The Canon PowerShot A1000 IS is not an exciting pocket camera by any means. But if you want the convenience of AA batteries, an optical viewfinder, optical image stabilization, and a low price, this camera has them and takes good photos, too.
The step-up model is the A1100 IS, which is 12 megapixels, uses Canon's Digic 4 image processor, and has a couple more shooting options like automatic scene recognition and long shutter, but no direct shutter or aperture controls.
|Key specs||Canon PowerShot A1000 IS|
|Dimensions||4 inches wide by 2.5 inches high by 1.3 inches deep|
|Weight (with battery and media)||7.1 ounces|
|Megapixels, image sensor size, type||10 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch CCD|
|LCD size, resolution||2.5-inch LCD, 115K dots|
|Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length)||4x, f2.7-5.6, 35-140mm (35mm equivalent)|
|File format (still/video)||JPEG/Motion JPEG|
|Highest resolution size (still/video)||3,648x2,736 pixels (4:3)/ 640x480 at 30fps (4:3)|
|Image stabilization type||Mechanical and electronic|
|Battery type, rated life||Alkaline (AA, 2), 220 shots|
Available in four two-toned colors--blue, gray, purple, and brown--the A1000 IS feels higher quality than its price lets on. Its body has a nice curve on the right side for a steadier grip while shooting one handed. Though this makes it a little bulky (the bulge is necessary for the two AA batteries powering it), the camera is still small enough to slip in a pants pocket. By today's standards the LCD is small, but it's one of only a handful of Canon compact cameras with an optical viewfinder. While the viewfinder is small, slightly uncomfortable to use, and only represents about 80 percent of what's in the frame, it does come in handy when shooting in bright sunlight and you can save battery life by switching off the LCD.
At first glance, it seems as if there's a lot going on with the controls for the A1000 IS. On top are a power button, a shutter release with zoom ring, and a Mode dial with no fewer than 10 shooting options. Why so many for such a basic camera? Well, along with its P (for Program), Auto, Easy (auto without options), and Movie modes, Canon puts five popular scene selections (including Portrait, Landscape, Indoor) and a SCN choice for accessing lesser used scene settings like Sunset, Snow, and Aquarium. So while the Mode dial looks quite busy, it is actually simple. Likewise, the back of the camera is loaded with a directional pad and six buttons labeled in silver (for shooting functions) and blue (for playback functions), but even novice users should have things down pat fairly quickly.
Regardless of the controls, there's little reason to spend much time hanging out in the menu system. But for those times when it's necessary--say to change the autofocus priority, adjust the LCD brightness, or switch when the image stabilization is engaged--navigation is straightforward.