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Canon PowerShot TX1

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Canon PowerShot TX1 Compact Camera

    TechHive Rating

Though The Canon PowerShot TX1 resembles a miniature camcorder, it's best suited for still photography. You hold the TX1 vertically instead of horizontally, an odd orientation for a point-and-shoot camera. The design, while compact, comes at the hefty price of $500.

The TX1 fits neatly into your right hand. When you power the unit on, the lens barrel pops out from the front edge, and you can operate the zoom lever with your thumb. An LCD panel flips out from the side of the camera. Separate buttons let you quickly switch between shooting still photos and capturing movies. The shutter release sits at the top, and you can access a video-recording button beneath the zoom lever.

The camera's price may seem steep for a 7.1-megapixel model, but the trim metal case contains many high-end features. The lens zooms to 10X and comes with optical stabilization, which can reduce the effect of shaky hands when you're shooting distant subjects. Automatic face detection makes taking portraits easier by matching the focus and exposure to your subject. You can record 720p HDTV-quality video at 30 frames per second. The camera even has stereo sound, recorded by twin microphones in the back of the LCD panel; when I tried recording video at the highest quality setting, however, I filled a 4GB SDHC media card in less than 15 minutes.

In our formal tests the TX1 produced high-quality images, earning a score of Very Good. Our jury was most impressed with the TX1's color accuracy. Photos taken in natural light showed better exposure than when we used flash. My informal shots of the ocean and country landscapes also looked attractive. Colors appeared very natural, though slightly muted due to the bright sunlight. Getting sharp shots with decent contrast was easy.

I had a few issues with the camera's novel design, however. At 1.8 inches, the LCD is a little small by today's standards, but it's hard to imagine how a larger screen would fit on a camera this compact. The TX1 lacks manual modes, though you can use exposure compensation to gain more control in varying light conditions. You get no optical viewfinder, which can be useful for tracking moving objects or shooting in bright sunlight (when the LCD can be difficult to see). The camera's tiny joystick is a little fiddly when navigating the on-screen menus. Finally, battery life is relatively low: The TX1 took only 190 shots on a single charge in our lab tests.

If you're already comfortable using a camcorder, the TX1 could be a good choice for taking still photos and short video clips. It's hard to imagine packing a 10X zoom into a smaller package. That small size, unfortunately, leaves you with a small LCD and comes at a high price.

Paul Jasper

This story, "Canon PowerShot TX1" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Canon PowerShot TX1 Compact Camera

    TechHive Rating
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