2.23.2009

Initial Impressions from the Canon SX110


I've had my new Canon SX110 for a week or so now and got a chance to use it on Monday as a secondary camera for Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California. I didn't really need it as my XTi is a superb, fast and quality camera.

But I wanted to see how it held up with its built-in 10x optical zooming, 9 mp sensor and AA batteries.

Utility - it isn't going to ever give my big camera a run for its money. It isn't fast enough, it isn't powerful enough and it doesn't have the versatility of interchangeable lenses. But it isn't meant to replace, just to supplement.

Size Matters - The SX110 is a good bit larger than the SD1100 IS it is replacing. The SX110 is not pocketable but is also a good bit harder to drop because it isn't as tiny as the SD was.

Zoom - the SX shines here as there really is just no comparison between a 3x optical zoom and a 10x optical zoom (note, digital zooming is a waste of time, it is, essentially, cropping in the camera). When I need to zoom in and it just keeps going and going, I feel vindicated in moving up in size to the SX. The zoom isn't particularly quick though so it is hard to use for action oriented photography with changing focus points.

Screen - Okay, I admit it, the screen is awesome. It is large and easy to see what you've just shot. But the lack of a viewfinder means that you have to use it so there is no easy way to save battery life by turning it off. Also, the dial to navigate image viewing is a nice idea but the implementation is a bit kludgy and I found myself accidentally clicking far too often.

Overall - The increased size of the SX110 combined with its use of disposable batteries is making it harder for me to carry and use without thoughts of having replacement batteries handy. Its larger size means it is not possible to just slip it into a pocket, it has to be carried or attached to a belt (for that awesome super dork look). I don't see any way to use it as a handlebar mounted vid-cam like the SD. It is a good camera to be sure but I don't think it really fits my particular set of needs.

Pros: Nice zoom, big screen.
Cons: Slow, eats batteries, larger profile makes it a drag to carry.
Grade: B-

Luckily, I have the solid warranty from Staples that allows me to return it for pretty much any reason within two years. And, with the SD1100 IS retailing for around $180, the new warranty will be less expensive (sub $200 is a much less expensive warranty) and I'll probably get a chunk of store credit out of the exchange. Unless there's a new model around the corner or maybe I'll consider moving up to the 790 or 700. Actually, in doing a little research, I'm thinking the SD890 IS is going to be the one for me. It uses the same batteries as the SD1100, has a a 5x zoom and is a little curvier so it should slip in and out of pockets more easily.
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