Canon PowerShot SX130 IS: Video and Image Quality

by Jim Keenan Reads (315)
Editor's Rating
7.75

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 8
    • Features
    • 7
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 8
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 7.75
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Video Quality
The SX130 produced some of the better 720p HD videos I’ve come across in compact digitals. Image quality was good and zoom is available during movie capture. The camera will record the sounds of controls being activated during movie capture, including zoom sound. The microphones can be subject to wind noise, and there is no “wind cut” feature. Canon recommends a class 4 or higher memory card for movies, and clip length is limited to approximately 10 minutes.

Image Quality
Every Canon compact digital I’ve ever reviewed has produced very good image quality and the streak remains intact with the SX130. Color fidelity and sharpness are pleasing at default settings, and in a departure from my usual shooting routine I actually shot much of the review in auto rather than aperture priority.

The SX130 is equipped with Canon’s intelligent contrast feature that can “detect areas in the scene that are too bright or dark and automatically adjust them to the optimum brightness when shooting.” Here’s a Lake Tahoe beach shot with and without i-contrast enabled.

Canon SX130 Sample Image
i-contrast Auto

Canon SX130 Sample Image
i-contrast Off

Canon’s “my colors” shooting palette will be old news to Canon users – here are the default, vivid, neutral, sepia, black & white and positive film options.

Canon SX130 Sample Image
Default
Canon SX130 Sample Image
Vivid
Canon SX130 Sample Image
Neutral
Canon SX130 Sample Image
Sepia
Canon SX130 Sample Image
Black & White
Canon SX130 Sample Image
Positive Film

Auto white balance worked well for a variety of lighting conditions, including daylight, overcast, flash and our 5500K studio fluorescents, but shot warm under 3200K incandescent light. There are daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent and fluorescent H presets available along with a custom setting.

Canon SX130 Sample Image
Auto White Balance, 5500k incandescent light

I used the evaluative metering default setting for shots in the review and it did a good job overall, but unsurprisingly would lose highlights in many high-contrast shots. Its performance in this regard is rather typical for the class in general. There are center-weighted and spot metering options available.

Noise performance in the SX130 is average or a bit above for the class as a whole, particularly for cameras equipped with CCD sensors. Canon wisely increased the physical size of the SX130 sensor when they bumped up the resolution to 12 megapixels, and they also limited ISO sensitivity to 1600. ISO 80 and 100 are clean and hard to tell apart. ISO 200 is also quite clean, but begins to show tiniest hint of noise and some loss of fine details in portions of the shot. Our shot at 400 displays some increased noise and a slight further degradation in fine details, but this is still a very usable sensitivity for big print work.

Canon SX130 Sample Image
ISO 80
Canon SX130 Sample Image
ISO 80, 100% crop
Canon SX130 Sample Image
ISO 100
Canon SX130 Sample Image
ISO 100, 100% crop
Canon SX130 Sample Image
ISO 200
Canon SX130 Sample Image
ISO 200, 100% crop
Canon SX130 Sample Image
ISO 400
Canon SX130 Sample Image
ISO 400, 100% crop
Canon SX130 Sample Image
ISO 800
Canon SX130 Sample Image
ISO 800, 100% crop
Canon SX130 Sample Image
ISO 1600

ISO 1600, 100% crop

ISO 800 seems to signal an increased amount of processing as the entire image displays a bit more noise but becomes noticeably softer – edges and details that were still relatively sharp at 400 are now fuzzier and less precise. ISO 1600 follows suit – noisier, fuzzier and fine details are now turning into featureless blobs.

Additional Sample Images

Canon SX130 Sample Image Canon SX130 Sample Image
Canon SX130 Sample Image Canon SX130 Sample Image
Canon SX130 Sample Image Canon SX130 Sample Image


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