Is it a camera or a camcorder? The main question with Canon’s hybrid PowerShot TX1 is whether it excels at either function, and the answer is a less-than resounding not really .
Built with the vertical orientation and movable viewing screen that is common to camcorders, the 7.1-megapixel TX1 is Canon’s attempt at creating a device that excels at both video and still shooting. As a video machine, it’s no more or less capable than many more-conventionally designed high-end compact cameras. The vertical orientation doesn’t offer much discernible advantage for steadying shots or anything else. And while the TX1 is capable of shooting HD-quality video, doing so requires using a JPEG-based format that eats up memory at the rate of 3.5 minutes per gigabyte.
As a still camera, bird watchers and other distance-challenged photographers will appreciate the 10x zoom lens and reliable image stabilization. Less endearing are the clumsy controls, dearth of exposure-adjustment options, and relatively porky dimensions. However, In Macworld Lab tests, the TX1 performed well, earning Very Good marks from our jury for the color and clarity of its images.
Macworld’s buying advice
Despite Canon’s ambition to combine the best of two worlds, the PowerShot TX1 has few compelling advantages as a camcorder or a still camera. And its high price and awkward configuration for still photography are serious drawbacks. With many high-end compact cameras offering advanced video functions, including superior HD modes, the TX1’s high price and awkward configuration for still photography provide too many drawbacks for a wholehearted recommendation.
|Image Quality||Very Good|
|Color Quality||Very Good|
|Battery Life||490 shots on single charge|
Scale = Superior, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor
|Zoom/Focal Length (35mm equivalent)||10x/39mm - 390mm|
|Battery Type||Lithium ion|
|Media Slots||SD, SDHC, MMC, MMC Plus|
|Size (wxhxd)||3.5 x 2.4 x 1.1|
[ David Becker is a writer and photographer based in San Francisco who regularly writes about personal technology, gadgets, and travel. ]Canon PowerShot TX1