The Canon PowerShot SX30 IS boasts a whopping 35x optical zoom lens, 14.1-megapixel sensor and expansive focal range. The lens -- which spans 24 mm to 840 mm -- allows a lot of flexibility for both landscapes and close-ups. Critics say Canon's optical image stabilizer -- useful for shaky hands -- is excellent in video and image mode. Other features include an electronic viewfinder, hot shoe for an accessory flash, 720p HD video with stereo sound and a 2.7-inch LCD that tilts and swivels. Gavin Stoker at TrustedReviews.com, however, says he is disappointed that the screen's resolution is only 230,000 dots, "when twice that would have been more commensurate with the outlay being asked here." Critics note that the newer Canon PowerShot SX40 HS (*Est. $350) is basically the same camera but with a better image sensor and full HD video, for not much more money.
The SX30 IS offers a full range of manual controls including aperture and shutter priority. But critics say that despite the digital SLR-like design of the SX30 IS, it doesn't quite have the photo quality of a DSLR, with noise and blurred details in images shot at ISO 400 and above. In addition, some reviewers say shooting performance is sluggish, with shot-to-shot times averaging 3.5 seconds, though startup to first shot is relatively quick. Finally, the camera lacks RAW (uncompressed) file support, though several competing ultra-zooms offer it. Video quality (including sound quality) receives praise from users at Newegg.com, who also like the camera's ability to zoom while filming. At PhotographyBlog.com, Mark Goldstein says video quality "falls short of full HD" but is "more than adequate" for most situations.
We found thoroughly helpful reviews of the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS at professional photo sites such as PhotographyBlog.com, which evaluates the camera's image quality in detail, and at Steves-Digicams.com, where the camera is tested in outdoor and indoor settings. TrustedReviews.com and CNET also provide good insight. A number of users post their impressions of the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS at Newegg.com.
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Mark Goldstein provides an extremely detailed review of the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, which he says "leaves other super-zooms trailing in its wake in terms of sheer focal length." But he says the longer lens doesn't do the camera any favors. "Less than stellar" images and the camera's lack of RAW shooting "keep it from living up to most of its promise."
Review: Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, Mark Goldstein, Oct. 11, 2010
Editors at Steves-Digicams.com summarize their conclusions about the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS and are impressed with its zoom lens versatility, anointing it the "perfect camera to have in your bag to cover a variety of shooting situations." Outdoor image quality turns in good results but a "lot of detail is lost" at higher ISO settings.
Review: Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, Editors of Steves-Digicams.com, Oct. 27, 2010
In addition to sample photos, Gavin Stoker gives an informative and organized review of the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, concluding that its expense and plastic feel makes it less appealing than the robust Fuji FinePix HS10.
Review: Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, Gavin Stoker, Jan. 17, 2011
Joshua Goldman says the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS' lens range allows "for a lot of framing flexibility and has excellent image stabilization," but despite the camera's DSLR-like design, it doesn't perform like one; it's rather sluggish. He also finds that although "photo quality is very good in bright light," it drops off at ISO 400 and above.
Review: Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, Joshua Goldman, Oct. 20, 2010
More than 30 owners weigh in on the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, and most are pleased with the camera's video and zoom performance, though a few report issues with image quality.
Review: Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, Contributors to Newegg.com