Introduction:The Canon PowerShot SX30 IS is a brand new super-zoom camera sporting an incredible 35x zoom lens equivalent to a focal length of 24-840mm. The lens construction comprises multiple special lens elements including an Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) element as well as a Hi-UD element, compensating for light aberrations while maintaining high image quality across the entire zoom range. Also onboard is a 4.5-stop image stabilisation system and Ultrasonic Motor (USM) and Voice Coil Motor (VCM) technologies that promise fast, accurate and quiet zooming and focusing. Replacing the previous SX20 model, the 14 megapixel SX30IS also features full manual controls, 720p HD movie recording with a dedicated record button, stereo sound and a HDMI port, a 2.7 inch vari-angle LCD screen, an electronic viewfinder and a flash hot shoe. The Canon PowerShot SX30 IS is available in black priced at £449.00 / €549.00Ease of Use:Following on from last year's SX20 model, at launch the SX30 IS officially costs slightly more than its predecessor. This is a DSLR-styled compact camera with the world's longest lens, an incredibly versatile 35x image stabilized optical zoom, providing a broad 35mm equivalent focal range of 24mm to 840mm, and making it a direct challenger to the likes of the Fujifilm FinePix HS10, Panasonic DMC-FZ45, Samsung WB5000, Olympus SP-590UZ and the Casio EX-FH25. It's new higher price-tag also means that the SX30 is competing against entry-level DSLRs and the new breed of compact system cameras.Features:The SX30 IS features built-to-last hard plastic bodywork with a large hand-grip, although it's not as big as the SX20's thanks to the replacement of that camera's four AA batteries with a more conventional lithium-ion battery. The overall weight of 600g adds a definite feeling of solidity, while the matt black finish ends an overall air of sophistication. If you're looking for a camera that will slot into a jacket pocket, However, think again. At 122.9 x 92.4 x 107.7mm the SX30 IS' dimensions are not much more compact than an entry-level DSLR, so it's a case of attaching the provided strap for over-the-shoulder portability, or investing in a dedicated camera bag to protect it from the elements and prying eyes when out taking photographs.There's no full hard copy manual provided out of the box, just a very rudimentary getting started pamphlet, with the full manual on CD. While the latter is fine if you're chained to a PC, when you're outside shooting and can't track down the setting you want, not having a manual to hand to quickly flick through is a real pain. The Hints & Tips Featureincorporated within the user interface partly makes up for this, providing short descriptions of key functions, but it's obviously not as in-depth as the full manual. More positively a hotshoe for an accessory flash is offered in addition to the built-in raised variety, plus a flip out and twist (or in Canon parlance 'vari angle') 2.7-inch LCD screen at the rear, slightly bigger than the SX20's. This monitor tilts forward through 180° and backwards through 90° in order to achieve those otherwise awkward angle shots when users can't quite get their eyes level with its electronic viewfinder, such as when shooting low to the ground or over the heads of a crowd.