Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS – Full HD Video Pocket Camera

2010 Photokina Canon Featured News Uncategorized

Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS - Full HD Pocket CameraOf the three new compact cameras just announced by Canon, I think the pocket-sized Powershot SD4500 IS is the most exciting. This camera has me all giddy. In fact, I think it might have to be my next serious point-and-shoot camera. I just gave my favorite point-and-shoot ever, the Canon PowerShot SD950 IS, to my mom and I need a replacement. Besides being a Canon Digital Elph, which I think have the best image quality of all the point-and-shoot digital cameras, it has a 10x image-stabilized zoom lens, a 3-inch 460k LCD, an 8.4-FPS burst mode, a 10-megapixel “HS System” CMOS sensor and full-HD 1080p video. That’s right – 1920 x 1080 resolution video. It also has a 240 FPS Super Slow Motion Video Mode. And it will fit in my pocket. Yesssss – gimme!

Final Hands-On Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS Pro Review >>

The SD4500 IS features Canon’s “HS System,” developed last year for PowerShot G11 and S90 cameras. The HS System is intended to improve low light and overall image quality, reducing noise while retaining detail. And based on the photos I took last year with the S90, it works great. I think the S90 has the best image quality of any point-and-shoot I’ve ever used.

Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS - front & back

The SD4500 IS uses a new backlit CMOS sensor – the latest trend in high-end compact camera imaging. I need to dig into CMOS sensor tech some more. But basically, the CMOS sensor appears to be responsible for the speed of the new camera, making possible the 8.4 FPS burst rate, 1080p HD video, and the 240 FPS Super Slow Motion Video Mode. For reference, Panasonic recently announced two CMOS sensor cameras (Panasonic Lumix FX700 & Panasonic Lumix FZ100) with similarly impressive video and burst-rate specs; and the Sony TX5 waterproof camera I just reviewed has a CMOS sensor and a 10 FPS burst mode. Camera companies have been CMOS sensors in DSLRs for a few years but they’re only slowly finding their way into compact cameras. Based on the performance specs of the SD4500 IS and other CMOS-equipped compact cameras, it looks like CMOS sensors are the way to go.

To compliment the camera’s HD video, the SD4500 IS has stereo sound, a dedicated video button and a Dynamic IS mode, which “helps stabilize video capture while the photographer is in motion.” Canon mentions walking through a park as an example of a situation where the Dynamic IS mode would be useful. But I immediately thought about using it on my mountain bike or skis to smooth out the bumps. I just have to figure out a safe way to mount it so I don’t lose it in the snow.

The downside of the SD4500 IS, for me at least, is it only comes in brown. I’m not much for worrying about how things look. But c’mon Canon – brown? Who wants a brown camera? I guess I do. Maybe I can spray paint it.

The Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS will be available in the beginning of September for a suggested retail price of $349.99. You can get in line behind me.

Final Hands-On Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS Pro Review >>

Official Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS Press Release >>


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Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS pocket point-and-shoot camera

Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS - 3-inch 460k LCD display

About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • Brian says:

    A faster lens and low light capture would make this a must have for me. The color brown? What were they thinking?

  • Photo-John says:

    A faster lens – with a 10x zoom? That ain’t gonna happen for a pocket-sized camera.

    What do you mean by “low light capture?” The SD4500 IS uses Canon’s HS System, just liek the G11 and S90, arguably the best available low light compacts.

  • Karen says:

    In the UK, it’s available in pink and silver, but the price will be much higher.

  • Richard says:

    What the heck – I like the brown. What do you want, another silver or purple?

  • franky says:

    I would not be so quick to give away the SD950. That camera at least has a viewfinder, which this on lacks. I can’t tell you how many times I have used the viewfinder despite it’s limitations. For low light photography, there is nothing like taking a wide stance and pressing the camera to the eyes. In bright sun, the back LCD is useless.

  • Photo-John says:

    franky – I gave it to my mom. She needs the optical viewfinder more than I do. Although I do agree with you about the value of the optical viewfinder. If you read my point-and-shoot reviews you’ll see I mention it often. It’s nearly impossible to take a good panning photo without an optical viewfinder. But I don’t know if we’re going to be able to find the move towards LCD-only cameras. That’s what most people want and so that’s what the camera companies are going to do.

  • Quazi Ahmed Hussain says:

    Photo-John, you really surprise me with your broad-spectrum coverage of imaging equipment. Few months ago I assisted my sister buy one S90 from local Canon dealer. Yesterday I had a chance to test it a little bit. OMG, it not only retains Canon’s reputation of being the best P&S camera producer but also augments it further. The IQ is really mind blowing. I would like to test its RAW and low light capabilities soon.

    As you declare SD4500 IS is another great new P&S camera from Canon, I’m going to recommend it to my would be compact camera buyer friends once the hands on review is available.

  • John Smith says:

    Canon has gone to the dark side by:

    1) killing the optical viewfinder

    2) removing useful controls.

    I’ve owned virtually every Elph since the S100, S110, S230, S400 SD500 etc… but these controls here are a huge turnoff.

    Speaking of which, now that there’s no viewfinder, I CAN’T TURN THE DAMN DISPLAY OFF, which means everyone always knows my camera is on, and I am burning juice like there’s no tomorrow.

    This, starting with the 4000, is what it took to move me away from the Canon Elph.

    It was a hell of a ten year ride, though.

  • visitor says:

    brown is the new black and silver…lol is anything at all programmable in this brown cam? does it have any controls besides play and record? lol

    CANON plays this game called “how much more can we cripple our cameras”

    i don’t care for optical viewfinders, i don’t care for oled lcd, but f.cking a..holes, plastic tripod socket in a 350-dollar camera? this is pathetic. what’s next, in 2011 we’ll see 2.5″ touch lcd with 65,000 colors and super iA mode (the only mode available)? pathetic! at least nikon and samsung are trying. and panasonic is way ahead with better 1080 video and m4/3. but with canon every year i see the camera crippling pattern. thanks to CHDK i managed to keep one canon cam for 3 years. not buying any canons this year. hope they stop the crippling and come up with something “amazing” by 2020.

  • Photo-John says:

    Thanks for the comment.

    Brown = blech

    I don’t have your negative view of this camera at all, though. Canon’s Digital ELPH line has always been pure point-and-shoot. You get exposure compensation, scene modes and that’s it. If you want more control you step up to the new S-Series PowerShots and you can have it all. I don’t see how Micro Four Thirds is relevant when discussing this camera, either. Rumors about Nikon and Canon EVIL cameras have been going around for a while now and I don’t think they can put it off much longer – especially not with what Sony has come out with this year. You also mentioned 1080 video and Panasonic. But the SD4500 IS *has* 1080p video. And it’s super fast. No, it’s not a Micro Four Thirds camera. But it will fit in a pants pocket. You can’t do that with a Panasonic GF1.

    I don’t want to be the Canon defender. I sort of agree with you about the dumbing down of cameras and I generally like Panasonic’s camera design and features better. But Canon always has better image quality and I think the overall package this camera offers looks awesome.

  • Photo-John says:

    I bought one. First day it was in the store. Stay tuned…

  • Eric says:

    Brown is the new beige

  • Roy Hobbs says:

    Best Buy carries a silver version of the SD4500

  • Rhonda says:

    So Photo-John, I have been debating between the S95 and SD4500. Been using an SD450 for years. I noticed you mentioned the S90. So which one do you recommend?? All I use it for is taking pictures of grandkids, family, etc. Hoping to decide by tomorrow. Thanks!!

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