my opinion you did everything, to get a good night-shot, so… if the smog is not the problem… bring the camara back… maybe, there is a technical problem…

AS I experienced the same with a new bought Panasonic FZ100… I now know, that I have to test this type of camera’s first… before buying it.
Than I will take my Panasonic FZ50 with me and take shots under exact the same conditions on the same SD-card and study the results at home…

And what about your daylight-shots?

Succes!

Jan, from Amsterdam - Holland

10:15 am - Wednesday, January 26, 2011

#163 zebarnabe

Matt,
Your shown photos are just too small to asset the resolved detail… however I can tell you that the Panasonic one is overexposed ... When resized to 6MP both cameras should be able to (more or less) resolve the same detail for equivalent focal length, aperture and conditions as long as they can keep low ISO (there could be some difference on the corners due to distortion correction) ... If you feel that the difference is way too much, there could be some sort of fault with the camera ... like misaligned lens.

I believe that happened to me when I played with an Olympus SP800UZ… on my case at full Tele was impossible to focus properly ... quite sad…

4:19 pm - Wednesday, January 26, 2011

#164 Matt

Resizing these smeared shots is not going to make them look better…they are just straight up and down bad shots. Just will not focus at night over long distances.

Thanks people….is there anywhere I can upload my photos at better resolution so you can see in more detail what I mean?

thanks

11:54 pm - Wednesday, January 26, 2011

#165 zebarnabe

Matt,

Picasa allows you to provide originals, if you have an Google account (Youtube, Gmail, Google Docs, Blogger, etc) you can sign in and upload right away up to 1Gb (take notice that Blogger uses Picasa to store photos)

So ... according to that, the issue it’s not exactly noise or detail resolving but focusing under dark light :/

Try equally dark, but closer subjects…

Usually contrast based focusing solutions work properly, but if there is too much noise when compared with the light received then noise is ‘focused’ as noise is ‘detail’, contrast based methods use detail (usually edge detection) to tell if it’s focused… noise throws focusing algorithm astray… Even if the shot is set at ISO 100, live view image it’s quite dynamic to allow it to be ‘live’ .... (if you set the camera to 20s exposure you wouldn’t want to have the screen updated each 20sec, right?) and focusing often uses live view feed…

Oh…. I just remembered, some focusing mechanisms (contrast or phase) only detect horizontal or vertical detail… you could try to focus in portrait, hold focus, put the camera in landscape position and shoot….

Quite a troublesome issue… I have some shots of my (black) cat under moonlight… focusing was hell, but in my camera I have a focusing ring on the lens ;]

1:45 am - Thursday, January 27, 2011

#166 Shanty

All you need to know is if you are not a pro photag, this and all in this level of Camera will make you cream your jeans. Those that are talking about DSLR, 70% do not need them and the entry level models are not what the PROs are using, they are up in the 1500-3000 dollar range and then fail to say they have that much or more into all their lenses.

If you are looking at this review and Camera, upgrading from your Point and Shoot 4X to 8X Optical presently owned camera, this and the ones in this range, mentioned by many here, will satisfy all you need in a Point and Shoot. Actually, with all the available shooting features, you may have just learned most of them about the time a few years go by that you are thinking about upgrading, if you do, to what then will be the entry level DSLR.

You will be happy with this, if you are one that has to ask about it, that I assure you.

12:22 pm - Wednesday, February 9, 2011

#167 Gordon

Shanty,

If you have one of these SX30’s and are happy with it, then fine.  But I purchased one and compared it with my Canon A1100IS and the noise and low light graininess in the SX30 was significantly greater to the degree that I could not use it for post processing.

2:10 pm - Wednesday, February 9, 2011

#168 Dick

I am a semi retired Pro (mostly but not all Weddings);reading reviews makes me wonder if these reviewers have ever taken pics as a pro? 1-Quality: I consistantly take sharper pics than my DSLR friends.2-If you want high def use a tri or mono pod. IS helps but it cannot match a tripod in steadiness. 3-Raw: w elements save a pic as a JPEG. Then you can reopen in RAW by going to OPEN AS. Voila all the RAW adjustments are there. 4-Lastly the Canon SX30is has a HOT SHOE (Canon hides it, but its there) now you’ve got range impossible w the built in flash. Good Shooting!

10:41 pm - Sunday, February 13, 2011

#169 Betty

Have one nikon 25 years old with all the lenses,
have a kodak easy share .
now want new baby with good zoom and adequate pix to be able to go to 14x 20 size.
looking at the cannon sx30 and the nikon p 100
side by side and it appears a dead heat. found lots of feed back on other sites for the p100. about 1/4 negative and 3/4 positive.  Both good sale at present. cannon only 379. did buy the nikon with 4g card and bag out the door for 380.
so want feed back from all those who have either of the cameras to decide if the nikon is kept or taken back and the cannon comes home.

5:49 am - Thursday, February 17, 2011

#170 zebarnabe

Betty,

“Have one nikon 25 years old with all the lenses”

I have an 19 years old Nikon F401x, but only one general purpose lens, it belonged to my father, but it’s very well maintained.

If you have ‘all’ the lens (I suppose you mean lens for all occasions - macro, telephoto, bright prime, general purpose zoom, wide angle, etc…) check if they are compatible with modern digital DSLR’s, if you pay 600€ for a body and have all the lens you need for it, then you don’t need to spend any extra (unless you want auto focus)

This site has a nice compatibility chart:
http://www.nikonians.org/nikon/slr-lens.html

If you want something compact, a bridge might be a nice choice, between P100 or SX30, I prefer P100 for macro (since sharpness it’s awesome, even though magnification it’s not that great) and SX30 for everything else…

You could as well, and specially if you lens are manual, choose an micro four thirds or NEX camera system and get an adapter for Nikkor lens :]

Good luck… and I hope you find an use for the old lens :]

11:24 am - Thursday, February 17, 2011

#171 chaynes

These sample photos aren’t much help without the focal length included.

8:48 pm - Friday, February 18, 2011

#172 Inam

Check out the pictures taken by canon sx30

https://picasaweb.google.com/inamulhaq.ldn/2011_02_18?feat=directlink

10:15 am - Monday, February 21, 2011

#173 zebarnabe

chaynes,

You can check EXIF, but it’s always a pain to have to do so ... the best would be to have the real focal length with 35mm equivalent between parenthesis… to avoid confusion when reviewing a DSLR with crop factors of 1,5~2

Inam,
Gallery doesn’t exist…

12:07 pm - Monday, February 21, 2011

#174 Augustin Man

#161Matt: Thank you very much for your posting: I was just about to purchase a Canon SX30IS (here we can’t give it back!), but now it seems I have to stick to my Olympus SP-800UZ. Please see some of my experiences with it, although it hasn’t an M mode:

https://picasaweb.google.com/106913078899624028286/ZoomExperiencesWithSP800UZ#

https://picasaweb.google.com/106913078899624028286/Moon#

12:12 pm - Tuesday, March 1, 2011

#175 John Greiner

I returned this camera as I found it very difficult to use.  The formal review notes that the manual is via disk, it doesn’t mention that the basic manual (of which there are five) runs almost 200 pages by itself.  Basic operations don’t even start until about page 48.  The manual is often extremely poorly written, with some pages describing features/actions that are impossible to perform (such as pushing the left and right arrow buttons at the same time - they are on a wheel/dial, so you can’t do that unless you snap the dial in half) and/or discussing items features that don’t actually exist on the camera (for example, a dial to adjust exposures next to the lens - the dial doesn’t exist on the camera.) The camera is also not very intuitive, for example, the “tulip” and the “left arrow” are actually the same button, so you have to know that when the instructions say push the left arrow they mean the “tulip”.  Same conditions exist for right, up, and down arrows.  The up arrow is the “white balance” button, down arrow is the “timer button”, etc. 

The upload manual is seperate, another 60 pages, and it refers you back to the first manual at times, so you have to flip back and forth between the two.  If I remember correctly (again, I already returned this camera) printing flips you back and forth between pages 46 (yes, before basic operations) to at least three other pages, before directing you back to page 46 again.

As for the camera itself, I found it very hard to focus using the screen, especially using the zoom, and ultimately only went with the eye piece.  It is also slow, which doesn’t work if wildlife if moving.  The zoom would move out fast, but was slow to respond if I wanted to take it back down from the 800mm level to a lower level like 250mm.  At times the camera would just freeze so I would have to shut it off to get the zoom to fully retract, and then turn it back on to get the magnification I wanted.  Of course, wildlife moves by then, so often wound up with missed shots. 

Picture quality is so-so.  I got some very good shots, many poor to middling ones. Some settings actually distored the colors (folliage and vivid for example) rather than bring them out. (I was using this in Costa Rica, the shots of parrots actually came out the worst with the “vivid” setting which is - a parrot head.) Many of the pictures really where not as good as some basic point and shoot cameras.

Lastly, the camera also eats through batteries.  I made sure to buy a second battery (camera comes with a re-charger and one battery) but had to change it out every couple of days.  The book itself says the battery will last no more than 300 shots, I don’t think I ever got much more than 100, so shifted back and forth between the two batteries I had several times during the about two weeks I had the camera.  Luckily I had another digital to get pictures with.  I will try something else with a big zoom in the future, but really did not like this camera.

John

7:21 pm - Tuesday, March 1, 2011

#176 ampH

I think about buy it. But isn’t it better to buy Canon 60D? It’s more expensive, but i think better than SX30. Let’s see: http://www.canon60dprice.org Can someone give me an advice?

8:32 pm - Wednesday, March 2, 2011

#177 Ved

I have to say that this camera is wonderful!!  I also own a Sony DSLR that has 14.2 mp, and they work very similar to each other.  Many of you may not know how to correctly adjust your settings on your cameras that you feel are far more efficient than this camera, however settings have a great deal to do with the quality of a photo.  You may think that a DSLR has more potential, but it’s not always the camera that would have the potential, it’s the person behind the camera.  Read your manuals, and try different settings out.  No flash is always best, while in the right lighting…especially outdoors!  Good luck everyone!!

6:04 pm - Sunday, March 6, 2011

#178 Augustin Man

Ved,

You’re probably right, but you didn’t convince me however, because here have posted a lot of professionals or almost professionals and I was sure THEY knew how to test a bridge camera.

I think you should give us some concrete and practical examples in order to sustain your opinion. Until then I’m not ready to purchase (without returning option, as it is in our country) a camera with no clear advantages over the one I already own (an Olympus SP-800UZ).

8:27 am - Monday, March 7, 2011

#179 tim777jet

hi Augustine, why not wait a month, and then check out the 2 new super zooms coming on the market. The upgaded HS10 which is now the HS20, still 30X but 16mp, and the new Sony upgrade to the X1, which is the HX100V, again 30X zoom and it will be 14mp. The HX1 is a really nice camera, with great functionality, it was 20X and 10mp. Look them up on youtube, look here on photblog, or just Google them, might be worth the wait, i will be looking at them. cheers tim

9:20 am - Monday, March 7, 2011

#180 Augustin Man

Tim,

Thank you VERY MUCH for your advice: I don’t like Fuji, it seems to me like cumbersome, but the new Sony seems to be a jewel: it has everything that lacks my Olympus and much more!

I’m only wondering how much they will rob me in local customs taxes, because I can’t wait until it comes in our stores, if it does sometimes…

Thanks again!

Augustin

6:43 am - Tuesday, March 8, 2011

#181 tim777jet

Hi Augustine, both Sony and the Fuji, have upped their game, by introducing advanced features to improve the low light capability and performance in general. I love my Olympus SP800, but i would like to progress on now, using manual features, which Sony and Fuji offer. The Sony HX1 (the old version), i had never seen until recently, but i tested it in a shop along side my P800. At 10 mps, it was very good, but i would say the Olympus was better overall. The Sony has excellent controls, I was really impressed and loved using it. I hope they keep the same controls on the HX100. The HS10, i tried out along side my SP800 a long time ago, and i found the Olympus was better both in bright light and very dark conditions.The HS20, has improved sensor, which is larger and gives 16mp along with its EXR technology, which should improve low light operation. Burst rates have been improved on both cameras which are very impressive and they record in high def video as well, in fact with 30X zoom on the video, why bother using a video camera now, i actually just use the sp800 for video now and i have a top of the range Panasonic camcorder, which i leave at home, lets see which one actually is the best. Exciting times ahead, cheers tim

9:12 am - Tuesday, March 8, 2011

#182 Palmer K Allen

I have gotten the SX30IS for a Birthday Present, the only probelm I have is that they Lens moves all by it’s self and sometimes I try to focus on something but the lens decides on it’s own to retract from the what I am trying to take a picture of, any suggestion on this, for the one in the store had no problem, but this one does…  Thanks…

3:44 am - Saturday, March 12, 2011

#183 Donna K D

Honestly, if you’re in the market for a camera that produces a quality image, avoid wasting your money on the Canon PowerShot 30SX IS.  Zoom is good, the long-life battery is good… but, oh, how I regret spending money on this camera. 

I was told that Canon is top of the range. This is my first Canon…and it will be my last. The image quality - or the ‘dirty’ colour it produces has turned me off Canon forever and I will recommend it to NO ONE!

7:58 am - Thursday, March 24, 2011

#184 Augustin Man

Donna,

I think we are not to be bounded with a brand or another: all that’s important is our pleasure in shooting and the results; Canon has some nice compact cameras: for instance I like the SX210IS (which, by the way, was reviewed as one of the best cameras in their class).

Because I liked the compact zooms, I have also an Oly SP-800UZ and I’m rather pleased with it too: it is tiny for such a zoom, which is quite good, even in low light. If you want to watch some of my experiences, here you are:

https://picasaweb.google.com/106913078899624028286/ZoomExperiencesWithSP800UZ#

Happy shooting,

Augustin

7:38 am - Friday, March 25, 2011

#185 Slabs

Re: #182 Palmer K Allen
Hi Palmer
I think your problem with the lens zooming in & out of its own accord is maybe caused by accidentally touching the “Frame Assist” button, which is right next to the resting/grip spot for your right thumb.
See p91 of the User Manual.
I accidentally activate it all the time, too.
Frankly I think it’s a gimmicky feature that I would turn off if I could (thinking of expoxying it in posiiton but that seems a bit too drastic & permamnent!).
Hope this is useful.
Slabs.
South Africa

2:07 pm - Saturday, March 26, 2011

#186 Bill

I am doing a purchase decision between only the Panasonic FZ100 and the Canon SX30 for the purposes of travel photos (scenery, static buildings (both with people in them usually), wildlife both static & action and photos of my grandchildren (and other family situations). I have been using a small pocket-sized Canon A700 for years and am happy with the thousands of photos I have taken - it’s just not good enough or fast enough for a lot of the situations above but sure is adequate for putting my family and travel albums together). So, given that, please, without getting into comments and comparisons about high-end (almost professional level) usage, will some of you please tell me your thoughts on which one you would buy if you were me? [I am leaning towards the FZ100 at this moment] Thanks!

5:35 pm - Sunday, March 27, 2011

#187 Donna K D

Bill,

As you can see in my comment above, I am far from impressed by the overall performance of the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS. The zoom is great for shooting the moon, however, in most images when zoom is in use, there is slight shadowing on the right side of picture… and as for picture… So disappointed in the colour. You can alter colour, but in Auto, Landscape and Portrait you can’t and the browning of the images is quite frustrating.

I am not a professional photographer. Prior to the PowerShot I used a Kodak Z650 and LOVED what it did before it’s electroncis started to fail - expecially the colour! I would seriously seek owners of the other camera you are thinking of buying and see how they feel about it. I would NEVER recommend the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS to anyone.

9:16 pm - Sunday, March 27, 2011

#188 Inam ul Haq

For all the unhappay canon sx30 users

I bought this camera 2 months ago & i m also not an expert but a for sure quite an old digital camera user. This one is my most advanced one so far.

I think its a pretty decent camera when it comes to photography in any condition no matter how hostile it is ....

Have a look at these pictures on the link below….i dont think, those who are complaining abt colors is fair. This camera is full of colors.

https://picasaweb.google.com/inamulhaq.ldn/BasantRiyadh#

Also . . .

Dont forget to see all the pictures on PICASA taken from amateur with the same camera.

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/view?q=&psc=G&filter=1&camera=Canon PowerShot SX30 IS#

Summary : Canon SX30 Rocks. Who wants to spend so many times more for few more features on a DSLR.

11:34 am - Monday, March 28, 2011

#189 Inam ul Haq

Check out pictures taken of Moon from canon sx30

https://picasaweb.google.com/inamulhaq.ldn/Moon#

1:36 pm - Monday, March 28, 2011

#190 Augustin Man

Your photos are excellent; I’ve shot also some to the Moon with an Olympus SP-800UZ, which incidentally doesn’t have a manual mode! The settings are on the photos:

https://picasaweb.google.com/106913078899624028286/Moon#

Thank you for watching!

7:41 pm - Monday, March 28, 2011

#191 Inam ul Haq

Nice Moon shots Augustin…... On these never ending focal length shots (either with digital zoom or with optical) such noise free pictures with balanced exposures are always considered as outstanding.

Olympus SP-800UZ seems a pretty decent & powerful camera.

My backup junior camera is also an Olympus & it is no less than any good professional ones.

I took all these (cars & bikes) pictures with an Olympus U5000

https://picasaweb.google.com/inamulhaq.ldn/CarsBikes#

7:07 am - Tuesday, March 29, 2011

#192 Augustin Man

Thank you for sharing the cars and bikes photos! What I most liked was how you captured the light reflections on the various parts of the cars…

8:00 am - Tuesday, March 29, 2011

#193 Inam ul Haq

Thanks Augustin :) You have a very wise eye when it comes to pictures.

So i think moral of the story is, “it’s not the gun but the man behind it”

It’s all about how & when we pull the trigger of our camera !

Indeed we cannot deny the importance of a good gadget but more important is . . .  what %age of output can we get out of it.

I guess our pictures are the perspective of seeing things around us.

8:42 am - Tuesday, March 29, 2011

#194 Clint

Hi I’m looking at this camera or maybe even the Olympus with 30X zoom (800 I think its called). All I need the camera for is our holiday where we will be attending a few indoor sporting events & shows. We will be attending boxing in vegas as well as an NBA game & a music awards so I figured it would be great to have a camera with good zoom because while we have decent seats for most of these events I thought we wont be taking up close photos so a camera with good zoom would be handy, but I didnt want to pay an over the top price, my concerns are with this strong zoom how does a flash handle indoors if the zoom target is a long way away & also if anyone has suggestions of other similar cameras to check out in a similar price range. Thanks

10:09 pm - Tuesday, April 12, 2011

#195 Slabs

Re: #194 Clint
Hi Clint
You can’t go wrong with the Canon SX30iS - for the money, nothing else compares.
However, in really low light, the built-in pop-up flash is only meant for fairly close photography, up to ~3 metres (10feet) away.
For anything further than that, I would recommend getting a separate flash that fits onto the SX30’s hot shoe above the viewfinder - with that you can get a much greater range, depending on the type & model of flash you decide to get. But even with that, bear in mind your range with the camera’s lens zoomed out, will still be limited - probably only about 10 metres (33 feet) to 15 metres (50 ft) at most, I should think. That said, most indoor sporting events have quite good lighting levels where the action is.
In those conditions, a tripod would be very useful (space & conditions permitting), probably more so than any flash.
Good luck.
Johan

8:39 am - Wednesday, April 13, 2011

#196 Naomi

Can anyone tell me what the quality of indoor pictures of people are with the PowerShot SX30IS digital.

Thanks

2:49 am - Thursday, April 14, 2011

#197 Slabs

Re: #196 Naomi: Quality of indoor photos:
Hi Naomi
It’s superb.
Regards,
Johan

10:34 am - Thursday, April 28, 2011

#198 Stella

I actually OWN the SX30 IS and I love it. It’s my fourth Canon (after trying and wrecking the Nikon Coolpix in a matter of months).
I have everything from a Canon DSLR to a tiny point and shoot. What I don’t like about the DSLR is what I do like about the SX30. I don’t have to fumble with extra lenses (or put out big $$$ to buy them). It’s bukly but not near as bulky as a DSLR with equivalent lens.
One camera allows me to take portraits or distance shots with great results. It has most of the same settings as a DSLR, but takes much of the memory work out of it.
I admit low-light portraits without flash make a lot of noise but so do most cameras in low light.
This camera is perfect for my hobby of youtube video. There’s nothing like it for that. Crisp video and I can cut perfect-focus stills from that.
I can’t answer to professional photographers, but I’ve been taking photos for decades and this camera is perfect for my needs. I’m really happy with the results.
And as a brand, Canon rocks. It can take a beating and still work. I dropped my Coolpix once and that was it. I’ve dropped my Canons (not the sx30…yet) and they still work time after time.
My suggestion to non-deciders out there is to not be fooled by snobby DSLRs when it’s time to make that choice.
It’s the photographer, not necessarily the camera, who makes the best shots.

4:01 am - Tuesday, May 10, 2011

#199 Slabs

Re: #198 Stella
I agree with everything you say.
As for noise (speckling) in images when using flash: Don’t use Auto & fix ISO at no more than 400. Crank up the flash strength setting to +2 if you have to.
As for Canon robustness: I once accidentally (of course) touched a live electric fence whilst videoing with my Canon SX5, sending 17000 Volts through it, scorching my palms & it just carried on working, with no ill effects afterwards - now, that’s TOUGH! (I’ve still got the video to prove it; it’s hilarious ...... now, but believe me, not then!!!)
Cheers,
Johan

9:51 am - Tuesday, May 10, 2011

#200 My 1st personal Camera

I want to buy this camera because it meets most of my needs like macro, zoom, etc.. I do not shoot in low light conditions so the noise should not be a problem.. neither i would need more than 30x zoom.
I want to buy Canon 500d D-SLR but that is out of my budget if i consider the price along with macro n normal n zoom lenses.. Also i have never used a D-SLR.. I am very much aware of the fact that sx30is is just a point and shoot and cant match quality of d-slr. But am aware of the fact that sometimes a p/s camera can perform better than a dslr if u dont hav perfect lenses. Also i want to shoot lots of videos of birds, insects, etc.
My question is
1.I will be shooting lots of portraits. How is the
quality of potraits taken by sx30is.
2. I just want a Camera with good Macros+Video+Zoom+Portraits+Foliage+Beach.
3. I will be doing lots of travel photography.

Will sx30is give me satisfaction. I want the images to have a ‘wow’ factor if not the d-slr like quality atleast. I want my images to be full of colors too.

Please Advise as after reading so many reviews n user comments am confused for the image quality which is the ultimate thing.

Thank U
frm. INDIA

10:11 am - Monday, May 23, 2011

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, compact, 720p, hdmi, 2.7 inch LCD, 14 megapixel, super-zoom, tilting, super zoom, Canon, 2.7 inch, PowerShot, sx30, sx30is, 24-840mm, Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, 35x zoom, SX30 IS, Canon PowerShot SX30 IS Review

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