Canon’s PowerShot SX1: Quick Review


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A little over two weeks ago Canon Japan was kind enough to lend us their latest high-end 20x wide-angle optical zoom, 10Mpix PowerShot with 1080P video recording, the SX1.

Canon PowerShot SX1 IS Specs
- 20x wide-angle ( 28mm, f/2.8 ) optical zoom with optical Image Stabilizer
- 10.0 Megapixel resolution
- Canon CMOS sensor for full resolution continuous 4fps shooting
- Full HD (1080p, 30fps) movies plus HDMI output
- DIGIC 4 for outstanding images and fast response times
- Shooting modes include full manual control
- Face Detection AF/AE/FE/WB plus Face Select & Track and FaceSelf-Timer
- Target blur with High ISO Auto, Optical Image Stabilizer, Motion Detection and Servo AF
- Auto Red-Eye Correction in shooting and playback
- i-Contrast boosts brightness and retains detail in dark areas
- 2.8” widescreen vari-angle LCD II with wide viewing angle
- Multi Control Dial and customizable “My Menu”

First impressions
As a heavy user of fully loaded DSLRs (5D Mark II, you’ll be mine soon!!), I’m a bit puzzled by the SX1, especially its small size. The SX1 much more compact than a Kiss Digital N (350D or Rebel Xt) and gave me a tough time when trying to handle it correctly. Once used to its compact size, I feel the overall finish and design is pretty well done, control buttons are well placed and don’t bother you much when changing settings.

I also appreciate Canon giving the user the option of using either regular AA or rechargeable AA batteries, I’d like to see this option become more common on other cameras including DSLRs. Easy to find anywhere on Earth, AA batteries can save you a lot of trouble if you travel light or are far from home.

I didn’t find any real flaws in the SX1’s design and materials, except maybe, and only if you’re a nitpicker like myself, a little weakness on the grip close to the battery slot that squeaked a little too often for me.

Let’s shoot baby!
Moving from my DSLR to the SX1 was a tough work when it came to photos too, weather conditions weren’t exactly ideal during our test run. Over the week I had our little fella I only had one day of bright sunlight to really enjoy shooting with it.

I also had a little trouble handling our camera’s 2.8″ vari-angle wide-format LCD. It seemed to have a mind of its own and rarely cooperated with me, forcing me to switch it off and on to use it… Ok, maybe if I’d read the manual first I wouldn’t of had any trouble, but who reads manuals? My other major complaint is its overall sluggish response when shooting small children as active as my daughter. Even shooting pets was difficult.

So what about photos? How good are they?
To be honest with you I wasn’t very impressed. In low light conditions (see pictures below) the SX1 doesn’t perform well… In bright sunlight under a blue sky things are way better but not perfect, especially on both sides of your photos where colors literally melt with visible artifacts in the center, this despite a shiny new DIGIC-4 image processor.

But I’ll let you be the judge, below is a set of photos taken under various conditions and settings (low light and outdoor)

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