coolest digital camera ever

The Canon Powershot TX1 is quite possibly the coolest digital camera ever.

QUICK BASIC SPECS
7.1 megapixel camera
10x optical zoom
30 fps High Definition (HD) 720p widescreen (16:9) video camera
Optical Image Stabilizer (IS) System
3.50 x 2.36 x 1.14 in.
retail price: $500

JUST AMAZING
7.1 megapixels is solid. I’m not blown away by the megapixels. I am blown away that they managed to get a 10x optical zoom in a camera the size of a deck of cards. But that’s not all. This dog can take HD (High Definition) movies. Incredible. You try to find a HD video camera for under $750. Just try, cuz you won’t! So not only does this camera take HD movies for $500, but it takes HD movies and it’s the size of a deck of cards. 7 megapixels, HD movies, 10x optical zoom all in a deck of cards. I’m stunned.

OTHER GREAT THINGS
I love the adjustable LCD screen. I will NEVER buy a digital camera without a twist-out LCD screen. The functionality is something I can’t live without. I tried solid-state LCD screens and I always want to twist the LCD to get interesting angles. It’s sad to see just about all digital cameras do not have twist-out LCD screens.

You can zoom while in movie mode. Too many digital cameras with movie modes don’t allow zooming while recording.

The TX1 is also Windows Vista certified right out of the box, in addition to being Mac OS X 10.4 compatible.

I’m digging the aesthetics of the camera. It’s reminiscent of the old Brownie cameras and Rollei medium format cameras. classic stuff. If you’re a fan of the Rollei style, then check out the Rollei MiniDigi. how freakin’ cute is that?

The CCD imaging chip is 1/2.5″. Just about all the video cameras in the $500 price range sport a 1/6″ imaging chip. So the TX1’s imaging chip is just about twice as large.

The Optical Image Stabilizer system will help prevent blurry photos and video when you’re using the massive 10x optical zoom. Some cameras offer electronic image stabilization. Optical is better than electronic. With optical, the stabilization is performed at lens level. Electronic stabilizes after it passes the lens and hits the CCD. It’s better to have a clean image while the image is being captured by the lens than having a blurry image after lens capture and relying on the imaging chip to try to fix the blurriness.

The camera has a great ISO range:

ISO 80

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 1600
Hopefully the higher ISO and big imaging chip will help with it’s f/3.5 aperature which leads to the downsides of the camera.

THE CATCH
What’s the catch? Well, yea, there’s one downsides. Some may consider there to be two downsides. Let’s dig in.
DOWNSIDE #1
The maximum aperature is f/3.5. When in full telephoto mode (maxxed out zoom) it is f/5.6. Most video cameras have a maximum aperature of f/1.8. This means the TX1 will have problems shooting video in low-light. Capturing video will only work outdoors or in extremely well-lit interiors. Hopefully the larger CCD and high ISO will allow for indoor video.

DOWNSIDE #2 (for some)
The codec it uses for video is MJPEG. MPEG-2 is the most common codec in today’s DVD and hard drive camcorders. The files size of MJPEG movies are much larger than MPEG-2. MJPEG captures each frame as its own JPEG image. The first frame of a MPEG-2 clip is a capture of the image. The following frames only capture data when there is a change in the picture. The great thing about MJPEG is that it’s better quality than MPEG-2. If quality is your major concern, then MJPEG is better than MPEG-2. However, MPEG-2 files are MUCH smaller which leads to storage…

HOW MUCH FOOTAGE CAN IT GRAB?
On a 4GB SDHC card:
Approx. 13 minutes of continuous movie recording at new 1280×720 resolution, 30 fps
Approx. 30 minutes of continuous movie recording at 640×480 resolution, 30 fps

So, don’t be expecting to film an entire baseball game with this camera. It’s great for 3-5 minute clips here and there.

Here’s the four shooting options for movies:

1280 x 720 @ 30fps (High Definition)

640 x 480 @ 30fps (standard size of video cameras that don’t offer HD)

320 x 240 @ 60fps

320 x 240 @ 30fps

Currently a 4GB SDHC card can be purchased for about $40 and an 8GB SDHC card can be purchased for $70. Expect those prices to go down. A 16GB SDHC card should hit the market by the end of 2007 and 32GB by the end of 2008.

LINKS TO CANON POWERSHOT TX1

full, completely detailed TX1 review and specs at dpreview

engadget’s introduction. There’s 50+ comments. Some good debate. Though too many people complain about getting 13 minutes of footage on a 4GB card. cry babies.

Canon’s sell copy on the TX1

close-up photos of the TX1 beauty

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skew
skew
13 years ago

I wonder if this replaced the Canon G series? Last year, I bought one of the last remaining G6 cameras, and then they stopped making the G series altogether. But it’s a really nice camera. And the battery life is crazy good.

Tom Saaristo
13 years ago

Wow! I was expecting it to be more than $500!

Melly Scheneieder
Melly Scheneieder
10 years ago

that’s awesome! Gonna buy it

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