Canon's ultra-compact SD series digicams have consistently been the most successful competitors in their sector of the hi-tech marketplace. They dependably deliver what consumers want: a digital imaging device that is reasonably priced, takes great pictures, is easy to use, and offers better than average performance, all stuffed into a stylish lightweight package that's small enough to be dropped in a shirt pocket and tough enough to go just about anywhere. The new Canon Powershot SD1300 IS doesn't deviate from that winning formula.
The Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS (also know as the Canon Digital IXUS 105) is an attractive little digital camera that looks very much like every other Canon SD series digicam - there is an obvious and unambiguous family resemblance. The SD1300 IS provides 12 megapixel resolution, a 4x (28mm-112mm equivalent) zoom, 2.7-inch (230K) LCD, optical image stabilization, and all the popular bells and whistles (Smart Auto mode with Smart Flash Exposure, Auto Scene Detection Technology plus Face Detection, and Auto Red-Eye Correction) consumers have come to expect. If all that isn't enough, the fashionable little SD1300 IS is available in a veritable rainbow of colors including blue, silver, pink, green, and brown.
The Canon Powershot SD1300 IS updates the very popular SD1200 IS. Most of the differences are very minor - more cosmetic than substantive - with the exception of the disappearance of the SD1200 IS's optical viewfinder. SD1300 IS users will have to use the 2.7-inch LCD for all framing and composition chores. The SD1200's optical viewfinder made the SD1300 IS's predecessor a bit unique when compared to its peers, but optical viewfinders on compact point-and-shoots are rapidly going the way of the Dodo and the Passenger Pigeon.
I've only been using the SD1300 IS for a few days, but I'm impressed with a few things so far. I charged the battery right after FedEx delivered the camera and I've been using it heavily ever since - lots of shoot, review, delete and re-shoot and several videos - and the LCD screen battery icon still shows fully charged.
Operation is dead simple. Turn the camera on, select one of the three positions on the sliding mode switch (auto, program, movie), aim the camera at your subject, compose the image you want on the LCD, and push the shutter button. The SD1300 could be the poster child for Point & Shoot digicams. The SD1300 IS's Auto White Balance mode does an outstanding job. Colors are bold, bright, and generally accurate, but this camera, like many of its peers, struggles with getting purple just right.
In many ways the SD1300 IS is seems to be a rather generic ultra-compact digicam, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. So far the pictures are pretty good, its very easy to use, and it appears to be fairly sturdy. For those who want an optical viewfinder, there may still be some discounted "on-hand" stock SD1200 IS models available. Our full review of the Canon Powershot SD1300 IS is in the works and will appear shortly.