May 5, 2012
I currently have a Canon PowerShot A1000 IS . I am looking for a new camera. I really like the A1000 and would like something like that. The only thing I did not like was the double A batteries since it did not hold a very long charge and I always had to carry many batteries. Also, I am looking for something with a bit more optical zoom ( more than 4x) and probably in the Canon line.
The A1000IS was a pretty good camera. 35-140 mm equivalent focal length at f/2.7-5.6, and it has an optical viewfinder in addition to the low resolution 2.5" LCD screen. It's also pretty light and compact.
You commented that you'd like more than 4x from the lens, so I assume that means more magnification at full zoom? Using the "X" rating has some dangers, as it's simply a ratio of longest focal length to shortest. So a 5x that starts at 28 mm would still only get you to 140 mm, which is where you are now. It's better to look at the equivalent focal lengths (equivalent view to what a 35 mm film camera would give with that focal length).
I have two recommendations. First, get something like the Canon SX230HS. It has an equivalent 28 mm to 392 mm lens of very good quality. (14x) So it gives a little wider view as well as a LOT longer telephoto. It lacks the optical viewfinder; but has a larger and higher resolution LCD that's usable in full sun. Controls and menus are similar to what you have. It's a little larger and a little heavier; but still fits easily in a shirt pocket. It has built in GPS, which eats batteries, so turn off the GPS unless you really, really need it. The camera is quite good in low light and at high ISO settings. I just bought a black one on closeout at a Staples store for $200. and they are available at Crutchfield in red (really pink) or blue for $229, and at the big New York stores in red and blue (black is hard to find) for $235-250. After the SX230HS was discontinued, the prices went up immediately, a tribute to the quality. It was replaced by the simlar SX260HS at $300; but not many reviews or user comments yet; so the SX230HS is safer as it's a known quantity and well regarded. This is my second one and I took the first on a cruise in the Caribbean in February and was quite pleased with it.
The SX230HS uses rechargeable lithium ion batteries (the NB-5L) and life under the industry standard test conditions with GPS off is about 220-240 shots with some use of flash and some review. So you'll definitely want a spare battery if you take a lot of shots or use video.
My second recommendation is to keep your A1000IS as a spare and use Energizer 8x Lithium AA's. They are expensive at $10 for four and are not rechargeable; but they will be good for about 5-600 shots in that camera and they don't lose charge in the camera just sitting on the shelf. We use those batteries in my wife's A710IS and when she wants to use the camera, it works, even a year or two later. We keep a spare pair in the case. The A710IS has a lot of similarities to your A1000IS.
My recommendation to you is simply to get a good charger and rechargeable batteries. Go for NiMH and try to get low self discharge ones. They will last a little less long than the regular NiMH batteries, but considerably longer than alkaline and possibly even lithium. In my considerably older A95, I think the difference was 7 to 10 times longer battery life with NiMH batteries vs alkaline. What I used to do was to have 2 sets batteries fully charged, one in camera and one ready to use whenever I ran out (because I waited for my batteries to run out before charging them).
Of course, that recommendation stands only if you are still happy with your camera aside from battery life.
To recommend a camera, we'd need a bit more information. What do you do ? What is your budget ? What are your needs besides more focal length and good battery life ?
I own the Canon 230 SX that Gerald W recommends and I agree entirely with his recommendation, for the reasons he gives. It is what I was going to recommend given what you say in your posting about wanting a camera like the A1200 but which zooms further.
If that doesn't suit you, the next step up from a 230 SX that would be a Canon G12, which is heavier, bulkier, more expensive and doesn't zoom nearly as far but has a larger sensor and a large LCD that swings out, and a modest viewfinder.
But the 230SX provides a great deal in a small package. No viewfinder though. In many ways it is ideal for travel if you wish to keep things as uncomplicated as possible.
The only thing I did not like was the double A batteries
I used to have an A610 powered by 4 AA batteries: they accounted for the most part of the mass (and hence weight) of the camera. It was a very fine camera to shoot several 10,000 shots with, I liked it very much until it developed a sticking shutter beyond economic repair. I had no problems with the battery lifetime.
After some agonizing I bought a slightly used G11 powered by a proprietary battery. I had no problems with the battery lifetime here either.
Iván József Balázs