Canon PowerShot TX1 6 to 7 Megapixel

Canon PowerShot TX1 6 to 7 Megapixel 


The PowerShot TX1 is an ELPH-sized camera with a whopping 10x optical zoom that not only captures 7.1 megapixel images, but HD movies, too! The stylish vertical design in stainless steel houses plenty of premium advancements including Optical Image Stabilizer Technology, DIGIC III Image Processor, Face Detection Technology and Red-eye Correction.


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[Nov 30, 2008]


RED-EYE: If you half press the shutter button to focus for more than a half second, the red-eye lamp extinguishes and the pupils will not remain dialated by the time your shutter goes off. You must half press, compose, focus, release, tell the subject to lok right at the red lamp, and just take the shot.

The TX1 is the most powerful camera that can fit in my pocket. I learned the manual, learned the camera, and have taken more pictures and HD movies than I could have without it. I'm especially happy with the flexibility to include myself in them thanks to the LCD.

Best Pocket Cam.

Image stabilization, 10x Optical, swivel LCD, and HD video in a package that you can take anywhere.

[Oct 17, 2008]
Cyril Catt

New Faces, New Paces.

In the last decade, digital photography has greatly changed the way photographs are taken.

For myself, I now use cameras as graphic notebooks, to record interesting things which I see from day to day. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I try to have a camera with me at all times.

That means it has to be small, and versatile enough to capture subjects from the close-up world of an ant, or to zoom out to a more distant subject.

It also needs a good auto mode, so I can grab at shots which might suddenly present themselves. But it must also allow manual settings for more difficult situations.

As a ‘go anywhere’ machine, it must also be robust enough to withstand some awkward physical conditions, and cheap enough not to bankrupt me if it is damaged or stolen in risky locations.

Instead of being constrained by the cost of film, I can now click away at subjects, knowing that I can immediately check the result, and if necessary, try again.

For moving subjects, p&s cameras also let me use video, which fits in with another change of habit. Nowadays I seldom print my pictures, but show them off on a computer or video screen.

Digital cameras are also useful in other ways. As portable copying machines they can aid archival research from printed pages or microfiche/film displays, with their graphic files accessible as text files with OCR (optical character recognition) software.

Digicams can also store a variety of notes, maps, timetables, and other ephemera, providing handy access to a wealth of data.

With all these uses in mind, in recent years I have been on the lookout for a camera small enough to be a constant companion, yet versatile enough to cope with a wide range of subjects in many different settings.

I have found it in the Canon TX1. Admittedly, squeezing a lot of abilities into a small piece of equipment required some compromises, and at its launch in early 2007, I felt the compromises were not worth the original price. But a year later, with the price halved, I considered it a very good buy.

Although I have other cameras that are each, in some way, better for specific purposes, the TX1 has the greatest versatility in the smallest size, so is the most suitable combination to have with me at all times.

Its main compromises, which still turn away many people, are: the small LCD; no viewfinder; crowded controls; and some limits on the available manual settings.

But many others find a lot to praise in the TX1. The small size and rectangular shape - equivalent to a thick pack of playing cards - is the main advantage. The lens retracts completely into the body, and is protected by a strong sliding metal shutter, whilst the handy ‘twist and turn’ LCD folds flat for protection against the body. With its stainless steel body, it resembles a tough little turtle, drawing its head and legs into its protective shell.

In use, with lens and LCD extended, the body shape and size provide a convenient pistol grip (southpaws will disagree - the controls are made for the right hand).

Although initially awkward, the crowded controls take only a few days to get accustomed to. Working the stills shutter button with the index finger, and the other controls with the thumb, it is almost a single-handed operation. But the left hand is needed to steady things from time to time - especially with video, when turning it on or off, or whilst zooming. However, its light weight makes it quite easy to take long clips handheld, without strain.

The on/off switch is embedded at the top rear corner of the left side. On the rear of the right side a control wheel selects Review, Auto, Manual or Scene modes. The left hand button at the top of the rear panel toggles through display modes. The right hand top button accesses the menus. A bit lower, in the centre, a stubby multi controller can be pushed up, down, left, right, or in, to select the most common options directly, or to toggle through options accessed by the menu button. A larger lever below it controls the zoom, and below that is the video on/off button.

The Super Macro setting focuses from 0 to 10 cm from the lens; the Macro setting focuses from 10 to 50 cm; and the normal focus setting covers from 50 cm and beyond. So the TX1 can very easily reach into an ant’s world, and the 39 -390 mm (equivalent) zoom can bring distant objects close.

Additionally, a 4 x digital zoom increases the reach up to 1560 mm - with some loss in image quality. Alternatively, by reducing the resolution to 4 megapixels (from the full 7.1 MP) it is possible to zoom to 585 mm without deterioration, whilst at a 1.9 MP setting, 741 mm can be reached without deterioration, to provide images quite suitable for display on a computer screen, or in postcard size prints.

The optical image stabilisation mechanism does a good job of reducing the effects of camera shake, but cannot be expected to completely eliminate shake when shooting hand-held at extreme zoom ranges, so a tabletop tripod is a handy accessory to ensure the best quality pictures.

A further disadvantage is the relatively narrow 39 mm wide angle of the lens. However, it is mitigated by a good inbuilt panorama mode that helps in taking a series of overlapping still photos and then stitching them together. Alternatively, a wide scene can be captured in video by slow panning.

Similarly, with very little space to place a flash, other than close to the lens, it is to be expected that red eye will be a problem. Canon has foreseen this, and provided in-camera software that does a good job of reducing the problem from chosen frames.

The flash itself is relatively weak, and appears to be made primarily as a trigger for a more powerful slave accessory flash from Canon.

A range of common functions, such as white balance, exposure compensation, ISO, light metering, aspect ratio, and IS mode, can be chosen from appropriate menus, and one frequently used function can be assigned, for quick accessibility, to the first position in the menu accessed by the rear button on the top of the camera.

The choice of Motion JPEG files for the video recordings has also drawn criticism because of their rapid use of memory. However, with the decreasing prices of fast 8 and 16 GB memory cards, this is becoming less of a problem. And the advantage of the Motion JPEG format is that individual video frames are of quite good quality, providing an effective 30 fps continuous burst mode which ensures capturing a useable 640 x 480 pixel frame of the ‘decisive moment’ in action scenes, with more certainty than the 2.2 fps rate of the continuous shooting mode.

An 8 GB card can capture 27 min 12 sec of HD video, or an hour and 48 seconds of VGA - or double those times in their respective long play modes - at lower resolution. QVGA video at 30 fps extends memory use by 2.5 times over VGA, whilst QVGA at 60 fps extends it by 40 per cent.

As well as being able to add up to a minute of sound memos to each picture file, the TX1 includes a sound only recording function, which will capture over 12 hours of sound. at a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz, on an 8 GB card. I have found this particularly useful in day-long seminars, to capture the speeches as well as the overhead projector displays.

Whilst memory use has benefited from the availability of larger capacity cards, the limited size of the TX1’s battery dictates that one or two extra batteries may be needed for a day’s shooting, especially if heavy flash use is expected.

Although I find the range of standard capabilities in the TX1 to be satisfactory, I was pleased to learn that a version of the free CHDK hack has become available for it. CHDK increases the versatility of many Canon models by enabling additional firmware to be accessed from the memory card whenever the camera is switched on. This adds capabilities including: • timelapse photography • ram files • focus stacking • noise reduction • high dynamic range • super resolution • mo

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