Canon PowerShot TX1 Shoots 720p HD, 7.1MP Stills

Illustration for article titled Canon PowerShot TX1 Shoots 720p HD, 7.1MP Stills

Click to viewCanon introduced its PowerShot TX1 digital camera, a multitasking little sucker that's about the size of a deck of cards. It can shoot both 7.1-megapixel stills and 720p high-definition video in 16:9 format at 30 frames per second, recording its image data on SD memory cards, higher-capacity SDHC cards, MultiMedia and MMCplus cards. It has an LCD viewscreen that swivels out like a camcorder, and uses an improved Digic III image processor that Canon says contributes to faster startup, improved image quality and extended battery life.

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The camera has component outputs for playing that 720p footage on an HDTV, and its MovieSnap feature also lets you grab frames from the HDTV footage for use as stills. It looks like Canon didn't skimp on the still-camera capabilities, either, helping you hold its retractable 10x optical zoom lens steady with optical image stabilization that shifts the lens to compensate for unwanted camera movement.

Take the jump for pricing on the TX1, as well as more high-rez pictures:

Illustration for article titled Canon PowerShot TX1 Shoots 720p HD, 7.1MP Stills
Illustration for article titled Canon PowerShot TX1 Shoots 720p HD, 7.1MP Stills

Canon's $499.99 price for the TX1 is apparently aimed to undercut the $699 Sanyo Xacti HD2 flash-based HD camcorder, while both have the same megapixel count and 10x zoom lenses. Canon says the TX1 will ship next month.

Press Release [Canon USA, Inc.]

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DISCUSSION

The TX1 is being sold as a still camera with enhanced video capabilities - Canon calls it a camera, not a camcorder. As such, it should be considered a still camera and we should judge it depending on how it performs in that role.

Most recent digital still cameras have a movie capability. Canon uses the MJPEG file format, other use Quicktime MOV file format. Both of these formats can play on PCs and Macs using the provided video software. When I saw the specs for this camera, I was disappointed to see that it did not used MPEG2 or AVCHD so I "Googled" MJPEG and found that it is an AVI file that contains compressed JPEG movie and sound. In this case WAV formatted sound. The specification does not set a compression level and the movie quality can range from good to excellent. Once again, we have to wait for the reviews to see how good it looks. I have seen 640 x 480 MJPEG video from a Canon 700 and it is very good. I think the 720P option will be very good.

There has been some discussion about the size and use of SDHC cards. I notice that, in the case of this camera, Canon states a limit of 4GB per clip (Not per card). I assume that a clip is one continuous shot and is limited by the FAT32 file size. I further assume!!!, that each time you take a shot, you create a new file and this would allow one to use an SDHC of any size.

SD cards are formatted as FAT16 while SDHC cards are formatted as FAT32. An SD card reader will not read an SDHC card. Most aftermarket SDHC cards are sold with a USB reader.

I was browsing another forum who were discussing the size of SDHC cards. There was areport from one person who tried an 8GB SDHC card in a video camera that specified a 4GB maximum card size. The camcorder read the card and showed that it had double the recording time. When he tried recording, it recorded to close to the 4GB limit then showed an error. The person hoped to do more investigation and report again

Perhaps, someone with a better understanding of this, can let us know how if these size limits affect the use of larger cards in this camera.