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I have been endlessly searching for a replacement for my old camera so I can record videos as well as take state-of-the-art photographs.  My friend and I went out camera shopping at the local stores and we also did a little research online to find out about some of the new technologies which are being offered with digital cameras.  To say we were overwhelmed is an understatement however we lucked out and found a camera that was pretty close to what I was looking for and then some.

The digital camera I settled on is the new Canon PowerShot SX20IS.  It is kind of funny because I found out that Canon released this model less than a year after it first introduced the PowerShot SX10IS.  The difference is that the SX20IS is an upgrade when it comes to a higher megapixel resolution with the same size sensor and a 720p HD video capability which contains an HDMI connection to allow you to playback video and images on your HDTV.  With that being the main difference between the two models, I also discovered some other amazing things which I will share with you in this Canon PowerShot SX20IS review.

Canon Powershot SX20IS Design

canon powershot sx20is

As far as external differences from the SX10IS, the SX20IS appears the same on the outside with the exception of the larger digital cover on the right side of the unit to accommodate the HDMI port for watching videos on your HDTV.  The body of the SX20IS is designed to compete with other upscale cameras in this price range with a solid build and composite body. The exterior of the camera is also contoured to facilitate a comfortable grip which can accomplish single-handed photo shoots and sharp imaging due to improved grip stability.

The Canon PowerShot SX20IS optical zoom is a 20x zoom lens which ranges from 28 to 560mm accompanied by a 2.5 inch monitor and complete auto and manual shooting modes.  The wide angle optical zoom allows for excellent telephoto reach and with the Canon PowerShot SX20IS Voice Coil Motor zooming is lightning fast, accurate and very quiet.

The external buttons of the SX20IS are strategically placed so it is easy to change shooting modes and other settings and they are carefully placed so there is no interference during the shooting process.  The front of the camera is entirely free of buttons with stereo mics located on either side.

The SX20IS offers a 0.4 inch electronic viewfinder which replaces the optical viewfinder.  Although the optical viewfinder is better, the electronic viewfinder performs quite well with 148,000 pixels of resolution. The slots for the Canon PowerShot SX20IS SD SDHC card is well designed and easy to access

Handling and Ease of Use

The Canon PowerShot SX20IS is very quick and responsive when it comes to overall performance and it take no more than one second to fire it up including the lens extension.  Focusing is very fast thanks to the Voice Coil Motor and zoom is very smooth.

The SX20IS menu system is very easy to understand and use partially due to the fact it has remained the same across models for a number of years.  Navigation is a breeze with full identifications on each feature as opposed to abbreviations that can be confusing.

Playback for videos and images is smooth and includes a built-in accelerometer which allows the camera to rotate the imaging for the best possible view and all photos are organized into folders so you can easily choose them for viewing purposes.

Imaging

Canon Powershot SX20IS Back

The imaging quality of the Canon PowerShot SX20IS can classically be defined as fantastic due to the camera’s ability to automatically adjust to different light levels which produces an excellent uniform quality to photos, videos, and images.  The lens produces extremely sharp results at most focal lengths and can easily focus on objects regardless of their distance away from the lens.  Although the lens tends to be vulnerable to glare and demonstrates difficulty with purple and red edging in high contrast imaging, it is still capable of creating state-of-the-art images and videos.

The Canon PowerShot SX20IS HD video input is outstanding for a camera in this price range and the HDMI port for HD output is a nice upgrade from the SX10IS and can be directly connected to an HDTV or PC monitor.  The SX20IS also uses a CCD sensor instead of a CMOS sensor which makes it one of the few cameras that offer high definition recording with this type of sensor.  Most of the cameras are using the CMOS sensors in most of the SLR cameras.

Overall Quality

When you look at the Canon PowerShot SX20IS it has maintained the high quality of its predecessors while being able to sport upgraded features that will make most people dispose of their low quality and low priced camcorder.  The camera is very well designed offering exceptional ergonomics, a solid body, and a comprehensive feature set that is unmatched to other cameras in this category.

The main selling point is the added upgrade of the HD video with HDMI output with imaging that is above and beyond for a camera of this class.  Although there are other cameras that offer other features and small advantages I found it hard to argue with the package you get with this camera for the price.  Prices for the Canon PowerShot SX20IS retail around $350 but I found you can get significantly reduced prices by visiting this website where you will find this model in a variety of different price ranges.

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