This past Christmas, I received a Canon PowerShot SX130 IS Point and Shoot Digital Camera, with 12x Optical Zoom which I had asked for after hearing many great things about it. I had great expectations for the product before getting it, but after using it for a while, the ease of use, resolution, and functionality of the settings blew me away.
The Canon PowerShot SX130 IS is part of the Canon PowerShot S series, specifically the SX (Super Zoom) series. It was released in September 2010, but despite being new to the market, it was still in the reasonable price range of $180-$200. Now this may seem like a lot for a Point and Shoot, but it really is top of the line, comparing to even some SLRs that I have seen/used. If you are only looking for a camera that can shoot photos quickly in Auto mode, with okay resolution, then the SX130 IS is not for you. But for someone with general photo knowledge and a need for great quality and a variety of easy to use settings and modes, then look no further.
The SX130 IS offers a bunch of different shooting modes, but the ones I will focus on here are Auto Mode, Program Mode, and Manual Mode. Auto Mode is good for quick pictures in preferably high light settings. But even in low light settings, I expected the picture to have "noise" or graininess because Auto Mode tends to use higher ISOs. But to my surprise, the quality was great, even unmatched, compared to other cameras. Program Mode lets you change settings, but minimally. The ISO is always "Auto", but you can change it to your liking. The only other changeable setting is the Exposure, which starts at + or - 0, but can be changed. The camera then changes the other settings to get the desirable picture. And finally, my favorite, Manual Mode. Manual Mode lets you change a lot, including ISO, shutter speed (1/1600s - 15"), and f-stop (f/8.0 - f/3.4). Just for reference, shutter speed is the time it takes for the camera to make an exposure (take a picture), and f-stop is the amount of light let in by the camera during the exposure.
Now I will talk about the other modes and features with the SX130 IS. Easy Mode (Red Camera w/ Heart in it) is very simple, and is for beginners who do not know how to focus or use basic camera functions. Portrait Mode (Head of Woman) is for taking pictures where a person is the subject of the picture. Landscape Mode (Mountains w/ Clouds) is for taking nature scenes and pictures in "Landscape Mode" (obviously enough). Kids and Pets Mode (Kid and Dog) is like a similar Sports or Action Mode that takes pictures of moving (or squirmy) subjects. Smart Shutter Mode (Camera w/ face in it) is a pretty cool mode that automatically takes a picture when your subject smiles (Smile Detection), winks (Wink Detection), or enters the frame (FaceSelf-Timer, starts countdown when he/she enters). It also lets you adjust the number of shots taken at a time (1-10). Standard Mode (Video Camera) lets you shoot video, though I have not tried it. Aperture Priority Mode (Av) lets you change the aperture (f-stop) while the camera adjusts other settings automatically. And finally, Shutter Speed Priority Mode (Tv) lets you do the same thing as Av Mode, just with shutter speed. All of these modes are found on the Shooting Mode Dial, found on the top of the camera (see pictures)
Another good feature is Macro Mode (Flower w/ MF). This is exceptional, delivering awesome quality on extremely close-up shots by changing the focus to macro. Also, the usual self-timer and face detection modes are included, right on the camera itself, creating less hassle navigating through menus.
Overall, the Canon PowerShot SX130 IS is a must have for any Photo Enthusiast or anyone who appreciates taking good pictures with a great camera that is cheaper than SLRs and will even put some SLRs to shame. Buy it now!