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Canon PowerShot SX10 IS - Canon PowerShot SX10 IS

The SX10 IS is a pretty sophisticated camera, and inexperienced users may find its array of external controls somewhat daunting. For the more advanced user however it provides a welcome degree of creative control. The main mode dial includes aperture and shutter priority, program auto and full manual exposure, with shutter speeds of 15 seconds to 1/3200th sec. and aperture settings from f/2.8 to f/8 in 1/3 EV increments. The maximum aperture decreases fairly evenly with increasing focal length, until at maximum zoom there is only a one-stop difference between minimum and maximum. Aperture and shutter control are adjusted via a rotating bezel around the D-pad accompanied by a very clear display on the monitor.
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More and more high-end digital still cameras are featuring integrated high-quality video recording capabilities, and this is a prominent feature of both of Canon's new super-zoom cameras. The more expensive SX1 IS features full 1080 HD 30fps movie recording, but the SX10 retains the 4:3 aspect VGA 30fps video function of the S5 IS. It has stereo audio recording via two high-quality microphones mounted above the lens. Thanks to its whisper-quiet ultrasonic motor the zoom lens can be used while shooting video, and clip lengths can be up to one hour long or 4GB in file size. There is a separate button to start video recording, and pressing the shutter button while shooting captures a still frame. The quality of the recorded video is very good, and the sound quality is also superb, possibly the best I've heard from a still camera.
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The SX10 IS has a 2.5-inch flip'n'twist LCD monitor with a resolution of 230,000 dots, which is average size for a recent compact. The screen is nice and bright with good contrast and colour, and its anti-glare coating means it can be used outdoors in bright daylight without a problem. It also has a wide viewing angle, but it is fully articulated so you can tilt it to any viewing angle, including pointing forwards towards the subject.
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The SX10 also has an electronic viewfinder, but with a resolution of 235k dots on a 0.44-inch screen it's not even close to being sharp enough for manual focusing. The dots are clearly visible, like looking close up at a colour TV. I'm afraid that after experiencing the ultra-sharp field-sequential EVF displays in the Fuji S100FS and especially in the Panasonic G1, anything else is looking a bit last year.

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